How to avoid scams!


November 30, 2017 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Tips & Tricks



Yes, we are the land of smiles. We are a friendly and a welcoming population. But there are also people who want to exploit tourists. Year after year, I’ve heard stories about tourists who have been cheated by local Thais. It’s not something I’m proud of, so why would I come with a warning. Fraud comes in different forms, and here are some of the most common techniques. Read this carefully to avoid and be fooled!

This blog is written by the founder of Thaiguide.no – A travel-agency targeting Scandiavian tourists.

 

Try to avoid this at the airport.

If you have not booked in advance, go to the counter with tourist information at the airport. Here you can book rooms in hotels in different price ranges. Some hotels also offer rooms with “free guide tours” included. The problem is that you do not know what these guide tours contains. It is highly likely that these tours are camouflaged sales trips, where “guides” will take you to many stores to get you to buy products. This can be perceived as buying pressure and can be very uncomfortable for many. “Guides” can gladly take you to a temple and do attempt to guide you, but they are probably not authorized guides and it will be marked on their lack of knowledge and professionalism.

If you do not want to book the hotel via the tourist information office at the airport, so do not take a taxi to try and find a hotel itself. Once you tell a taxi driver that you are looking for a hotel he will drive around for ages and give a guided tour of the city simultaneously. You end up with a soaring taxi bill and a hotel driver ultimately chooses. This then is probably a hotel must pay a fee (commission) to the driver for getting them guests and not necessarily a good hotel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taxis from the airport to the city.

When you are tired after a long flight, it may be difficult to set up properly in how things work in a foreign country. There are many different types of taxis; limousines, taxis metered, pirate taxis etc. Which taxi is public and what is counterfeit? Do they have a taximeter or they run at a fixed price? Finding a taxi driver who understands where you’re going can be a challenge because many drivers have poor English skills. One can quickly risk getting a sightseeing tour of the city or be dropped off at the wrong place. If the driver is a vendor type he may drive you to the shops along the way to get you to buy something. If you do not want to experience this you should book transfers (transfer) from the airport via the travel agency. This saves you a lot of irritation and there is not much money you will save by taking taxi on their own in terms of safety and comfort. It is much more pleasant to be picked up at the airport by a driver with nameplate instead of having to gamble with a taxi driver who has unknown motives.

My advice is ALWAYS to book hotels and transportation in advance before you land. Save yourself a lot of unnecessary stress and irritation the first vacation day.

 

On the main tourist attractions such as the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, canal tours in Bangkok, as well as many other temples in Thailand.

To go to these tourist attractions on your own is like asking to be fooled. You will not be able to walk in peace anywhere because everyone will try to fool you, even if you go with a local Thai not guide. Thais themselves do not necessarily who to watch out for, and there are many local Thais who have brought their foreign friends and ended up being just ripped off. There are separate gangs who specialize in tricking white tourists who go on visits to the temple alone. There can be taxi drivers, tuk tuk drivers, ordinary people who seem friendly and offers to show you the way or guide you for free. Some also pretends that they are “government taxi.” In reality, there exists no such thing as this.

They can be dressed in something similar to personnel uniforms and that’s why it’s hard to tell the difference between them and government officials. Often they say that the temple or place is closed due Buddha day or something similar and that you should rather go somewhere else. Then it pops suddenly into a tuk tuk that can drive you further. This returns you often on a “salgstur” where you will be driven to pet stores and it is expected that you should buy stuff.

All main attractions are places you should not go without a guide, simply to understand Thai culture, history and Buddhism in an orderly manner. You need an authorized guide who has both knowledge and know the professional lurerne so you do not have to be bothered.

To get there on your own is one thing, but finding taxi back to the hotel is a challenge. All the taxis near the main tourist attractions are very aggressive and fighting to drive tourists. It may be that someone offers you an incredibly inexpensive taxi ride (10-20 bath per trip) but it is in itself a reason to refuse because the driver will often make it onto the commission to take you on “salgstur” to selected stores.

 

Authorized Guide

Tourist guide lince Rossukol Phansung 300x300I Thailand are not allowed to guide without having chartered guide license, and must show the license when you are at work. To obtain a license, one must go to guide school and have passed an examination, in addition to being Thai citizen. Foreigners are not allowed to guide even if they are with as tour guide for a group of tourists on the tour. There will be local guides who are knowledgeable in telling about Thai history and culture.

If you have purchased a guided tour you must always check whether the person has guide license. Look at my license card to see how it will look. This rule applies throughout Thailand, and it does not matter if it is only a small temple to be visited or you just going on a little sightseeing in the city. The guide must always have the license!

Taxi drivers, longtailboat-drivers, foreign tour guides or local Thais without a license can not call himself a Tour Guide. Tour Guide is one of the 39 reserved occupations in Thailand where one must be Thai citizen and possess a license to carry out the work. Always check carefully the license card to see if the guide is authorized.

 

Taxi in Bangkok/Pattaya

Most taxis have meters that we call Taxi Meter. But not everyone will put on the meter if they receive foreign passengers. Sometimes they ask for a fixed price. If that happens when you get into a cab, go out and take next. Or ask the hotel staff find a metered taxi for you. You can also pay a little more for limousine from the hotel, then release the unnecessary irritation.

 

Taxis in front of the hotels

This you have to be aware of. Try to avoid talking with these drivers. They stand ready to chase after tourists who have not received information from the guides to avoid them. These taxis will take you on “sales trips” and will often run at a fixed price and not metered. Drivers have no relation to you and can be very direct and often naughty when they force you to go to places you do not want to go. Book tours or sightseeing through a real agent, then you will learn exactly what is the nature of day their program.

 

Tuk Tuk in Bangkok

A very cool and typical Thai experience, but also the biggest tourist trap. They run on fixed price so you never know how much the trip really costs. One must ALWAYS deal price before starting your journey. Do not tell a Tuk Tuk or taxi that you’re going out and finding a place to eat, then they say that they know of a very good restaurant and can drive you there. You come to a simple restaurant with Norwegian prices (!), And the driver gets profits for taking you there.

Another gimmicky they use are ‘cheap’ drive ‘(10-20 baht, about 2-4 million). Remember that no drive can be as affordable, petrol prices are not as low in Thailand. If the price is so ridiculously low so there is a technique to get you on “salgstur.” Do not go for the very cheapest!

 

Shopping in Bangkok/Pattaya

In Thailand, we have two different kinds of goods that have their price levels. We have high quality products 100% silk, natural leather and precious jewelry that always sold at malls or in real shops with fixed price and warranty. On the street sold counterfeit goods and products of inferior quality. Here we can and should haggle! Often one can see a T-shirt labeled “100% silk” in a street market. There are FAKE! Silk is not easy to produce and the price is too low that it is genuine. If you want real quality so ask your guide or your travel agent. We who work in the industry knows where there are shops with real goods and quality guarantee.

 

Tailor Made or tailored suit

There are tailors at every corner in the tourist areas. Most of them are immigrants from Nepal and India, and they are friendly and circumloquacious to get you to come into their stores. Many boast low prices. But it is not the price first and foremost you should look at, it’s drugs. A good tailor must be able to know how many percent cotton or silk and synthetic fabric a garment is made of. Most of the substances is a mixture. Are you a proper suit or dress in 100% pure Thai silk so be aware that this can not be sold cheaply.

To make a good suit with a good result takes at least 3 days. A serious tailor will follow this procedure: Day 1 – measure up. Day 2 – customize. Day 3 – clarify / complete. If someone wants to make it in 24 hours yesterday, at best, beyond form customization. Tailored clothing is needlework and if it’s done properly there is no question of using the shortest possible time.

Be sure to choose tailors who are not rude or become aggressive if you go in and peeks / ask but choose not to order anything. These are not serious. Ask local Thais, gladly guide or your travel agent about which tailors who are credible and can be recommended.

 

On railway stations in Thailand

There are those who disguise themselves to pretend they are employees and to help people at the stations. Instead of showing you the ticket office as they take you to a travel agent and pretend to help you book tickets. So you might hear that it is fully on the train and that they would rather sell you bus tickets. Another variant is that they charge for 1.klassevogn but book through 2nd grade. You do not find out until you are on the train and hit the English speaking staff that can actually tell you what price range you have purchased a ticket for. To avoid this, use some time at the station and see how the ordinary Thais are going to buy their train tickets.

It’s a bit shameful for me to have to write all this as a warning to tourists. But it’s part of my job as a guide to inform tourists, and I want those traveling to Thailand to have as good an experience as possible. There are other rules here than you are used to in Norway or elsewhere. Thailand is generally a safe country to travel on their own, but a few little things it is wise to not arrange themselves. Remember that these impostors have no personal relationship with you and therefore they can afford to be a bit cheeky. They’re not going to see you again after you’ve shopped you finished or gone out of the cab theirs. So it pays to book hotels, transportation and guided tours in advance through a travel agent. Thus the responsibility of professionals, and it is a safeguard in the event of problems. Also remember that everything has its price, it is too cheap to be true then it probably is just that.

I wish you a merry trip to Thailand!

Thai Guide Rossi

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