Scams to Avoid in Thailand

There are a couple of things you should avoid while in Thailand. Below is a list of popular scams that are used on tourists who are visiting Thailand. Also, be sure to check out my list of 5 mistakes most foreigners make in Thailand.

That is closed scam

A popular scam in Thailand is one that involves telling you the Grand Palace is closed. Don't fall for it

Mostly this happens outside of the Grand Palace (or going to the Grand Palace). A tuk-tuk driver, or "friendly" local, will let you know that the ___ is closed today. Usually the reason is because of a Thai holiday or ritual. They will apologize and tell you they know this great place to take you instead. All of a sudden, you are in a gem or tailor shop on the outskirts of town. 

Read on: Top things you have to see in Bangkok

Thai Gem Scam

Unless you know a lot about gems, just don't buy them in Thailand - it is extremely unreliable and almost everyone is lying to you.

Jet Ski Scam

If you are renting a jet ski be careful not to get scammed while in Thailand

You rent a jet ski and then when you get back to return it the worker tells you it has all these scratches on it. They say you have to pay money to cover the cost of repairing the scratches and dents. 

Combat this by taking pictures of the jet ski before you get on. This will at the least deter them from running the scam on you and at most will provide evidence that those scratches were there beforehand. 

By the way, this can also happen when renting motorbikes.

Read on: The best islands to visit in Thailand

Train to Bus Scam

You head to the train station and a very official gentleman comes up to you to help you purchase tickets. They take you to an office and tell you the train is full, you can ride the bus instead. Surprise, they own the bus and the office is a fake. 

Make sure you always get back the right change when paying in Thailand

Wrong Change Scam

A lot of small shops know that foreigners don't know the money exchange too well. They will capitalize on this by giving you back the wrong change. 

Read on: Best restaurants to eat at in Thailand

Tailor Scam

If you want to get anything tailor made you should always pay at the end once you see the finished product. If they are trying to make you pay as you take measurements leave. 

Taxi Scam

Meters should always be on no matter what. Most likely the driver will tell you their meter is broken. Demand they turn it on or find another cab. 

Never ride elephants in Thailand - instead visit an elephant sanctuary

Animals in Thailand

Never ride an elephant in Thailand and stay away from Tiger Kingdom. The tigers are tranquilized, underfed, and kept in horribly small cages. Do not give them your money!

More on why you shouldn't ride elephants here and how to visit an elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai here. 


Final Thoughts

All in all, Thailand is an amazing country to visit. Don't let this list scare you into going!! These are just a few things to keep an eye out for while you are there. During my 10 day trip to Thailand, none of these happened to me. But being prepared for them is essential to having a smooth and fun trip to Thailand.

One final thing... even though researching ahead of time is great, I definitely recommend bringing a guidebook along with you. I always use Lonely Planet's pocket guides since they fit in my ...... pocket.

A super common question I get is: what camera do I use for my travels. The body is a Nikon D3300 and this is the wide angle lens I use and love - I am seriously obsessed with it. 

My full guide that includes all the camera gear I take on every trip is here.


And of course, if you have any questions DO NOT hesitate to reach out to me via Instagram, Twitter, or just shoot me an email ( 

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he most popular scams in Thailand and how to avoid them.

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