So you’ve finally decided to push through with your much-awaited holiday vacation in the dream-like paradise called Phuket in Thailand. While this famous tourist destination in the Land of Smiles can really make for a holiday never to be forgotten, it is also ripe with some of the most devious, most cunning, and most villainous scams ever known to man. If you really want to relish the fantastic sea views, the awesome food, and the really unparalleled hospitality of the Thais, then you really have to brush up on your knowledge of the more common scams in this part of modern Siam.
The Jet Ski Scam
Since you’re heading to Phuket where the beach can be heavenly in and by itself, it is very important to know the most famous scam in the beaches of this seaside city. Jet skiing offers a lot of fun for the adrenaline-seekers. Unfortunately, if you’re not careful, you will not be bringing home fond memories of a fantastic jet ski ride but rather the nightmare of being accused of breaking your rented jet ski. To compensate, you’ll be charged a fee for the repair of the equipment. Refusal to pay will mean a brush with a fake ‘law enforcement’ officer who is usually in connivance with the scammers. You’ll be forced to pay up or risk jail time.
The Bar or Café Scam
This scam actually occurs not only in Phuket but almost every major tourist destination in the world. The usual trick is you get befriended by very beautiful young ladies. They’d take you to a local bar, where there are plenty in Phuket, and order quite a few drinks too many. By the time the bill arrives, these young lasses would have already performed a Houdini. While it is true that they only got free drinks from your momentary lapse of judgment, you’d still be paying the bill which, unfortunately, is jacked up several times higher than your local hotel bar. If you don’t pay up, expect some burly men to surround you like piranhas.
The Motorbike Scam
The best way to get around Phuket is by renting a motorbike. You can weave through traffic on it. Unfortunately, it is like the jet ski when it comes to scamming potential. An even sadder fact is that, if you are not careful, someone might steal your rental unit using a duplicate key. If you don’t pay for the price of the entire motorbike, you risk landing in jail. This is a very common scam not only in Phuket but other parts of the globe.
For more information on common travel scams in Thailand, please see this TripAdvisor article.
have you ever been scammed in Phuket or any other place in the world? Please let us know how you were scammed so we can spread the world and avoid travellers getting caught out.