Everybody learns better from their own experiences… trial and error. But, to those who don’t have the same ‘it will never happen to me’ attitude as I do, and for a smoother and more enjoyable trip to Thailand, here is a guide for some lessons I learned the hard way, take heed…
Avoid getting mugged and ripped off in Thailand:
- If it is your first time to Thailand and you’re feeling a little clueless as to how much to pay when shopping, check out our Buying Guide before heading out. Most stalls will expect you to haggle in Thailand and this is not easy when you have no idea how much something is worth in the first place.
- Check your change. This applies especially for 500 notes, which look very similar to 50s. I bought 70 bahts worth of doughnuts at Mister Doughnuts, thinking it was a large chain I figured it might be a good idea to break up my 1000 note in my pocket. The cashier handed me my change, I glanced at it quickly to make sure it was right but then the next day when I checked my pocket, it turned out to be a 50, not a 500. D’oh!
- Avoid pushy tuk tuk drivers. When a tuk tuk driver approaches you in Bangkok, and mentions it being some kind of special day – Holy day, Happy buddha day, National tourism day, whatever – or insists wherever you happen to be going is closed… don’t buy it. He will most likely just take you to a suit shop or gem shop as he get’s paid commission for taking you there. Unless you actually want to buy a suit, it’s not the most pleasant experience as you will more often than not be chased out by the offended shop owners.
- It is a common occurrence, particularly in Chatuchak Market, to have your bag slashed with a knife and the contents stolen. If possible, keep your bag in front of you and be very aware of the people around you in busy places like this.
- Bag snatchers generally tend to work on motorbikes and in Thailand it is perfectly acceptable for motorcyclists to drive on the sidewalk. Although most motorcyclists are perfectly honest citizens, be aware when you hear them approaching and always have your bag on the opposite side to the roadside of wherever they will be driving in order to deter them. Avoiding short strapped ladies handbags and wearing your bag across your shoulder will help enormously.
- Bag snatchers have been known to drive by and steal bags which female tourists place beside them when they get on Tuk Tuks. Wherever you are, always keep a hold of your belongings – wrap the strap around your leg… whatever you can.