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Thailand - what can go wrong?

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1. Posted by Mini2e3 (Budding Member 4 posts) 6y

Hey everybody!

I know this post is quite pesimistic, but i wanna know what all can go wrong on a trip to Thailand, just to better prepare myself Please share, if you had some bad experience...

Thanks!

2. Posted by Curt1591 (Respected Member 230 posts) 6y

Probably the biggest problem facing most visitors to Thailand is being viewed as an "opportunity". Touts and scammers will confront you everywhere. The best advice is to ignore any friendly strangers chatting it up with any tour or shopping advice. This is not to say don't ask for help. Simply be very cautious of any unsolicited advice.

Don't drink yourself stupid. A great number of the horror stories involve people who have closed down bars.

If you find yourself in a dispute, handle it calmly. Thais don't deal with confrontation very well. Do not talk politics, religion or disrespect the monarchy. It the topic comes up, treat it as a lecture, not a discussion.

The police, by-and-large, are corrupt. Don't expect a cop to be your knight in shining armor.

Most trouble can be avoided. If you keep your nose clean, at home, you should be OK in Thailand too.

[ Edit: Edited on 15-Sep-2010, at 04:03 by Curt1591 ]

3. Posted by Ofie (Budding Member 22 posts) 6y

i was thinking the same thing! lol

4. Posted by bex76 (Moderator 3711 posts) 6y

Beware of tuk-tuk drivers who tell you that the restaurant/hotel etc you want to go to has closed/burnt down etc (taxi drivers can also be guilty of this) as it's likely that they are telling you this story so that they can take you to another place where they will get commission for taking tourists, or, more annoyingly, you will end up at a gem store miles away from where you wanted to be and stuck for the afternoon.

5. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3562 posts) 6y

Do a google search on scams in Thailand. Here is one.

6. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 1587 posts) 6y

Quoting Mini2e3

Hey everybody!

I know this post is quite pessimistic, but i wanna know what all can go wrong on a trip to Thailand, just to better prepare myself Please share, if you had some bad experience...

Thanks!

On any trip anywhere in the world things may come up that were not anticipated. Like the sudden closing of an airport due to weather or even politics. Just think ahead and plan on a way out. For Bangkok you can take a train to KL or Singapore and fly out, that is what I had to do when the Yellow Shirts took over the Bangkok Airport several years ago. So, think ahead on what you would have to do to get back home. I have been stuck in airports because of typhoons and snowstorms and then you just hunker down and wait things out.

Read up on how to take a meter taxi from the airport. If you negotiate with a tout for a ride and later on you find out you paid double for the ride - you didn't get scammed you just didn't do your homework ahead of time to know how to get into the city.

When you bargain for something from a street vendor or a flea market like Chatuchak or Patpong and later find you you paid too much - you didn't get screwed you just paid too much! Many tourists are afraid to offer a lower price for an item but the sellers are not afraid to offer a price double what another tourist would get! When you bargain for things on the street and dressed like you have money don't be surprised that the price you are presented with is more than I would get with my ratty t-shirt and cutoffs!

When you take a meter taxi in Bangkok and pay a fare you bargained for you didn't get ripped off when you discover you paid too much compared to a meter only fare! Meter taxis, using the meter only, will be cheaper than bargaining the fare. There are hundreds of meter taxis in Bangkok, if one refuses to use the meter another one will. Meter taxis, using the meter, will almost always be cheaper than a tuk-tuk unless you are a Thai citizen! My preference is to wave a moving taxi over and avoid taxis parked out front of a hotel. Parked taxis more often want to bargain a fare and you pay more!

If something sounds too good to be true - it probably is not true! If you don't know anything about precious gems or gold don't make any purchases because what you don't know could probably cost you.

Some women traveling alone may fall for a nice looking guy who offers to show them around, hold their bags, help them with the ATM's, help in getting lower prices shopping - sometimes these "favors" come with a price! Be careful who you share your hotel room with, you could end up just like the guys who let a "stranger" into their hotel room only to have that stranger run off with watch, passport, cash, cell phone, jewelry, etc. If you don't know someone from back in the "old country" don't trust him! Use the security box provided by your hotel to safeguard cash, jewelry and other valuables. Don't leave that safety box key out plain sight too, if something gets stolen from a hotel room it is just as likely that fellow tourists did the dirty deed not long term hotel employees who value their jobs in a tight market! It is best to keep valuable to a minimum on your trips anyway. If you have a family heirloom or something you really would cry over if it became lost - leave it safely at home!

You can keep "need to know" information in email form - such as flight itineraries, emergency numbers, serial numbers of travelers checks and large currencies, contact numbers for your airline and even for lost travelers checks. You write this and save this in email form that you send to your self. Then just save that email in a folder. If you have to recall any of that info just find the nearest internet shop and pull up that email.

Wait until you get to Thailand to get the best exchange rate when you change money over to Thai baht. Bring the largest currency denominations to cut down on bulk, some currencies like US dollars get a little more for $100 and $50 bills compared to a bunch of 1's and 5's! Bring currency that is newer issue and without any crud or tears on them because if they get rejected it is not the bank money changers fault it is your fault! Don't be so quick to use a debit or credit card to pay for cheap items like in restaurants or small shops - you could end up with fraudulent charges on your statement when you arrive home. Use cash for small cheap purchases! (Oh yeah, there is a 150 baht surcharge for most ATM withdrawals with foreign cards, when you make withdrawals take out the maximum to cut down on lots of fees for cheap withdrawals. Same for travelers checks, only bring the largest denominations, the fee to cash one is 33 baht, a bargain compared to the ATM fees. You don't want to pay a lot of fees for $5 checks, etc.)

One last thing! If you intend to use a credit or debit cards overseas you have to first notify your bank that you will be out of the country and where. Otherwise when the bank gets an ATM withdrawal from a foreign country they may suspect that the withdrawal is fraudulent and deny it!

Good luck.

[ Edit: Edited on 16-Sep-2010, at 05:30 by karazyal ]

7. Posted by Rambler1 (Budding Member 51 posts) 6y

Hi,

Some really great advice from all the replies on this thread but also it has made Thailand sound like the most horrific place on earth with touts round every corner and back up plans needed for every place you go.

The best advice I got was to be laid back and take things as they come. You can't control everything that happens and sometimes it doesn’t all ways work out how you imagined it but for the most part it will work out better than you could ever imagine. Keep things in perspective and losing a little bit of money somewhere with a scam is not the end of the world, it happens.

Also if you gave advice to someone coming to the UK the advice would not be so different. everywhere has there risks but as long as you are not completely out of control and have a slight bit of common sense don't worry and enjoy your self.

I travelled in through South east Asia solo when I was 19 and I got a little sick and probably a ripped off a few times but the good time out weighed the bad times ten fold.

Don’t read or ask too much about the bad stuff because 99% wont happen to you anyway.

Have fun!

8. Posted by CanadaGuy (Respected Member 199 posts) 6y

Some really great answers above.
I don't have too much to add, other than the general- common sense.
You are on vacation in an exotic amazing place- but just think twice about everything.
The most important common sense things are limiting alcohol, absolutely 100% avoiding any connection with drugs, and being careful about where you go ( especially alone/ at night). And pay attention where you place your vaulables/ belongings.
As for finances and the like- sure there will be situations where you will come out on the short end of a "deal" or exchange, but think big picture....

PLan ahead as to where you are going .
Use common sense, and a little caution. If you have a feeling something may not be a good idea- trust your instincts.
You will have an amazing time.

9. Posted by Curt1591 (Respected Member 230 posts) 6y

Having done extended visits, since the 90's, and living here since 2007, I will have to say that Thailand has pretty much become a place "with touts round every corner". It's getting worse, everyday.

In two decades, I have witnessed a radical change in the perception that most Thais have of foreigners. We can probably thank the internet and gap year travel "experts" for the change.

10. Posted by Mini2e3 (Budding Member 4 posts) 6y

uau, thanks everybody for the great responses! but keep 'em coming :D