Thailand can be one of the most beautiful tourist destinations on the planet, but it can also be one of the most dangerous. To those who travel extensively this warning may sound all too familiar, but don’t take it lightly. It is not uncommon to have certain dangers associated with popular tourist destinations.
This is due to two primary reasons. First, many of the most beautiful destinations are located in some of the most poverty stricken countries in the world. When you leave the resort you can literally enter into third world conditions. The second influence that makes these areas so dangerous is that tourists are often easy marks for swindlers and con artists, so they congregate near the places that tourists frequent.
This will be your baptism by fire. Taxi scams are extremely common in Bangkok. When you arrive in Bangkok, make sure to take a taxi that is associated with an official taxi stand. If not you may be in for the ride of your life. When you take an official taxi, you will pay what is on the meter in addition to an extra charge of 50 baht. If you attempt to flag down a taxi on your own, they will probably refuse to turn the meter on and end up charging you an additional $15 to $20 more than they should.
Be very leery of anyone that approaches you with an offer to take you to an exceptional jeweler or tailor that has ridiculously low prices. If this happens, it is best to politely refuse and walk away. This scam has been going on for years. It is not generally dangerous, but it can be extremely annoying and it can get expensive as the jeweler and the tailor are not cheap.
Don’t make the mistake of attempting to buy jewelry off the street. The chances are you will be buying a fake. Another danger to buying jewelry on the street is that you will have to expose your money and that could expose you to be robbed.
For you friendly casual drug users, don’t do it. Although drugs are readily available in Thailand, the country takes it’s drug laws very seriously. If you get caught using or possessing the smallest quantity of illegal drugs, you will be arrested, tried, convicted and sent to prison. Save the herb quest for when you return home.
Thailand is like most tourist destinations in parts of the world where poverty is rampant. You have to think safety first. Don’t travel alone. Don’t pull out your money in front of people and don’t trust anyone that you don’t know.