Traveling in Asia, Do Not Fall Victim to Tourist Scams
But, remember if your gut tells you that something seems too good to be true, it probably is, because tourist scams are as real as they have ever been.
At some point or place, most tourist travelers have all been scammed as foreigners.
But in the grand scheme of scams, these 8 are much grander, and you might find that it is just as easy to be tricked as it is getting ripped off by your taxi:
Hang on, those are not Monks
Before you take out your wallets for a donation, think twice. Do not even get guilty when they display their book of guests who have already donated.
It is uncommon for Buddhist monks to ask for money, though they will display there begging bowl, but if you really want to donate, go right to the Temple.
Stay off of the Animals
After a few incidents this year, people really began to pay attention to the role of animals in tourism.
First, there was Thailand’s famous Tiger Temple which turned out to be a lie. Thankfully, all 140 tigers are now safe in government-run shelters. Then news broke about Sambo, the Elephant that collapsed and died after taking tourists on rides around the Angkor Wat complex in Cambodia.
The rule here is, animals are not entertainers. You will be paying to harm them. If you want to see animals 1st-hand, and we all do, go to a proper Zoo.
Sure this is Art, Not!
Nope, not Art. Probably just imitation paintings sold at an unfortunate high price. Ever come across teens or young adults with stories about not being able to afford their education? They show you pieces of their artwork and naturally, a sale is made. It is such a good story you would never have doubted it until someone back home compliments your Andy Warhol is fake.
Where is your bike Dude?
It’s cheap, fast and part of the Southeast Asia travel experience. So is having the renter find ways to make you pay much more than you should be. Be very careful when finding a reputable bike rental company, again, research is Key. You do not want to believe the worst but we have heard so many stories about renters who follow you, steal back the bike, and make you pay for it. Or, subtly damaging the bike so you end up paying for repairs in a country where you might not speak the language.
Girls just want “funds”
Single male travelers especially, watch out! It begins innocently when a very pretty lady approaches you and suggests getting a drink. They might ask you where you’re from and to make you feel warmed up to them, say they have a relative living there too watch how they don’t know ‘where’ though. And she promises to “love you long time”. Okay, let us not pretend here. One of 3 things will happen: you do the deed, or you do the deed and then meet her “brothers” who rob you of all your possessions. Do not do the deed. The other scenario? She leaves you with a big bar check. And that is why they are dubbed “B-Girls” boys.
So Sorry Kiddo
We have contemplated this one for ages, asking our friends that travel constantly and doing a lot of reading on the subject. Our intentions have always been compassionate and really, is not it a good thing, giving money to children who beg?
Essentially you’re helping out, but in the long run, it’s a lot more complicated than that. The short answer is, do not give in. I found this article very helpful. While it is not an outright scam, it can very well lead to one.
Poor families might see begging as the only way for their kids to make a living. Plus, we’ve been warned countless times that children are sometimes used as a distraction, for thieves
Double Duty Drivers
Some tuk-tuk or taxi drivers will try to sell or offer you free drugs. For one thing, they might be laced with dangerous substances but also, we just do not recommend or support it. But if you act against that good advice, fake policemen have been known to turn up right then and there and request for a bribe. Even if you call their bluff, it’s a real hassle and people have paid off the “police” just to get out there.
The Gift of Fortune Telling
People do not choose a career in fortune-telling because they have a gift. They chose it because it’s fast money and people want to know when we’re going to meet ‘The One’. It happens more or less this way: someone lures you in with some sort of broad observation, and then guides you to a Tarot corner where they charge to tell you things like “you have a big decision to make” Sure.
I love to travel but I think that staying at beautiful places should not come with a Scammer’s price tag.
Stay in good sections of the cities or regions of the country, in good hotels and avail yourselves of their Concierges, they are professionals and will give sound advice and make sound sightseeing arrangements.
Have a terrific Labor Day Weekend