Traveling abroad makes you vulnerable and at a higher risk of falling for common scams that target tourists visiting that area. Phuket, unfortunately, also has a high number of scammers searching for unsuspecting victims to extract some extra cash from.
Although Phuket is generally safe, scams in Phuket are rampant, and tourists to the island should be aware of some of the most common Phuket scams to avoid.
Phuket Scams to Watch Out For:
Jet Ski Scam
The Jet Ski Scam Phuket is the most common of all of the Phuket scams. You rent a jet ski from a legitimate looking individual or tour counter on the beach, usually Patong Beach, and you take it out for a whirl on the water. Upon return of the jet ski, you will be accused of body damage to the jet ski. Most often, the damage was already there, the situation escalates and police will even be “called.” The jet ski operator will ask for a ridiculous amount of money to repair the jet ski, and you will be pressured into paying it. Everyone is in on this scam, so don’t expect help. The best way to avoid this scam? Avoid jet ski rentals.
Be careful when you are wandering around Bangla Road in Patong as a number of locals have come up with a few clever scams to get your money all involving photographs. Firstly, be cautious of exotic animals and those saying it is okay to pose for pictures with them. Afterwards, they will demand money for taking a picture with their “pet.” Please avoid this scam in Phuket as it’s also abusive and harmful to the animals which are being used for bait.
Transgender individuals, often dressed beautifully, might also approach tourists asking if they would like a picture with the “local ladyboys.” They will demand money from you, and this is one of the biggest Phuket scams to watch out for.
Traveling From the Airport
Phuket’s public transportation consists of taxi, minivan and tuk tuk services, and upon arrival to Phuket, most tourists hail a taxi to take them to their accommodation. You will get into the vehicle, and tell them your hotel destination, but halfway there, the vehicle stops at a travel agent and the agent will insist that the hotel has been closed or booked, and then give the opportunity to book a new hotel through their travel agency. Even worse, the taxi driver will refuse to take you to your destination unless you reserve through the agent. This is one of the common Phuket scams to watch out for. Before leaving in a taxi from the airport, insist that the driver takes you to your reserved accommodation without any detours.
Rare Gems Scam
The rare gems scam is one of the scams to avoid in Phuket. It’s one of the easy Phuket scams to fall for because it seems so enticing. Your taxi driver will inform you of bargain deals that you can get on a variety of rare and precious gems in Thailand, and then offer to take you to a reputable jeweler in the area. You agree and browse the number of striking gems, which look 100% real, but most are fake. These scams in Phuket work well because many people come to Thailand looking for a cheap deal. These bargain are simply too good to be true! What usually happens is that you pay for these rare gems, return to your home country and try to re-sell them, only to find out that the gems are fake and you’ve lost a good chunk of money.
Phuket scams can be avoided. You do not have to fall victim to any of these scams. Remember, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Trust your instincts, and try to avoid these Phuket scams during your holiday.