Classic travel scams #2: You Didn’t Pay for Last Night


You didn’t pay for last night,” said the guy on the desk at the guest house in Vang Vieng.

Yes I did.”


But I found the receipt screwed up in the bottom of my bag and that was the end of that.

I might have assumed that it was all a mistake if he had not then said exactly the same to the Israeli backpackers who went to the desk after me. They didn’t have a receipt and had a minibus waiting outside, so they had to pay again.

You didn’t pay for last night,” said the lady in the guest house in Luang Prabang a few days after that, and we both knew that I didn’t have a receipt because she had been on the desk all the time. I argued the toss but ended up paying again, and spent the rest of the day in a filthy mood because I ought to have known better by then.

(c) Richard Senior 2014

Classic travel scams #1: the 20 Baht Temple Tour


“I take you many temple. Twenny Baht,” the tuk-tuk driver says, and you’re new in Bangkok and the humidity is enervating and it seems like a bargain and you don’t stop to think how it can be worth his while for less than 40p (60c). He might take you to a few temples, but you will end up at a fake gem shop or a bogus travel agent.

I knew about this one before I went to Thailand because a mate of mine fell for it (the same guy once inadvertently paid €900 for a hat to wear to a party). There are a few variants, though. One guy approached me, claimed he was a policeman and flashed what might have been his library card. He warned me that some tuk-tuk drivers were dishonest and that I should only take the “official” tuk-tuks with the Thai flag on one corner and the royal flag on the other. They, he said, would take me round all the temples and then to a special shop where I could arrange cheap travel all over Thailand.

Just then, a tuk-tuk came round the corner with the Thai flag on one corner and the royal flag on the other.

 (c) Richard Senior 2014