As I was planning my trip to Thailand, taking notes by reading blogs and TripAdvisor comments, an image of Thailand started being painted in my head. Unluckily, it was not a very good one.
Although beautiful things had been said about Thailand's scenic views, rich culture and amazing coastlines, for some reason I kept coming back to find a lot on how everyone from the bike rentals to tour operators was out there to scam you. I kept reading people's experiences on how rentals on the beach will give you a faulty JetSki and then later on charge for the repairs, or how the tuk tuk drivers will make unnecessary stops along the way and force you into buying things before taking you to the actual destination, or even how I might find fake officers misguiding tourists from popular to not-so-popular tourist destinations.
Now, you can imagine all that was going through my head while I was on my way to Thailand. On one hand I was quite excited to see the magical white sandy beaches and snorkle the crystal clear waters of Thailand while on the other I was nervous because people like me (hard working software engineers I mean 😉) get to have only one trip a year and I most certainly did not want it to be ruined due any unpleasant incidents.
Nine Days Later... The Reality
I spent almost nine days in Thailand and as I had hoped, I rented a car, I rented a bike, I enjoyed a few one-day tours, I even had tuk tuk rides along the way and all that went smoothly, without me being a target of any scam. Nobody tried to misguide me or rob me of my money. Instead, I found the local people quite friendly and helpful and it was not at all like I had been made to imagine.
So as you'd expect, my trip went well (more details on that later) and I realized that like most things on the Internet, the negative side of Thailand is quite exaggerated as well. Don't get me wrong here, it's not that there are no scams in Thailand but they are very less compared to what the internet might have you believe. Just like anything else in life, as long as you are cautious you should have nothing to worry about.