Patong Beach is a beautiful place with lots of fun things for tourists to do. However, as with just about any popular tourist area, there are many scammers hoping for a chance to take advantage of unsuspecting travellers. Here's what you need to know about some of the most common scams in Patong Beach and how to protect yourself.
Jet-Skis Riding a jet-ski out on the open ocean is one of the more popular tourist pastimes in the area. Vendors line the beach with jet-skis to rent at affordable prices. When you hire a jet-ski, everything seems straightforward, but when you return the jet-ski at the end of your rental period, the salesperson feigns astonishment at all the damage you have done to the craft. If you did, in fact, damage the jet-ski, it can be expected that you'll have to cover the cost of repairs. However, in many cases, the damage was pre-existing, but the jet-ski provider blames you for it anyway.
To avoid this scam, beware of any jet-ski provider who asks you to leave your passport as collateral. They may withhold your passport until you have paid up. Also, take detailed photos of the jet-ski before you head out. Carefully document any existing damage to prove that it was already there.
Fake Gems This is a common scam among taxi and tuk-tuk drivers. They'll comment on a beautiful piece of jewellery you are wearing and offer to take you to a shop where you can buy precious gems and jewellery for next to nothing. They promise that you'll be able to then sell those pieces once you return home for much more than you paid. Unfortunately, when you attempt this, you discover that the gems you bought are fake and worth even less than you paid for them.
Unless you are a skilled gemmologist and can distinguish the fakes from the real thing, it is best to avoid trying to buy jewellery in Patong Beach. Be wary of any offer that seems too good to be true; in most cases, it probably is.
Timeshares This scam starts off innocently enough with someone asking you to answer a brief survey or play a game of chance to win a prize. Of course, you always win. The catch, though, is that you then have to sit through a timeshare presentation, typically lasting an hour and a half or more. You'll have to fight off hard-selling tactics to turn down the offer. If you do get suckered into purchasing a timeshare, you'll find that it is next to impossible to redeem your stay or that the quality is significantly lower than what you paid for.
In this case, it is best to stop the sales pitch before it starts. If you are approached by someone pushy, do your best to get out of the conversation as quickly as possible. You can say that you're running late or pretend that you don't speak English to save yourself from having to try to make excuses.
Ping Pong Show ScamOn Bangla Road, one of the most notorious shows you can see at night are the Ping Pong shows. You’ll usually get approached by somebody, who has the “best show” in all of Phuket for you to see and that it involves beautiful women. They will be very insistent and constantly ask you if you have ever seen a ping pong show before. Now if you want to see the show, you can choose to follow them but ask upfront what the price is. If you don’t do that, they will most likely take you to see the show and once it is complete, they will charge a high fee which they have not mentioned previously. It is best to avoid this show altogether as sometimes they only tell you the price to enter the show or they might ask you to order a drink which is overpriced. The choice is yours to make in the end but know that some hidden fee will be involved and you might want to avoid it.
Enjoy the Wonders of Patong Beach Although there are plenty of scams of which to be wary in Patong Beach, that doesn't mean that you can't still have a good time. With a long-term holiday rental, like those we offer here at Rental for the Holidays, it's like having your own apartment or condo for the duration of your trip. You'll save tons of money on dining and lodging costs, and you'll feel more like a local. Keep your guard up when you are out and about to avoid getting sucked into a scam that could ruin your holiday.