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Roman Wanderaugh's Travel Tips - CLOUDED POLITICS & SCAMS IN THAILAND

Roman Wanderaugh - National Radio Text Service

 

 

The political unrest in Thailand has clouded the issue of is Thailand a safe place to visit. Cambodia's appointment of former Thai Premier and fugitive from Thai justice Thaksin Shinawatra as its financial advisor resulted in the Thai government talking about closing the borders to Cambodia - BEWARE OF THAI SCAMS

 

Saturday November 28, 2009

SAFE OR NOT THAT IS THE QUESTION

The political unrest in Thailand has clouded the issue of is Thailand a safe place to visit. That problem is now compounded by Cambodia's appointment of former Thai Premier and fugitive from Thai justice Thaksin Shinawatra as its financial advisor. The repercussions from and angry Thai government is talk of closing the borders to Cambodia.

Should that come to pass travelers to Thailand or Cambodia would have to enter either country from alternative destinations. The inconvenience would necessitate travelers to route themselves by flying to Vietnam, Singapore or Malaysia thereby creating an inconvenience to a tourist and an added expense.

The ongoing problem is assisted by Thaksin's communication with his red shirt followers via the Internet and a television station that carries his messages and that of his supporters. Political analysts in the region see all of the controversy as a game of politics. After the anti Thaksin yellow shirt protesters took over Thailand airports that resulted in thousands of travelers being stranded for several days the question is do travelers looking to enjoy a holiday while in the process spend their hard earned money need more annoyances?

At present the Cambodian people are not infuriated as they were during a previous 2002 uprising when a Thai actress claimed that Angkor Wat was Thailand's. That resulted in Thai business being burned down in Phnom Penh. Thus far there are no worries but plans to visit the region should be approached with caution.

THE WEATHER

The rain season is over but precipitation continues in the southern part of Thailand particularly around the tourist destination of Phuket. Temperatures drop where in the northern areas around Chiang Mai the temperature can drop below freezing. This will continue through March.

 

Thai tailor shop - NR photo.

 

Many tuk tuk drivers are on the hustle - (NR photo)


SHOPPERS GUIDE - BEWARE OF THAI SCAMS

With the influx of unaware tourists brings about scams particularly in Thailand. Some of the scams include tailor shops luring a traveler with unbelievable deal on suits while throwing in extra shirts, ties and pants. Once you are in the shop the price goes up as they try to upgrade you to more expensive materials. The materials offered in the so called such a deal price are old and out of fashion basically material they want to get rid of.

Another lure is the name of the shop that uses a brand name without the approval of the brand name owner.


TUK TUK HUSTLERS

Many tourists are approached by tuk tuk drivers to take them around Bangkok FOR FREE to show them where to shop for good deals. The problem is they are paid usually 100 baht to take a tourist to a shop that they have an agreement with.

Part of the agreement is they receive a percentage of any sales made. We had an experience when the tuk tuk driver stranded a tourist when they failed to make a purchase after visiting three shops.

Another tuk tuk hustle is taking you to a gem dealer who asks you to deliver gems to your homeland. They tell you that someone will meet you and take the gems and pay you a large sum of money. The problem is they request that you pay money for a deposit on the gems before your departure.

A tuk tuk driver took a tourist to an office near the train station in Chiang Mai. It was a series of small rooms with gray walls and a scanty amount of furnishings except a desk and two chairs. After hearing the pitch the tourist departed but returned on a trip several months later only to find the office was closed.


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