Different cultures, customs and language can make a traveller very vulnerable in unfamiliar countries. Most often this makes him the target of individuals waiting to take advantage of his inexperience. Here are some scams you might want to know before traveling to Laos.
Bus ticket scams
Don’t buy the cheaper tickets that bus drivers might offer, those are just too good to be true. Cheap bus tickets often are scams. The catch is that your bus will conveniently break down or stalled until ferry rides or borders are closed. The driver will lead you to a guesthouse to spend the night and makaing you spend more time and money on lodgings. Don’t trust ticket upgrades too to VIP tickets too. Most often than not, you’ll still be riding the regular bus because the VIP bus conveniently broke down. The difference will not be refunded.
Be careful leaving your clothes in the laundry mat, you just might end up with missing some of them. Clothing particularly foreign brands hold value and can be sold for a pretty price. Check your laundry and count them before leaving them to the mat and after getting them back. Better off, try to see if they have self service laundry mats.
These money schemes are all over the world and Laos is no exception. Friendly strangers who talk of investments, exports, gemstones and cards are better off avoided than entertained. Theses are all cons, after all, if its true, the con artists should be rich too.
Tourist office scams
Beware of some offices with signs that read tourist information. These are most commonly not legit institutions and are just middle men for some hotels and restaurants that offer higher prices. Asking for a specific hotel or restaurant not in their contacts, they will deny the location and deliver false information. Some taxis also have these contacts and do the same, offering you higer priced venues in their contacts and earn commision.
These often take place at transport stations and borders. Always negotiate a price before riding the taxi. friendly smiles often hide few catches and take you off guard with friendliness to get more money from you. Taxis can also take you around the block to get more money from you.
Some con artists pose as broke college students asking for money for their education. Some pretend to be art students and try to sell you artworks, don’t believe them, those artworks are just imitations and rip-offs.
Sellers swarm the streets of Nha Trang. Be careful of crowds and sellers trying to get your attention, they are most likely distracting you for others to pickpocket you. You can fend them off with firm no and shake of head, they will try to follow youu and talk to you even when your seated, just be stern and firm with your no.
Always make sure to exchange your currency in legal currency exchange establishments. Don’t accept torn, burned or damaged money, you might have difficulty using or spending them. Rates are inferior at border crossings so it is recommended you make your exchanges away from there. Count your money and double check calculations and rate exchanges information.