This page contains posts related to the following tags:

#Safety, #Scams


City/Country: Advice: Saving:

This is so naive but seems to be the norm in Thailand, maybe Asia. When people buy a smartphone the shop assistant checks that it’s working and, since many customers have not had a smartphone before, they set-up the necessary Google or Apple account so the phone is ready to use.
From my experience, of Thai people who have bought phones all over Thailand, the usual procedure is to use the customer’s phone number as the account password.
Most Thai customers do not really understand that someone else knowing their Google or Apple account email and password means they can access their information by logging in on the internet, without needing the actual phone, so they never bother to change the password.
Think about it. Staff working in Thai phone shops could potentially have lists of thousands of usernames and passwords for Google/Apple accounts! At the moment it’s mainly a privacy issue (reading your email, getting your pictures) but once people start linking a credit card to their accounts on a large scale the fraud potential is clear.
If you know anyone in Thailand with a smartphone, check they have their own password and NOT the one the shop gave them. To make absolutely sure, ask if their password for Google Play or Apple App Store is their phone number. (Dr Doolittle).
Google/Apple account identity theft
All of Asia
If you are expecting trouble with a taxi fare - because they are going to try to cheat you - ask to get dropped off outside somewhere near where you want to go instead of your hotel. Ideally pick a five star hotel, police station or embassy.
Not only is there less chance of the driver trying to rip you off but there will be people nearby that can help if there is trouble.
Also the driver will not know where you are staying. In some countries (Malaysia) drivers have been known to come back with friends and beat tourists up, when they have refused to pay rip off fees.
Another simple trick is to always get out of the taxi first before paying. Taxi drivers are much less likely to quote a rip off price when it can be heard in public, especially at places like airports where police and guards are nearby. (TJ).
Taxi trouble
All of Asia I don’t leave home without a “Kensington Lock” for my laptop. Google it. Just loop the wire around a table or chair when you need to briefly leave your laptop. People say “I always keep mine with me” then leave their laptop on the table while they order a coffee or talk to people. Secure bags in the same way with a simple bicycle lock and chain. (Will). Laptop theft
All of Asia Hi. A portable wood or rubber doorstop is well known as a simple way to stop anyone getting into your room while you are sleeping. Important in places where the staff can’t be trusted. Even better are the doorstops that have a built in alarm that sounds if the door is opened and touches the doorstop. (Jo). Room Safety
All of Asia
Girls should download one of the many free apps that plays a Police Car siren. The apps usually have lots of sirens to pick from, but the Police one is great to secretly play if there are creepy guys hanging around outside your hostel room, the Tuk Tuk driver is getting over friendly or if you are being followed when walking at night. It also works brilliantly for breaking up fights between groups of drunken guys! (Caz, NZ) Safety
Thailand Double pricing exists throughout much of Thailand. There is nearly always a local price and a foreigner price. Sometimes the difference is small but it can be significant. Fair enough in IMO for temples but beyond that it’s plain discrimination. Certainly wouldn’t be allowed in the West. If you spot two sets of prices, try saying you live in Thailand and are not a tourist or hide out of view and let a Thai person pay! Sometimes works (Lisa). Pay 'local' price if you can
Chiang Mai - Thailand
This is just to say thank you to the people warning about room deposits.
I paid a 10,000 baht deposit to a private landlord, two months of rent. When I wanted to move out I followed the information about asking him to take the last month rent (5000) and any outstanding utility bills (around 2000) out of the deposit and give me whatever is left.
Long story short I never got any change from the deposit and when a drove by today, I see he hasn’t paid any of the utility bills either! The bills are all stuffed in the door.
So it seems he’s pocketed the remaining 5000 from the deposit, but at least I’ve only lost 2-3000 baht, taking the bills into account, rather than 7-8000 if I’d paid the last month of rent as well. So thanks!
All of Asia Be careful of taking buses where they store your luggage out of sight. Thieves working with the bus drivers have been known to hide inside the luggage area and then pick open the suitcase locks during the journey. It usually happens on buses to an airport and because people usually don’t notice until after they have taken their flight they mistakenly think the theft occurred after check-in at the airport. I lost a Playstation portable in this way. Never put anything in your suitcase that you cannot afford to lose. Theft
Thailand My wife runs a small restaurant for Thais so I get to hear lots of stories from the locals about what to look out for. This is a typical story from a customer this week and with Songkran coming up and people going away I thought I’d share:
Lady says: “We went away for 3 days and when we came back someone had broken into the apartment and stolen everything, about 100,000 baht’s worth.”
When you ask a few more questions you find out why it happened.
Mistake 1: She told her neighbours she was going away. They have since vanished. So no surprise she suspects it was them. The neighbours knew what was in her room, including a nice new LCD TV, because they could see inside as they walked past.
Mistake 2: The robbers got in by unscrewing the window guards at night. Instead of rivets that would need cutting or drilling to remove, the window guards were fixed with normal screws.
We hear these stories all the time. Please, if you are going away, DO NOT tell anyone your room or house will be empty. This is the biggest reason properties get burgled. Thais are quite naïve at times.
The best way to avoid having your house robbed is if the robbers think people are still inside. Even if you have great neighbours, they might innocently mention to someone else that you are gone.
So leave lights on. Maybe even a radio and draw the curtains on any windows that people can see inside with. Leave the other curtains (upstairs) slightly open. If you live in a busy area and cannot make a sly exit, do fake waves back at the house or apartment as you go, as if saying goodbye to people inside.
Don’t forget about Taxi drivers. If you all jump into a Taxi with suitcases and go to an airport. Or worse still ask the same Taxi driver to bring you home in a few days that’s a safe bet the house is empty until then.
Fix this with the fake waves back to the house as you leave and then a fake phone call, speaking in Thai, when you are in the Taxi. Pretend to talk to someone in the house and tell them there is food in the fridge and to be careful of the dog :-)
For the window guards, if they are held on with screws and you can’t get them riveted. Loosen the screws and put some heavy duty glue on before re-tightening. Then scratch off the centre of the head, so the screw cannot be undone again. (Alex W).
Home Theft Prevention
Always read these pages to stay ahead of the game on scams, but have never had one of my own to share until now.
My Thai wife got a call on her phone from a company claiming that someone had used her ID to buy items on credit in Bangkok. We have not been to Bangkok for years. They were able to quote her ID number and said they wanted her address so that they could send her a form to take to the Police station.
It didn't add up to me - how did they get her phone number? It’s not on an ID card. And the number they called from looked like a normal mobile number and the company name wasn’t clear.
Plus I never trust shops and banks with identity fraud. They just care about getting their money from someone. If you are not careful you end up getting the bill and then having to try and prove it wasn’t you. Not easy.
Fortunately she didn't give away any address details and the more we thought about it the more suspicious it was.
She reported the phone call to the Police here, who said the person probably got a photocopy of her ID card from when we had filled out a form (including telephone number) to stay in a hotel or rent a car. They were now 'fishing' for enough information to try and get a loan from a bank or credit, in my wife's name. Classic identity fraud.
The tale about a letter to take to the Police was just to try and find out my wife’s address. Once they got the address they’d probably try for more. Date of birth and other details.
Despite having the phone number of this person, it doesn't sound like the Police will follow it up. Their advice? "As long as you don't pay for something you did not buy it's ok." Genius! (Tony G.R.)
Identity fraud
Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia
Bag snatches from cars are a growing concern here in KL. When there are traffic jams, watch out for motorbike riders going between the cars. If they see a bag on the car seat they can break a window, reach inside and be gone in seconds.
This has happened to a close family member of mine. After speaking to the police the main action to stop it happening again was:
*Put reflective film on the window so thieves cannot see inside the car.
*Put a coating inside the window so even when it is broken the glass doesn’t fall away, so no-one can reach inside. The problem with this is that if you need to get out of the window after an accident it’s difficult so don’t put on all the windows.
Also never leave any computer equipment inside a car, even if it is hidden from view. Thieves carry hand-held scanners that can tell if electronic equipment is inside the car.
Theft protection

Everyone knows to be careful when walking with your bags, but a lot of people (locals and tourists) drop their guard when they are riding motorcycles.
In many places in Asia, including Vietnam and Thailand, a well-known tactic by bag snatch thieves is to ride around (two of them on a bike) looking for victims on other motorcycles.
The person on the back grabs the bag as you are riding. Because your main concern is not to crash the motorcycle it’s easier to get the bag from you. Avoid badly lit roads, put your rucksack on both shoulders and keep handbags hidden when riding. (Kelly Watson).
Bag Snatch Safety
Bangkok - Thailand
This is well known among regular Bangkok visitors, but I saw a distraught couple new to Thailand in my condo block who had been scammed the other day. Please do not trust anyone who talks to you about Gems or other Jewellery. The goods are fake. Just junk. Usually they tout for business at popular tourist areas. Sometimes they say there is a special jewellery sale on nearby, other times they claim to offer a normal taxi service but then drive you to a jewellery shop ‘on the way’ (Elvis). Gem Scam

Bali - Indonesia I’ve been to every country in Asia but have only seen this scam at Bali airport.
After getting your visa and collecting your suitcase, and just before you go through customs, you will sometimes be approached by young men who will ask where you are from and if you have filled in your customs declaration card.
They are dressed relatively smart and look semi-official. Natural to assume because of where they are - a restricted area – and what they ask that they work for customs or immigration. They’ll say ‘this way please’ and wheel your suitcase through to the x-ray machine, then tell you to give the customs card to the official.
But after you clear customs, which is only a walk of about 10 meters in total, they will take you to a money change booth, ask if you want to change any money - and also ask for a massive tip of 100,000 for helping you! They are just touts! Ashamed to say I fell for this once. Didn’t pay the big tip they wanted, just a small tip to avoid any problems.
It’s amazing these touts are allowed INSIDE what should be a secure customs area. They could plant drugs in your bag while they are ‘helping you’ and then ask for a payoff. Anything. Scary. Someone is letting them into the area so there’s cash changing hands with officials.
If anyone approaches you that isn’t in full customs, military type uniform tell them you don’t need any help. (Luke)
Bali - Indonesia Bali has virtually no streetlights and not many street signs either. It’s a joke. Get your bearings in the day or you'll soon get lost at night. Note also that some of the shortcuts to get to the beach are very narrow, quiet and run between high walls. If you are hiring a motorcycle be careful and go with the flow at junctions. (Luke) Safety
Bali - Indonesia All of the beach chair people have Surfboards for hire from about 50,000 for a half day. But there will be no insurance and, like jet skis in Thailand, they can hit you with a bill for fake damage or breakage.
Hire from official Australian run surf schools if you want peace of mind. (Luke)
Bali - Indonesia Drink Bintang the local beer for safe alcohol. Spirits are often fake and dangerous so only buy in reputable places. Steer clear of “Arak”, which is like a home brew the poor people drink. Sky Garden says its spirits are all imported, no local arak and filtered water for ice.
A lot of the coca cola bottles being sold seem to be ether refilled and sealed with local cola or very out of date. The coca cola logos on the side say dates like 1996! (Luke)
Bali - Indonesia The booths you see everywhere in Bali offering “Tourist Information” are just tour companies. They’ve learnt if they put ”information” they get more business because people think they are official or impartial. They are not. (Luke) Scam
Bali - Indonesia The Kuta beach waves are big for Asia. There are red flags to mark rips that say no swimming. Asian tourists seem to ignore these or don't understand. Between the yellow and red flags are the lifeguard patrolled areas. (Luke) Safety
Bali - Indonesia Touts are everywhere, mainly motorcycle taxis that ride around constantly shouting at tourists. Walk on the side of the street that is against the flow of traffic to limit the hassle. If you walk the same way they are riding they will slow down and move along with you, pestering you for longer. (Luke) Touts
Bali - Indonesia Scam but a funny one. There are endless people offering massages on the beach or in shops all over Kuta. If the staff have uniforms it usually means they are “really” massage shops and not something else......
But if you see anyone with a small plaster (as you would put over a cut) on their forehead, arm or hand don’t ask what happened. That’s when you get a tale about how they had a big accident and need to pay a doctors bill of 300,000 - despite the tiny plaster - so “please give me a good tip”. (Luke)
Bali - Indonesia  Check prices before ordering if you are eating in the airport before departure. I once paid 40,000 ($4) for a cappuccino at an ordinary looking cafe by the time fees were added! My fault for not asking to see the menu first.
There is free WiFi in the airport so no need to go to a cafe to get online. (Luke)
Overpricing at airport
Thailand On the subject of hiring motorbikes in the Land of Smiles, I’d advise to take pics of the rental bike before you use it (same applies to jet skis). This is also to show the people you hire from that you are ‘street smart’ to the scams, where they try to make you pay for previous damage.
Other thing is I would not ever hand over my passport as a deposit, which many places ask you to do. Just say that your hotel insisted on keeping it and hand over a photocopy instead. Also offer to pay a slightly higher deposit if you have to.
Bottom line is without a passport you can't do anything in Thailand - get on a flight (domestic or international), check into a hotel and certainly not leave the country, so if there is a dispute and they have your passport you are pretty much helpless.
For those without motorbike experience, hire an automatic (twist and go), get used to it on a quiet road or car park first, and use the rear brake to do most of the stopping.
Use the front brake only if the bike is fully upright. If you pull the front brake on hard while leant over you will crash.
Scams / Safety

 Thailand There have been a string of motorcycle accident fatalities involving foreigners in Phuket lately - be careful guys and girls...
Here are our top 3 motorcycle safety tips:
1. Do not ride directly behind cars/trucks. If they stop quickly you will hit the back of them. Ride slightly to one side. Can see more too.
2. Wear a helmet. You might not think it's cool but it really could make the difference between walking away and 'game over'.
3. Remember that many of the road accident victims in Thailand did nothing wrong. Expect bad driving and be on the lookout for it.
( via Twitter).
Motorcycle safety
 Thailand Golden rule for long-term accommodation deposits: Use the deposit to pay off the last month(s) of your rent. So if you've paid a one month deposit, say ‘Just keep my deposit’ when it is time to pay for the final month of your stay.
As others below have said here (v. good info on this site) getting anything near a full deposit back from a private landlord is next to impossible in most places in Thailand. There is always some reason why they don’t have it - sometimes they just seem to act as if you never even paid a deposit! (Benji, BKK)
Don't lose your deposit
 Thailand If you are staying at a locally run guesthouse or renting a place rather than in a hotel, haggle to keep the deposit as low as possible and always ask for a receipt, because in my experience landlords in Thailand will rarely pay it back in full.
Some will act like they have forgotten about how much was paid, others will say come back another day (the Thai way of avoiding confrontation, but it means forget it), some will come up with a technicality (usually a minimum length of stay they didn't mention before) as to why you can't have it back and even large guesthouses or apartments often take out a massive "cleaning fee" from your deposit even if you leave the place spotless. (Tony Ferguson).
Deposit scams
 Deposit scams If long-term renting you shouldn't have to pay more than one month as a deposit and watch out for any small print catches, such as 'minimum stay 4 months' which are used by landlords to keep the deposit.
Great idea when you check out is to give the cleaner a nice tip, because 99% of the time it is the cleaner that the management ask to confirm the room has no damage/problems to come out of your deposit.
Thailand Never, ever, ever, ever tell taxi drivers or any locals you don't trust that it is your first time in Thailand or in that city. You will just be asking to be ripped off. Just say you 'came here a few years ago'
Thailand If you are exploring a new area on foot wear sunglasses and walk confidently, like you've been there loads of times. The sunglasses will allow you to scan around to see where you are and will stop undesirables trying to lead you astray. Likewise don't walk around holding a map!! = new tourist = easy money. (Jessica North)
 Thailand Taking one of the many cheap buses from Bangkok to the north (Chiang Mai, Laos etc) or south (Phuket, Koh Samui) may seem tempting but its at least an 8-10 hour drive. The drivers are overworked and so often fall asleep or take 'enhancements' (legal or otherwise) to stay awake. Better to take a cheap flight and only 1000-2000 baht more. (Chris, England) Safety
 Thailand Unlike many other places in Asia, Thai car drivers are general quite careful (barring some boy racers). They usually give motorbikes plenty of space, show patience and drive quite slowly in built up areas. But where they go to pieces is when it rains.
I've seen three cars spin off in one 3 hour road trip. They just don't appreciate you can't go the same speed in the wet. Also beware of motorcycles when it rains. It sounds crazy, but because a lot of young people don't wear helmets they drive like mad when it rains because they are worried about getting wet and ruining their hairstyles. Go figure. (A.P.)
 Bangkok - Thailand NEVER take a taxi unless it is labelled 'Taxi Meter'. A taxi meter, as the name says, will run on a meter and is cheap to go pretty much anywhere in Bangkok or surrounding areas. They are usually bright coloured (sometimes pink!) and have Taxi Meter written clearly on top. Other types of taxis are more like private cabs and will quote you an inflated fee. (Stefan N)
50% of private taxi price
 Bangkok Airport - Thailand For those that haven't been to Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport before it can be a bit daunting when you walk out and have all these people shouting "taxi?, taxi?" But don't give in to these touts as they will rip you off.
Instead wave the touts away and follow the signs for "Taxi". The airport has an official taxi rank where you pay a fixed rate at a desk and then they hand the ticket to the driver. It's safe, the driver knows where you are going and you won't get ripped off.
Cheapest taxis from airport
 Bangkok - Thailand Backpackers and people with luggage, please find first a safe hotel or guesthouse to leave your belongings, especially after flying long distance (Bru - BKK or London - BKK...) Even you think you are in a hurry and do not have time enough to see everything of Thailand, never go around full packed and totally tired of long haul flights, on the moment you arrive on very crowded touristical places with luggage you'll be an easy victim of Tuk tuk drivers who say they know a cheap hotel nearby and who will come over with stories to make you use them.
These days, 20 August 2012, Bangkok has a very good BTS system that reaches directly from Suvarnabhumi to the most city places tourist places (Like Sukhumvit - Phatpong - ...) they are always cheaper then taxi fares and the chance to meet people from western countries is also here bigger.People like me who live in BKK, we know well all the tricks of Tuk TuK drivers and Taxi fares (If you use taxi, look first if the MRT is not possible, discuss first if meter will be used and try to guess the distance, follow well the roadmap, many tricks exist to change the road and to turn around just so that you pay higher prices).
At this moment only the Kaoh San Area, King Palace area is not reachable by MRT, probably in 1 year it will be, because there will be a line of BTS between Charoenkrung to King Palace. Most easy way from Sukhumvit to go Kaoh San seems to me by MRT till Saphan Thaksin (Nearby Chao Praya river) and there you can take a cheap boat to King Palace. Other possibilities are taking MRT till victory Monument and then a bus, but show well the ticket vender where you want to go and make sure the bus goes there.But this you always do better without luggage and if you are relaxed. (Van Welde Bruno)
 Safety / Getting Around
 Thailand If you are going out at night just take cash and your room key. Take a phone only if you really need it, or just a cheap one. That way if worst comes to worst you haven't lost  much. Likewise keep one card in a different place to the rest so you will still be able to access money if you wallet is stolen.  Theft advice
 Thailand Be careful about getting into an argument with the locals. Thai society values being soft-spoken and laid back, but when they lose it, they lose it! Try to smile and state your case firmly, but never look like you are getting angry.  Safety
 Thailand No matter how big a guy you are, don't push or shove a local (even if he is annoying you like hell trying to sell something). I've seen drunk westerners do just that and end up badly beaten up. The local guys all work in a gang. If one is attacked they all pile-in. You can't win. (Jan)  
 Pattaya - Thailand Most dangerous place in Thailand IMHO yet strangely attractive in a Wild West kind of way. If you go stay in a decent (safe) hotel and lock everything in a safe/suitcase. If you drink at the bars and bring anyone back be aware that spiking of drinks or chocolate is common. You'll wake up 12 hours later minus your valuables, if you wake up...  Safety
 Thailand Be careful of jet-ski scams, when they claim you have damaged the jet ski. Always check it over carefully before you go out and even if you don't know what you're looking for pretend you do! This happens everywhere in Thailand. (Dave-o) Scam warning
 Phuket - Thailand A guy was telling me he had a go on one of those boat parachutes (parasol?) that go up and down the beach. Once he got up to full height the local guy that went up with him to operate the parachute starting pestering him about a tip! Hard to say no when you're life is in his hands!!  Tip scam
 Phuket - Thailand Be very careful of the ladyboys on Bangla road. One wrong look and they can descend on you in a pack. Especially late at night. They use their high heels as weapons and will beat you up and rob you just like a bunch of guys.
Never take the piss out of them, no matter how tempting. if you take a picture they will want money. If they start approaching, move away swiftly into the crowd. With less westerners and more asians visiting Phuket now the ladyboys are making less money - and getting more violent as a result.
 Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia Taxis and price of alcohol are the two worst things about KL. The locals say the same, about the taxis anyway (the muslims are probably not concerned by alcohol price!).
Unlike most Asian countries, where a Taxi Meter means a Taxi Meter, in KL turning on a meter is a last resort for these guys. For a few years they have been made to carry big signs on the doors saying they must use the meter, but they still won't!
You'll say where you want to go and instead of taking you they will offer a fixed price. This will be at least twice of what it would be on the meter. And if it is raining or busy traffic they will try to charge more.
It's illegal but don't get into a fight as they can be dangerous. Just walk on if you're not prepared to be ripped off, or at least try and bargain with them.
The only circumstances most locals or expats will take a taxi is by buying a ticket at the airports or major shopping centers, where prices are fixed. The shopping centers with an official taxi service are KLCC (Petronas Towers), Times Square (Imbi monorail stop), KL Sentral and I think Pavillion.
 Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia Be aware that the Beach Club on J. Ramlee, which looks like a great party venue, is actually full of working girls. I've heard horror stories about drinks being spiked and atm cards emptied. Shame as the music is good and it's always full... but now you know why :-)  Safety
 Thailand If you are buying something electrical or mechanical check it works as much as possible before you leave the shop. So test drives/rides for cars/bikes or getting them to turn the product on in the case of TVs and Phones.
Many places will do this without you asking, but if not ask them to do so because, even with a receipt, after sales service is poor.
If you bring something back which does not work the best you will get is an offer to fix it, which could mean waiting for parts that never arrive... getting your money back is rare even for expensive items.
The poor after sales service is part of the reason why so many people borrow to buy brand new trucks and motorcycles and in Thailand and there is such a small second hand market. People just don't want to risk a big purchase going bad.
A local neighbor of mine paid 500,000 baht for a second hand truck that developed a fault a few days later, but the garage they purchased from still refused to fix it for free.
 Various I haven't tried this but it may help someone so here it is. If your card gets jammed in an ATM, get another card out but hold it really tightly and just put 1cm into the machine (not enough for the machine to grip onto). The machine, being unable to read the card, should then spit out the original card.  
 Thailand You only have to look at all the wires hanging down from the poles to know electricity standards are poor in Thailand. For those of us that say in cheap hostels it's a particular worry, although I've heard some upper class hotels are not much safer.
Normal buildings rarely have an earth and biggest risk for westerners is the shower. If you're not an electrician there's not much you can do other than have a close look and, if in any doubt, just have cold showers. This is what the locals do anyway, which is why more of them are not electrocuted. (TM)
 Thailand This is for Expats or long term renters. It is much cheaper to use gas to cook rather than electric. A gas bottle refill only costs 300 baht and will last about 3-4 months.
There is always a local shop nearby that will bring gas bottles to you and connect the bottle up using the necessary piping and safety valve. Just ask around. Then you just phone them when the gas bottle is empty and they will come and change it over for you.
You can get a decent two hob gas cooker for 500-900 baht.
I also trust gas more for safety (use in a ventilated area) as I've been shocked a few times from electric cookers. The comments on here about Thai electrics are true!
 Gas cheaper and safer than electric
 Various If you are worried that your hotel might not be the safest hang the 'Do Not Disturb' sign outside the door when you go out. That way people will think you are in the room and also the room will only be cleaned when you are present.
Cleaners often leave the doors open when they clean to show they are not stealing, but when they clean the bathrooms etc it's easy for other guests or staff passing to grab anything you might have left in easy reach of the door. I was told by a hotel manager about that. (Helen, UK)
 Avoid theft
 Various I never trust hotel safes when they are at the lobby. Heard too many stories about things going missing. If no room safe, I prefer to lock my valuables inside my suitcase and I also carry a small bike lock, which I can loop through the suitcase handle and lock to a bed post when I'm out. That stops anyone running off with the suitcase.  Room Theft
 Thailand Be really careful when opening a bank account in Thailand. Sometimes you have to have one for a non-tourist visa or just to try and lower the currency exchange costs, but my advice is not to put money in an account which has an ATM card linked to it.
ATM card theft is much easier in Thailand than the west - no 'chip and pin' in Thailand - and to make things worse the banks don't seem to compensate you for any loss that occurs from people cloning your card (and using hidden cameras at ATMs to get the pin code).
So check carefully for any theft compensation when you open an account, or better still open an account which does not have a card if you will be keeping significant amounts of money.
You will have to go to the bank in person to extract your money each time, but at least it's secure. (Craig)
 Various Use pre-paid currency cards rather than debit or credit cards abroad, so if the card is cloned you will only lose what money is loaded on the card and there is no direct link to any of your bank accounts. Only top the cards up (online) just before you need them.
You will also usually get a better exchange rate and lower fees than from your bank. Normal cards are also a pain because whenever you switch country the banks normally block the first transaction as a theft risk and you have to ring up and confirm it was you that tried to use the card. That doesn't happen often with pre-paid cards.
 Money Cards
 Vietnam Vietnamese motorcycle thieves must be among the best in the world. I've heard stories from hotel staff about having their bike stolen while they stopped to buy food from the side of the road.
No coincidence that motorcycles get locked inside at most hotels (sometimes in the lobby) overnight! So be careful of leaving your bike in the street, even in the day. Also be aware that some hire places are known to follow you or go to your hotel and steal the bike back from you when you park! Nice payout for them as they get the bike and the money for a new one.
 Motorcycle theft
 Various How to cross the road in Vietnam!
Sounds easy until you've been to somewhere like HCMC in rush hour. I'm told only India is worse. People just stand back and take pictures the first time they see it.
The trick to a safe crossing is this. You're not going to find a time when there is no traffic at all so just start to cross when there is a sensible gap.
The important part is DO NOT STOP! The approaching motorbikes and cars will assume you are going to keep moving forwards and so they will turn to go behind you. If you get scared and stop moving (as everyone does when 'new') then they will be heading straight at you because they expect you to move!
Try it and you'll see it works.
 Vietnam Vietnam borders China and one of the scary things that has found its way over the border is the brutal trend of hit-and-run traffic accidents that then turn fatal when the driver involved returns to finish off the victim.
The reason is that as in China, Vietnamese divers are liable for the medical costs of the injured person for the rest of their life, in the case of a permanent injury.
Most drivers do not have insurance, so sickeningly some decide its better to hit-and-kill as the financial cost is so much lower. Locals have confirmed this happens, especially out of the city centers.
If you are hit by a driver, bear this in mind and don't assume if the driver involved starts reversing he is coming to help...
 Road Safety
 Saigon Airport - Vietnam Be really careful when leaving the airport as it's taxi tout heaven. They are waiting to snare their victims and are helped by the lack of a clear ticket system. In fact I'm not sure there is an official system.
Make sure you take a taxi that is clearly branded as such. Be firm if you need to be. The officials will not help. Never say its your first visit and be aware that the touts will flash id cards (that mean nothing) to try and tempt you to go with them to their car. When you get there you'll see it's just a normal car, but by then it's too late unless there is a big group of you.
I fell for this and as the guy was putting my rucksack into the back he also opened the pockets and tried to steal. Tense journey. After charging you 2-3 times the real price they will also ask for a tip. (CM)
 Taxi Scam / Safety
 Saigon - Vietnam If you get in trouble with the police just pay up quickly, but do it subtly. If you are not wearing a helmet on a motorbike put some cash under your license and hand it over. That's what the locals do. The police are smart and don't want to be seen taking money, but it's the way to get things sorted out quickly in HCMC. (Ricky).  Sooner you pay, less you pay
 Cambodia Fantastic country, but be aware of the child beggers. Not because they are dangerous, just because they are extremely good at pulling the heart strings and also because it's something of a business.
This includes the mothers asking for you to buy milk. Tough to turn down and you may not care if you are being scammed to buy milk. A mate of mine went for this, was taken to a supermarket to buy said milk, and the girl tried to pick the biggest, most expensive packet there was!
They often keep the receipt and get a refund, but if it doesn't break the bank you might not care.
 Pattaya - Thailand Jontiem Beach is a good alternative to Pattaya. Just around the corner, more relaxed, cleaner beach. Not quite so crazy, but you are still near enough to the action. You can get a Taxi direct from Bangkok airport.
If you don't have a hotel booked the taxi driver will take you to some hotels until you are happy. This is often much cheaper than booking at the airport or even internet. However if you are alone do not get out of the taxi with all of your bags inside... maybe they will drive off. Like when they fake a breakdown and ask you to get out and push.
Instead get the driver to ask the hotel the price etc. If you are a couple, send your girlfriend to look at the rooms while you wait in the taxi with your luggage. If you are alone take out your bags before going to look. You should be able to get reasonable seafront rooms for 500-600 baht a night with breakfast.
Taxi scam