Laos has long been known as a sleepy, beautiful, and peaceful destination but it doesn’t mean that this country has no tourist scams and traps, so how to avoid tourist scams in Laos becomes a vital guide. Like many other places in the world, Laos preserves the different custom as well as the language barrier that might ruin visitors to be taken advantage of. Therefore, be wary of the four typical tourist scams below so that your Laos travel will be as smooth as possible.
#1: Longboat tours in Laos
Laos offers the longboat tours to Luang Prabang (or other places) which includes several stops in the itinerary. The traps appear when someone claims to be the representative of the long-boat company and says that you’d better book the guesthouses in advance because there are a very few ones along the river; else, you will have nowhere to sleep at night. However, the fact is that there are plenty of lodgings and the prices are much cheaper than the one paid upfront through “that representative.”
How to avoid: knowing that if someone comes to help you book the accommodation in advance, then they will receive a commission, which drives to the higher prices. Particularly for the longboat tours in Laos, it’s better to arrive at the accommodation, check the prices, and self-book your most preferred room among the crowds.
#2: Not automatically get the change when you do shopping in Laos
Not everywhere in Laos, but the scam starts when you buy things and don’t automatically get the change. Though the amount is not much, it’s quite unpleasant if it happens more than twice during your Laos tour packages. Some merchants might simply wait for you to ask for your change in the hope that you will walk away. Besides, be mindful of the issues of being short-changed when it deals with the high currency notes.
How to avoid: being more conscious of your money and ensuring to double-check (even triple-check) the change after you make any payment.
#3: Tuk-Tuk Tours in Laos
You can come across various tuk-tuk drivers who will actively offer the tuk-tuk tours at the very cheap prices. Understand that the prices are too good to be true. With this scam, the drivers will stop at the pre-arranged points in which they will get a commission from your buys. This can drive the tourists to spend more on the day trip. And if you don’t buy anything at the drop-off points, there will be the risks that the tuk-tuk driver will abandon you because they don’t have a chance to make much money from your buys.
How to avoid: booking the tuk-tuk tours in Laos via a recognized travel agent and avoid negotiating with the independent tuk-tuk drivers for the cheap offers. But, if you still want the cheap tuk-tuk tours, make sure you come prepared to buy something when the driver stops at his chosen points.
#4: Children Assistance in Laos
Some foreign tourists tell each other about “children as bait” scam in Laos. The trap happens when you let the local kids “serve” you. For example, the kids can use leaves to fan you while you’re climbing several steps on the stone staircases, but on reaching the top, they will ask for money for their “service.”
How to avoid: being mindful of the children’s assistance because it is likely to end with a demand for money. Straightforwardly say “NO” at the beginning of the assistance from the local kids will help you to avoid this trap.
Knowing tips to avoid common tourist scams, your travel to Laos will be all about gorgeous nature, consecrated Buddhism pagodas, mystic culture, exciting adventure, and more.
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