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17 Costly Scams In Asia You Can Easily Avoid If You Read This

17 Costly Scams In Asia You Can Easily Avoid If You Read This

Expect scams when you travel, and a lot of them. After a six month trip in Asia, I found myself getting ripped off many times. Here are 17 scams and how to avoid getting trapped in one. As much as we all love travelling to exotic places in Asia whether for a gap year, vacation, buisness or even for a honey moon, you should be aware of  what’s waiting for you. Some locals are friendly and very helpful, some just see you as a pile of cash walking. So keep these in mind if you want your trip to go as a breeze without bringing back home any bad souvenirs.

1. The Tea Ceremony Scam

tea ceremony  scam

    You’re walking in people’s square  looking at all the impressive architecture, it’s your second or third day in Shanghai, China, your friends have warned you already that it’s not as safe as you might think, and just when you see everyone has their unfriendly face on, a Chinese girl approaches you and asks you to take a picture of her friends, an exchange of thanks and a strike for small talk, but when you walk away, they ask you to join them on their tea ceremony as they are university students coming to Shanghai from another city.

    Now if you are like me, then this time your curiosity might cause you trouble, the reason being you will accompany them to this nearby tea house, and soon enough you will be tasting different tea samples, before you leave they will pressure you into buying your favorite one, but when the bill comes, it might hit you like a lightning, or you might not even be sure if you’re being scammed or not since you’re not familiar yet with the new currency rates  so you have two options either resist or give in and pay the extravagant part of the bill that would cost you not less than 700 RMB (110USD).

    How to avoid the scam: You decline the offer since the start with a simple no, and never show hesitation so they won’t bother you with more lies trying to convince you.

    2. The Uncertified Guides Scam

    lonely guide in the forbidden city

      While visiting the forbidden city in Beijing, the Grand palace in Bangkok, or Angkor what in Siem reap, you will encounter people asking you if you would like a guided tour, to mess with them ask if it is for free, because if you don’t and you show a curious face you will have a bundle of information that might not even be true costing you a ridiculous amount of money. What you should do instead is head to a tourist information office then ask for an official guide, if you don’t see one then keep note that the real guide would have a flag with a group around him unlike the fake one who only targets individuals.

      How to avoid it: The same rule of thumb applies, decline the offer with a simple no.

      3. The Special Massage Scam

      Nanjing Road Shanghai

        This scam is often performed on solo western-looking men who just happen to be walking on the famous Nanjing road, Shanghai, a local Chinese would try to lure you into following him or her, after they tell you the cheapest price you can imagine for a happy ending massage. Actually this one shouldn’t even be listed among scams because if you fall for it , you’re the one looking for trouble, and trouble you will find my friend. Two or three large men will walk you to an ATM and take all the money you have,either that or you will have a policeman who not only will interrupt your happy time but also extort all your money claiming you’re doing illegal stuff.

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        How to avoid it: Keep walking, a firm no would suffice.

        4.The Student Art Gallery scam

        This one is just another version of the tea house scam. You’ll be approached by people on the street who often claim to be students. They will tell you about their studio and ask if you want to take a look at their paintings. Once inside, with their sales tactics they would pressure you into buying their outrageously overpriced artwork.

        How to avoid it: Tell them you’re in a rush, or that you don’t like art. Or go and check out the art if you want without making any purchase.

        5. The Tuk Tuk Scam

        tuk tuk in bangkok

          You’re taking a walk trying to find something different than what you’ve been seeing in khaossan road, a few blocks away, some local person spots you and approaches you or gestures you to ask you a question, you’re here for the experience and you don’t want to close yourself off and miss every interaction with a seemingly friendly looking Thai so you answer their common questions, they ask you where are you going and they ask you how long have you been in Thailand to see if they can get you in their net, later they would call a tuk tuk to show you three or four different attractions, sounds all good until now and for the few cents you give the driver, you think you’re lucky but that will soon change if you plan all your trip with the travel agency you will have to go in,and even when you don’t, you’ll be forced to check out some stupid suit store where you have to act interested for nothing.

          How to avoid it: As soon as some tuk tuk driver offers you a ride for as cheap as 20 baht or less 1/10 the real price, just ignore him.

          6- The Taxi Ride scam

          taxis in bangkok

            When in touristic places, never catch a taxi right away, walk away from that zone then catch one, you just saved yourself from a rip off, for either they won’t use the meter and give you a fixed price that is double or triple the real one or would use a modified meter that runs faster than normal ones or even take a longer way they call “shortcut” to maximize the fare to your destination.

            Tip: Try getting an idea from someone else of how much the fare would be before taking a taxi.

            7. The Cheap Restaurant Scam

            Naturally, most of the scams happen around famous attractions, this one is quite rare but very dangerous, here is the scenario, a young guy would be trying to enter the Grand palace in Bangkok, around noon a local would approach him and ask him if he wants to try some local food, the traveler declines but the Thai person insists and adds that if he accompanied him to his favorite restaurant he could eat for a cheaper price, with sympathy the traveler approves and later find himself drugged with the worst consequences imaginable, losing all his money, not only what he had on him but also what he has in his bank account. In Malaysia, you might be offered cookies and have the same outcome happen to you.

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            How to avoid it: this is when a very old advice from you mom is good to listen to, don’t accept food from strangers, strangers who approach you and not the other way around.

            8.The Go Go Bar Scam

            bangkok nightlife

              If you want to explore Bangkok deeper and go out at night in places like Silom, the red district of the city, you will have countless people showing you their crazy menus, they would throw words like, ping pong show, no cover.. if you ask any question they would add that you will only pay a beer and enjoy the different shows, once inside and after you’ve seen enough disgusting stuff, though you might lie to yourself that it was worth the beer, you will get up to pay your tab at the counter but only to discover your 60 baht beer turned into a 2000 baht bill, when you shout that it wasn’t what you agreed on with the first guy, they say that watching the show is not included, they may get violent if you show fear or hesitance to leave the place.

              How to avoid it: Act that you’re giving them all the money you got plus what you agreed on of course, then leave immediately.

              9.The Travel Agencies Scam

              I remember talking to a french guy in some van while travelling in Thailand, he had his two week trip all planned out with an eye popping amount of money which included only the transportation and basic accommodation, 30k baht.

              How to avoid it: Never take a deal like that even if they put it as packages and try to convince you that it’s cheaper. believe me it’s not, because a two weeks vacation in Thailand would only cost a person at around 7k baht.

              10. The Border Scam

              Passing through the border from Thailand to Cambodia, you will arrive at an immigration office that won’t accept the 20 dollars official fee even if there it is clearly written on the office wall, they would aim for 40 dollars, and see if you lose patience and give them what they want.

              How to avoid it: Stand your ground, refuse and be patient and repeat to them that you will pay 20 dollars just like it is shown in the Cambodian government website.

              11.The Motorbikes Maintenance Scam

              endless bikes

                When you go to the islands you will rent bikes since it is a very convenient way to travel around, however, even experienced drivers out there have had problems when they would return the bike, either the owner would point out some scratches, new or old, and would charge you for the replacement of damaged parts which cost a fortune sometimes. Your best option if he already got you real passport and having signed some contract is to lower down the price as much as possible.

                How to avoid it: If you wanna avoid this from the start, go to places where the bikes don’t look brand new , preferably a place where they can fix the scratched with no additional fees. if you can’t find it then give them an expired passport or at least a copy of your passport but never the real one so you won’t be trapped in such a messy case.

                12. The International Driver Licence Scam

                In southeast Asia, you might get pulled over driving your bike even if you have your helmet on and driving safely, if this happens you’re looking into some police looking for bribes. they would try to give you a fine if you don’t carry an international driver licence. and would ask you to pay a bribe labeled as a fine.

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                How to avoid it: You need to insist that your driver licence is indeed an international, just repeat that until they let you go. However, That won’t work in Bali,Indonesia, because policemen there have pictures of the real international licences from every country, therefore, you should pretend to be an expat studying or working there, so they know you’re not just passing by and can cause them problems.

                13. The Drug Sellers Scam

                Walking out from your hostel which happen to be close to where all the action happens whether at night or during the day you are going to have locals coming up to you and offering you drugs, always say no because if you don’t you can run into big trouble, BIG TROUBLE, when the transaction is complete, an undercover cop would be just waiting for such a victim and get you to bribe him, we’re talking big money here.

                How to avoid it: Easy, just ignore the temptation, it is not worth jail time and money you don’t even own yourself, there is ways to get drugs but never do it on public.

                14. The Attraction Is Closed Scam

                You have a few hundred meters more to walk to get to the Grand palace in Bangkok when someone asks you, where you are going, you want to be friendly and you answer, the guy at ease tells you that it is closed and adds that you can’t go in shorts, so you naturally feel stupid because you didn’t do your homework, with a disappointed look on your face, he suggests you other attraction options to see, how helpful right, and suddenly you see a tuk tuk waiting for you who will on his turn perform the scam #5 on you.

                How to avoid it: If you don’t see for yourself that the attraction is closed, it is not, Moreover, most famous temples provide extra clothes for visitors if they need to cover anything.

                15. The Short Change Scam

                A taxi ride

                  Since converting the Dong to Dollars is not quite simple, Vietnamese people take advantage of the situation and would shortchange you in money whether it is a taxi, a street seller, a shop or a restaurant.

                  How to avoid it: Never hop on illegal taxis, those guys have countless scams up their sleeve, and remember to take your time counting your change back.

                  16. The V.I.P. Bus Upgrade Scam

                  broken down bus

                    Many people get ripped off In Laos when they pay a VIP bus to take them from town to town, the bus comes but it wouldn’t be VIP or a even sleeper. Bus stations sell VIP tickets after they convince you to go for an upgrade from the basic fare. but they put you on the cheapest one they can get anyway. As a result, you may be standing for hours before you reach your destination, it may even break down in the middle of nowhere and be asked to push it,

                    How to avoid it: ask people who are also buying tickets to buy you a sleeper or buy it with the hostel or hotel you are staying at.

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                    17. The Gem Scam

                    Fake Gem

                      Buy precious stones from Asia and make profit by selling it back home, sounds just like the movies right, the bad news is that those sparkling Gems you bought for no less than 2500 USD is actually fake, and the receipt, money back guarantee and certificate of authenticity can’t get more fake.

                      How to avoid it: If a stranger is convincing to buy valuable stones, just say No.

                      A Note Before You Take Off To Asia

                      With all this in mind, you can now go enjoy the best time of your life, a trip to Asia is what you’ve been dreaming of for quite some time already and it’s time to live the adventure.

                      It goes without saying that, common sense is what’s going to alert you if you’re looking into a scam in action, remember to ask for the price first, and that following a stranger somewhere might turn into the worst souvenir of your whole trip.

                      Travelling to foreign land is risky and if you’re still unsure about taking that decision these three books will convince you that it’s all worth it more that I can.

                      tourist in asia

                        “Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller”- Ibn Battuta”

                         

                         

                        Featured photo credit: raybay via unsplash.com

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                        Last Updated on October 15, 2019

                        How To Be Successful In Life? 13 Tips From The Most Successful People

                        How To Be Successful In Life? 13 Tips From The Most Successful People

                        What is success to you? How to be successful in life?

                        To some, when they think of success, they imagine wealth; others want power; some just want to make a positive impact on the world.

                        All of these are perfectly valid, indeed success is a concept that means different things to different people. Though no matter what success is to you, it almost certainly isn’t something will come easily.

                        There are countless guides and books to being successful, however, as success is personal and unique to each individual. The advice contained in these books can often not be relevant. Therefore following the advice of a single individual can often be unhelpful.

                        With this in mind, considering the advice of a great many people, people whose ideas of success were different both to each other, and quite possibly, to you can be a good alternative.

                        What follows is a list of thirteen of the best pieces of advice from some of the most successful people who have ever lived. If you want to learn how to be successful, these 13 tips are essential:

                        1. Think Big

                          From Michelangelo Buonarroti, Great Renaissance Artist:

                          “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”

                          There are few artists as influential as Michaelangelo. Today centuries after his death, his work still inspires and connects to people. His work is world famous, just think of his statue of David, or the Mural in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.

                          Imagine then, if he decided not to work as an artist.

                          Being a successful artist has always been extremely difficult, imagine if he decided to give up this ambition in favour of something easier?

                          Oftentimes, people often decided to put their dreams aside for something more “realistic”. To give up their dream for something easier. This quote teaches us the danger of such a point of view.
                          Instead be ambitious.

                          2. Find What You Love to Do and Do It

                            From Oprah Winfrey, Media Mogul:

                            “You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job and not be paid for it.”

                            This is a good quote to remember and think about when you’re at work.

                            Imagine being as successful as possible in your current job. Ultimately you’ll probably find yourself working extremely hard and this it will take up much of your time.

                            If it’s a job you hate, then being successful at it might only mean filling your life with something you hate to do. What’s the sense in this?

                            Instead, why not focus on doing something you love? When you’ve found what you’re passionate about, you get the motivation to keep you moving. Success at this means the fulfilment of your dreams.

                            Not sure what your passion is yet? You should learn about this Motivation Engine first.

                            Even if you’re not successful, you still filled your time with something you love to do. Many successful musicians spent years of their lives doing unpaid performances, the only reason they kept playing was because they loved to perform.

                            3. Learn How to Balance Life

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                              From Phil Knight, CEO of Nike Inc.:

                              “There is an immutable conflict at work in life and in business, a constant battle between peace and chaos. Neither can be mastered, but both can be influenced. How you go about that is the key to success.”

                              All too often, people think that to be successful, they need to make the object of their success their life.

                              If a person thinks their job will lead them to success, then they may spend countless hours per day, and well into the evening working hard.

                              However this comes at the cost of rest, your health and having an enjoyable life. Ultimately they may burn out and cease to be successful at their job anyway.

                              If success comes from having a strong social life and a good group of friends, their job may suffer; meaning that they may lose their job, and then be unable to afford going out with friends.

                              In these ways, success, as Phil Knight says above, is helped by balance. Think of it as a balance between rest and work, or work and play.

                              To achieve that balance, this Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life can help you.

                              4. Do Not Be Afraid of Failure

                                From Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motors:

                                “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

                                There is a story, it’s unconfirmed whether it actually happened, yet the message within is none the less true:

                                Thomas Edison inventing the lightbulb was the result of several hundred failed attempts. In an interview, he was asked “How do you feel after all of your failed attempts?”

                                His response was great, “I didn’t fail, I learned hundreds of ways not to invent the lightbulb”

                                He saw each “failure” as a lesson. From that lesson he learned what won’t work, and also might work instead.

                                Each failed attempt, each rejection, were key steps on his path to success. It is easy to feel like you should give up after a failure. But perhaps in that failure is a lesson.

                                Pay attention to your failures, study them. Perhaps then you’ll learn how to succeed.

                                If you find it difficult to fight your fear of failure, here’s a guide for you: Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Conquer It Step-By-Step)

                                5. Have an Unwavering Resolution to Succeed

                                  From Colonel Sanders, Founder of KFC:

                                  “I made a resolve then that I was going to amount to something if I could. And no hours, nor amount of labor, nor amount of money would deter me from giving the best that there was in me. And I have done that ever since, and I win by it. I know.”

                                  This, in many ways relates to the above quote about learning from your failures.

                                  It’s the easiest thing in the world to give up from a failure. The only way to push on is if you have the true burning desire to succeed, to not be moved or dissuaded from your goals.

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                                  If you are not truly dedicated towards success, then each failure will hurt more, each set back will slow you down.

                                  Success is hard; without the unwavering desire to succeed, this difficulty may seem insurmountable. With the desire, it is merely an obstacle to go through.

                                  6. Be a Person of Action

                                    From Leonardo da Vinci, Renaissance Genius:

                                    “It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”

                                    Though it was said hundreds of years ago, it works just as much today as it ever had. It applies to literally any successful person.

                                    Think about it, picture someone like William Shakespeare:

                                    When we think of the time he lived in, we think of the time in a way shaped by him. When we think of Renaissance era Italy, we think of Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci. Or think about the present day, Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. Our current way of life would simply be incomparably different if they didn’t accomplish what they did.

                                    You’re probably reading this article on a device by a company that they either founded or companies influenced by them.

                                    All these figures were proactive, they saw ways to do things differently and did them. If they let the world shape them, then they’d simply fit into the background. Instead they shaped the world.

                                    Applying this to you?

                                    Don’t be afraid of going outside the norm. If you can think of a better way to do something, do it that way. If you fail, try again.

                                    7. Cultivate Positive Relationships

                                      From Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of America: “

                                      The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”

                                      The best leaders and some of the most influential people (and Theodore Roosevelt is one of the best leaders and one of the most influential people to have lived) were not those who caused commotions, who fought with people or disregarded people; but were people who were friendly to those around them.

                                      People liked them. They wanted them to do well.

                                      This is key to good leadership.

                                      It’s logical. If someone likes you, they want to help you; if you give them a suggestion, they’ll gladly follow through with it.

                                      But if someone doesn’t like you, they may either refuse to help or actively get in your way.

                                      What’s more, it’s always a good idea to cultivate good relationships. You can never tell who will prove to become someone who’ll be able to help you in a big way, or even be a good and supportive friend.

                                      As such, help people and they may help you; and be good to people, and they my be good to you.

                                      8. Don’t Be Afraid of Introducing New Ideas

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                                        From Mark Twain, Famed Author:

                                        “A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.”

                                        It is an unfortunate truth that those with the boldest ideas are often disregarded.

                                        Most of us are taught from an early age to think and do things similarly to everyone else. This can be great to fill an existing role. But to truly do things differently (and all successful people did things differently), you need to think differently.

                                        If you have a new idea, don’t throw it away because it’s new and different; instead, celebrate it. Your strange new idea might one day be the one that leads you to success.

                                        9. Believe in Your Capacity to Succeed

                                          From Walter Disney, Founder of Walt Disney Company:

                                          “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

                                          Success has to be something you can imagine yourself achieving.

                                          It is possible that you will come across those who doubt you and your ability to succeed. You must not become one of these people because the moment you cease believing and dreaming is the moment these dreams fall away.

                                          Keep dreaming!

                                          10. Always Maintain a Positive Mental Attitude

                                            From Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of America:

                                            “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”

                                            Like the above quote says, you need to trust in your ability to succeed. This is the only way to cultivate the right mindset.

                                            Replace negative thoughts with the positive ones. You need to approach problems, not as obstacles stopping you, but merely tasks that need to be completed for you to keep going.

                                            If you stay positive and think like this, setbacks won’t affect you so much, people’s doubts won’t impact you and even the biggest obstacles will seem like minor problems.

                                            However with the wrong mindset of doubt, you’ll be much easier to stop.

                                            11. Don’t Let Discouragement Stop You from Pressing On

                                              From Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of America:

                                              “Let no feeling of discouragement prey upon you, and in the end you are sure to succeed.”

                                              It is an unfortunate fact of human nature — all of us in some way, doubt ourselves. This can be made far worse if others doubt us too.

                                              When surrounded by doubts, giving up can actually seem like a good idea.

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                                              Don’t pay attention to the doubts. If you are discouraged, ignore it.

                                              If this discouragement moves into your mind and you begin to doubt yourself. It is important to ignore this too.

                                              This is How Self Doubt Keeps You Stuck and How to Overcome It

                                              12. Be Willing to Work Hard

                                                From JC Penny, Founder of JC Penney Inc.:

                                                “Unless you are willing to drench yourself in your work beyond the capacity of the average man, you are just not cut out for positions at the top.”

                                                You might have heard the quote that “success is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration” or you may have heard about the 10,000 hours idea.

                                                Whichever way you frame it, they say one thing:

                                                True success comes from work.

                                                You’ll never become successful if you don’t work towards your goal in life and keep working towards it.

                                                Check out this article and you’ll understand Why Hard Work Beats Talent.

                                                13. Be Brave Enough to Follow Your Intuition

                                                  From Steve Jobs, Co-founder of Apple Inc.:

                                                  “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

                                                  In ancient Greece, there was a group of Oracles who lived in Delphi. Everyone who needed advice or to know their future visited them, from the poorest of society to kings. Above the doorway of the temple were the words “know thyself”.

                                                  If you strongly believe and desire something, chances are that you already have an idea how to get there. If not, you may naturally know what things will help you and what things will slow you down.

                                                  It’s like how your body can detect danger even when things seem safe.

                                                  Ultimately then, you need to trust your own instincts.

                                                  Final Thoughts

                                                  What you might have noticed is that many of the above lessons are similar — most are about developing the right state of mind. This clearly suggests that the key to achieving success, in whatever you wish, comes down to the way you approach it mentally.

                                                  Moreover, no matter what stage of life you’re at now, you can still make a difference and pursue success. You can make resetting your life possible when you do this: How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

                                                  More to Help You Succeed in Life

                                                  Featured photo credit: Ryan Wong via unsplash.com

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