This post is part of a L’appel Du Vide feature, Misadventure Mondays. In each segment, I’ll ask one of my favorite travel bloggers to share one of their Travel Misadventures. This Monday, Matt from Landlopers shares his tale of getting scammed in Bangkok.
Tell me a little about yourself and your current trip?
Well I’m not a full time traveler. I’m an average professional who I have made travel an important part of my life. That’s the message I share with my readers on LandLopers, that you don’t have to sell everything and quit your job in order to have truly amazing travel experiences. Next on my travel schedule though is: SW France, Costa Brava Spain, Colorado for the TBEX conference and then Maui.
Describe your travel style?
First and foremost I’m an independent traveler. Having the freedom to do and see what I want is very important to me. I’m also a comfortable traveler and firmly believe in the travel benefits to staying with luxury hotels. I’m sometimes also a solo traveler, but I’ve been in a committed relationship for more than ten years so I’m also usually traveling as part of a couple.
What’s been your best/worst travel misadventure? Tell me about where you were, who you were with, and what happened.
During my first trip to Bangkok I was approaching a sky train terminal and absentmindedly threw some garbage into a near bin and missed. Before I knew it two men in camoflauge uniforms were next to me asking for me to join them at a nearby cardtable. They insisted that I had broken the law and demanded quite a bit of money for the fine. Then the guy in charge asked for my watch. I was worried – was this a setup to accuse me of a bribe. I gave him the watch and left. Turns out they weren’t police and had no real authority to do that. They’re minor officials who have a bad habit of accosting tourists. I wrote about it here:
How to Not Get Arrested in Bangkok
Well, I’m much more mindful of all local laws and customs now but I also realized that in some countries I may be bullied for no reason. If the same thing happened today I would probably challenge their authority and refuse to pay, but that may just result in another misadventure.
What did you learn from this misadventure that you can share with other travelers?
Be self-aware, follow all local laws and customs and always be wary of scams.
What’s the one other lesson you’ve learned on your trip that you wish you had known before you left?
One thing I wish I’d learned when I was younger was to engage more with strangers while traveling. Far too often I eschewed interpersonal interactions but luckily have realized that they are a key part to the
travel experience. I’ve also learned that most people in most people are kind hearted.
Thanks Matt for sharing!