M'sians Share How They Got Scammed While Travelling, So You Won't Fall For The Same Tricks

This is a reminder to always stay cautious and informed when travelling to a new destination.

Cover image via Niels Steeman (Unsplash) & Mourad Saadi (Unsplash)

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Going on a vacation or holiday is usually a joyous adventure, that is, until an unexpected scam ruins your experience!

While you may have heard of people getting scammed or tricked while travelling, it always feels like something that'll never happen to you. However, travel scams can happen to anyone, and it's better to be safe than sorry. 

From cunning local schemes to online booking deceptions, don't let these unforeseen obstacles disrupt your travel bliss.

In collaboration with Klook, we reached out to several Malaysians to uncover their stories of falling prey to travel scams. Here's what they said:

1. "The villa I booked turned out to be closed down years ago"

Image used for illustration purposes only.

Image via Marvin Meyer (Unsplash)

"There was a music festival in Bali that I bought tickets for, so I was scrolling on online booking platforms to find a place that was convenient and near the venue of the music festival.

"I found a beautiful villa for a really reasonable price, considering that the music festival was on New Year's Eve. But, once I arrived in Bali, I discovered that the villa actually closed down years ago.

"And, what's worse is that all the other hotels were fully booked because it was New Year's Eve. Luckily, I managed to find a hotel, about an hour away, with a last-minute cancellation on one of their rooms."

— May, 30 years old

2. "We got charged RM50 for a 5km taxi ride in Vietnam"

Image used for illustration purposes only.

Image via Tuoi Tre News

"Me and my friends took a trip to Ho Chi Minh City after years of planning to go on a vacation together. Since we were a group of six girls travelling to a foreign country, we had to be extra careful.

"When we were in town walking around, a short uncle, who looked like a local, came up to us. He gave us some guidance on where to eat and told us where to get the best Vietnamese food. He then pressured us to get into his taxi, saying that the restaurant was quite far away.

"The majority of us felt sketchy about his persistence to get us there, but, my naive friend insisted that we get on his taxi. Turns out the restaurant was just nearby, and we got scammed to pay around RM50 for 5km."

— Angie, 27 years old

3. "I bought a small, supposedly handcrafted, wooden bowl in Bali for RM60"

Image used for illustration purposes only.

Image via Omnivagant

"If you've been to Bali, you know that they have really beautiful handcrafted furniture, utensils, and souvenirs. I was walking around this local art market in Ubud and found a cute, little bowl that I thought would be perfect to make smoothie bowls with. 

"When I asked how much the price was, the lady selling it told me it would be RM100, paired with a set of wooden fork and spoon as well. I knew that was too expensive, so I started bargaining with her and she said the final price she could give me was RM60. I agreed and paid her as I thought it was made with real wood and handcrafted.

"Then, on the last day, before we headed to the airport, our local guide took us to this souvenir shop that has all kind of knick-knacks and I found a similar bowl with better workmanship for only RM15." 

- Imelda, 28 years old

4. "We ended up spending RM50 each for what could have been a short 15-minute walk"

Image used for illustration purposes only.

Image via Vietnamdrive

"I went on a trip with my husband to Hanoi and wanted to walk back to our hotel from this makan place.

"There were these Vietnamese cyclos by the side of the road, which is a mode of transportation similar to Malaysia's beca. It carried only one person each. So, we thought we would get on it to get back to the hotel and get the experience of travelling via the cyclo.

"We ended up getting charged about RM50 each for what would have been a 15-minute walk."

— Laila, 35 years old

5. "There was no record of my scuba diving reservation"

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Image via Sebastian Pena Lambarri (Unsplash)

"I wanted to do a scuba diving excursion in Sabah and was pumped to explore the underwater world. So, I found this website that offered scuba diving packages at what seemed like a reasonable price, and without thinking twice, I went ahead and booked it online.

"After I made the payment, I received a confirmation email with all the details. But, when I showed up at the dive shop on the designated day, they had no record of my reservation. The dive shop employees were helpful, but they explained that the website I used was a scam. Apparently, they've had multiple instances where people booked through that site, but the reservations were never communicated to the actual business.

"I had to book another dive on the spot and pay again, which ended up costing me more than I had originally planned for."

- Tracy, 28 years old

6. "My taxi driver got aggressive and demanded a much higher fare than agreed upon"

Image used for illustration purposes only.

Image via Ümit Yıldırım (Unsplash)

"When I was in Rome, I had a bizarre encounter with a person posing as a transportation official at the airport. I had just landed and was looking for a taxi when this guy approached me, claiming to be an airport staff member.

"He told me that due to some ongoing construction and maintenance work, the regular taxi services were temporarily unavailable. He said he could arrange a private car for me at a discounted rate and even showed me what looked like an official-looking badge.

"Well, I was jet-lagged and a bit disoriented, so I went along with it. He led me to a car that seemed legit, and we negotiated a price. But as we were driving, I realised something was off. The driver took a longer route than necessary, and when we arrived at the hotel, he demanded a much higher fare than we had agreed upon.

"I tried to argue, but he became aggressive, and I felt unsafe. So, I just paid him what he demanded."

- Michelle, 25 years old

If you're looking for a safe travel experience without worrying about booking scams or overpriced trips, Klook has got you covered!

From hotel and activity bookings, to transportation options you can secure ahead of time, Klook ensures a hassle-free journey and access to the best prices for your adventures.

If you didn't know, Klook is a travel app that offers you a seamless way to discover and book exciting things to do at your travel destination, all at the touch of your fingertips.

The travel app has everything, from flights, hotels, and phone cards, to travel itineraries, transportation services, and more, making it convenient for you to browse through everything you need to do and plan before going on your vacation.

Plus, you won't have to worry about falling victim to scams with Klook, as the app is safe to use and payment transactions are encrypted using the secure online encryption technology. Klook also offers cheaper ticket prices than the official vendor websites.

Not sure how Klook works? Take travelling to Bangkok, for example!

First things first, you can go ahead and plan out your journey by checking out all the must-do activities on Klook's city guide. You can go on floating market day tours, view historic landmarks from a cruise, or spend a day visiting the Safari World Bangkok. After you've narrowed down your options, go ahead and book all your tickets ahead of time to secure your spot.

FYI, when you book Klook tickets for popular spots like SEA LIFE Bangkok Ocean World and Mahanakhon SkyWalk, you get to jump ahead of the queue and enjoy to your heart's content without worrying about missing out.

On top of that, you can opt for Klook's travel packages, which bundle up must-visit attractions in Bangkok like the Ayutthaya Day Tour, which allows you to explore the Bang Pa-In Summer Palace, roam markets, and discover some of Thailand's most charming temples. Or, you can choose the Classic Day Tour, visiting Maeklong Railway and Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. This will help you save lots of money while making sure you catch all the iconic attractions while you're in Bangkok.  

From now until 1 January 2024, Klook is offering discounts for your year-end travels, where you can save up to RM175 on your next adventure

If you're a new Klook user, you'll be able to receive 10% off sitewide on all the activities with the promo code, 'MYNEW2KLOOK'.

But wait, there's more! If you spend over RM500 on the Klook app, you can earn a RM25 discount, and if your purchases exceed RM1,000, you'll enjoy an even greater RM100 discount.

Ready to plan a hassle-free year-end holiday? Check out all the amazing promotions that Klook has to offer here!

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