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The Original Phangan Scooter Rental Experience

A typical Koh Phangan scooter rental experience by Charlene VanderWesthuizen Haines

We had a terrible experience in Koh Phangan in November 2015.

We stayed at Hut Sun Bungalows and Rented a Scooter nearby. As you come out of Hut Sun and you walk to the right towards the ATM machines and shop across the road there is a Scooter Rental Place that says Noppond offering scooters, beauty, laundry, etc.

We rented a scooter for 150 baht from them per day. We parked the scooter in Hut Sun’s scooter parking area and next morning discovered the bike had fallen over from its stationary position mysteriously. My husband checked to make sure scooter was alright – all good.

Most of the time we stayed there my husband had the flu so we didn’t do too much but it was nice to have the scooter to go to the shop, etc.

When it came time to return the scooter we went to drop it off. They started pointing out scratches in the inner area of both the mirrors, under the bike, rust marks on the things that the mirrors are attached to, scratch on the front guard thing etc. They pulled out a price list of all the things they would need to get fixed.

I said to them they were lying. They didn’t care and we demanded that the owner of the place come speak to us. When he arrived he was very aggressive, smacking the bike and demanding money and pulled out a price list of all the things he was going to have to fix with large baht amounts attached.

I walked back to Hut Sun and asked the owner to please help and call the police. They would not phone for us. I then asked her to give me the police’s phone number.

In the meantime my husband stayed with the scooter at the place trying to rationalise with these people. He tried the police but when they hear it’s about a scooter they just put down the phone. We kept asking the scooter place to call the police but they wouldn’t. Eventually my husband said that if this place is going to replace all these parts then we will take the old parts with us.

The scooter guy then said we must just give him 2000 baht. We had no choice as they had my passport. After we paid him, we took photos of the place and of them and told them we would inform all the places around here about this and warn other tourists. They would not look at the camera and turned their heads away.

When I went back to Hut Sun the owner told me that she knew when we got the bike from them that there was going to be trouble and that the police were at this scooter rentals place often. But she didn’t want to get involved.

Just great of her to warn us after the fact. So no help from them.

We didn’t know what to believe as they all seem to know each other. We went to the print shop and printed 30 warning flyers with a photo of the place we got the scooter from. We started handing them out at nearby resorts.

The next thing this scooter man came along with his assistant chasing us and being extremely aggressive and looking like he wanted to fight with my husband.

We were so scared we fled into a nearby resort/massage place and went out the back to the beach and walked back to Hut Sun, where this man was shouting and performing in front of the place. He was shouting that he was going to call the police; and then we weren’t too sure if we would have to pay them too so my husband asked the man “what he wanted”.

He said he wanted us to go collect all the flyers we handed out and his assistant followed us to each and every place speaking in Thai to the people, probably trying to explain away why we had done this.

The assistant leaned over to me when we have finished collecting and said that if they found out we had said anything further or if there were any other flyers they would make sure we never got onto the ferry.

We were so scared, we packed up and left Hut Sun immediately. We just were not sure if Hut Sun was involved with these people, it all seemed far to convenient.

Our bike fell over mysteriously by itself; it was just very dodgy all of it.

We didn’t use our tickets that we bought from Hut Sun to leave for Phuket the following day and we lost 1 night accommodation that we paid for just to get out of there. We decided to get new tickets on the Catamaran rather, due to the threats.

Guys don’t give your passport to anyone in Thailand, rather don’t use a scooter. They will extort money from you if they have your passport and you are going to feel incredibly helpless because you are in a strange country and no-one will help you.

One more thing, room 24 by the pool – the sliding door to balcony has been put in incorrectly so that you can unlock it from the outside. So you will lock it from the inside when you close up the balcony and they can unlock it with ease. The balcony is easily accessible.

When I noticed this and mentioned it the owner seemed to know about it and had not told us.

Geez and we were leaving our valuables etc in this room when we went out. Only when I brought it to her attention did she provide us with a chain and lock to lock it from the inside.

It’s just unacceptable. I’m so over Thailand. Won’t go back there again.

I would like to know how the authorities allow the scooter scams to proceed in Thailand. What is being done about this? This includes the resorts renting out scooters, the scooter renters on the side of the road.

Trip Advisor is full of stories regarding scams of scooters, jet skis, etc.

I am making it my mission to inform all South African travel agents about this as I had first hand experience of this so that South Africans are wise to the scamming industry in Thailand.

Shocking that this is allowed when Tourism is your main industry.

I certainly won’t be back and if I have my way South Africans will think twice about visiting Thailand. There are other destinations where scamming and rip off isn’t part and parcel of your holiday.

Charlene VanderWesthuizen Haines

23 thoughts on “The Original Phangan Scooter Rental Experience

  • Rob Van Dael

    I think this story has a other beginning , normal rentel price for a bike on Koh Pagnan is 250-300 bath a day, Bargain to 150 bath ……..? You screw them ….. they screw you…..

    • Rob's Mom

      That is an idiotic remark.

      • Silvia Tisselli

        150 bath per day is correct

    • Charlene Haines

      We didn’t screw anyone. This was the price offered.

  • Jason

    Lol some of you tourist ask for this trouble, going around and passing flyers out about the bad service lol, your lucky they didn’t drag your husband out and give him a pounding. I also have never seen so many disrespectful tourist all in one place, it’s sad. Trashy like no other, don’t pick up after yourselves and act like these islands are your stomping grounds, and almost everyone is from the uk, or in this case South Africa. Smh you people lol

    • Charlene Haines

      Actually we are in our 40’s and hardly party goers, just looking for some peace and quiet. We were respectful and very nice to everyone. The Rand is not as strong as other currency so 2000 Baht is R1000 which is a lot of money to lose. Why shouldn’t we inform other travellers? In South Africa there are repercussions to being a crook. Establishments in the hospitality industry would never allow this and would help a tourist. I’m not sorry we did it. But I was scared out of my wits at the result at the time. Well its done and dusted, but I’m very disappointed at our experience that led up to this. We were so nice to them… I gave their waiters huge tips.

    • Alex

      I would have knocked the tiny Thai guy out immediately and pissed on his face. Let’s be honest, even though it’s paradise, it’s still a poor, corrupt, impoverished island who’s only source of income is tourism. I’d still come back

  • I’m also so over Thailand and never going back. People just want money money money. The place is beautiful but people just wanna take to much advantage of tourists.

    • Bambolo

      Thanks for no coming back go to las vegas , It cause people like you Thailand is going down ….

  • Christine

    Yes. Shame on you for not taking responsibility of the bike you rented. Then you have to pay. Thats how it works.

    • Charlene Haines

      We looked after the bike very well. We are hardly spring chickens. We are in our 40’s and were seeking some peace and quiet. We did take pictures of the bike beforehand, but they watch you take the pictures and they point everywhere where you didn’t take a picture. Please view online all the other people who have been scammed at Hut Sun themselves and surrounding bike rental places.

  • “I’m so over Thailand”
    Well, gullible twats like you are also don’t really bringing smiles to my face either, so thanks for not coming back.
    How come you didn’t check the bike BEFORE renting it and make pictures of any existing damage, to avoid conflict?
    Can’t blame them for trying to rip you, if you’re so gullible.
    and still you have the pretention to do what you did, even get your experience published on a shit website as this one, where the owner has nothing else in mind than discrediting locals. (not for nothing someone tried to shoot him in the past)

    And then spreading flyers, you have a death wish? lol

    • Charlene Haines

      Thailand sounds like a dangerous place. Mauritius is a far better option.

  • when a 100+ kg scooter falls over it’s bound to get scratched.
    so instead of playing it nice and ask for a discount you make a hassle and now try to shame them online.
    shame on you, scratches and broken parts don’t happen by themselves. flat tires neither. so they are your responsibility.
    most of the scooter rentals try to provide a good looking bike, so that the next customer doesn’t feel like he’s riding an old piece of junk.
    always take pictures before taking the scooter out of the shop and be reasonable.

  • do-it-dog

    It’s great that you’ve posted this experience for other people to be aware when renting bikes on Koh Phangan. There are a lot of rip offs. And I totally understand your frustration/rage at the whole experience. In our countries we have recourse to these kind of scams and we’re able to get justice done.
    In Thailand, not so, and no Thai will ever take your side in an incident no matter how in the right you are.
    Please be aware that it can be dangerous to fight these “injustices” in Thailand. Tourists have occasionally been murdered and I suspect it is because of similar behaviour where they have attenpted to discredit or harm a local person’s business or reputation. You were indeed lucky to get off the island.
    Also please have a little empathy and understand that these people make an absolute pittance from the businesses they run.

  • scammed by mr. jack

    was just scammed for 3500 baht for scratches on a bike. the place is located on haad salad beach, called mr. jack. their contract was terrible and had many errors. if i had a few more days in KP id get an usa consulate lawyer to settle this out. basically charged me absurd prices for parts saying he was going to replace all the parts with minor scratches, even admitted they were not oem honda parts. charged me insanely inflated prices for parts that i googled to be half or 3x less. highly doubt he would replace the parts for new ones because of very minor scratches.

  • Ronald reagan

    Sorry but you were really dumb , acting honest in the first place, telling them that the bike fell ,being friendly and asking for a discount, I guarantee would have brought the price down a lot, this way you got overcharged and ruined a day or more of your holiday,
    Well deserved!
    Should have paid 5k

  • Beachbum

    You get what you pay for! How much would you pay to rent a car or bike back home? If it seems too cheap expect possible problems. Unfortunately it does seem that holidaymakers leave all their common sense behind when visiting Thailand.
    We have bungalows here on Koh Phangan and we are asked everyday for scooters. We supply new, well serviced bikes to our guests at 200thb per day without the need of leaving a passport as we copy all guests passports as the law here and immigration dictates. If your hotel does not ask it’s not properly registered! Only yesterday we had one guest who refused to pay 200thb claiming they could rent for 150thb in Thong Sala, well fine, if 50thb (about the difference of filling your tank at a gas station or buying roadside) is worth taking the risk of an old unserviced bike and leaving your passport behind to do so, then so be it.
    You may think you’re a safe and resposible driver yet the way tourists abuse bikes, drive like lunatics, drink heavily etc. it’s no wonder companies here ask for passports. Rent from reputable dealers or your hotel, the signs are all there. Turn off your phone for one minute, stop listening to bad advice on-line, start using your senses and treat people here as you would at home and you will have no problems. You pay lots of money to get here then penny pinch on bikes, accommodation etc when here. This can ruin your holiday or leave you badly injured or worse.

    • Thailand2017

      We are looking to rent a scooter in Koh Phangan, what company are you? Thank you

  • Bambolo

    Hut sun was involved for sure , i live in phangan and i unfortunatly know them …..
    But my Dear also the baby know how to do in Thailand for rent a motorbike , if you follow 2/3 simple rules you will not have problem ……

    • Charlene Haines

      I thought as much. It did seem like they were involved. They had asked what my husband does and I mentioned that he works on the rigs; and they saw dollar signs I think.

  • psula

    Corrupt..dirty place …not worth it.


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