How it works:
- Scam 1: touts guide you into cremation ghats to take photos of cremation ceremonies. As it is only one way in or out, they will not let you out till you pay an inflated tip.
- Scam 2: fake holy men, beggars and sob story scammers ask you for a donation to help a hospice for those too poor to afford a funeral or pay for wood to help poor families.
- Scam 3: massage touts who get you to agree on 30 minutes but continues on for 45 minutes, add in services which you did not ask for then demand an inflated fee.
- Scam 4: overcharging by boats from which you can watch Aarti as well as rickshaws and taxis.
Places to beware:
- Varanasi: Ganges River, Manikarnika Ghat, Banaras Ghats, Dasaswamedh Ghat, Assi Ghat
What to do:
- For any service or help you receive, decline or bargain hard. Else, consider using a licensed guide/operator:
- Offline operators: ask – is the operator licensed? Is there a website, office and working phone number? Are there real online reviews? What does the price cover – is it too cheap?
- Online platforms: GetYourGuide (leading day tour platform globally) has a couple of popular Varanasi tours.