5 Scams to Avoid in Bangkok!
- “The Grand Palace/ Wat Pho/ any tourist spot is closed today”
I was nearly caught out on this when I first visited Wat Pho. A tuk tuk driver stopped me and my friend, asked where we were going, wrote in big black marker all over our map, told us everything in walking distance was closed, and that we should get on his tuk tuk and he will take us on a special tour. Alarm bells rang and we humored him, but proceeded to walk two minutes to the perfectly open temple. He played on our naivety with his friendly smile, but as he realized we were on to him he quickly changed his tone to aggression and told us to leave.
- Free Tuk Tuk
The promise of a free trip to your destination if you take a detour to their friends shop first is slightly appealing to the budget conscious but what is ‘Free’ is often also time consuming and pointless.
It was funny the first time we jumped on the back of a tuk tuk with no real destination in mind and decided that his friends travel agent might be a good place to plan the rest of our trip. “What’s the worst that could happen?”we thought, but it becomes more apparent than ever that nothing comes for free. We didn’t buy anything or spend a penny, and we got some pretty good free travel consultation, but we were there for a long while.
There are some good quality precious stones in Thailand, but honestly, you will not find them listening to some inside tip from a tuk tuk driver, or even worse, a stranger on the street. The majority are fakes, sold to you by professional charlatans who will ensure you spend money with them and lose it when you try to sell at home. Unless you know what you are doing then you should stay away.
- More Money More Problems
Thai money is monopoly money, colourful and big in denomination. When you’re trying to act cool and not piss people off it is common to find yourself frantically counting change out over the counter. More than likely the Thai person will tell you of your mistake but some will not. Be conscious that the 50 baht and 500 baht notes are both blue.
- Sex Show Scam
You’ve touched down in Bangkok, you’re already feeling the Changs, you’ve met your new friends from all over the world, and someone pipes up with the ‘great’ idea to go and see a sex show, ping pong, darts, razorblades, The Works. A man comes up to you with a laminated, poorly printed ‘menu’ of delights and tells you that entry is only 200 baht AND you get two free drinks. Everyone thinks ‘Why not? When in Thailand…do as the, err, Romans do.’
The reality is that you will all have your fun and games, then ultimately be left with a huge bill. If you refuse to pay voices will raise and there will be threats to call the police.