Sunday, December 14, 2014

Getting Scammed in Thailand

It's unfortunate that this happens. Thailand isn't the only place that suffers from tourists getting scammed though.

By sharing our travel story, I hope that this might prevent other tourists from getting scammed in the future.

Let’s start here. Hello from Thailand! My husband and I recently got married in Las Vegas and are now in Thailand for our honeymoon. We’ve spent the past week in Bangkok exploring temples and various other attractions around the city.

The other day we were making our rounds through the temples of Bangkok, when we got scammed. I read online before we left that we should be aware of some of the tuk tuk drivers. Now this isn’t to say that they’re all bad, we’ve had some great tuk tuk drivers, and riding around on tuk tuks is a lot of fun!

We were outside Wat Pho – the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, making our way to the entrance gate. A man approached us, gave us some great information about the local temples, and how to get to a few of the other temples. He then told us we couldn’t go into Wat Pho until the afternoon because the monks pray during the morning in the temple and tourists aren’t allowed to disturb them (not true). I read something about this online, but was pretty sure it was another temple.

Anyway, the man set us up with a tuk tuk that would take us to the Black Buddha, then around to other temples. He said it would cost 200 baht for all the stops, and our tuk tuk driver would wait outside for us. Something about the offer didn’t seem right, but the man was very helpful. Off we went to the Black Buddha, everything was fine until our 2nd stop. Our tuk tuk driver dropped us off outside an unknown store, told us to go inside for some shopping, and then he would take us to the next stop. We walked inside not knowing what was going on, pretended to look at the jewelry, and then left the store. A few minutes down the road our tuk tuk driver told us he had to stop for 1 minute. He would be back in 1 minute. He then got out of the tuk tuk and proceeded to tell us he was going to take us to the new Expo centre so we could go shopping and buy custom tailored clothes, but that it will be 200 baht each, and that we had to help him pay for his gas as gas isn’t free. He even pulled out a gas card that said “gas isn’t free.”

We were so unimpressed with this tuk tuk driver, he took us to a jewellery store where we didn’t want to go, then demanded more money. My husband and the tuk tuk driver settled on 300 baht and he would drop us back off at Wat Pho so we would find our own way around. We just wanted to get out of the tuk tuk and it was really only costing us an extra $3, so we let him drive us back to Wat Pho.

We actually gave the tuk tuk driver crap afterwards; we even told him he was a bad person for doing this. We also found the original “helpful” man outside Wat Pho that directed us to the tuk tuk driver and called him out on his scam. Neither seemed to care, as I think it’s an everyday scam they run.

Anyways, a few days later, we made our way back to Wat Pho and were actually able to explore the temple. AMAZING TEMPLE! We would highly recommend a stop at Wat Pho if you’re in Bangkok.

Second scam warning: we were wandering around downtown Bangkok looking for a Christmas present for my mom. On the way back, we chose to take a tuk tuk rather than the sky train and subway again. We always ask the tuk tuk how much before we get in, and never give them money upfront. Another tuk tuk driver told us he just had to make 1 stop so we could “sponsor him.” Been there, done that before, we weren’t interested. We got out and found another tuk tuk driver.

Tuk tuks are used as delivery vehicles as well.

Tuk Tuk Travel tip: when taking a tuk tuk, ask how much, never give them money in advance, make sure it’s “total amount,” and make sure to say NO STOPS!

Travel tip: wear comfy walking shoes, and try walking to many of the tourist attractions. Most are within walking distance of each other, and it’s a great way to get out and explore Bangkok.

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1 comment:

  1. What a scam! I've never been to Wat Pho or taken a tuk tuk in Bangkok. Maybe because I hate it when I take them in Laos I just pass in Bangkok. Sorry to hear that you guys had to go through this. Thanks for writing about this. Enjoy the rest of your stay!