Thailand being one of the major tourist countries in South East Asia and Thai people being naturally generous and hospitable in nature wouldn’t let you feel that there can be any con game prevailing there. Like many tourist destinations, Thailand is no different and they have their own scam and scammers.
While visiting Thailand we never thought we would fall for any scam neither did we bother to read about the scams of Thailand. There are some websites mentioning about these scams such as (http://www.bangkokscams.com/) & (https://www.lonelyplanet.com/thailand/bangkok/travel-tips-and-articles/77630) but still, we never gave any time to go through them. Hence we got trapped in the scam, not once but twice.
So here is what exactly happened with us and not with us but many of us
On Day 1 (since we were in Bangkok only for 2 days) we decided to cover most of the attractions and Grand Palace was our first stop. After reaching Grand Palace entry we were approached by a very well dressed, polite Thai guy at the entrance who spoke fluent English. From his attire, he looked like some security official. He started the conversation by seeking details like – where we came from. After we said India, he said, “Oh wow beautiful country, nice people” and after knowing that we are going to Grand Palace, he said, “Grand Palace is closed until afternoon, my friend”.
After seeing our sad and confused expression he assured us we won’t be wasting our time and we could see other attractions. He took out the Bangkok map and circled some attractions on the map and called a tuk tuk guy. He informed us that the tuk tuk will charge only 20 baht and will take us to these places. We were excited with joy as 20 baht was really cheap. After visiting few Buddhist temples the tuk tuk guy took us to a small jewelry shop. We were in no mood for shopping, so we just looked around the place. The tuk tuk guy insisted us to buy some stuff saying this shop is the best in Thailand and sell some really cheap Gems. But we asked him to continue showing us other attraction. He eventually said he would be needed to refill the fuel and hence he stopped by a tailor store and asked us to see some stuff while he will go and do a quick fuel refill. We went inside the store and the shop owner approached us and tried to interact with us and asked many questions. Since we were not much interested to see any stuff and waste any more of our time we came outside and waited for tuk tuk guy (here we were saved from another scam as you can read on the websites mentioning about tailor shop scam). After he came we insisted him that we don’t want to waste any more time and wanted to go back to Grand Palace whereas he kept on insisting us to see other Gems Gallery for which we refused. After we reached Grand Palace, we could see Tourists going inside and directly we moved ahead, at this point we had no idea that we were scammed.
Our next stop was to go to Wat Pho, the temple of sleeping Buddha and after already wasting so much of time in the morning we decided to walk down. We took the wrong direction and like any tourist, we asked a local guy for direction, to which he replied the place is quite far and we may need to take tuk tuk and go. He stopped one tuk tuk driver and asked him to take us to Wat Pho, that’s what we thought, as he was having a conversation in Thai. The tuk tuk driver took us to a bit far place and said the Wat pho is closed and we can take a small river cruise ride until the temple gets open. By this time we could smell something fishy and decided to pay the driver and search for the direction by our own. Fortunately, we found one English couple who already been to Wat pho and directed us the right direction and to our surprise the temple was open. We then enquired from the temple security about the timings and by this time we already knew that we were scammed not once but twice.
We were lucky enough not to lose money or get scammed on money but we already lost most of our time to check out other attractions. It is always advisable in such scenarios to instead taking a local’s word, head towards the ticket counter and check out yourself for confirmation whether the attraction is open or not.
These scams are not just in Bangkok but all over Thailand. As a traveler, one should always stay alert. It’s surely disheartening to be tricked out of your money, but it’s just a learning experience.