The biggest “scam” of Bangkok
I consider myself to be a fairly savvy tourist but we fell victim to a scam our first few days in Bangkok. Not a take all your money type scam but a scam none the less. We had almost no idea it was happening until it was already happening because there were probably 10 seemingly unrelated people involved. This is how it all went down…
First, some very nice person will approach you on the street. Tell you it is some sort of holiday and recommend a bunch of sites that are free just for the day along with some great promotion on a tailor that is only valid for today and then a tourist shop called TIT (not to be confused with the actual Thai tourist office TAT). Very conveniently a tuk-tuk driver will pull up right away they will tell you don’t pay more than X (We were told 150 baht approx. 6 dollars but I have seen people get told as low as 30 baht) and they will take you around the entire city for 3 hours.
So we get on the tuk-tuk and went about our day. I do have to say they brought us to quite few wat’s (Temples) the Happy Buddha, Laughing Buddha, Marble Buddha, Standing Buddha and more, then he proceeds to bring us to the tailor. We were told earlier that it was a government factory only open to the public today… once inside we were charmed by the employees with drinks, great service and the allure of a great fitting suit. They were quite pushy with their sales wanting you to always add more or get two of the same thing. We did buy some new suits which were fine because it was already something we wanted to do. I do have to say this location (Royal Boss) had much nicer fabrics and selection than the places near Khao San Road. After our expensive purchases of new custom clothing the tuk-tuk driver told us about this really great place to buy jewelry, we were all expecting a market but we got a high-end jewelry factory with prices ranging from $400-$35,000 +++. We basically walked in and out within a few minutes. Then he took us to this TIT place where we were to buy tickets for the floating market the next day. On the way there, everything started to hit us. We had been scammed. I think pretty much everyone we spoke to that day was in on this scam. The nice teacher we met on the street, the tuk-tuk driver, the man at one of the temples we spoke to, the tailors, the jewelry store, and TIT. At every possible location we stopped the driver would get a commission on our sale (The suit makers were explicit in telling us not to tell the tuk tuk driver what we bought because he would try to scam us but in reality I am pretty sure they did not want to give the tuk tuk driver the whole cut!) The tuk tuk driver was also weirdly adamant about us going into the tourist shop and only telling them we wanted tickets to the floating market and not for the muay thai show we wanted to go to until after we bought the tickets for the floating market. At this point, we decide we would part ways, paid the man and walked off.
Just to rub things in more, later that night we saw our tuk-tuk driver with “the nice man from the street” together.
So you may wonder why the word scam is in brackets that are because while we were most definitely scammed and likely overpaid for some stuff by Thailand’s standards. We were perfectly happy with a great day and the price we paid for everything. While we certainly duped and feel a little stupid but you cannot let that ruin your trip.