Tuk Tuk driver with Tequila Carmel

SCAMMED IN THAILAND

We are not seasoned travellers…. yet…. but when we enter a new country or city we make sure we research the most common scams in the area. Most times this has worked, we got through Mexico, America and China un-scammed, had a small tasting in Fiji which we picked up on very quickly, but here in Thailand…. THEY ARE GOOD…. I mean Academy Award stuff. We read up on all the common scams, many of them identical on different blog sites, but still we got well and truly scammed. Heres what happened…

SCAM 1.
We took ourselves on a boat trip down the river to go to the Grand Palace… 40 Baht, Good start. When we arrived at the port and started walking toward the Grand Palace we noticed hundreds of Thai people walking the same way dressed in black. As we got half way down the street there was an impeccably dressed Thai man sitting on his equally nice motorbike who called out to us, “ Where you going, Grand Palace closed today, only Thai allowed, national day or mourning” SCAM 1. Now of course we believed him, all these people dressed in black it had to be true. Then the conversation started, where you from, have you been here before, where you going. He even added that he spent his honeymoon in Melbourne (thats after he established that we were from Sydney)

SCAM 2.
“Come with me I will show you a short cut back to ferry”. The walk down the alleyway was just long enough for him to continue the conversation and build trust. From the corner of my eye I saw him beckon with his hand to a near by Tuk Tuk. He casually suggested another temple just as the Tuk Tuk appeared and quickly organised a special price for us.. only 40 Baht.

Tuk Tuk driver with Tequila Carmel
Our friendly Tuk Tuk driver

SCAM 3.
Now that we were in the nice mans chosen Tuk Tuk he drove us to the giant 40 meter Buddha and told us to take our time, it didnt take us long as there was nothing to see there, when we got back our driver said, “I just go to toilet” and suddenly a new player arrived… SCAM 3. Another perfectly dressed Thai man with perfect English. “Hey buddy where you from?” he then went on to tell us that he was a school teacher at the school that we were conveniently parked in front of. Now this guy pulled out a number of scams. He showed us photos of him dressed in an Armani suit, and he told us he could take us to his taylor, he then went on to tell us that school finishes for 4 weeks tomorrow and all Thai people head to Chiangmai…. I wonder how he knew we where going there. He told us he could tell the driver to take us to the Thailand Tourism Visitors Centre to help us book our accommodation…. We politely declined.

Thailand Scam with Tequila Carmel
The map that the nice man circled for us

SCAM 4.
Back in the Tuk Tuk. After declining his constant badgering to go to Gem shop or Taylor, he suggested we go to the floating markets…. Great idea, YES please…SCAM 4. He showed us photos of the floating markets and the long tails, yes thats what we wanted. “ok I take you to Thai wharf so you get Thai price.” What a nice guy!!!!! He told the man at the wharf that we were good friends and give us the special Thai price. We paid him 200 baht instead of 40 suggested by the motorbike guy and he left us at the wharf. Now I had researched and knew that to take a private tour of the floating markets was going to cost roughly 3000 Baht, so when we got him down to 2000 baht we thought we had done well.

longtail

SCAM 5.
Our tour of the floating markets…. what a scam. The 1 hour tour took us to 1 lady on 1 boat that was selling trinkets. She told us that everyone has left we are to late…. at 10am in the morning. When we would not buy any of her wares she talked us into an overpriced warm can of Chang at 100baht…. not to mention the other Chang she talked us into buying for the driver, which she switched to a coke when she thought we were not looking. So after our 1 floating trinket seller we were dropped off at China Town.

So there you have it….. a snowball of scams. As we sat down to a hot bowl of Pad Thai a little later and analysed our day we had an OMG we got scammed moment, its easy to think your not being scammed or you won’t be scammed, but trust me these guys are good. Lesson learned.