This is a travel tip for first time Bangkok visitors. We've made some of the following experiences and the funny thing is that we've read about these before we got to Bangkok.
I guess a good scam just belongs to a Bangkok visit.
So the following tips will not beware you of scams, but will help you to get a quicker feeling/touch of them, so that you might get scam free in 2-3 days... :-)
Here are typical scams you can expect to happen in Bangkok:
- Beware of tuk-tuk drivers offering all-day tours for prices as low as 10 baht. You may indeed be taken on a full-day tour, but you will only end up visiting one gem and souvenir shop after another. The driver gets a commission if you buy something and gas coupons even if you don't.
- Insist on the meter for taxis, and agree on a price in advance for tuk-tuks. If they refuse, or quote silly prices, just walk out and get a different one, they're rarely in short supply.
- Be highly skeptical of anyone telling you that your intended destination is currently closed (including skytrain and metro stations), or offering discount admissions. Temples are almost always free (the main exceptions are Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Pho) and open just about every day of the year. Anyone telling you otherwise, even if they have an official-looking identification card, is most likely out to scam you, especially if they suggest some alternate sights to see until the sight reopens. At paid admission sites, verify the operating hours at the ticket window.
- There is no such thing as a Lucky Buddha or Lucky Buddha day! Touts are out to trick you into getting a tuk-tuk to visit several souvenir shops or a gem scam shop.
- At popular tourist sites, if an English-speaking Thai approaches you out of the blue and strikes up a conversation, be wary, they are almost certainly selling something. If they ask you if it's your first time in Thailand, it's probably best to answer 'no' and walk away.
- In the go-go bar zones, beware of touts who try to drag you into the upstairs bars with offers of ping-pong shows and 100-baht beer. The beer may well be 100 baht, but the "show" you'll be treated to will be 1000 baht or more. Rule of thumb is, if you can't see inside from street level, the establishment is best avoided.
- Beware of private bus companies offering direct trips from Bangkok to other cities with VIP buses. There are a lot of scams performed by some private bus companies. The so-called direct VIP trips may end up changing three or four uncomfortable minibuses to the destination, the 10-11 hours trip may be 17-18 hours. Try to book public BKS buses from the main bus terminals.