Bangkok is legendary as one of the world’s most exotic and exciting cities. It’s also one full of scams, hustles, and tourist traps, luckily most of them relatively innocent and non-violent. Scott and Trevor cover a few of the most common, elaborate, and colorful Bangkok scams so that you can have a lot of fun in Bangkok and not get ripped off!
The Tricky Taxi: Scott explains why you should never get in a taxi waiting in front of a Bangkok hotel, major tourist attraction, or restaurant. Trevor suggests never getting into a parked taxi in general. Many such taxis will attempt to avoid using the meter, take you the long, long way around, or drive you to their ‘cousins’ suit shop, where you’re unlikely to get the best deal.
The Holiday Hustle (aka Wat Pho is closed): Much like trickster taxis, tuk tuk drivers hanging out around major tourist attractions should be avoided. They will seem like they’re doing you a favor by telling you not only is the attraction you’re heading to closed but also that the holiday coincides with a special tax-free sale at a gem shop, suit shop, etc. Scott and Trevor discuss how to know when a tuk tuk is looking to take you on more than just a ride.
The Patpong Trap: Patpong is one of Bangkok’s most infamous red-light districts and many tourists are eager to see ‘a pingpong show’. Trevor gives some tips for avoiding getting stuck with an exorbitant bar tab at a Patpong go-go show. Scott suggests simply staying out of the second floor Patpong bars altogether.
The After-hours Taxi Trick: While not exactly a scam, per se, taxis get paid to take passengers to certain after hours bars. Scott advises you figure out where you want to go before you get in a late night cab, while Trevor suggests you may as well go there if you haven’t any idea where else to go.
The Bird Seed Scam: Scott shares an interesting scam he experienced along Rachadamnoen Road near the Khao San backpacker area: A guy feeding pigeons will give you some seeds to feed the birds and then ask you for around $10 for the seeds! If you don’t pay, his friends are there to make sure you do.
The Cold towel Scam: While this one is relatively minor on the global scale of scams and hustles, visitors should know that when restaurants offer you cold towels inside plastic wrappers, they’ll show up on your bill. A similar trick with bottled water is also discussed.
Other threats to be aware of: While Scott can vouch for Bangkok as one of the safest large cities in the world, Trevor mentions that bag snatching on the rise and the two talk about other minor tips regarding safety and scams in Bangkok. In closing, Scott and Trevor provide simple techniques for dealing with potential con-men and hustlers: notably, not getting mad, smiling, and politely saying ‘no’.
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