Tip #1 – Tuk Tuk’s
Tuk Tuk taxis are an extremely popular and fun looking vehicle to quickly get around on. But, there are many that are designed to scam you and take you to places you either do not wish to visit or do not wish to hand money over for. You may find, as I did, that a local Thai person will start making conversation with you – good English too. They will start talking about anything making small talk; football, where you’re from, the weather. And from there is when you feel comfortable so you listen to their tips and advice – they will start telling you of places to visit and next they will ‘flag down’ a Tuk Tuk for you, almost as a gesture of goodwill. If you climb aboard, say goodbye to 2-3 hours of your day!
What happens on this Tuk Tuk adventure?
If you are unaware of this scam then you will be most likely happy to oblige and you hop in. First the driver will take you to a temple. I have never been asked for money or pay for a service at any of the temples I was taken too. From there you will either visit another one, or you will be taken to a ‘Tourist Information Centre”. Basically as place where they will plan your trip for you. They will organise accommodation, travel to and from the accommodation and anything else you might need. Whilst this might be tempting, or they offer a good price – it is down to you if you wish to commit to something like this.
Personally, we went through with the travel agent (as I will call them) and had our 3 1/2 week Thailand visit of 2015 planned all for us. In all honesty, it did make everything relatively straight forward in the sense that everything was planned. Transport, accommodation – we didn’t have to worry about anything like that. But I would strongly recommend you avoid these places – simply walk in listen to what they say and just tell them you’ve already booked your places of stay.
On to the next scam destination – a ‘Thai Factory’. Doesn’t sound too bad, but once you arrive outside you will soon see the errors of your ways. A ‘Thai Factory’ is basically a tailor made suit, shirt and trouser shop. They will show you many different styles, brands and outfits for you to choose from. If you agree they will measure you, write down your information and let you choose the fabric and style.
We fell victim to this last time and did actually receive the goods only through a special circumstances. A friend was heading back to our original hostel and managed to collect them. Again, there isn’t anything actually wrong with this other than the fact you may not want a suit, especially in a country like Thailand where the weather does not permit the wearing of a suit. Again, just tell them you do not want a suit/shirt/trousers – even if the price is so good!
From here you might be taken to another temple or even to another ‘Tourist Information Centre’. But again, just politely say no.
What is worth knowing is that the TukTuk driver will be taking commision from this. Through dropping people off at these places and the purchase you make. Hence why you will quoted 20-40 baht for the whole trip. Whilst it is a scam, don’t feel pressured into giving the driver more than this amount. They will be making commision from other tourists who fall victim to this scam and the money you pay at the end they don’t necessarily rely on.
For the most part, you would be advised to take a metered taxi; they are on the meter – of course, and have aircon. You will spot them about they are either pink or yellow and green. Make sure you look for the word metered on the side and it’s always worth asking before you get in if it is metered.
For a price guide, I travelled from Phaya Thai Train Station to Khaosan Road which was 4km and the fair only cost 60 baht.