Often when you are looking for directions or the entrance to a temple/palace/... a local comes up to you and tells you that the place is closed. Sometimes it's "closed for lunch", for temples it's mostly "closed because the monks want to pray without any visitors".
They'll mostly tell you about a great outlet shopping centre you can visit to pass time waiting for the re-opening. When you are interested, they'll even help you to find a tuk-tuk to take you there at an exceptional low rate. But then the shopping centre appears to be some kind of tailor, who happens to sell jewellery and souvenirs as well, ... everything but outlet brand-clothing. The tuk-tuk driver gets a percentage on the sales or coupons for fuel. Of course the tuk-tuk driver knows the friendly local and won't forget to "thank" him properly.
Unique Suggestions: Always check out for yourself if it really is closed.
I have to admit that we almost fell for it the first time they told us that, but hey, this only happens once !
I'd like to describe one variant of the "It's closed" scam that I found less obvious than the standard. When approaching the Grand Palace, I was first redirected to a different gate. There, a man standing beside the guard, sporting what appeared to be some kind of official identification advised me that the Grand Palace was open only to Thais in the morning and offered a ride to nearby attractions until the Palace opened. Naturally, I was quite dubious. The guard made no comment on this pitch but did move to block my way when I made to step in to ask the advice of the desk worker inside. I'm not sure if the authorities are actively complicit in this scam or merely tolerate it. Since I was so notably skeptical, the man insisted that he worked there and wasn't asking for any money. He pointed me to a nearby tuktuk which he said would show me to other destinations and bring me back when the palace opened. It was only when he indicated that the itinerary would include shopping that my last doubt that this was indeed a scam vanished.
Unique Suggestions: Personally, I let the tuktuk take me to the first stop on the alternative itinerary, a temple I might not have found on my own (see attached photo), then declined any further service from my "chauffeur" (without paying him a single baht) and returned to the Grand Palace on my own. Of course, someone on a tighter schedule might be better off ignoring the scammers altogether; enter the Grand Palace through the same gate as the crowd heedless of anyone who tries to sidetrack you.
Don't listen to ANYBODY who approaches you near the grand palace or any of the main temples with any claims that such and such temple or palace is closed or that you should go t a different palace or temple. Basically anyone oddly interested in telling you what attractions to see in Bangkok. They are trying to get you off track and involved in either some scam or get you to go towards some gem shop or suit shop. Don't even acknowledge these people, they are quite annoying
In Bangkok some people will tell you places are closed for a public holiday, they will then tell you alternative places to go (involving tuktuks and gem shops). When I visited Bangkok I was aware that I could be taken to a gem shop and told that I can buy cheap jewellery there and then sell it for profit back home. I was also aware of tuktuk drivers taking tourists to gem and silk shops so the shopkeepers will give them petrol vouchers.
I was fully prepared not to believe what anyone told me, except when we were collected from the airport, the lady who met us told us that the next day was a Thai public holiday. I had no reason to not believe her (a trustworthy rep from a tour operator had no reason to lie to us) which threw a spanner in the works when a random Thai man on the street also told us about the holiday and that the Grand Palace was closed for the morning. We did end up on a tuktuk tour but we were lucky we had an honest driver and we got to the Grand Palace in the afternoon (I will write more about that elsewhere).
Unique Suggestions: Before you go to Bangkok, I would suggest looking up when the public holidays are. I don't know if the Grand Palace was closed that morning but I have found out that it really was a public holiday on the day we went there (Visakha Bucha).
After we alight @ N8 Tha Tien stop, we tried finding our way to Wat Pho. Jus as we saw the road sign indicating Wat Pho, we were stopped by a friendly uncle who told us that Wat Pho is closed for "ceremoni" till 3pm. He suggested tat we visit after 3pm & even offered to bring us elsewhere. Luckily, we did sufficient "research" to know tat we should jus ignore his "advise".
When approaching the Grand Palace several different locals told me it was either closed or I was heading in the wrong direction. They don't seem to have anything to gain by telling you this so they sound plausible. However, I have come across this before and have been to the Grand Palace a few times. Sure enough it was open and I was headed in the right direction. Dont believe the locals, especially taxi & tuk tuk drivers. Go see for yourself and check with the hotel before you leave for the day.
i was suppose to go inside the Wat behind the Grand Palace. The man approached me saying that the Wat is closed because it is Buddha day. since i'm not a Buddhist, I believe him. then he offered me for 20 baht to ride a tuk-tuk and go to other places Wats and where to shop good. I agreed. I hop on to the tuk tuk and the tuk tuk brought me to a wat which i think is not famous, i didn't even know the name. When i went there. One of the in-charge there said that the wat is closed, and the Budhha is not here but on the other building. I look at my lonely planet and i realized that i was trapped. there is a warning in the lonely plaet about this trap. I told the tuk tuk driver to take me to khao san road instead (so that my 20 baht wouldn't we in waist, i said to my self). he said he cannot because he have no time. i said i'm never gonna pay him if he will not take me there. then he said, "ok free tuk tuk". and he went off. I never did pay him any cent.
So for you guys planning to go there, please becareful. hehe
Unique Suggestions: Check out by yourself if it's really close or not
well... we didnt really know about the Buddha Days in Thailand. We thought all the pubs and shows were 24/7, all year round until we went to Pat Pong and they put the sign "Close for Buddha Days". They're really kind of religious and Buddha Days were considered one of the most important days in their calendar. We were really unlucky to pick those 2 days during our visit to Bangkok (9-10 or 10-11 July 2006)... so better to check it before ending up like us....
Unique Suggestions: em... actually there were some other people inviting us to their secret pub/show where they still open regardless of the sacred days. But we didn't dare to go coz we afraid that we might ended up paying for our way out their door. So my suggestion is go to other shopping complex, taste other local food, or go to bed earlier for the next day...
I'm sure most of you have read about this tourist trap but i found alot of tourists being fooled by con men. You walk towards the Grand Palace and see an entrance with a guard standing by the gate. Before you can go up to the guard, a con man intercepts you and tells you that the Palace is closed between 12 and 2 for prayers. I already read about this on VT so i was prepared. The man was very friendly but don't be fooled. He asked me whether i saw the "Standing Buddha". I said yes and walked away. Don't stop and chat. If they speak good English and are friendly then they are trying to scam you.
I saw many tourists stop and have chats with these con men. They will persuade you to visit other temples but will take you gem shopping which is another scam.
Also ladies beware of con men telling you that your pants or skirts are too short and cannot enter at the entrance of the temple. There is an offical inside the temple who will measure the length of the pants/skirt before letting you in. The temple also lends sarongs to ladies who have short pants/skirts so don't be deterred. Hope this helps :)
hehe.. since there is a topic here for this, i guess a lot of ppl got sucked into this as well.. yups.. as soon as u set foot on the bangkok soil, there'll always be a 'good samaritan' every other 100m being friendly to you and asking where you are going.. and, like a well rehearsed script, all of them will tell you "today, buddha day, they no open, closed." for any place that you say you wanna go.. then being the 'good samaritan' they'll suggest that you take a very cheap tuk-tuk (as low as 10 baht) to go around to some of the other 'open' places.. plus, in every district, there'll always be this lucky buddha that you must see.. :P
don't be fooled! basically the whole city is flooded with these 'good samaritan' who are actually touts in disguise.. all they are trying to do is to get you to one of their thai export centres.. this places sell gems, silk, tailored clothes, etc. at a much higher price..
Unique Suggestions: well, we had some time and it was raining so we decided to go along with one.. for such cheap prices, we get a tour around bangkok.. all we had to do was go into those thai export centres (our trip had 3 of them) and make a round.. ;) we are happy.. the tuk-tuk guy is happy (they get petrol vouchers for bringing tourist there).. :)
Fun Alternatives: ask for a guidebook at tourist information counter in the airport.. it will tell you what time each place is open and the entrance fee.. stick with that and you're quite safe..
during one of our outings, we were taking a nice walk to wat pho and wat arun.. on the way, we had at least 5 ppl telling us the usual "it's buddha day. closed. wanna go lucky buddha?".. we were almost convinced!! anyway, since we've already experienced the lucky buddha trap, we decided to just take a walk anyway.. at least see wat arun from the outside.. and what do we know.. when we got there it was actually open!!
so, lesson learned.. whatever ppl tell you.. no matter how many times.. trust what the guide book says.. have fun!
Everytime we stepped outside the hotel, we'd get hassled by taxi drivers hanging around outside. The conversation usually goes like this:
"where are you going?"
"The Grand Palace"
"Ah, Grand Palace shut today, I can take you somewhere else"
"no, it's OK, I'll go that way anyway"
If you believe taxi drivers, the only sights in Bangkok you will see are the insides of gem stores and tailors!
Ignore touts and taxi drivers who tell you that the big attractions are shut and go and look for yourself. Most are open daily, and if for some reason it actually is shut (special holidays/holy days etc) then you probably won't be far from something else worth seeing.
We even had one tuk tuk driver trying to tell us that there was absolutely nothing whatsoever in the direction we were going. On his advice, we were expecting the very edge of the world around the next corner (Viking style!).......... but what we did infact get was a rather enjoyable river trip!
After visiting the Royal Palace, we decided to walk to Wat Pho. We followed the map, but it was such a long walk that we started to get confused after a while (we were worried that we could be walking in the wrong direction). Just as we stopped for a rest and checked our map, a Chinese-looking man asked if we needed help. We asked for directions to Wat Pho, and he replied in Teochew (a Chinese dialect) that he's a Thai of Chinese descent and he could help us. Initially, we felt relieved to get help, but our suspicions were aroused when he kept asking us questions, eg. which hotel we are staying, how many days we are spending in BKK, etc... instead of telling us if we were going in the correct direction!
My husband got a bit impatient, and asked him (again) politely how to get to Wat Pho. He started to tell us that Wat Pho is closed (for lunch?!) and would open after 2 pm. He said he could bring us to see some "Lucky Buddha" instead. We instantly knew he was a scammer, trying to trick us to see some crap and purchase "jewellery at discounted prices"... We walked away immediately, ignoring his little speech about the temple being closed and we're "wasting time", etc...
After 10 mins, we finally arrived at Wat Pho, and of course it was opened! Thankfully, we didn't get conned by that man!
When you are walking along and a bloke comes up to and introduces himself as a police man on holidays, that's your first giveaway. When he then asks you where you are going, and then proceeds to tell you it is closed, that's your second. If then he suggests an alternative shopping place to the one that is supposedly closed - keep walking!!!
I went to Wat Pho by ferryboat. When I got off at N8 Tha Tien at PM12:00, a local guy came to me and ask where am I going. I told him I would like to go to Wat Pho, he said: Wat Pho is closed now, and will be open at PM3:00; you can go another Temple first and I can beckon a tuk tuk for you, just 20B would be anought.
I was dubious about accepting the suggestion, becaust I wanted to the lavatory first. So, I refused him with thanks and went to Wat Pho directly. You know what? Wat Pho was opening daily without midday rest!!
Suddenly, I remember that I saw the forum mentioned all the Palace and Temple in Thailand are open daily, no rest or general holidays.
Pls do remember this, don't be cheated.
On our recent visit to Bangkok, we were in front of world Trade center and wanted to go to Wat Patum Wanaram, when one guy came over and offered to help. He told us that the Wat was closed now. We asked him directions for Pratunam market which was famous there. He told us that it will open late at night and it will be good for us to go to a “Lucky Buddha temple” nearby. He told us that it was the last day of some Buddha ceremony and we were lucky to be there just on this day. We believed him and thanked him whole heartedly. He then called a tuk-tuk driver and he asked for just 20B. This just aroused a suspicion in me coz tuk-tuk drivers in Thailand are expensive 20B is way too low for any tuk-tuk driver to drive. But we went ahead coz the man didn’t accompany us. We reached the place and another man also came, he started a friendly conversation. He told us that he was leaving for England and was buying some jems and also told us that today was the last day to buy some at a expo. It was then that I told sathya that it could be the racket, the books warned us about. But despite all this the Lucky Buddha temple was really good. The auto driver then took us to the expo center, we declined saying that we don’t want to shop, but he insisted saying that he will get 5lts of petrol. So we went in and came out in a jiffy. Though we were glad that we didn’t get into the racket, we were also surprised that we got into one of those without our knowledge. I know now how many foreigners become victims to conmen. By the time we came back to S’pore, we had 3-4 such conmen approaching us and we didn’t let anybody take us for a fool those times.
Unique Suggestions: Don’t ever believe anybody who says that aWat or market is closed. Check with your hotel staff or TAT for the timings and start. They are usually accurate and have a better English. Always carry a TAT number and they are usually very helpful giving you guidance and can be found in almost all BTS stations.