This applies to everywhere in Bangkok. We had a couple of experiences with people telling us that it was 'the kings birthday and everything is closed today' or 'that shopping mall doesn't open until the afternoon'. Well, it became pretty clear to us that these 'friendly' people weren't telling us the truth... Anyone who approaches you to offer assistance I would be very wary of. They usually have a scam going where they'll try and get you to go to a shop where they'll get a commission. Don't let these 'bad eggs' put you off the Thai people though. 99% are friendly, honest people. We found the problem worst out the front of The Grand Palace.
Near the temples or tourist sites... if anyone approaches claiming a temple is in the other direction... ignore them, keep walking, smile... don't pay attention to them... this happened several times.. I was told Wat Pho was closed due to Buddha holiday -- not the case.... walking to the temple, without asking, I was told entrance was in a different direction.
Near Grand Palace -- I was told I could not go in dressed the way I was (I was fine) and that it was closed until 2pm.... again, not the case!
Follow your instinct, follow your map or ask another tourist...
You can get either of the following:
"This company is non metered after xx:xx hours"
"The meter is broken - how much are you willing to pay?, how about (pricex6) ?"
"I do you special price only (price x 6)" (unless you know the fare do not chose this option)
In all instances, I would, tell them politely but firmly "Turn the Meter on or Stop the Taxi"
if they are persistant and inform you of the starting information - tell them politely but firmly "Stop the taxi - or I pay nothing" this generally works as they would rather not lose the money. Then get out of the taxi and find another - there are millions of them around.
There are not a lot of taxi drivers out there doing this - but they do exist, be aware and be polite at all times.
It is law that all taxi (cars) must be metered, unfortunately at the moment the Tuk-Tuks are not required to follow this law. Although the Tuk-Tuks are regulated in regards to safety, the same as taxis
Around the majority of tourist attractions - there appear to be an abundance of so called 'Off Duty Policemen" who find it in thier heart to advise you of the best tourist attractions to see.
They will give you something along the lines of "It is a little too far to walk and I would not recommend that you take a taxi as that is too expensive and the buses are not the best in Bangkok either - I will get you a tuk tuk to take you it will be very cheap" and surprisingly a Tuk Tuk will appear in seconds few. Amazing !!!!
They are purely a rip off - they will tell you 20 - 30 Bhat, but the price will always end up being much higher - Do not take them and politely, but firmly, inform them "Thank you for the advice, but no thank you"
My husband and I believe ourselves to be pretty savvy and had prepared ourselves before arriving in Bangkok for all the possible scams etc (or so we thought). While walking to the palace, we were greeted by a friendly-faced old man, carrying an umbrella and a briefcase. He asked us where we were from, and he told us he was a professor on his way to University (flashed us some sort of ID and pointed across the park to the University's location). After some friendly chit-chat he then proceeded to tell us that the palace was closed due to celebrations (a line we knew to expect from touts and taxi drivers, but one we weren't expecting from a nice old University professor). Next thing we know, he's arranging a tuk tuk (taxi) for us, explaining how we can avoid getting scamed by taking the ones with the green license plates because the yellow ones were illegal (or something to that effect). Next thing we know, we're thanking him and off we set in the tuk tuk who is going to take us to some obscure temple. But as soon as he stops first at a silk shop we recognise we've been had...so we toss him a few coins and head off on foot back to the palace, which of course....is open.
We got along absolutely fine for the rest of the trip via public bus. You can get a map with the bus routes from the tourism offices...and you can save more money for the great food!
When I was in Bangkok I took a trip out to see the oldest wat in Bangkok (cannot remember the name, but its on the outskirts) I was befriended by a Thai man. He introduced himself & must have seen me as sympathico (I was also a lot more naive then) because he told me he had a wife, she had died, etc. He chatted away & offered to take a picture of me with my camera inside the wat but I declined as I wasn't putting my new camera in the hands of a stranger no matter how pleasant, luckily I'd say now!! He then eventually got around to the subject of what I was doing in Bangkok, and was there anything I particularly wanted to buy!! Another man on a mission or rather commission!! I said I wouldn't mind getting a suit made up (he already had my map, I think) & surprise, surprise he had a friend who had a place round the corner. Don't be fooled because I was certainly taken in, it was my first big trip away & to Asia. I was lucky though as when I got back to the hotel after being measured up for a suit the 2 guys I'd met said I should ring my credit card company & get the transaction cancelled, & thankfully my dad works in the bank so he sorted it out for me. Don't get taken in ladies, he was v.good looking which I admit took me in & v.convincing with his story!!
What used to happen (when I was there in '98) was you would take a tuk-tuk/taxi to for example, the Royal Palace & they would say it was closed. They would then ask a policeman who happened to be nearby (their pal who was no more a policeman!) & he would confirm their story. Then he would suggest bringing you somewhere else that was "very nice & interesting". They are normally on commission for these places they try to bring you to.
When I was in Bangkok in '98 the favourite scam happened if you took a tuk-tuk usually to the Royal Palace. The driver would say that it was a public holiday & then go over to a policeman who would corroborate his story. Then the driver would try to bring you somewhere else that he was in cahoots with. (drivers normally got a payment from establishments for bringing tourists there, usually from their pals who worked in/owned the places). It's probably old new now as I was there so long ago.
The police here in Thailand,
usually accepts that a vendor
may over charge you
or take you for a ride.
So do take this warning with attention,
since it is not usually of their kind to
have this kind of attention.
Beware of strangers who try to take you to buy cloths, jewelry, gems, silver, etc.
Please do not trust them!!
If you need help please
1) Call Tourist Police 1155
2) Contact the nearest police box
Bangruk Police Station
If you encounter anyone who claims he's International Police and tries to rip you off some money by pointing your pocket and asking "what's in your pocket" if you reply "my money ofcouse" he would ask "show me"
You don't have to do anything he orders,Just tell them "Sorry I don't believe you" and just walk away as soon as possible.If he's still bugging you by trying to take you to "Police Station" DONT pay attention at them.Just looking for police in uniform around there if possible and tell them what happened.Otherwise just tell those guys that you will call Tourist Police to check his ID that it's real or fake.(and ofcourse it doesn't even exist)
These people they're not even Thais.(In his card says "Turkish" but anyway you can't believe anything) These people are real trouble.Government don't even have a clue that this kind of people exist and I don't know how many tourists they've rip off them already.
They will try ask if you use drugs or stuff like that.Don't waste your time.Walk to most crowded areas as soon as possible and if they still wanna take you to police station.You might say "yes" BUT ONLY IF YOU WHO CHOOSES A POLICE STATION and ofcourse they won't go with you.It seems they work as teamwork.While one guys is trying to make a trouble with you,other one is waiting on his motorbike as they could run away anytime.
I was quite shocked to hear this story from my Belgian friend.(he encountered ones near Siam BTS station) So,becareful.
Be very wary about buying jewellery and antiques - the market in Thailand is rife with fakes. If you think you're being asked to pay a lot of money for an inauthentic item, or you're being overcharged for a service, report the incident to the tourist police. Be careful if someone offers you a free tour of the Chao Phraya,it's likely that at some point, in some remote location, you'll be asked to 'contribute' some large sum of money to the venture. Watch your handbags and camera cases when you're shopping in the markets.
This is a horrible thing, which I have personally seen in Bangkok (and Bangkok only). Fake monks on the streets. These fakes love to steel money and make "illegal" business deals. Be careful, these people must be bad if that pick wearing a monk's robe as a disguise. I actually got a photo of a fake, and the signs were blatantly obvious, first of all the "monk" was smoking, which real monks don't do, and second of all he was hugging a woman, which monks don't do either (it is forbidden for monks to even touch women). Be aware and be careful, there are some bad people in Bangkok (but a lot of very good too!!).
The local government warn tourists about touts and especially tuk tuk drivers who offer you a sightseeing tour. '10 Baht - 1 hour ' they'll say and take you straight to a jewellerwho of course gives them comission or gas. You'll find it hard to get out of such a situation without buying anything. This happend to me and my friends during our first stay in Bankok and the same trick is still being played today.
Another thing is that taxi drivers will tell you that the tour you're taking, or the sight you're seeing, is closed due to some public holiday. Make it a rule always to check for yourself wether or not that is actually true.
It seems to me the government has done a good joob in cleaning up quite a lot of the monkey business tourists often are trapped into. They have strenghtend the tourist police and made them more accessible at hte places where many tourists go. So if you find yourself in trouble, contact them and they will help you. We found them very friendly and helpful once, when some of our stuff was stolen. It appears Thailand really makes an effort in keeping their country attractive to tourism, hence keeping up the important income the industry brings them.