Grand Palace Closed Scam, Bangkok
Outside the Grand Palace they warn you "do not trust wily strangers." They underline the warning, so you can guess it's pretty important. The problem, which we didn't encounter as we shunned all friendly approaches outside the Grand Palace, is the "kind stranger", sometimes dressed as an official, who advises you that the Grand Palace is closed, but that he can get you a great tour until it opens again. A good way to avoid this is to take a taxi directly to the entrance of the Grand Palace, where they are going to have difficulty convincing you its closed. That won't stop them trying elsewhere.
As you may know there is a scam concerning the closure of the Grand Palace. There are people on the way to the Grand Palace that will tell you It is completely or partially closed for the day. Two people, a man and a woman stopped me close to the entrance. They were wearing white tops with badges. The said they were associated with the Grand Palace, and it was closed for until noon for a special Buddhist ceremony that only Thai people could attend. In the background the PA system was announcing the open hours, 9 AM to 4 PM. I was close enough to see Chinese tourists leaving the Palace. It was not closed.
The scam is, they will drive you to see a local Buddha while you wait to go inside the Palace. They will charge you for the ride and probably more. The Palace is only closed a few days each year. When it is closed they shut the gate. If the gate is open, the Palace is open. Don't believe any scammers. It will cost you not only money, but also, time you could be using to see the sights of Bangkok.
The second day we went to the Wat Po. As I was leaving, I saw a Tuk-tuk driver working his scam on a young couple. I was able to pull them away before the driver diverted them from entering Wat Po. They seem to work Wat Po, Wat Arun ferry, and the Grand Palace. Expect the scam in every tourist area.
We were walking to Grand Palace at 10am when about 200yds from the site we were stopped by a well dressed man and asked whether we were going to Grand Palace. Then he started saying that the temple will open after 1pm and we will not be allowed inside in our half pants. We listened to him and were confused. He suggested that I will arrange an alternative site for u on payment till 1pm and then we could visit the Grand Palace . I was not convinced and we moved on. Another 50 yds ahead we were again confronted by a Tuk- Tuk driver repeating the same thing. I was confused and thought of going to the alternative site. But somehow wise senses prevailed and we moved on. When we reached the Grand Palace it was open for visitors and we had a very nice time there.
My family and I are visiting Bangkok for the past 3 days and are informed that almost all the tourist attractions are supposed to be closed and most of the taxis are trying to decive the visitors.
First encounter was when we wanted to go to Chinatown. The taxi man outside the hotel suggested taking us to there but had to stop at a shop on the way so he could collect a petrol voucher and all we had to do was to enter the shop and it was not necessary to buy anything. Having read so much of all these cons I refused to take the taxi but the driver became aggressive and followed us and kept on shouting his demand to embarrass us.
We decided to take the MRT and when we asked someone outside the station to Chinatown we were showed an incorrect way and was told that everything was closed and there was nothing to see. That was 10:30am in the morning.
Next day we took a taxi to the Grand Palace at 9am in the morning. The taxi man told us that the Grand Palace was closed, but we just ignored him. When we arrived near the main gate of the Palace, there was an “Official” with a badge who blocked us from approaching the entrance and said that we go to the other entrance about 200 meters away. When we walked there, there were several “Official” who pointed to us to line up at the wall beside the gate and said that we had to wait for another 2 hours before we could enter. What I saw inside the gate was a sigh pointing to visitor to enter by the other gate. Some people really were conned and were ushered into tuk tuks to go somewhere else.
Ignoring these “Officials” we went to the main entrance and found no problem in getting in at all. When we came out of the Palace, another of the “Officials” suggested that we should visit Watt Po, but he pointed to the opposite direction. I wondered what his intention was, but I knew he was up to no good. All these con people are operating openly outside the Grand Palace giving Thailand a very bad name. I believe there is no Palace Official outside the Palace and everyone with a badge or jacket and tie should be ignored when they approach you. The police should be vigilant at all times instead of just warning people by their websites.
After the Palace we went to Jim Thomson House. While walking there, one elderly man came to us and said that Jim Thomson House was closed. We all could not help laughing. This was almost under the sign saying that Jim Thomson House, opens everyday!
We are leaving for the airport this evening. I will not be surprised if I am told that the airport is closed today.
Tourists are magnets for touts saying the Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Po etc are CLOSED due it's a buddhist holiday, or general cleaning, or king's personal parade, etc. They might say you will wait for 2 hours before you can enter grounds and therefore you are better off visiting another place they will eagerly recommend. They come complete with ID's, crisp polos, and a new tuktuk waiting to whisk you off to another wat.
This other location, by the way, is now open and beside a gem factory or so & so export factory which you should NOT fail to visit before checking your new temple destination.
Beware! They are paid touts. We were approached many times and they continue coming despite saying we are not interested. We saw another set of caucasian tourist and asked if Wat Phra Kaew was truly closed and they responded "We don't think so".
The Yellow shirt part was against the gove back in 23 Nov 08.
After which they closed the Intl Airport for 1 week and forcing many tourist got delay and stuck in Bangkok.
Some of the photo taken while I was on my way out of Bangkok and the yellow T shirt people started to block the highway toward the Intl airport.
Glad that me and my family got out in time, the "Last flight" out of Bangkok
While now, as of Jan 09, the yellow T shirt team is now the gov of Bangkok.
Then the former gov supporter, Red Tshirt team is protesting against the current gov.
wondering if the history will repeat itself again.
Hey fellow travellers,
I brought some friends from overseas to Bangkok. We just got back from there this morning. We went over last week, stayed somewhere near Petchaburi soi 35. Stayed a few days, did all things a tourist will do.
I've visited Bangkok umpteen times and I believed the Thais are not violent people. I am not saying that the Thais in Bangkok are friendly either.. Haahaa.. 2 of friends have never been to Bangkok so, they are rather excited about it.
Before we go over, I've checked with friends from Bangkok who told me that it was safe. They told me that the local and tourists still shop, traffic still as busy and everything is fine, nothing unusaul happen. So, we went over. During our stay, we did see 1 or 2 policemen directing the traffic.
We even went to the Grand Palace(1 - 2km away from the riots took place)and Wat Pho. Along the way, we saw some tents and some policemen sitting around chit-chatting.. We went past some Govt. buildings, nothing unusual, except 1 or 2 guards guarding the gate..
This period is good to travel to Bangkok, lesser tourists, meanings good for us to take pictures and taxi also cheaper.. Haahaa...
My last visit was on the 17Jan 08, from what i have seen these few days, basically, nothing change. Though lesser tourists now, there are still as many street hawkers like before along the roads.. Wholesales markets in Chinatown are also very crowded.
People in Bangkok still shop, eat, buy, go massage etc.. Traffic is still as congested like before.
3 things to do before leaving to Bangkok if you still feel uneasy after reading the above.
1)Please register with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before you leave the country. This will enable the Ministry and your Embassy in Bangkok to contact you and render the necessary consular assistance in case of emergencies.
2)Always monitor the local news diligently and be prepared to face inconveniences during travelling(if travelling to other places than Bangkok)
3)Purchase comprehensive medical and travel insurance.
Have a good trip.
While you are in the touristy areas of Khoa San Road and the Grand Palace, you need to assume that no one who appears Thai is out for your general interest. Even a person we approached asking for map directions claimed to be a travel guide and suggested we go to the "Black Buddha Temple" (fake temple). Assume that EVERYONE around this area is lying to you or dishonest. The only information you can trust is from people working in the many tourist assistance offices around the city. Know that the "Black Buddha" and the "Lucky Buddha" are fake temples, don't go, if anyone tells you to go to these tell them that you were born at night, but not last night. Don't let these people ruin your enjoyment of this culturaly rich city!! Other than con artists and tuk tuk driver tricks, this is a mostly safe city
I think this is true of major sights such as the Grand Palace and Wat Pho but as soon as I started to get near them (I was walking from Khao San Road) I had various people come up to me and explain to me that they were closed and to come back later. The strange thing was that they didn't offer anything else for me! What was their motive for telling me if they didn't have something to gain? Well, I decided to ignore them and check for myself and lo and behold, they were both open! I still can't figure out why these people told me the sights were closed with no motive for themselves, but perhaps they truly think they are closed? Who knows?
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".
One of the common scams aimed at tourists in Bangkok is to tell them that a particular attraction is closed…and then attempt to lure them elsewhere for a small fee!
I encountered this a number of times during my visit to the city in September 2007.
The first time I came across this scam (and fell for it!) was on the Monday morning that I went to visit the Grand Palace. An official looking man in a yellow uniform standing outside the grounds of the palace told me that the Grand Palace is open only for locals on a Monday morning. Hadn’t I noticed all the locals in the yellow shirts? Yes, I had. Well, they were all making their special Monday morning visit to pray at the Grand Palace. I should return at 1pm when tourists would be allowed to enter.
So, what was I going to do for the next few hours while I waited for the palace to open? Not to worry…the ever-helpful “official” was on hand to recommend other sights to see….the giant standing Buddha at Wat Intharawihan, the Golden Mount, the Thai factory outlet…
And how would I get to these sights? Again, the official would be only too happy to beckon over a passing tuk tuk driver and arrange for him to take me there for only 40 Bahts.
Now, I wasn’t going to be fooled into jumping into a random tuk tuk on a stranger’s recommendation, but I did believe him that the Grand Palace was closed to tourists.
So instead, I hailed my own tuk tuk and arranged a fee of just 20 Bahts (avoiding the 20 Bahts commission for the helpful official!) and set out to see the sights.
This is when I encountered the scam for a second time. Apparently, just like the Grand Palace, the Golden Mount was also closed to tourists on Monday mornings. So, instead of taking me there my driver would take me on a tour of small, lesser-known temples where helpful locals would attempt to sell me various things, all of which were available at these “low prices” for that one day only!
If you are told that an attraction is closed, check for yourself and you’ll probably find that you’re being lied to!
This will probably happen to most of the tourists who walk from the Grand Palace to Wat Pho. Along the way, there would be a couple of 'nice' guy who try to inform you that Wat Pho is closed for religion ceremony today until 3pm. He would 'advise' you to take a cheap tour to other temples by tuktuk. Just thank them, and then INSIST on walk to check it out for yourself. I met a very persistant guy who even tried to block my way to Wat Pho when i tried to check for myself. But i snapped at him and had to just ignored him and walked straight ahead. And that's when i was glad i did because Wat Pho was opened and full of tourists!!!
Hi. I don't know if you know about the scams in BKK. Here are some very common ones, happen all the time. When you get to the Grand Palace someone will tell you that it is closed (see, look at the windows:). Then a Tuk Tuk driver will conveniently pull up to take you to some place that is open (we ended up at the laying down buddha place). Then you end up at a jewelry store where the tuk tuk driver gets a commission, especially if you stay a long time or buy something. Then you go to a Tailor, etc...It's awful. Almost got a divorce over the whole thing. I didn't like the Sukhumvit area. Too many big Western guys with little Thai girls or boys. The road going thru Suk is a mess, that's why you have to take the sky train. If you don't stay in that area a cab is the way to go. Tuk tuk's can be cheap and fun but they are devious at times. If you are young, stay near Khaosan road. It's fun! All the backpackers from all over the world are there. Check out my Thailand pages. www.newsiam.net We stayed at new siam II. It's by the river too where you can take the river taxi. It's 20$, has a pool, restaurant, a/c, and own bathroom. Loved it! Grand palace is only 10 mins. away.
Everybody by now have read about it. Scam artists approaching you and telling you that the Palace is closed and offering you an excursion of some sort and will take you back to the Palace once it reopens.
Well, in one morning, we were approached by 4 different scam artists. And here are their reasons. Some of them are quite creative, I give them that...
1) Today's Wednesday and the Prime Minister visits the King every Wednesday morning.
2) The Palace is closed for a private tour.
3) The King is meeting some dignitary (I cannot make out the name of the dignitary though)
4) The Palace isn't open until 10am - no reason given.
So, when you visit, do your homework and be careful.
While i was in Bangkok i was often told by Taxies and Tuc Tuc drivers as well as locals in the street that the attraction that i wanted to see was closed, or didnt open until later in the day. This is misinformation designed to get you to go to their "sponsors" shops where they recieve commission for each person that they bring. When arriving at these shops i have been informed that you are subjected to quite aggressive selling techniques.