Grand Palace Scams, 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.
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!
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.
I'm sure a lot of fellow travellers have experience of this scam, You will certainly find it outside the royal palace complex, when you arrive Once you are out of your Taxi someone will tell you the palace is closed , and offer to take you somewhere else...Dont be fooled check for yourself