I am not the first nor the last here to write this.
The very minute you hit the road in Bangkok and have a look at your map (where are we going next?), you will have someone friendly come to you and offer help. These friendly people are ofte directly related to tuk tuk drivers or shops. They will say anything to get you have a trip with a tuk tuk with stops at many tourist shops.
Mostly this sounds like this:
"Where do you want to go?" ... "Oh, Wat xyz, that is closed today (or until 2 p.m. or whatever) because of a Buddhist holiday" - Don?t believe it. They don?t close their temples or museums because of that. Always believe your guide book on that and not what people tell you. We were told this 3 times in one day, and it was never true.
On it goes: "But, I would propose you go to this Wat instead, that is very nice. I can get you a tuk tuk to bring you there. They make special price today because of Buddhist holidays "(or world fair, or because only it is Wednesday or whatever). "They will bring you there for only 20 or 40 Baht.".
Yes they will. But they will also bring you to a jade shop, a yeweller, a Thai silk shop, a souvenir shop, a .... I think you got it.
It also does not matter if you really buy something in these shops. They get their commission by just bringing you there.
One more thing that is quite typical for Bangkook is the yewellery scam.
They try to persuade you that you can make money by buying yewels cheap in Thailand and then reselling it at shops where you live.
Don?t do this! For once you have no idea what the colorful stones you are offered are really worth if you are no expert. As a normal tourist you won?t even be able to distinct them from fake stones or even glass. Second: you won?t be able to resell them at home (not even at the addresses they may give you, they are not real either). Also don?t trust in any certificates they may show you- paper is patient.
If there was money in it, they would not need to rely on tourists to do the trade.
When I took a tuk tuk ride during my visit to Bangkok in September 2007, I was well aware of their reputation for failing to deliver tourists to their requested destinations.
I therefore decided that my tuk tuk ride would be solely for the experience value – I didn’t need to be anywhere, so I’d jump in, see the sights and see what happened!
I agreed a fee of 20 Bahts (0.30 GBP) in advance with the driver for him to take me to the giant standing Buddha at Wat Intharawihan, the Golden Mount and then back to the Grand Palace. I could always ask him to stop at any other interesting sights en route.
The journey started as planned. I visited the giant standing Buddha while my driver waited outside for me for 5 - 10 minutes.
However, when I returned, he told me that the Golden Mount was closed until the afternoon and he would instead take me to another small temple nearby. At this temple, the room containing the “Lucky Buddha” was closed, but a man outside kindly offered me the opportunity to buy jewellery (available today only!) that I could sell back home for 5 times the price!
The next stop was an unscheduled one at a factory, despite me repeatedly telling the driver I wasn’t interested in visiting a factory. I refused to get out, so the driver reluctantly drove on.
We stopped at another small temple where the man who was responsible for its upkeep tried to sell me a variety of tours (which had to be booked that day – the last day of the sales!).
My driver was intent on getting some commission one way or another, so he drove me to a “fashion shop”. I again refused to get out and browse. The driver pleaded with me to do so, in order that he would get a “coupon” for having taken me there. We discussed it for a few minutes and eventually reached an impasse. He established that I wasn’t going to go inside the shop, and I established that he wasn’t going to drive me back to the Grand Palace. I handed him a 20 Baht note and walked back to the palace. No harm done – it was a great experience at very little cost!
i've read it here to beware of tuktuk drivers..boy, it was helpful...not an hour had passed since we've settled in our hotel, we decided to go to siam square.we thought, it's just near, so it's better to take the tuktuk..but then we got in a debate with the driver coz he insisted that we drop by at his friend's store so he could get free gas..and we said " NO NO NO"..if we havent read it here about the scams, we would have said ok ok....but instead we stepped out of the tuktuk and hailed a taxi instead...never again, we tried riding a tuktuk...if your destination is just near, just walk..if its not near enough then take a taxi...it's better to spend more than around 20baht than be a victim...trust me, our hotel staff even discouraged us from riding a tuktuk....
The tuk tuk's are plenty out there for travelling. Always ensure that you bargain and agree on a price to the destination before you get into the tuk tuk and ask them to take you straight to the location without stopping at any other locations. I noticed that most of the tuk tuk drivers tell you a very less rate so that its tempting to get into where unfortunately you end up paying more and more and getting to your location way late than expected as they tend to stop at various places for something called `coupons'.
I only have 3 days only to explore the temples and intresting object in bangkok, i decided to walk around for near location, and take tuk tuk for far location.
A friendly Tuk Tuk driver offer me too help look around bangkok, and he promissed to take me to intresting temples that I really really want to visit today.
Inttrested in his offering, and remembering this is my first time to Bangkok, and short time i have, his offer is quite a good offer to me.
First stop, quite far away, i took about half hours to get in to the store., it was a jewellery store. no buy here thank you.
Next is another far away store with busy traffic of bangkok, took me another 40 minutes to get to the store. It was a souvenir shop
Then he ask for lunch first before start the temple tour,
At the restaurant, He said he has no money for lunch, then i said i will pay his lunch , he also order a bottle of beer, on my expense., total spent for this lunch were about Us$60. ( i began to feel bad about this, its already 3PM that time! and i havent see any of temple, as i begin to ask him when can we start ?
Then he ask me: " How much will you give me tips to take you around bangkok temples ?"
(What!!!, i havent even see any temples, and already waste my half day, and he asking for tips...?),
Ok to make the things well, I said i will give him $5 for each temple he get me.
Then he take me to temple (quite ok), after that we went to a bad looking abandoned temple, no even 1 tourist around., When i protest him, he said its already late afternoon, all temple already closed...!
The climax of this situation, is he dropped me in one corner of the bangkok street and hand me over to another tuktuk driver to take me back to hotel (it s 5 o clock already), and he asking me for his $5 tips! and go away......
Sad..sad.. why its happen to me..? I lost half valuable day, 1 pay for $60 lunch, he got a free lunch and a beer..., AND I GOT NOTHING..!!!!!
Hope this will not happen to other tourist visiting Bangkok, dont trust any good offer from Tuktuk driver.
I've only had one tuk-tuk ride ever and that's more than enough. For starters, they drive like they own the road, ignore the traffic lights and go against traffic. I don't know if my travel insurance define tuk-tuks as one of mode of public transport. The other thing is that as a tourist, you will be charge a different fee (higher) and since the tuk-tuks are open ended, you'll breathe in more of Bangkok's special road pollution
Like a coughing cockroach this sputtering three-wheeler is moving its way, wanna be faster than a taxi, and still wanna be number one with a lot of tourists! The TukTuk flies around the corner, kickin' up a cloud of blue smoke (for sure!) and coughing like asthmatic hippo's. Legendary while chasing away the human-drawn rickshaws, keep in mind you do breathe all the lead-soaked air, there's no air-con, it is not that cheap anymore, and the TukTuk drivers do speak less English than taxi drivers. Still these cockroaches belong in the cultural picture of Bangkok, and nobody can resist the call "Hey U, Where U Go?", so still bargain when go for a TukTuk!
After I walked out the Grand Palace complex, my friend & I were approached by a local man claiming to be a university professor. Then he said there is a service by the Thai government that offer a free tuk-tuk ride to a nearby attraction. Since my friend was a ex-marine, I figured it would be OK so off we went. After visiting the attraction, the tuk-tuk brought us to a couple shops e.g jewelery, tailor and carpet. Apparently, the tuk-tuk drivers get commission in the form of petrol vouchers to bring unknowing tourists to these stores. When we insisted the tuk-tuk driver send us back, he passed us on to another tuk-tuk driver!
Before you go to Bangkok it is essential you realize one thing; there is no honest tuk tuk driver in Bangkok. No matter how nice one may seem, his goal is to take you to a fake temple or gem shop or suit shop and will leave you in a moments notice if he thinks you won't go to any more shops for him. I'm sure you read about how it works with the drivers getting gas vouchers for taking you to gem and jewelry shops. They are safe, but sneaky and could care less about you. Here's what you do. Unless absolutely necessary, do not take a TUk Tuk, get a taxi. The tuk tuks in Bangkok are really uncomfortable, the air in Bangkok is horrible. Take a taxi
If you decide to take to tuk-tuk especially in the morning, because its convient, fast and cheap, well you are wrong! The tuk-tuk driver/motorist have a chain of network where they are engaged with several jewellery and gems shops in which they will receive commission if the victim bought jewellery from the shop.
The tuk-tuk man will offer only 20baht to go anywhere provided that they will send you to a jewellery or gem shop first before proceeding to your destination. They claim that they will receive free gas for their tuk-tuk if you visit the jewellery shop without obligations of purchase. Its hard to say NO because they will beg, paster and convince you furthermore you dont want any commotion at the start of your adventure in Bangkok.
Upon reaching the 'unintended destination', the marketing begins. They target tourist from Japan, US, UK and other country with large currency exchange. The products are sold at a high price but of low quality. If they manage to sell a jewellery, they can even afford to close their shop for a week and 30% is paid to the tuk-tuk man as commission.
So my tips are to claim to be Malaysians or other citizens. They sort of ignore us because the chances that we will purchase is very slim. Do not show any interest in the product, try to avoid any conversation with the sales person and remind the gullible and naive that its a scam!
It amused me to read all the cautions about Tuk Tuk drivers. It made me feel at home (strangely). Much of Thailand's whole economic "circle of life" is based on selling items that are fakes or cheap imitations. If you're willing to use a Tuk Tuk driver as a tour guide, you're essentially buying a cheap imitation of the real thing (at least in Bangkok). Buy a map and keep track of where you are. Ask a 7-11 employee (or the like) how much it should cost to go where you want to go. Be prepared to pay more (you are a farang, after all), and start bartering below what you want to pay. Be a little bit generous and you'll make life easier on the next foreigner who comes along. If your Tuk Tuk Driver doesn't want to come close to what you want to pay, try another. The first guy may lower his fare when he sees you leave or he may not. Who cares? There are thousands of Tuk Tuks. Tuk Tuk drivers can be a kick for the first time of two, but for longer trips you'll pay less to take a metered taxi (or if you're brave, the bus routes or khlong taxis). Motorcycle taxis are great for short routes (within 1-3 km). Anyway you go, Thais are laidback. They're not on a fast-paced schedule. Don't overestimate how much you think you can visit. Even if you get the fastest Tuk Tuk in the city, you won't get to see too much per day (except maybe the local hospital). Traffic is severe. And if you feel like you've been taken for a fool's ride, you have. In Thailand, though, most of the time you're "riding" you won't even know the difference.
By the way, sometimes you can get a cheaper fare if you let a Tuk Tuk take you to a shop. Adventurous sorts have even traveled for free, provided they visited two or three places first. Remember this phrase: "Mai Pen Rai." It means "nevermind." Tell yourself that when you get frustrated. It doesn't help, but at least you'll be learning the language.
One last thing: Wear a surgical mask. A gas mask. A pesticide mask. A bandana. Anything that may filter the air a little. You'll lungs will thank you.
My excuse for falling for this special tuk tuk tour was that I had only just arrived that morning and I hadn't slept in 24 hours and I was waiting to check into my hotel! No excuse I know but that's what I'm going to keep believing!! I was told by a helpful man on the street that today was "Buddha Day" and there were festivities happening at various temples. Ok I said, thanks I'll check them out. Then he hailed me a tuk tuk going by and arranged a 10 baht 4 temple tour. Ok, the man hadn't asked for money or anything so how could this go wrong? Well, as I was taken around to the temples I found that I was too late for the Thai Boxing demonstrations and other temples I went to were actually closed! I checked!
So as my tuk tuk driver drove me around he mentioned that he gets commission (or fuel vouchers) by taking me to various shops in between temples. I agreed to go to one tailer - who were actually very good and I was able to bargain the price a bit - but I didn't agree to go to the jem shop or other awful tourist places that he insisted he take me to. I started to get cross and said that if he doesn't take me to a proper temple he won't get paid. Well what he did was "dump" me at the Marble temple and then announce that it was his lunch time and I would have to make my own way back. Ha!
The moral of the story? If you need to get sucked in by the cheap 10B tour then insist on the places you want to go to and insist that shops are not part of it. Good luck to you - the Thai's are very convincing!
What a disaster TukTuks are ! What a reputation !
- they don't bring you where you want, but to places they get commission for:
fake gem shops and (wait for it !) the Thai King's Royal Cashmere Factory, which is actually a
tailor shop which want to sell you synthetic as Cashmere,
- they charge you multiples of what was agreed
- in addition to the 'fare', they want YOU to buy THEM gas !?!
- endless arguments
- MAFIA organisation
- everyone knows about them, police don't do anything about it
And these guys are licensed ? What a joke !
We just came back from Bangkok...we love the food, culture & People are so friendly...but you will get some who are cream of the crop.....Tuk-Tuk squatters
Straight to the point...STAY AWAY from these types !!! They are the biggest scammer of them all...
Nearly everywhere you go you will see Tuk-Tuk squatters parked up 3or4 of them at any one time. They will hassle the crap out of you offering a cheap price to travel, most of the time it was 10Baht..we offered 50Baht and mention no stopping or detours. The Tuk-Tuk squatters agrees and we head off...not this one...this one still tried to scam to a gem shop.
We waited for him to stop and I gave him 10Baht and we walked away, he followed us telling us some story, but at this stage we didnt care. We flagged down a passing Tuk-Tuk.... agree on the terms and off we went. Tuk-Tuk driving around town will mostly try to scam you, but as long you agree on the term of what you want then you should be fine.
Since then I only flag down the ones that are driving around looking for passenges and since then had no trouble with the Tuk-Tuks.
I'll never take a tuk unless I have a good idea what the price should be. Last May I got a tuk from the train station to Panthip Plaza. The driver wanted 200bt but agreed to 120. I paid him with a tip and did my shopping. Going back to Hua Lampong station I took a metered taxi. It was only 65 baht.
Taxis who won't use meters always cost more,, Around the Palace or Koh Sarn Road the taxis always want a set fare but just go out to the main road and flag one.
When there's 3 people, taxis are often cheaper than MRT or BTS and I've never had a bad experience with a meter cab.