Scammed in Bangkok

Jan 31. Day 47. When I woke, the monks were already gone and it was only Paul and I remaining in our little cozy room of 4. I wanted to take advantage of my last visit to Bangkok by visiting the grand palace. The water taxi was cheap and fast. I marveled at how fast the captain docked and undocked such a long boat (~30 meters long, docked, pax unloaded, loaded, and off again in 1 minute). When I got to the palace, I couldn’t believe how big it was, and was curious as to how big it really was so instead of going right in, I walked around the entire perimeter of the outer wall. On the third side, a tout approached me and struck up a conversation. He seemed nice and was eager to please. I told him I was going to the palace and he told me it was closed until 2pm (it was 10am when he told me this). He offered me a tuk-tuk ride and local tour of 5 wonderful places for 40 baht ($1.33) and told me he would drop me back off at the palace. I thought to myself – why not? Perfect opportunity to kill some time and see more things for cheap. I accepted and was off like a bat out of hell. We screeched around corners and whipped in and out of congested traffic with the precision of a skilled surgeon. During my white knuckle ride around Bangkok, I saw the huge Buddha statue:

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The Benchamabophit temple that is on the 5 baht coin:

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Another temple (I can’t remember the name of this one):

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A gem factory (that I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures in or of) and a textile manufacturing facility (neat to watch the processes, but again, not allowed to photo inside).

When we started, the tout didn’t mention anything about gems or textiles. Nor did he mention that I had to stay – literally – inside each of these facilities for 10 minutes or more so he could get free petrol. After my tour of the surrounding area, I felt a bit uneasy because I was basically scammed into paying the tuk-tuk driver 40 thb so he could get free gas. But then I also took into account that I got to see a couple really cool temples. And seeing how they made the raw uncut stones into polished precious gems was interesting. The textiles didn’t do anything for me though so that was pretty much a waste. He dropped me off back at the palace and I walked the rest of the way around the giant wall to the main entrance.

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I walked through the large guarded gate to see the beautiful structure hidden behind and all negativity from my morning scam experience vanished instantly. As I waited in line to buy a ticket, I noticed a sign that it was 500 thb for the tour ($16.66). I decided this was a bit steep and opted out. I saw enough beauty from the outside that I didn’t have to spend another 20 bucks to appreciate it more. I walked back to my water taxi and headed towards AImee’s place (I stayed with her and Wachi when I first arrived in Bangkok a month prior). While walking back, it was hot, humid, and crowded. I started to get a headache. A really bad one. By the time I got to Aimee’s flat, I could feel my heartbeat through my eyes. I decided to grab a hot shower and pop some advil in hopes that a nap would get rid of it. When I woke, Aimee messaged me and told me she wanted to show me a restaurant that was nearby. She had never been to it, but our talks about organic and vegetarian living had spurred her to seek out a place that offered such a meal. Enter Anotai.

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The food was delicious. Like OMG delicious. We talked, laughed, ate until we couldn’t eat anymore, and lived in the moment. On the way back to the apartment, I told her I still had energy and wanted to see a movie. She told me Les Miserables was playing at the SFX Fortune Tower nearby and that she had never seen it. I had seen it several times already, but was eager to see it again and be there to witness her response to such a wonderful show. The ROI was priceless. She loved it. I loved it. As I recalled my day, I couldn’t help but reflect back on my morning at the palace and how crappy I felt when I realized I had been lied to (the palace was never closed) and scammed to pay a tuk-tuk driver 40 baht so he could then get free petrol. Twice. Oh well. Yet another lesson learned. Life goes on. Breathe. Be well. And namaste.


Have you ever been scammed on one of your tips or holiday vacations? What happened and how did you deal with it? What lessons did you learn?

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2 Responses to “Scammed in Bangkok”

  1. Ed Turner says:

    The only people really gettign scammed are thouse who continue to get up everyday, travel the same roads to the same office and convence ourselves its a wonderful life. You are richer for your experience… stay safe but I am glad you are venturing off the sidewalk

    • AJ says:

      So very true Ed! Until people break their own cycles, routines, and habits, nothing will ever change – which is the greatest scam of them all. Thank you so much for sharing because I have felt that way for quite some time now, but didn’t know how to express it. You hit the nail on the head. The only things you regret in life, are the risks you didn’t take. Be well and namaste my friend.


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