Touts & Scams are now a major problem in Bangkok.
Be careful you don’t get caught out !!
Thai are some of the friendliest and most charming people worldwide, but they will NEVER approach you first unless they are after something - & that something is YOUR MONEY !!!
If any stranger approaches you, be on your guard !! It could be anywhere: in the street, at the Grand Palace, or outside your hotel etc.
HOW DO THEY LOOK?
· Many of them dress very well, appear to be well educated and speak fluent English
· Some of them dress more casually, and appear very friendly. If you see them in the shopping area (MBK, Siam Center and Siam square), they might be holding shopping bags and appear to be on a shopping trip.
· They might be wearing a uniform, especially government officer, teacher, policeman or lawyer, etc.
· Some of them dress in traditional Thai style with special badges in their tops, looking as if they are royalty or have received special honors.
Many will tell you that they work for the Royal palace or other traditional body, pointing out their badges. However, these badges are in fact widely sold for special celebrations for our King such as his 50th anniversary on the throne, his 60th birthday or his 72nd birthday. All proceeds from the sale of these badges goes towards the King’s projects, but unfortunately some people may use the pins for unscrupulous purposes.
WHERE ARE THEY?
· Shopping malls: MBK, Siam Square, Siam Center and Central World Plaza and some at Pantip Plaza
· Tourist attractions: the Grand Palace and the Emerald Buddha temple, Wat Pho, Wat Trimit and China Town
· Traffic lights, zebra crossings, road junctions and in business districts such as Silom Road and Sukhumwit Road
CONVERSATIONS ARE STRUCK UP IN ALL SORTS OF WAYS :
· They say that they’re going your way and will drop you off en route
· They claim to have stamped your passport on your way into the country, or that their relative lives in your country.
· They claim to know of the best and most special shops in the city: tailor, jewelers, silk shops and so on
Don’t believe them when they talk about ‘trade only’ or ‘foreign only’ shopping days, or when they claim it’s the last day of a special sale.
You might hear stories about ‘special cheap prices for sapphires here’, which you will be able to make a fortune on when you get back home – they may even give the names and addresses of ‘colleagues’ abroad who will buy the stones back from you.
Your new-found ‘friend’ will even go as far as buying some stones himself to prove their worth to you !! The sapphires are real but of extremely poor quality.
Please bear in mind that if any of these get-rich-quick systems genuinely worked, I’d have done it by now and have retired. Ha….
COMMENT ABOUT SCAMS FROM TOURISTS
“Everytime we stepped outside the hotel, we'd get hassled by taxi drivers hanging around outside. The conversation usually goes like this: "where are you going?" "The Grand Palace" "Ah, Grand Palace shut today, I can take you somewhere else" "no, it's OK, I'll go that way anyway" etc If you believe taxi drivers, the only sights in Bangkok you will see are the insides of gem stores and tailors!”
“went to Wat Pho by ferryboat. When I got off at N8 Tha Tien at PM12:00, a local guy came to me and ask where am I going. I told him I would like to go to Wat Pho, he said: Wat Pho is closed now, and will be open at PM3:00; you can go another Temple first and I can beckon a tuk tuk for you, just 20B would be anought. I was dubious about accepting the suggestion, becaust I wanted to the lavatory first. So, I refused him with thanks and went to Wat Pho directly. You know what? Wat Pho was opening daily without midday rest!! Suddenly, I remember that I saw the forum mentioned all the Palace and Temple in Thailand are open daily, no rest or general holidays. Pls do remember this, don't be cheated.”
“This applies to everywhere in Bangkok. We had a couple of experiences with people telling us that it was 'the king’s 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.”
“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. Ignore them 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 Baht, but the price will always end up being much higher”
WHAT TO DO WHEN A STRANGER APPROACHES YOU?
Just smile and say ‘Thank you for the advice, but no thank you’
TAXIS AND TUK-TUKS
· If you are in a city area you shouldn’t pay more than 100-150 Baht. Please make sure they don’t try to take you around Bangkok. Some of them try to rip off tourists! Tuk-tuks are always cheaper but you have to bargain.
· The cheapest price for the shortest distance in a tuk-tuk should be 40 Baht. Make sure that the price is for the whole car, not per person, as some drivers will try to tell you when it’s time to pay.
· Some tuk-tuk drivers think it’s fun to scare tourists by driving really fast. Just hold tight and don’t put your arms outside the car.
· Metered taxis are highly recommended, as they are air-conditioned and will keep you cool. Tuk-tuks can be unpleasant in traffic jams, when you end up breathing in traffic fumes. The best time to take a tuk-tuk is probably late in the evening, possibly after you've finished shopping in a night market, when a tuk-tuk ride can be fun.
· Try to avoid drivers who offer you a special cheap vprice for touring and driving you around the city. They are probably paid a commission to take you into several shops along the route.
· Most taxi and tuk-tuk drivers can’t speak English properly. Even if they can, they might pretend to misunderstand you in order that they can ‘accidently’ take you to a shop from which they have received commission! taking you to the wrong place where they get a good deal with that shop.
Be wary of unqualified tourist guides - ask to see their license. It must be approved by the Tourism Authority of Thailand only.
PATPONG RIP OFF BARS:
Don’t get caught in a Patpong rip off bar! If you do insist on going to Patpong to experience one of the racier bars, you may end up having a bad experience in one of the several fly-by-night rip off bars there The bill when it comes will be extortionate (several thousand Baht instead of several hundred). To make life easy, foreigners will usually just pay it and put it down to experience. It’s best not to argue or cause a problem. If there are several of you in the bar together, one of you should leave and fetch the Tourist Police. They have a van parked at the Silom Road end of Patpong to assist tourists with such difficulties and will come and sort out the bill for you.
FAKE JEWELRY SALESMAN:
At some of the more ‘touristy’ locations (the floating market, some of the temples here in Bangkok and Ayutthaya & beach resorts round the country are all favourite haunts) you may sometimes be approached by locals carrying tobacco tins full of ‘real’ sparking gems at what seem bargain prices. BEWARE! Do not waste your money! All their gems are fakes! If they show you how ‘real’ their stones are, just remember that’ a fake diamond or ruby will exhibit the same properties as a real one: it’ll cut glass, indent metal coins etc etc!!
GENERAL HINTS TO AVOID THESE PROBLEMS:
If you get involved in any of these situations there is no need to worry about your own personal safety. All of these people are quite harmless- just trying to make a fast buck – at your expense!
· Ignore all offers of help or advice from strangers: be polite, smile and walk on
· Ignore all offers of intermediate stops from taxi & tuk tuk drivers. Be polite, smile but ask them to take you to your destination.
· Ignore all offers of free tours. They don’t exist. Trust only someone you knew before or me because I know I love my country and never would destroy it by making small money. If in doubt phone me at any time.
There is no such thing as a free tour. Ignore any phone calls to your room soon after arrival informing you of such an offer. Also, ignore all calls advising you of tour departure time changes and personal private tours.
BANGKOK STREET CRIME - PROTECT YOURSELF !!!
Please bring this Security Notice home to share with family members.
While Bangkok is one of the safest metropolises in Asia, residents here must still be alert for the kind of personal property crimes that occur all around the world. Instances of pick pocketing at crowded markets in Bangkok, and purses snatched off the wearer while walking down the street, while not frequent, are not uncommon either, and seem to be increasing.
Incidents of pickpocketing, in particular, have been on the rise. These tend to occur in very crowded venues such as the Chatuchak ( “JJ”) Weekend Market, MBK, or expos at the Impact Arena. These incidents are crimes of opportunity where teams of professional thieves perform various tricks such as cutting (slicing) into purses or bags with a razor and removing items surreptitiously, or using a “bump and pick” technique that is hard to distinguish. They work in teams to provide distractions, and then strike when the victim is most complacent or occupied--typically while waiting in line for the bathroom or in the middle of a purchase. When the victim’s attention is diverted, they slice the victim’s purse or bag, which is commonly on the side or the back of the victim, and carefully remove the contents.
Additionally, the “snatch-and-run” technique is an old but tried-and-true criminal technique that has a high rate of success--especially when it is done from a motorcycle. In the past, we have witnessed an increase in these crimes being carried out against people throughout the greater Bangkok area, and even so close as on the “back Sois
The scenario usually entails two persons on a motorcycle. One to drive and one to grab your purse or bag as they race by you and they will almost always come from behind so you don’t see them coming. When the purse or bag is grabbed and the motorcycle begins to speed off, it can cause injury to the arm or shoulder of the victim due to the force.
The easiest way to avoid becoming victimized of these robberies is to stay vigilant and alert of your immediate surroundings. Here are some additional tips to staying safe:
* Keep your purse or bag with your valuables in front of your body at all times when shopping in crowded markets. When walking down the street, keep it on the side of your body opposite the street.
* Limit the quantity of carrying cash and store it in various places throughout your body and bags. Also, don’t keep valuables or items in your bag that are difficult to replace, such as your passport, or cell phone.
Do not fight the robber/mugger: Your valuables are not worth being hurt or killed over. In Thailand, most weapons used in the commission of a crime are only used to intimidate, but by putting up a fight you create an unpredictable situation that can quickly spiral out of control. In at least one of the case the victim was stabbed when the muggers perceived they were being confronted.
Should all else fail and you became the victim of these opportunity crimes, you should immediately file a police report for assistance.
Dial 1155 for a 24-hour official tourist police hotline.
Or visit www.tourist.police.go.th