Walking through Bangkok you’re bound to be greeted by a number of people with a number of questions, which all lead to you going to somewhere you’ve never heard of or don’t really want to go to. We being amateur’s were unaware of this little golden nugget of information.
Our intro to this “nugget” was being greeted by a nice local guy, who had a “wealth of knowledge”. He told us the difference between Tuk Tuk’s with yellow licence plates compared to those with white one’s (yellow are Government registered and therefore cheaper) and a number of other little bits of info… we were slowly being sucked in. He also informed us that the time wasn’t actually 9am as we assumed (that will be another blog) and that it was actually way into the day… at this point, we were his.
The “nice guy” got a little pushy and our ‘London street smarts’ finally started to kick in (after we adjusted to the actual time). We refused to get in a Tuk Tuk that appeared from nowhere, we said our thank you’s and walked away.
A few kilometers down the road and after some lovely Moo fried rice (Moo is actually Pork) we were greeted by an “off duty policeman” (we won’t go into too much detail about this character or the Thai’s we have met thus far, we will save it for another post after our whole Thailand trip).
The “policeman” was actually a cool guy, I don’t know if he was actually a policeman or not but we had warmed to him after seeing his concern for us after we told him we hadn’t booked the next destination, he then informed us of a once a year deal that was on “today only!” it being Buddist New Year and all so we jumped at the opportunity to take up the incredible offer.
For 20 Baht we would be taken to the following places.
1. A temple that had a 45ft Buddha Statue – Wat Intharawihan
2. Lucky temple
3. T.I.T – Tourism information Thailand
4. B.O.B.E – Tailor’s shop
5. Marble Temple – Wat Benchamabophit
6. Thai travel clinic of tropical disease – for a jab (We added that bit, you don’t actually get a jab with the ride all for 20 Baht)
7. T.A.T (not T.I.T) – same as T.I.T
8. Jewellery shop
9. Back to our Hostel
We just did some research on what the name of the lucky temple was actually called and we came across a lot of angry blogs saying they had been scammed and that they had been told the same thing as us. Some stories changed a little but the general consensus was “OUTRAGE” that these people had been told a cheeky little lie to take them on a ride through Bangkok to the destinations mentioned above.
We were almost sucked into the “OUTRAGE” ourselves but upon reflection we realised that we had a great day, the main criticism on these blogs were the shops that the “OUTRAGED” reviewers/bloggers were “forced” into. We actually giggled when we read these angry blogs. We ourselves were “forced” into the tailor’s and into T.A.T, but we took the opportunity to have a look, speak with a few people and found out the prices for a few bits and bobs and left just as easily as we entered.
In layman’s terms these nine destinations; three shops, three unspectacular temples that we wouldn’t have seen otherwise (but were glad we did), a trip to the Clinic, Tourist Authority of Thailand (T.A.T) and then back home for 20 Baht, which equates to 40p.
We were lucky that our Tuk Tuk driver’s English was pretty good and when we asked him why the trip was so cheap he explained that he gets subsidised by the government (not sure if that is entirely true) and also gets a commission from the shops if his passengers spend any money, thus boosting/supporting their economy.
We have heard of some rougher stories with Tuk Tuk’s before but our advice is get a price before you sit in one (preferably with a yellow license plate) and make sure the driver knows where you want to go. If you’re getting a cheap deal then you will be taken to the shops above, so before you start to barter for a pound or so, bear in mind that it might just be worth paying a little more. Also if you are short of time we would definitely recommend avoiding this ‘scam’ as it will take up a few hour of your time.