I hope by this blog , I can caution all readers planning a trip to Bangkok, especially in the area near the Wat Po and Wat Pra Keow (Grand Palace) vicinity…. I was in the Land of Smiles a few months back and was conned of 600B on a street at the quieter side of Wat Po. To think as a veteran traveller who spoke street Thai, I could be so naive to experience such a sorry situation….
The scam episode began when my travel mate had his “caffeine craving” when we chanced upon a mobile street side hot beverage stall….
We sat down on the roadside stool to drink when a Thai middle aged man approached him, handing him 3 packets of dried corns…before that, he was throwing some to the pigeons which flock to the area. We insisted that we do not want the corns as we are not keen…but that man just say’ “no problem, for you“…walked away, did not ask for any money and resume feeding the birds.
We thought he was some bird lover and used the corns and join in feeding frenzy. Just when we about to finish the corns, another mid-aged lady (somewhat dark & plump, with weird look) also gave us another 3 packets…and she too, did not ask for money and started feeding the birds and just sat on the pavement…not even looking at us…
As my friend finished his drink and corns, we decided to leave. As the Thai man and lady (sat about far 10m away from each) looked quite “poor soul” and such a “bird lover”…we decided we should at least give them a token sum…I offered the lady 50B…and to my shock, she said in poor Mandarin …”you took 6 packets, 1 packet 100B! 600B!!” with rather stern tone…and wild-looking eyes..
It was this juncture I realised that we been “cheated” of sort… we just pay up and leave the area as we did not want trouble…it was a 600B lesson…each packet of dried corns could not have cost more than 5 Baht.
Post trip… I posted the scam in Tripadvisor forum…and to was advised by others that this been going for some time and there was even Youtube videos of these con-artists (and other even BIGGER scams going about their modus operandi in Fake Gem sellers, Thai Girls shows, Fake Wives,etc). have a look here at National Geographic Scam City Bangkok:
Like many others, I love Bangkok….BUT do keep a lookout…don’t let a situation like what I went through , ruin your hard-earned holiday.
P.S- This is one of the important videos to watch before making a trip to Thailand. It will definitely be helpful to those who visit the city for the first time. And for the veterans…take it as a refresher.