Generally speaking, Bangkok is a very safe city and the hazards of exploring as a tourist are very low. However, there are certain running scams that visitors should watch out for, especially if they look like they have just stepped off the plane and don’t know where they are going.
The Grand Palace Scam
People who visit the Grand Palace may well run into one scam that has been operating for several years. A man dressed in a tour guide’s uniform will approach tourists on their way to the mighty palace and tell them that it is closed, offering to show them some of the city’s other attractions, for a fee, of course. No matter what anyone tells you, go to check if the Grand palace is really closed before changing your plans.
Lucky Buddha Temple Scam
The Lucky Buddha Temple doesn’t exist! Beware of people who approach you and offer to take you to this mythical temple. You will most likely be taken to another temple, where you are told that there is a heavy entrance fee, as well as an extra fee for their services. Avoid this scam by telling whoever approaches you that you have already planned to meet someone and are in a hurry.
Then you have the ‘anywhere for 20 Baht’ tuk-tuk drivers. If you are hanging out in one of the touristy areas of Bangkok such as Khaosan Road, you may be approached by a taxi driver holding a map of the city. After pointing out the many and varied attractions scattered all over Bangkok, he will offer to take you to all of them for a mere 20 Baht! The only catch is that you have to spend a few minutes exploring a jewellery shop so that the taxi driver can receive fuel stamps as a commission. But don’t worry, you don’t have to buy anything, just look like you might be interested. Unless you have lots of time on your hands and plenty of patience, the money you could save simply isn’t worth the hassle.
Khaosan Road Fortune Tellers
Indian fortune tellers have been operating in Khaosan Road for many years now. Occasionally they are rounded up by the police and sent home, but business is so good that they usually hop on the next plane back to Bangkok. If you are approached by an Indian man who tells you that you have a lucky face, simply walk on by. Numerous people have reported that these individuals tell them a little information either for free or a small fee, then demand a large price to revealing more secrets.
Most scams in Bangkok are fairly harmless and are easy to avoid if you know how to spot them. Just make sure you keep your valuables hidden and pack your street smarts when you go out and everything will be clear. If you are victim of a scam, you can call the Thai tourist police on 1155.