Tuesday, 8 July 2008

24 Hours In Bangkok

We arrived in Bangkok and straight away we were bombarded with taxi and limo people fighting for our custom. Luckily we had our trusty Thailand book (Thanks Fay) and we knew there was a bus from the airport to the city, so we politely turned them down and got the bus.

Bangkok Bangkok Bangkok.. What can I say? It’s insane!!

People selling passports on the street, with police standing chatting to them. Pubs selling "Strong beer and we don't ask for ID"

Tuk Tuk drivers constantly asking and asking whether you need taking somewhere, and when you say no, they suggest places we should want to go.
James and I fell into one of these traps on the second day. We were merrily walking to the Grand Palace which we could see from the hotel and had already turned down millions of Tuk Tuks, when a friendly looking local ask where we were going (there was no tuk tuk in sight so we thought we were safe) We said we were headed to the Grand Palace and he most helpfully told us not to bother, that it was closed for lunch and would not be open for another 2 hours and we were unlikely to be allowed in anyway because my sleeves weren’t long enough and James was wearing shorts. He then got a map out and started circling places which were open and free to get in to - a sitting budda, a laying budda and a giant standing budda. He said if we went to all of these we would be back in time for the Grand Palace re-opening. To this day I don’t how but we ended up in a tuk tuk, (which the helpful man had made appear out of nowhere.) On our way to the sitting Budda for a price of 20 Bahts for the next 2 hours (30p), what a bargain we thought as we zoomed through the city. The Budda was ok and we met a nice guy that didn’t sell us anything.
Back on the Tuk tuk things started to go wrong, instead of seeing another budda we ended up being dropped off at a factory that sold suits, (not cheap ones but English prices) We were polite and looked around and left without buying anything.
Tuk Tuk again! This time he was ranting about tourist not knowing anything and how we NEEDED to see a tourist office, so he drop us off at one- the lady in there proceeded to plan the whole month of our holiday and trying to book flights and treks and hotels. I felt sick for a minute- James was nodding along in agreement with her- I felt trapped. James snapped out of it though and we realized it was a scam a little too late as we had booked one flight to Cambodia but that was a relatively small mistake compared to the bigger ones we could have made. Fed up with tuk tuk man now but with no idea where we were, we got back on. Here goes the scam bit (as if the rest wasn’t) He said he needed a fuel ticket and he could get one if we just looked around a jewelry factory and it would be double if we bought something which would make him very happy, James and me looked at each other both realizing that this had been what the trip had all been about, but as polite well brought up English folk we agreed to go. We marched around bought a packet of crisps and left thinking finally we could carry on the sight seeing. Alas no, we had not bought JEWELRY, so he had not got his ticket and he would have to take us to another factory.
Another suit factory infact, where we did not buy anything but realized time and that we had been on the Tuk tuk ride from hell for 4 +hours and we were in danger of missing the train for Chiang Mai. We demanded to be taken back to the hotel and he obliged, so we assumed he’d got his fuel ticket. I don’t know if James was joking but he said we should pay him more as we’d had him for nearly 5 hrs, but I paid him the 20 Bahts as arranged (I think he should have had less as we only got to see one Budda and not the Grand Palace at all!!)
Since this experience we have met lots of Tourist who have had the same scam put on them, So beaware in Bangkok is all I’m saying!!

Jody xx

1 comment:

dad/chris said...

hi u 2,wot was the last thing I said? glad ur having a "good time"blog is very good & interesting,keep it going,more pic's please.love you both,dad