The sharper edge to traveling in Asia

The tuk-tuk driver took me on a wild goose chase in Bangkok

Written By: herbrunbridge - Jul• 10•12

The Good Manner: Advice on Thailand from WoWasis’ Pa Farang
This week’s dilemma: The tuk-tuk driver took me on a wild goose chase 

Dear Pa Farang,
I agreed to pay a tuk-tuk driver 50 baht to go to a temple. Instead, he drove us around to two different gem to gem shops, and finally we had to get a taxi to take us to our destination. What was this all about, and are these guys licensed?
–  A visitor to Bangkok 

Dear visitor,
You got taken by a common tuk-tuk scam.  The classic scam involves telling you that the wat (temple) is closed today, and the government has given him a special “tourist promotion” to give you a free tour for 50 baht (this scam is also perpetrated at museums).  Why not, you think, the temple is closed anyway?  He’ll then take you to every shop he can, each of which pays him a commission for everything you buy.  He’s a nice guy, the driver, best friend you ever had.  And, if you manage to go through with everything and burn your day up making prurchases at the shops, he’ll gladly drive you back to your hotel free, then offer to pick you up the next day for another “tour.” Of course, the temple wasn’t really closed, but he got you in the tuk-tuk and sped you away before you could get to the front door.

About the best thing I can say about tuk-tuk drivers is that they’re colorful.  If you really need to get somewhere, take a taxi-meter instead (and ensure that he turns the meter on as you start your trip).  Avoid all scams, show the Good Manner, and have a great time in Thailand!

 – Pa Farang 

Read Pa Farang’s other columns in WoWasis for more advice on relationships and cultural matters in Asia

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One Comment

  1. modelog says:

    I need to mention my personal appreciation on your kind-heartedness supplying help to folks that really need help. Thank you.

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