Previously published on xoTheRunawayGirls.
After 15 hours of travel we finally arrived in Bangkok and I was soooo excited that our trip was finally about to begin!
We had read various tips about where to get the cheapest taxis from in the airport but due to lack of sleep and choosing convenience over common sense, we opted to follow the signs in the airport to the ‘tourists only’ taxi stand downstairs…
WELCOME TO BANGKOK, THE CITY OF SCAMS.
Having left the UK 40 times, visiting 17 countries, over 4 continents, I’m not new to travel, however, constantly having to watch your front, back, sides, bag, meter fare and change isn’t something that I’m used to.
Here are just a few examples of times we were nearly scammed, how to avoid it happening to you and why you shouldn’t be afraid to speak up! – I have way too much BGA (black girl attitude) and pride to knowingly ever let anyone take advantage of me… especially when it comes to my coins hunny *finger snap*, okay!
The 50 Baht Airport Fee
Problem: 50 baht isn’t much – approx. £1 but you also have to pay for the toll road if your driver takes it and when you’re travelling for 5-6 months, it all adds up. This isn’t so much of a scam but there is a way to avoid it!
Solution: Save yourself this fee by heading upstairs to the departures drop off area and hailing a cab (taxi) that has just dropped someone off.
“No Metre. Metre No Work. 200 Baht Okay!?”
Problem: Use of the meter is law in Thailand, however, if you’re like us and decide to take cab everywhere, be prepared to meet one or two idiots daily who will refuse and try and charge you way over 100% more of the metred fee, whilst you’re already in the back of the cab.
What happened: This happened to us once and we learnt our lesson. It resulted in me arguing with the driver for the full journey (not advised at all), whilst praying for our lives – he decided to start driving like a complete idiot out of frustration.
I recorded the incident as there was no way I was paying 200 baht for a 85-95 baht journey (yes, we is pros at metre fares now) but I also didn’t want us to get arrested in the event that I did refuse to pay and he called the police.
He also tried to drop us across the dual carriageway from the hotel to avoid driving further down and making a U-turn. Once I decreased the amount I was willing to pay (90 baht) even more (now 80 baht) for the inconvenience of having to cross the road, he sped off into oncoming traffic once again and rudely dropped us at the curb of the hotel entrance (our hotel entrance was down a private road).
Solution: ALWAYS open the passenger door, ask ‘metre?’ and wait for them to put it on BEFORE entering the cab. If not, once you’re inside they’ll say ‘yes’ while driving off and not turning it on.
20 Baht Short Change
Problem: Apparently it’s ‘common practice’ for bar tenders on Khao San Road to shortchange you. I guess they assume that everyone’s drunk?
What happened: Aliecee had paid for our drinks and was supposed to get 200 baht change, something told her to check it as it was strange that she received one 100 baht note and then 20’s… You guessed it, her change was 20 baht short.
At first we thought – Maybe we got the prices wrong? You pay a 20 baht charge for table services? It was a mistake? It was on purpose?
When I flagged a member of staff, he walked off as if he didn’t understand, so I called another, who simply replied ‘Was it me? No. So what can I do?’ and walked off.
I thought, ok cool let me just wait for the right person. When she finally came back over and I told her she gave the wrong change (I assumed it still could have been a mistake) she rolled her eyes and threw two 10 baht coins on the table and walked off.
What I then noticed was that all of the female staff had coins in their back pockets and must do it to everyone.
Solution: Always check your change! Even in places you feel should be honest.