Classic travel scams #1: the 20 Baht Temple Tour

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“I take you many temple. Twenny Baht,” the tuk-tuk driver says, and you’re new in Bangkok and the humidity is enervating and it seems like a bargain and you don’t stop to think how it can be worth his while for less than 40p (60c). He might take you to a few temples, but you will end up at a fake gem shop or a bogus travel agent.

I knew about this one before I went to Thailand because a mate of mine fell for it (the same guy once inadvertently paid €900 for a hat to wear to a party). There are a few variants, though. One guy approached me, claimed he was a policeman and flashed what might have been his library card. He warned me that some tuk-tuk drivers were dishonest and that I should only take the “official” tuk-tuks with the Thai flag on one corner and the royal flag on the other. They, he said, would take me round all the temples and then to a special shop where I could arrange cheap travel all over Thailand.

Just then, a tuk-tuk came round the corner with the Thai flag on one corner and the royal flag on the other.

 (c) Richard Senior 2014

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