Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Beware Of The T.i.T Scam, Bangkok

So it's the second day into our Bangkok visit and we've been scammed... by £160. Here's what happened and how to avoid it.


Heading out of our hotel to spend the afternoon down at the Grand Palace, the guys on reception warned us that under no circumstance to listen to anyone who approaches us on the street telling us that the Palace is closed for whatever reason and that it only opens at 2pm. "The monks are praying" or "tourists are only allowed in at certain hours" are some of their favourite things to say. Praying on vulnerable tourists, their tactic and only tactic is to convince you that the palace is closed but hey, "not to worry, they'll take you on their own tour of the city themselves in the meantime!". What you don't know is that after the tour on their ever so handy Tuk Tuk parked just 10 metres away, they'll whisk you off to show you the sights before dropping you off at a T.i.T shop (tourist information travel). Just fyi, the official tourist travel shops in Bangkok are T.A.T (Tourism Authority Travel) or something along those lines. They're the official ones to look out for. They then sit you down, print out a grid calendar of the current month you're in and start planning your trip with you, informing you off all the excursions you need to do and trains/boats you need to book in quite a forceful way.

The first part of this didn't happen to us as we didn't get into a Tuk Tuk (this is the main way of the scam happening) but instead we saw a T.i.T shop on the way to the train station and jumped out - obviously thinking this was a real tourist shop. Before we knew it we'd been sat down, a calendar grid had been printed out and the guy was on the phone to the station booking the train tickets for us to Chiang Mai. He was polite, friendly, knew his stuff and promised us the trip was fine. So being excited at everything being sorted for us, we handed over our cash and that was that, we now had a train for the next day, a 3 day jungle trek sorted out for once we arrived in Chiang Mai and our slow boat to Laos booked. 

It was only when we arrived back at the hotel it hit us that maybe we should have done a little more research on this agency before booking. And what did we find? Many Google posts and sites from previous people explaining how T.i.T shops are not to be trusted and basically scam you out of more money than the trip is actually worth. We were gutted. So gutted that we sat in our room panicking instead of going to the Lebua (featured on The Hangover film) skybar like planned which would've been amazing. We'd handed over £160 and couldn't do anything about it. 

Fortunately for us, we checked that evening and the train tickets were legit so we headed off the next day to Chiang Mai where we instead booked our own hostel and planned to start the trip from scratch. If anything this has been a learning curve for the rest of the trip in terms of doing research properly before agreeing to anything, and to be very wary of who to trust. Just because the guys nice and knows all the right information (obviously), it doesn't mean they are to be trusted. Everything was ok in the end, but we just had to accept that we'd lost out on the money and had stupidly fallen into the T.i.T scam trap. 

Before we started this South East Asia trip we knew something would end up happening at some point, but just didn't realise how easily we would fall into the trap. We're 3 bright, sensible girls aware of being scammed/robbed yet still managed to be affected. So I just wanted to post this to help anyone else out who is thinking of ever going to Bangkok. I wish we had known about T.i.T beforehand, but things happen and lessons are learnt. 

It hasn't put me off Bangkok one bit though, it's such an amazing city and I'd absolutely love to come back as soon as possible. It's honestly incredible and most of the people really are lovely. I'm just more aware than ever now and wanted to make others aware too so that you don't fall into the trap we did. 

SHARE:
Post a Comment
© She Who Does. All rights reserved.
BLOGGER TEMPLATE MADE BY pipdig