If you fall for a scam but it doesn’t cost you any money…have you really been scammed?
That is the question I am currently asking myself.
So it took a Google search for me to figure out I had fallen victim to my first scam when travelling (a very quick Google search might I add)
If you google ‘Lucky Buddha Scam’ you can find out exactly what I am talking about.
It all started with me looking at a statue near a temple when a friendly Thai who spoke good English approached me. He asked me where I planned to go. I told him The Grand Palace, he told me that if I go on a Sunday (aka tomorrow) it will be free. (I imagine this is a lie now looking back) Either way I didn’t have any solid plans for today or tomorrow to be honest. So I took his recommendations on where to spend my time today.
He gave me a map- which was useful since I didn’t have one. He circled all the locations that would be good to visit. This included the lucky Buddha, factory and Wat Intrawihan. He then flagged down a Tuk Tuk, explained everything to the guy and told him it should be only 10 Baht (20p)
First stop was the lucky Buddha inside a temple a local greeted me where he also spoke English, he told me some history about Bangkok being the capital. Google tells me that there is no such thing as ‘the lucky Buddha’ as they are all lucky so I’m going to gather the history was probably a lie too…
After this we headed to the factory where you could buy cheap suits at 40% off..great! Except I’m a woman and don’t wear suits so I left after 2 minutes.. Got back on the Tuk Tuk and he took me to the giant Buddha.
When he dropped me off I was expecting to pay the 10B I’d agreed on, except he charged me nothing at all. Said it was free fuel from the government.. So I went on my way feeling pretty happy about it all and viewed the Buddha which I had been wanting to go see anyway.
On my way out I was approached again by a different Tuk Tuk. He said the same story about it being a special day and that I don’t have to pay because the fuel is free. He told me he would take me to a Gems Gallery first then to where I wanted to be. I just went along with it. The Gems Gallery was the company that made the map I had in my hand.
It was very nice inside, sharks and tropical fish everywhere plus I got a free drink on entry.. I wasn’t interested in any jewellery though as I don’t wear it and he should have noticed that about me really. So I used the 10 minutes I had to look at sharks , make the most of the air con and go to the toilet… Win.
After this he dropped me off at Khao San Road where I had requested and showed me where I could get Thai food. And now I’m sat in the restaurant writing this entry with a drink in hand and watching the boats on the canal.
I spent absolutely nothing today because of this ‘Bangkok scam’.
Looking back on this I feel a bit of an idiot for believing that it was a legit thing, but at the same time, in a way have I not just beaten the scammer? I got free Tuk Tuk rides all day, got to see a bunch of stuff I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise, got a free map, free drink and clean loo break as well as being taken to exactly where I wanted to end up and with a recommendation on where to go for good Thai food. So on reflection.. Have I just scammed them by taking advantage? Haha I’ll leave it on that note.