** Report your scams at our new website: BangkokScams.com
The other day I had a really enjoyable time in Ayutthaya. But, it was marred at times by the scams. This kind of thing can spoil anyones holiday. No-one likes to be scammed. So, what is the definition of scammer? The dictionary says “A person who swindles you by means of deception or fraud”. So, is the person above a scammer? The sign clearly says that entrance for the toilet is 5 baht. But, take a look at the sneaky Thai above. Normally Thai people only use Arabic numbers like ourselves. If you see numerals written in Thai numbers then you can safely guess that you are being scammed. In Thai, this sign says “Toilet 3 baht”. So, am I being scammed? OK, it is not a lot of difference between the prices. But, the definition of a scam is “Deprive of by deceit”. It is not the amount that is of concern. It is the fact that I am being deprived of an extra 2 baht by deceit. I hope she feels good that she made an extra 2 baht. She certainly didn’t look happy that I was taking her picture.
We all know about the two priced system in Thailand. It is quite widespread. But, is it acceptable? Are we being scammed? In the above case we have a sign for the entrance fee to one of the ruins in Ayutthaya. And yes, we are being scammed. They disguised the real entrance fee by using Thai numerals again. This is another clear case of “Deprive of by deceit”. OK, again we are not talking about a big difference in price. Thai people are 10 baht and foreigners are 30 baht. Incidently, although I have lived here a long time and pay taxes for the upkeep of places like this, I still have to pay “foreigners price”. Anyway, I didn’t argue or try to get in for 10 baht. It is not worth it as we are not talking about a lot of money. It just got a bit boring after a while to keep paying 30 baht each time. After ten locations it started to add up.
There are plenty of scams in Ayutthaya. It is a major tourist attractions and it is a good opportunity for the locals to make a lot of money. I don’t really want to give the impression that all Thai people are like this. Most of them are the kindest and most generous people on the planet. However, the ones that have mixed with foreigners change in some ways and become greedy and corrupt. Take a look at this elephant ride through the ruins of Ayutthaya. For 500 baht you get a 20 minute ride on the back of an elephant. For me that is a bit expensive (two days wages), but a lot of foreigners think, that is cheap. So, they do it. Most of the people in the elephant camp were foreigners. But there were some Thai people too. I looked around and could only see a price written in English. No sign of any other prices. Seemed strange so I queued up behind a Thai family at the ticket office. They asked how much for adults. The answer – 100 baht! The real price wasn’t even being advertised this time. “Deprive of by deceit”.
I think the most outrageous tourist scam I came across was this one at a restaurant called Khun Ton Fast Food, which is in the market area near Wat Phra Si Sanphet. I went in there and the first thing I saw was the usual menu in Thai up on the wall. I decided to go for fried rice with pork. The price was marked at 30 baht. A bit expensive but prices have started to go up these days. Before I had a chance to order, this plump waitress came over and said in broken English, “sit down sit down”. She then brought me over a menu in English. So, here I am looking at this menu and straight away I spotted that all the prices were 50 baht. So, I called the waitress over and said in Thai to her, how come it says 30 baht on the wall and this menu says 50 baht for the same dish. She then tried to make an excuse that it was a misprint in the menu. I told her that I hoped she wasn’t trying to cheat the foreigners. She didn’t reply. I decided not to stay. She had already offered me the real price, but I didn’t want to patronize this establishment any longer.
I honestly don’t think that these methods of deceit that they use are doing them any favours at all. Firstly they are creating bad feeling. Secondly, and more importantly, they will lose business when people like me start to campaign for foreign tourists to have the right to choose. By all means charge foreigners more if you like. But, don’t do it in a deceitful way. The people at Vimanmek Teak Mansion are doing it exactly right. No deceit there. They clearly say in English the price for Thai people and foreigners. Top marks for them. I had no problem paying them the foreigners price. They gave me the right to choose. These other people in Ayutthaya didn’t. They will hurt financially in the end. I know many people who never take tuk tuk rides. They would rather walk because they don’t want to be cheated. So, the tuk tuk driver loses out on a fare. While I was in Ayutthaya, I was thinking about going on a boat ride. I like boat rides. But, I don’t like being cheated. I just couldn’t be bothered arguing with the boat owner about the price. So, I never even went to take a look. Maybe he actually had a fair price for both Thailand foreigner alike. I will never know and the boat owner lost out on a potential fare.
Of course, this just doesn’t happen in Ayutthaya. Bangkok is just as bad. Yesterday I went into Bangkok with our Steve from Suphan Buri. We wanted to get scammed by the tuk tuk drivers. I wrote before that I was having difficulty in being scammed by these guys. Some forum members at thailandQA.com suggested I wasn’t wearing touristy enough clothes. So, did we get scammed inthe end? Find out in his blog tomorrow exclusively on thai-blogs.com.
** Report your scams at our new website: BangkokScams.com