The Bangkok Chinatown Scam

Chinatown is one of the most fascinating areas of Bangkok to explore on foot. I was there last weekend for a brief look as I intend to write more about this area in the future. I walked a loop up and down two of the main roads through Chinatown which are Yaowarat Road and Charoen Krung Road (see map of my walk). I entered Chinatown via the subway station at MRT Hua Lamphong. From here it is only a short ten minute walk to the Chinese Gate. The mondop in the background of this picture houses the Golden Buddha at Wat Traimit. The entire circuit took me just over one hour.

If you come here you really need to be aware of the scammers. They are not dangerous but they are certainly annoying. The guy on the left was the first one to come up to me. He asked where I was going. I said that I was going to have a walk around Chinatown. He then said that today the whole of Chinatown is closed for a holiday. This is similar to the scam outside the Grand Palace where they try and tell you that the place is closed for a ceremony. What they want to do is take you to a gem store or a tailor shop which will have overpriced and poor quality products.

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If a tuk tuk driver says he will take you to the other side of town for only 10 or 20 Baht don’t believe him. The usual rule is, if it is too good to be true then it probably is. Most of these guy will mention a temple called Lucky Buddha and say they will take you there. There isn’t such a temple. It is just a normal temple in the middle of nowhere. Don’t go, just ignore them and keep walking. During my walk that day I was approached by four scammers. I feel sorry for any tourists coming to Chinatown for the first time and being tricked into thinking that the place is closed. Some of them are on a short holiday and probably wouldn’t get a second chance to visit Chinatown.

For stories of more scams around Bangkok, please visit our dedicated site at

9 responses to “The Bangkok Chinatown Scam

  1. Thanks for the report. There can’t be enough of them.

    I hate those guys!

    A few months ago one of them approached me around Sanam Luang, and I asked him “What do you want? Want to scam me?”. He got very angry, denied he was a scammer, but left very quickly. 🙂 (Yes, I agree, that it is way smarter to just ignore, but not confront, them.)

  2. We encountered this 3 times in Bangkok. Once was coming out Hua Luamphohg. We were unsure of direction of the Chinese gate and stand around trying to get our bearings when we approached. Lucky for us we knew what about to happen. He chatted about English football for a while then the conversation turned to shopping, he was very polite and smiley, then a tuk tuk arrived from nowhere and he said his friend would like to take shopping. We politely said no thanks, we want to go Chinatown and waked off.

    Didn’t get harassed in Chinatown at all and i have to say this was my favourite part of the city. Such an intense city experience. We got a boat to Wat Po once found our way down to the river on the way back we got of at the same pier and then walked the back roads between Yaorawat and the river which has a fascinating slow walk back to the train station.

    All in all – my best day out 3 days in Bangkok

  3. good advice. More good advice; “just say no” to any unsolicited offer anywhere in Thailand. Period

  4. How would you rate the annoyance factor of the China Town scammers against the pop up ads in your article that refuse to go away – at least you can tell the scammer to leave you alone.

  5. What pop-up ads? We don’t have any pop-ups ads on any of the websites in our network. I agree with you that type of advertising is so annoying.

  6. No pop-up ads for me too. He probably has a virus on his computer. Maybe he was scammed and clicked on a link in an email.

    Thanks for the tips Richard. Useful as always. I have passed it onto my friends who will be coming to Thailand on holiday. Good to know these things.

  7. The first two times I looked at this article I got pop up google ads placed over the script. This time I did not. I have kaspersky antivirus continually updated but will not say for sure that there is no virus as you obviously know more about such things then I do. Please accept my apologies for denigrating your website.
    Allan Ford.

  8. Sometimes when you know you are talking to a scammer I ask them if they know where I can get three suits and some cheap gems during a holiday… sometimes they just walk away.

  9. It is sad but true ka. sometimes when my husband here in thailand i have to make him stand somehwere else when i get tuk tuk or even taxi. In fact it really annoy me being Thai ka