Bangkok generally is a very safe city and the hazards of exploring as a tourist are very low. However, there are certain challenges and scams that people who are on holiday in Thailand should watch out for, especially if they look like they have just arrived in the city and don’t know where they are going.
People who visit the Grand Palace and other major attractions may well run into one scam that has been operating for many years. A man dressed in a tour guide’s uniform will approach tourists on their way to the attraction and tell them that it is closed, offering to show them some of the city’s other attractions, for a fee, of course. No matter what anyone tells you, go to check if the attraction of your choice is really closed before changing your plans. Booking Bangkok day tours is a good way to avoid scams in Bangkok and see the sights in comfort and style.
The Language Barrier
Thai is the official language of Thailand and although English is spoken in some of the main tourist areas of the city, not all merchants and taxi drivers speak English. It is best to carry a Thai phrasebook with you at all times as well as a pocket dictionary. Make sure that the translation is written in Thai as well as phonetically in English so that you can point to the Thai word if you pronunciation is not understood.
Finding your way around Bangkok can be a bit tricky at first. The city is rather large and many of the main tourist attractions are spread out across the city. If you are exploring independently, make sure you carry a small foldable map of the city to help you find your way. Ask the staff at your hotel to write the names of the attractions that you want to visit in Thai so that you can hail a taxi and point to them if you get stuck.
Taxi and Trouble
Although there are thousands of taxis to choose from in Bangkok, actually hiring one and getting to the correct destination is not as easy as you might think. Aside from communication problems, most drivers won’t take passengers unless they feel like it. Finding a taxi to take you where you want to go can sometimes be a long and frustrating process, especially if you’re in a hurry. Make sure that the taxi driver turns on the metre as soon as you hit the road. If the driver refuses to use the metre, get out and find another taxi. Taxis do not usually come with satellite navigation systems and many taxi drivers are unfamiliar with Bangkok. Therefore, it is best to carry the name card of your chosen destination as well as a map. If possible, ask someone to write the address of the place you want to go in Thai to make finding your destination as simple as possible.
Indian fortune tellers have been operating in various parts of Bangkok such as Khaosan Road for many years now. Occasionally they are rounded up by the police and sent home, but business is so good that they usually hop on the next plane back to Bangkok. If you are approached by an Indian man who tells you that you have a lucky face, simply walk on by. Numerous people have reported that these individuals tell them a little information either for free or a small fee, then demand a large price to revealing more secrets.
Check out the sightseeing opportunities in Bangkok and Beyond
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