Not the best of starts...

Trip Start Sep 28, 2010
Trip End Dec 16, 2010

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Where I stayed
Sivarin guesthouse

Flag of Thailand  ,
Monday, October 25, 2010

We'll have to do a proper entry for Bangkok once we've spent the next few days here, as day 1 has left us a bit dissillusioned!

Arrived in from the bus about 7.30am, and whilst a nice couple who teach English out here directed us to the metered taxi's so we wouldn't get ripped off by the zillions of drivers shouting 'taxi taxi' once we got off the bus, unfortunately we landed a driver who spoke no English, and also did not seem to know Bangkok very well!

As a result it took us three times as long and three times the expected fare to get to our guesthouse. The taxi driver did however knock the price on the meter down so we only paid double what was expected...first scam of the day, or not??

We were able to check in despite it being early morning, left our bags and headed out for breakfast. Porridge and eggy bread for Sophie, muesli for Keiron - his healthiest breakfast since being here! After that we ended up in a Tuk Tuk (despite Sophie's reservations, she'd read about scams in her guidebook....). The driver said he'd take us to the tall gold buddha and then the tourist information office for 10 baht (pretty cheap) and explained when we asked why it was so cheap that he'd get a fare from the tourist office for taking us there. To be fair he did take us to the standing gold buddha and then the tourist office, but was disappointed when we didn't book a tour (not that the staff were particularly helpful even if we had wanted to) as that meant he got no fare. It also meant we got taken to the next tourist office that would give him money for gasoline if we just got information. Again they were not very helpful but we thought we'd done enough, only to be driven to another temple instead of back to where we started! Sophie refused to get back in at that point so we paid his 10 baht and decided to walk back. Should have known better!

En route back to the guesthouse we also nearly got scammed again, with a friendly Thai who spoke good English claiming to be a policeman from Chaing Mai on holiday in Bangkok, pointing out nice places to go. These included the 'lucky temple' which is only open once a year, and the guy said it was a government day so these places would be cheap, and if we took a Tuk Tuk with a yellow flag they wouldn't charge us very much as they would get subsidised by the government. He also made some mention of a very good suit shop we could go to enroute...and a yellow-flagged Tuk Tuk magically appeared! We walked away half thinking it was a scam but just wanting to get back and sleep and shower. When the same guy waited down the road for us and told us the lucky temple was only open for the next 36mins so we had to go now, we stuck fast to the protest that we needed sleep back at the hostel and got out of there quickly!
Fortunately both of these would have only ended up in us wasting time being dragged around places we didn't really want to go, including tourist information offices and tailor shops, but with only a few days here we are now highly suspicious of any friendly people which is a bit of a shame.

We are going out to find some decent Thai curry, and looking forward to the free breakfast tomorrow :)

Ciao for now

Sophie and Keiron

P.S. we are also hoping to pick up a handset as we only have Sophie's and it has died a death for no apparent reason - sorry if we haven't replied to any texts!

P.P.S (for Rachel :D) - we ended up on Khao San road, it's mental - took refuge in a bar with a live guitarist/singer to watch the carnage from a balcony above the road! See pics!

P.P.S. To summarise Bangkok has three major tourist scams:
1) Ignore well spoken Thai men who will tell you that various Palaces (including the Grand Palace) are shut for the day/morning/afternoon and that you should get a Tuk Tuk to another temple, the "Big Bhudda" and "Lucky" Temples are their favourite as they are close to the travel agents/Tailors that they will take you to afterwards.

2) Ignore anyone who tells you it is a Government subsidised/supported/national holiday where you can get in a Tuk Tuk for only 10 or 20 baht. It's lies.

3) Be wary of people giving out "lucky" bird feed for pigeons near the Grand Palace, however forceful they are. 

Learn to say no thank you/ignore Tuk Tuk drivers/taxi's around Khao San Road.

Be instantly suspicious if the Thai man talking to you suggests something is "lucky".

In fact don't ever get in a Tuk-Tuk/taxi unless you are certain on an agreed price/meter and that you are happy the driver knows where he is going, even then don't be surprised if you're taken somewhere else first!

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