It started as a nice day and a trip to the grand Palace. After my family completed sightseeing at the grand palace we decided to walk to Wat Pho(The Reclining Buddha)..
On our way there, a tuk tuk driver attempted to stop us claiming that wat pho was closed but we ignored the driver and proceeded onwards. A few minutes later, we stumbled upon a Tourist Police. He too claimed that Wat Pho was closed for some royal ceremony.. We trusted him since he was a "police officer" even showing us his authority card!
Then, he suggested for us to go to the "Lucky Buddha Temple" and even got us a tuk tuk at a 'discounted price'. He said that the "lucky temple" was for the royal families only and we were lucky today because it was only open to the public for today..
When we arrived, we were greeted by a "surprised" "caretaker" for the temple. He claimed to be a royal architect and was in charge of the temple. He too repeated the tourist police's story and even offered a 'free guided tour' around the temple. By the way, he kept repeating that we were "very luck today"(at least 20 times =D). He also told us about the various gems decorating the buddha statues especially sapphires, rubies and diamonds claiming to: "Bring Happy, Lucky, Long life"
At the end of the tour, he asked us who reccomended us to come here.. He then suggested to go to the "Royal" Lapidary Factory which is meant for royalties only but it was opened to the public today with huge discounts because it was their 30th anniversary. Then he got us a "discounted" cab ride to the lapidary.
The lapidary was truly a touristy destination with free drinks and even an orientation video. We sensed something wrong and refused to purchase anything..
Later, we took a taxi back to the pier so we could take a boat back to the city.. The driver insisted to take us for a "motor boat ride along the khlong". When we refused, he took a much longer route and dropped us at an isolated place. Luckily we managed to find our way out through the back alleys to the pier.
We took a boat and got off at pier 5 to go to Yaowarat(chinatown). After visiting chinatown, we wanted to go to Hua Lamphong to ride an MRT back to the hotel.. We met a smartly dressed man who spoke good english claiming to be the owner of a nearby shop..
He chatted with us for a few minutes before reccomending us to go for a "fresh seafood dinner" at SomboonDee Seafood Market. He called over a waiting tuk tuk to pick us and "negotiated" for a cheap fare.
The driver happily brought us to a place near a railway line. Address: Phayathai Rd, Rajthavi.. When we entered the restaurant, we were brought straight to the seafood selection without any menu and we felt pressured to select. We only picked 2 seafood items(1 fish, 4 prawns) and a vegetable dish.
The bill for 4 of us was 4200 baht! With this price, we could have gotten a live seafood feast back home!
For those going to Thailand, remember:
- Never talk to smartly dressed guys speaking good english who approach you
- Dont walk with a map in hand(we were only mobbed when we stopped to look at the map)
- Dont trust anyone who approaches. Even the tourist police
-Dont trust the tuk tuks and taxi drivers(better to pay more for the MRT or skytrain)
- The temples are never closed!