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Gem Scam, Dinner Scam.. In the same day!

Kuala Lumpur...
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Gem Scam, Dinner Scam.. In the same day!

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!

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Somboondee Seafood Restaurant
Somboondee Seafood...
413 Reviews
Bangkok, Thailand
2,219 Reviews
Bangkok, Thailand
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1. Re: Gem Scam, Dinner Scam.. In the same day!

Hi Woody...

I had to laugh out loud reading your post,I just came back from Thailand and had some of the same experiences you did. I even had read endless warnings on trip advisor beforehand. My advice is the same:

Don't talk to any "friendly" person you approaches you. We got approached 6 times by "friendly" people offering to help us get to the Grand Palace. They all spoke great English and when they asked where we were from they all seemed to know something about the city or country we came from. That of course made for more conversation..

We were stopped out front of a police station by a nice "friendly" person who told us he worked inside the police station. We initially believed him.

We were told by all of these "friendly" people that, that day was "Buddha Day" and all of the temples were free but didn't open until later in the day. BUT if we wanted we could get on a tuk tuk and he would drive us to a few places beforehand and then we could head over to the temples later. We of course refused and proceeded to the Grand Palace.

We put our map away after that.

Even out front of the Grand Palace people were trying tell us that it was only Thai people allowed in and we'd have to come back later and then they tried to direct us to a tuk tuk. Again we marched past them and into the Grand Palace, which of course was opened.

I didn't have any gem scam experiences. Just a few taxi rip offs (I stayed away from the tuks) but that was it. Like I said earlier, I read these warnings consistently through the trip advisor posts but somehow almost believed a nice, warm, smiling, friendly stranger on the street. After that day I didn't indulge in any conversations with anyone on the streets and I had no problems.


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The Grand Palace
The Grand Palace
30,174 Reviews
Bangkok, Thailand
Toronto, Canada
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for Bangkok
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2. Re: Gem Scam, Dinner Scam.. In the same day!

Sorry to see that you got scammed. It happens to most 1st timers, eventhough most will never admit it and some are not even aware of it.

The restaurant one happens alot, even to local Thais. The SomBoon Seafood restaurant is a rather famous restaurant in BKK. So famous that there are now copy restaurants with almost the same name. So the scam is the taxis and tuk tuks take guest, farang + thai, to these fake Somboons, the drivers get a commission and the restaurant your business.

Check out the SomBoon seafood website, they even have a scam warning on their home page.

Remember, if the menu have no prices, walk out.

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Somboon Seafood
Somboon Seafood
521 Reviews
Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok Intl Airport
Bangkok Intl Airport
Bangkok, Thailand
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for Vancouver Island
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3. Re: Gem Scam, Dinner Scam.. In the same day!

Good advise that should be brought up periodically to warn the 1st timers.

We got the "cheap" tuktuk ride too, but realized what was happening and ignored the nice speaking folks at the other end and just carried on in our "new" location. The 4 of us had to huddle together though to get away from these jerks and entered a mall that they told us was closed for a royal holiday.

Hell, Norway
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4. Re: Gem Scam, Dinner Scam.. In the same day!

Why does anyone use tuk-tuks. Apart from scammers, tuktuk are dangerous, uncomfortable and often more expensive than an airconditioned taxi. Never believe anyone not wearing a uniform claiming to be a cop. Thai police uniforms are brown, and most cops wear a kind of helmet, like a mototcycle helmet.

Pattaya, Thailand
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5. Re: Gem Scam, Dinner Scam.. In the same day!

Yes maybe this forum should have a health warning attached in the same way that cigarette packets do - and it would save a lot of repeat postings. It should go along the lines of:

1 anyone who approaches you at the airport offering you a taxi or limo is a spiv and crook and will rip you off. to get a taxi go outside to the public taxi booth - you have to find this youself.

2 if approached on the street by friendly english speaking people tell them firmly to go away - they too are likely to be crooks and scammers (would you believe a stranger who approached you on the street in your home town?)

3 following on from 2 assume anyone who approaches you near to a tourist site ( grand palace, jim thomsons house etc ) and tells you it is closed is a liar and crook.

4 anyone who tells you that you are lucky and can access a special sale of gems/diamonds is a crook/con artist

5 any tuk tuk/taxi driver who offers you a special deal is on a commission to take you somewhere to get ripped off

6 any deal that seems too good to be true....is exactly that

7 a tuk tuk driver will always rip you off

8 if you get in a taxi and the driver doesn't switch on the meter then get out and walk away

9 don't go into an upstairs bar in patpong

10 don't give money to street begars - they are organised professionals

Sydney, Australia
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6. Re: Gem Scam, Dinner Scam.. In the same day!

Yes i dont know why people use tuk tuks ?

Noisy, hot. loud. dangerous, cost too much etc. When aircon cabs, quite,safe and cheaper are everywhere ???????????

And i think the Palace IS ONLY CLOSED on the king birthday !

Sydney, Australia
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7. Re: Gem Scam, Dinner Scam.. In the same day!

I can't help but laugh out loud either because this did happen to me too! but I didnt know about tripadvisor before then..

I think I went to the same temple too.. was it a small temple in the middle of no where and with no tourists? I knew I was getting scammed when I saw no other tourist around. I was SO freaked out.. Luckily my Boyfriend was with me..and that smartly dressed guy was there and spoke VERY good english telling us he'd been to Sydney and saw the Opera house... hahaha..

I too went to some Gem shop and the tuk tuk driver said he would get free petrol for taking us there.. he even had a "free gasoline" card in the photo part of his wallet! didn't really click to me till later..

But overall a funny experience and we laugh when we look back at it. I guess you always learn from your mistakes and come out wiser!

and another tip I might add.. Don't point and go ummm.. I think its this way.. thats another give away that you have no idea where your going.. at least pretend too! =)

Oudendijk, The...
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8. Re: Gem Scam, Dinner Scam.. In the same day!


On the occasions i have used a tuk tuk I always pretend Im in a hurry, I tell the driver where i want to go then completely ignore him, its not nice i know but it always works for me.


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9. Re: Gem Scam, Dinner Scam.. In the same day!

We had the opposite actually in Bangkok. Arrived off the bus from Kanchanaburi wanting to find a taxi to our hotel. The taxi drivers asked us for 200 baht to take us for a 10 minute ride. Given we had just paid 300 baht for a 2 1/2 hour ride this was rediculous.

Not one was interested. Even at the hotel we walked into again not interested. It turned out it was "peak hour" and they couldn't be bothered.

So in the end we took a tuk tuk for 200 as the taxi's had given up by then.

What a ride lol. me in the back surrounded by luggage with my feet hanging out the side. I was bouncing around with the luggage LMAO, what a site.

Actually it was a highlight of the trip. Life is an adventure!


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Kanchanaburi Province, Thailand
San Diego...
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10. Re: Gem Scam, Dinner Scam.. In the same day!


Sorry to hear that you got scammed. It saddens me that these sort of things happen to travellers. Not so much because of financial loss but we will be on our guard, which is fine. However, in doing so, we are not open to meeting/conversing with the truly nice and kind native people. I have struggled with this issue for a long time. In the end, I choose to be safe than sorry.

You might not receive sympathy from some travellers as they have this ridiculous "you should have known" attitude. One can read all the guidebooks' warnings and TA posts they want- a bad experience, such as yours, will bring the traveller to higher level of vigilant next time around.

The one advice ( I got this one from this forum) that I always keep in mind: never go to a place that you did not plan going/visiting.

I hope your future trips will be scam free! Thanks for posting.