Try to flag down a moving taxi, not one waiting by the hotel or tourist site. Lean in and tell the driver clearly your destination, if he nods, hop in and watch that the meter is started, and at 35฿. If not, politely indicate the meter, and say meter please. The average inner-city fare less than ฿100. Do not negotiate a fixed price, if the driver wants to negotiate, get another taxi. The meter tends to be cheaper.

If you get into a taxi whose meter goes up 2 baht every 3 seconds or so (the taxi meter should *not* be increasing that quickly), ask the driver to stop and let you out.  Otherwise, you'll end up paying 2 to 3 times what a legitimate metered taxi would cost you.

Also, avoid the "friendly" tuk-tuk drivers who may present themselves as guides and speak pretty good English. They hang out near major tourist sites, hotels and shopping areas and they'll tell you the temples are closed (holiday, cleaning, the King relatives passed away, local Thai only etc). Instead of the temples, they offer to take you on a cheap day-long tour of the city, but in reality, you may find yourself involved in their "get rich quick" scheme:

These cheap tuk-tuk tours will end up taking you to a fake (or over-priced) gem stores, a crappy tailor, a massage parlour or worse. The tuk-tuk driver will tell you he gets a coupon for petrol from each shop if he brings you to even if you don't want to buy. If you pity him and agree to go into the shop, but you may regret it - even if all you lose is hours of your valuable holiday time. 

So far, the Thai government has taken very little action against these people and schemes. Although in fairness, they do put up many warnings about this, the fact that this touts hang around popular tourists attractions in full view of the local police does still raise a question.

This is a link to the Bangkok Scams website

This is a link to vital information before you BUY GEMS in Thailand

So in summary, when approached by these touts, tuk-tuk drivers and even "friendly & helpful" strangers, be they Thai or not, the best bet is to smile, wave them away like you would a fly, and keep walking.

A few additional things to note:


  • Don't trust the many storefronts that appear to be "tourist bureaus" or travel agents, even if they have official-looking TAT registration/license numbers on them (which they all do). They overcharge and refuse to provide brochures or legitimate information and instead try to force you to buy certain prepackaged tours. The one legitimate tourist bureau that seems to exist in Bangkok looks very different - it's a fairly large white building with a wall of brochures inside (with a round logo of an elephant walking towards you with a buddha on its back). 
  • Remember: TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand) offices do not sell tickets or tours.
  • The address and contact details for the real Tourist Information Centre can be found here:


This Tourist Information Centre provides a small booklet containing some handy advice, some of which is repeated here to forewarn travellers:

  • The government does not help subsidise tuk-tuks and they cannot make tuk-tuks or taxi drivers charge a fixed rate (if a person approaches you saying the government has put a cap on tuk-tuk fares that day, it is false).
  • The Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha are open from 8:30am until 4pm. Tickets are sold until 3:30pm only and you must buy your own ticket inside (which cost 300B for each person at the time of printing - 2009). These sites do not close during lunch time. Don't believe that particular tourist sites are "closed" unless you see with your own eyes - this is another way scammers trick you into going to their own special "sites". 
  • The government does not have promotions or sales.
  • Normally scammers work as a team - people walking along the street, people from your own country, tuk-tuk drivers and people hanging around temples can all be part of the team. They all recommend you visit the same store, site or "fashion clearance sale".
  • You can be locked up in jewellery/suit shops as they attempt to force you to buy something you don't want.
  • Nothing is free. Don't accept things from strangers such as bird food, a hat, postcard etc unless they tell you the exact price and you agree on it. Ignore if they say it is for free or a gift - leave it on the ground if they refuse to take it back.
  • There is no "lucky Buddha".
  • The Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha require that you dress properly - you can make a deposit (100B at the time of printing - 2009) for renting proper clothing inside the Grand Palace and you will get your money back when the clothes are returned.
  • Beware of fake tourist guides. A good one will not have to wait along the street and look for customers.
  • Before getting into a taxi, lean in and tell the driver your destination, if he nods, get in and watch that he starts the meter at 35฿. If not politely remind him. If he wants to negotiate a fair, wave him on and try the next one. 
  • If you have been scammed, you can call the Tourist Police at 1155.