Bangkok is a thrilling city to explore, from old temples to markets and hippyish bars this place has got it all. But I find myself becomming increasingly frustrated by the city which is a shame. Why? Scammers. Every moment of the day you are bombarded by 'tuktuk! tuktuk!' and often drivers will try to charge you five times the atual fare. The main danger however lies in the ever mysterious 'Helpful Stranger'. I have no idea where they come from but they pop up constantly and if you're not careful you can get yourself into a bit of a mess. I decided to let them try their best shpiel and see if I could find out exactly what their game is.
So what do you need to look out for? A friendly face, usually claiming to be in trust worthy employment, a school teacher or security man for example. They will ask about your holiday and next destination and shock horror, they ususally come from the very town you next intend to visit! What a small world! Your new friend will ask where you are going and will always inform you that sadly, this attraction is closed today for a special festival. My favourite excuse offered to me was that the palace was shut because the King was in town getting fitted for new clothes after new year. Another classic was that 'the monks are eating their lunch, it is impossible to go!' I swear, you couldn't write this kind of gold.
Kindly, to buffer your disappointment Stranger will offer you an alternative way to occupy yourself, how sweet! Usually the suggestion is a temple. Now this is the point (if you've gotten in this deep) where you need to make your excuses and go. Stranger will begin babbling about tuk tuks and which ones you can trust. Some claim you should only use the ones with yellow number plates. Others say only ones with Thai flags. There is often talk of fuel coupons also, just to jazz things up a little. Dear Stranger will now hail you a tuk tuk and send you on your way, usually at a price that sounds too goo to be true. Often at this point a friend of Strangers will 'bump into you', I think this is just to give more grounding to the crock of lies you are being sold.