The Grand Palace is one of Bangkok’s most impressive sights, and it was quite an honour to share this experience with my parents on their last day in Thailand. The sheer beauty you witness in all the buildings surrounding can’t help to make you feel like a kid in a candy store while your snap pictures in every direction. There is nothing even remotely close of a sight in North America.
But mixed up amongst all this beauty is a large amount of ugly disguised behind smiles. Friendly, well spoken Thai’s, dressed in “uniforms” with maps in their hands. They stand outside all the entrances of any the Wats in the Grand Palace area with big smiles and approach you as a friend asking if you need help. You hear their great English and see this embroidered emblem on their yellow golf shirt and can’t help to think this guy must be legit. They’re usually standing right beside the guards talking to them. Chances are you do have a question, usually which direction a certain Wat is and you causally ask the way. This is when you are told where-ever you are going is currently closed for a special ceremony, but they have a great offer for you to take a tuk-tuk tour to some other places for only 20 baht and will have you back when the ceremony is over.
If you don’t want to bother hearing a pile of lies during your sight seeing day around the Grand Palace and surrounding Wats, then don’t ask a single Thai person in the area a single question. Dressed in a “uniform” or not. If they approach you, just be flat out rude and ignore them and keep walking. No one will tell you the truth. They all want you to get into a tuk tuk so they can take you to shops you don’t even want to go to. Even if they are not trying to sell you a tuk tuk ride but just stating a Wat is closed they are just working with someone to help make these lies more believable. Instead, bring a map and research ahead a time where you need to go, if you do need to ask, ask a tourist instead. Even the security guards on the outside are in on the scams, even though it’s highly illegal for any of these scams in Thailand, they still will tell you the same thing the scammers are saying. It’s unfortunate that it’s come to this.
So be warned, the things you will hear are highly convincing. The Grand Palace and surrounding Wats are always open during the hours that are stated in your guidebooks. There are a million different scams in Bangkok, but with a educated mind you can avoid them all and really enjoy this remarkable city. To stay up to date on the scams, check out this website: Bangkok Scams
Now that I’ve exposed all the ugly around the Grand Palace, here is some of the amazing beauty you will find there. (to see more check out our flickr album)