If you ever plan to visit Bangkok, you should know that you will probably run into some scams. Whether you get into a taxi that is taking you too several jewelry shops, a tuk-tuk driver that is overcharging you, people at temples telling you the temple is closed for foreigners and they can give you a free or very cheap tour…
Before you travel anywhere, it’s always adviced to do a quick search online so you can see what scams to look out for.
I thought I had a good idea of what scams were possible in Bangkok, yet I still got ripped off at Khao San Road.
Poppy and I wanted to visit the floating market. When we saw a tourist guide, advertising trips to the floating market, I decided to hear what he had to offer.
He told us he could pick us up at our hotel with his private car, bring us to the floating market and other tourist attractions if we wanted and would drive us back to our hotel. Total price for 2 persons; 800 Baht. A very reasonable price. However, I don’t believe this taxi driver only earned 800 Baht that day by driving us around.
The next day, as agreed, the taxi driver was waiting for us at our hotel. He took us for a ride of about 1,5 hours to the floating market.
Once we arrived, it was very quiet. No other tourists were there. Maybe that’s because of the COVID-19 situation, or maybe because this wasn’t an actual good spot to buy tickets for the floating market.
We went to the entrance of the boats and listened to a lady telling us the options for the floating market.
They had different prices, depending on what activities we wanted to do.
We had three options:
- A 2-hours private boat trip through the floating market with the visit of one temple included: 2000 Baht/person
- A 2,5-hours private boat trip through the floating market with the visit of 2 temples: 2500 Baht/person
- A 2,5 hours privat boat trip through the floating market with the visit of 2 temples + an activity we could choose from: 3500 Baht/person. The activities we could choose from were: ATV riding, Tiger Show, Monkey Show… These shows with animals didn’t seem like a good idea to me. I don’t like animal shows were the animals are forced to perform anyway.
You see the pricing? Even for Western people, these prices are expensive. In South-East Asian terms, this is extremely overpriced!
For the salesperons of the pier, it was clear that we didn’t have any other options. We had nowhere to go so were kind of obligated to pay this overpriced boat trip. We obviously choose for the cheapest option.
I didn’t have enough cash on me as I didn’t expect this activity to be this expensive but the boat driver obviously was happy enough to stop at an ATM machine where I could withdraw money.
I’m pretty sure, the taxi driver also got a commission by the salesperson at the pier for taking us there.
When in the boat, we first passed a few “souvenir shops”. All way overpriced items from shops that didn’t really appear to me to be the well-known, official “floating market”. I bought a Chang beer and bottle of water and was charged 150 Baht. 100 Baht (around €3) for a can of Chang is just way too much. In a restaurant at Khao San Road you would pay 100 Baht for a big bottle of Chang. So again, I was overcharged. On top of that I saw that the boat driver got a commission for the sale from the salesperson. Another indication for me that this boat trip was just all about selling foreign tourists as much as they can. I’d expected to get ripped off less given that Poppy is a Thai woman and not a foreign tourist.
Anyway, after about 20 minute drive, saying no to every souvenir shop owner that is trying to sell you anything desperately, we saw the sign “Floating Market” which must be the sign that the floating marketing is officially starting there.
Still not much tourists – as anywhere in Thailand at the moment – and a lot of shops seem to be closed. It was not crowded at all, so once again I was kind of dissappointed in the atmosphere there was at the floating market. Since Poppy and I felt ripped off for the boat ticket price and the Chang beer, we didn’t buy anything else.
We went through the floating market quite quickly as it was so quiet and arrived at a temple. The temple also seemed abandoned with nobody around. Highlight of the whole boat trip was probably feeding the fish (and pigeons) at the temple.
When we arrived back at the taxi, the driver asked us if we wanted to go to the famous market with the train passing by next. Having a bad mood because we felt ripped off and not wanting to take the risk to pay such a high ticket price again, we said no and asked the driver to drive us back to Khao San Road.
Bottomline; the floating market is probably worth a visit during non-covid times. But make sure you book your ticket in advance. You can find entrance (group) tickets online at Expedia for as low as 800 Baht/person. Or when you agree a price with a taxi driver, at least ask how much the entrance ticket would be 😉