Bangkok, the bustling capital of Thailand, is more than just booze, shopping and parties. There are traditional temples, architecture, river boat tours and cultural sightseeing to enjoy around the city. However, because Bangkok is one of the major touristy places in Asia, it is prone to scams and minor tourist crimes. While the word “scam” and “tourist crime” might be enough to scare some people away from Bangkok, it isn’t enough to totally overrule the experience of traveling this bright, lively and beautiful city.
In order to travel safe in Bangkok and save money at the same time, here are a few tips:
Be Cautious In Getting Metered Taxis
Taxis are one of the most common ways to get scammed in Bangkok. When you flag a taxi and it starts running, there’s a huge possibility that they won’t turn on the meter and they’ll charge you a hefty amount for being 10 minutes away from your destination. Instead of simply getting in, ask the driver if he can use the meter to your destination before getting in. If he doesn’t agree, pick another taxi. There are so many taxis in Bangkok that you’ll never run out of options. One way or another, you’ll find a taxi driver who’s willing to use the meter.
Try Street Food
Scared to try street food? Don’t be. Street vendors in Bangkok are so focused on getting customers that they are very careful with the food and ingredients that they use. If their food is unsafe, they wouldn’t be there on a daily basis and their food stalls wouldn’t be packed with tourists. The best part about eating street food? It costs half the amount you’d pay for food at a restaurant!
Stay In A Dorm With Lockers
In all of Southeast Asia, the hostels in Bangkok are definitely some of the fanciest – at such cheap prices! For one-fourth of the price you’d pay at a hotel, a bed at a hostel can offer you state of the art facilities, clean sheets, clean showers, towels, ample space and lockers to secure your stuff. What else would you need when you’ll be out all day and possibly all night too?
If you’re afraid of being crawled at night by a drunken tourist, you can always opt for a top bunk. Surely that’ll give them a harder time to crawl you, especially when they can’t even find their beds in the dark.
Pick A Place To Stay Near Tourist Destinations
Taxi and tuktuk scams are very popular in Bangkok. The only way you can avoid taking these is if you live near the tourist destinations. Places like Khao San Road and Silom Road are both near a few tourist destinations, with main roads that local buses go through. Since you can also walk to the Chao Phraya Express Boat terminal, you can also catch a ride to other spots in the city. It will save you the time haggling with tuktuk drivers and will keep you from taking expensive taxis.
Take Local Transportation
Who says taking local transportation is dangerous? Thais are very helpful and friendly and most of them speak good English. If you truly want to save money, ask them to help you. But at the same time, be wary of your surroundings. If you can get mugged in a safe city in your own country, there’s a slight chance you could also be a victim anywhere else in the world. Be alert, be smart and you’ll be fine.
Choose Tour Packages Carefully
Getting a tour package in Bangkok can be expensive. But be smart in picking the right packages. If you’re too lazy to go on a D-I-Y, check out different travel agencies. There are so many online and around touristy places that you’ll probably never run out of options. Compare rates, see how many customers they have, watch as they handle their customers. Watch carefully and you’ll get an inkling when someone’s trying to rip you off.
Just remember to be alert at all times. Bangkok is amazing. There’s really nothing to be afraid of. Go ahead, give Bangkok a try and make sure to enjoy every bit of culture and tradition Thailand has to offer. Enjoy! I hope you fall in love with Bangkok as much as I did.
Brenna Bustamante is a lover of travel, learning and culture. In between her full time Internet marketing job she finds herself wandering in South East Asia and her home country, the Philippines. Find out more about Brenna and her travels at The Philippine Travelogue.