I finished the last entry getting off my second flight and getting my money out. After that I was hanging out at baggage claim, waiting for my bag to come round the carousel and I started talking to a group of 3 Irish girls. We had a chat and it turned out their hostel was nearby to mine. So we decided to share a cab. This would have been a GREAT idea and a GREAT way to make friends, however things quickly took a bad turn.
I’ll just stop here to mention that I did in fact read a number of important pieces of advice for getting cabs from Bangkok airport:
- Make sure the cab you get in has a meter
- Make sure you go the ‘interstate way’ because it’s the cheapest
And these were important and useful pieces of advice which I followed, and everyone should follow when getting a taxi in Bangkok… But classic me, still got scammed.
It made sense for the Irish girls to get dropped off first, they pay their share and then I get dropped last. And this went to plan; we finally got to their hostel after a really long route, we said our goodbyes, and my stop was literally minutes after theirs. I had my hostel loaded on maps, as the driver kept insisting he didn’t know where it was. Mildly concerning, but anyway… This also stopped the driver from doing any long snakey routes (I silently thought about how well I had things under control).
When we rocked up at my hostel, the meter showed 3x the amount I had expected. And to top it all off, the cab driver insisted the girls I had bonded with hadn’t paid their share at all, leaving me to pay around 1500 Baht, (£35?!?!?).
I reluctantly gave him the cash, unconfidently questioning, “errr are you sure they didn’t pay?” I’d never pay more than about £15 in taxis in the UK let alone bloody Thailand. Of course I never found out whether he was telling me the truth, but looking back, it was almost certainly him that was spamming me, not these nice girls I’d bonded with. I’m trying not to project a stereotype here but dodgy creepy taxi driver or dodgy 20 year old girls on their gap years…? Either way, I learnt to not to disclose too much information to taxi drivers etc., for example when he asked, “are they your friends?” I probably shouldn’t have responded with: “no I just met them”). I also learnt not to trust people instantly, just because they’re the first people you come across from your own country.
The rest of the day consisted of 3 hours debating whether or not to walk to a Thai Starbucks by myself (I decided not in the end), a nap and small stress-cry about whether I’d made the right decision to travel alone. As it turns out, I’m not the only one that has had this routine on their first solo travel experience. I also practically burnt my face off with a Thai curry (Thai food is actually bloody spicy it turns out). But I did meet the group I would be touring South East Asia with, and made some friends, so not a terrible day after all.
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