Tuk-Tuk Adventures in Bangkok
Riding around in a tuk-tuk in Bangkok outside of Wat Pho (Pho Temple) which was near the Arun Residence where we were staying. Tuk-Tuk's are an incredibly iconic experience that I highly recommend if you've never been to Bangkok but a word of caution: They are pretty much all part of an intricately and skillfully organized racket. The tuk-tuk drivers (or touts who are incognito) will lure you into taking a trip to see all of the temples starting at around 20 baht (less than $1 US). It sounds great but the way that the drivers really get paid is a type of commission deal where they are allied with a network of jewelry and tailor shops that pay them to bring traffic to their stores. Once you are in the tuk-tuk, the driver (who is often genuinely friendly--a classic Thai trait) will offer his own temple circuit itinerary to you. Inevitably, the conversation will turn to shopping and he'll suggest some "great" shopping location. Where it gets really interesting is at the temples. You'll quite likely "bump into" a local who is there to pay his respects who will very innocently reveal confidential insider info on a government shop that just happens to be open to the public for that day meaning you have access to their wholesale prices. That being said, if you are aware of the scam, riding a tuk-tuk is actually a really fun way to see Bangkok. You might let the driver know you're in the know & negotiate just stopping briefly at one of the shops (that usually suffices).