Travel agency ripoff Bangkok: Sun Sea Travel
21st April, 2012
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Hi everybody! I wanted to share the following experience with all of you, so that you don't get scammed or ripped off when booking trips while in Bangkok!
My girlfriend and I sayed in Bangkok last week and during our stay we wanted to visit some places near Bangkok, especially the floating market and the tiger temple . While visiting a temple in Bangkok, we were approached by a person, which advised us that a good place to book trips would be a government travel agency, as these do not have high commissions. A tuk tuk took us there, to an agency called sun sea travel, with the address 5-5/2 Rongmuang soi 5, Patumwan, Bangkok, 10330, tel. [url=tel:0-2612-5593-7]0-2612-5593-7[/url], email: email@example.com. We paid 11000 baht for a two day trip including accommodation to the floating market, tiger temple, elephant riding and rafting. We were supposed to have a guide with us and the accommodation was supposed to be clean, have ac and all in all nice. This was what we agreed upon.
Well, it all came differently. The so-called guides were mainly drivers and all in all, we could not communicate with any of the people involved in this, as they did not understand or speak English, apart from a few standard phrases. While on our trip, we learned from the other fellow travelers that they paid under half of what we paid and this for a three day program. The accommodation was horrible, it was a hut made of all kinds of materials, cheap, dirty and there were rats all around, including one in our room. We could not move to another place, as we were in the middle of nowhere and it was evening! The tour was "organized" by another agency called Mamtours! You can see their so-called hotel advertised on their site, www.mamtours.com! We exchanged several buses and minivans during the two days and were dropped off at the respective locations, without any guide or explanation!
I wrote them an email after returning from our trip, complaining to them and asking for a refund of what we paid too much, that is 5500 baht, but I did not get any answer until now.
We learned this on our own, but the lesson for everybody would be not to trust any "friendly" people offering anything on the streets, as they are probably trying to scam you! Very often, they will approach you, ask you where you wanted to go and tell you this or that tourist spot is closed and offer to bring you to some other place, which is open! Always go to at least three travel agencies and take your time to compare prices, as they can differ significantly!
Thank you for your help and cooperation!
#1 Posted: 22/4/2012 - 18:39
Thanks for the warning, this is why I don't take tours if I can avoid it, especially by so called "friendly" people who approach me.
#2 Posted: 22/4/2012 - 19:15
"advised us that a good place to book trips would be a government travel agency"
There is no such thing. The TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand) only trains/certifies guides and agencies, and provides tourism info free of charge. They DO NOT SELL anything.
"11000 baht for a two day trip including accommodation to the floating market, tiger temple, elephant riding and rafting"
An outrageous price, but now you know.
It's one of the most common scams in Bangkok. Always always always shop around to compare prices, and in general book trips, activities, transport, etc. as close to the source as possible. Thanks for your report (100s just like it). Check out the reports of Unseen Travel on Lonely Planet.
#3 Posted: 23/4/2012 - 10:41
30th August, 2012
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Hello, we are now in Bangkok and just came from this same scam. We took this morning a tuc tuc, he said he was going to take us to some temples, a couple of shops to get his commission (he told that from the beginning) and to the official tourist office center. In the second temple a person approach to us, presenting himself as a teacher, and repeat a thousand times that is was very important that we visit the tourist official government agency since governement was enforcing bookings there, so the money remanined for thai people instead of going to big american companies that intermediate in bookings. And that for tourist it was very good since you get 30% cheaper prices than in any other place. That it was he said. He was really very insistent with that. After, we were taken, supposely, to this offical agency but afterwards we found out it was not. In this agency, Sun Sea Travel, they play the role of been official or at least they do not say they are not and desing a travel package for you. It was quite a lot of money, we travel with two small kids and usually never get any package, so we told the man that we were going to think about it and check some info on the Internet. Then he became kind of rude and started to say that why do we needed to read internet crap, that people just wrote on line to say nasty things, that he was not going to give us his draft with the suggested itinerary because we could go then to another agency with his work and get better rates,... all kind of things, we were really socked. Then he said that he knew that if we leaved the place we were not going to come back because in 8 years nobody had. We then started really to worry and realised we were not in the official government agency. I told him kids were hungry, it was already 3 pm and wanted to go back. He said he could not get any sleep thinking if we were going to come back or not. By that time we were more than ready to leave and have clear in mind that he had lost his sale for his pushing manners and that we were victims of a scam. We leaved the place and told the tuc tuc driver it was a scam and we wanted to go back to the hotel area. He said we still needed to go to one more shop for his commission, we were really angry and told him to drive us back to the hotel right away. He did. Well, I just check here and found out this is a common practise so I just wanted to share with other this wired experience.
#4 Posted: 30/8/2012 - 05:19
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