Tuk-tuk driver takes us to wrong restaurant: Somboondee Seafood Market

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    • #743 Reply

      We had checked online for Bangkok restaurants and heard good stories about Somboon seafood restaurant, so we asked a tuk-tuk driver to take us there. When we arrived, it looked a bit different than what we expected and there were only foreigners, no local Thai people as guests, but none of us were suspicious of anything. The prices on the menu were a bit high, but we were willing to pay a little extra for excellent food. Unfortunately, the food wasn’t all that special, we had one order of Sea Bass which was a bit dry and one order of King Prawns that weren’t hot enough. We later found out that these were charged per 100 grams and the price wasn’t on the menu. So when the check came, we had to pay 3.400 Baht for two persons, including a few ridiculously expensive beers at 350 Baht. Then we also realized this wasn’t the Somboon restaurant, but the Somboondee Seafood Market. The tuk-tuk driver had taken us to an entirely different restaurant than we asked! We felt so cheated, but when we talked to another taxi driver about it, he said that the tuk-tuk driver who took us there must have been paid at least 1.000 Baht commission and that the place is well known for scamming tourists, but nobody does anything against it, including the Tourist Police. They are probably paid by the restaurant as well.

    • #745 Reply

      Thank you for your warning, Marta.
      The Somboondee Seafood Market is infamous for ripping off tourists, and the tuk-tuk drivers are definitely in on the scam, as you can read here: http://tourist-scams.com/bangkok/scam-tuk-tuk/.

      We need to get the message across to as many travelers as possible, to prevent them from falling in the same tourist trap.
      Read more about the Somboondee Seafood market at http://tourist-scams.com/bangkok/scam-somboondee-seafood-market/

    • #748 Reply

      We had the same experience, apparently they all use similar tactics to lure their victims to this place:
      As a group of friends, it’s always difficult to agree unanimously on what to eat, but our first night in Bangkok, we all felt like trying some of the famous Thai seafood, so we asked a minivan driver to take us to the restaurant we had picked.
      When we gave him the address, he said that we wouldn’t be able to go there, because there would be protesters in the streets that night. But he knew another restaurant for seafood that was at least as good as the one we wanted to go to. We had to trust him on his word and told him to take us to the other place.
      When we entered, the staff looked very friendly and smiling (we now know that must’ve been from the Dollar signs in their eyes), and we took our places. The obtrusive waiter kept recommending us to order the live fish, and two of our group did so. Others ordered prawns, scallops or snapper, which are charged by weight, except they don’t ask you how much you would like and just serve any size they like. We also ordered a bottle of wine and some beers.
      The smiles and friendliness of the staff had disappeared as soon as we had ordered, and they were almost rude. There were not many other guests in the restaurant, but when we were almost done, another European tourist who had just paid his bill passed our table on his way out, and he warned us that it was very expensive and not to order any more drinks. We didn’t believe him at first, but when he started to tell us about his bill, the staff quickly ushered him out the door.
      We asked for the bill as well and were shocked! For some orders, they charged over 800 grams of fish, while the live fish, and especially the wine and beer was outrageously expensive.
      They also add 7% VAT and 10% service charge to the prices in the menu and even charged 100 Baht extra for the refreshment towels! We ended up paying more than € 80,- per person for an average meal and horrible service. That’s at least three times as expensive as in any other Thai restaurant we ate later that week. Thankfully, this experience on our first day had taught us to be on guard for friendly locals giving advice and it saved us from getting scammed a couple of more times during our stay.

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