Feeding the Birds in Bangkok

One our first day in Thailand, we had the opportunity to check out one of the largest street markets in the world, visit Thailand’s famed Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall and visit several temples. All of which you’d expect when visiting a city as iconic as Bangkok. But what you WOULDN’T expect is to have an elderly Thai woman scream at you for feeding the birds.

As we were walking down the street towards the Grand Palace, this elderly Thai woman walked up to me and handed me a bag of dried corn pieces. I asked her what it was for and she mimed throwing to the ground. So, I opened the baggie and threw some of the dried corn onto the ground. As soon as I did that, TONS of pigeons descended on us and just filled the sidewalks.

Birds in BangkokBirds in Bangkok

Troy had been walking ahead of me while all this happened, but when the birds showed up, he turned around to see what had attracted them. He asked me what I was doing as the lady handed me two more bags and I told him I was feeding the birds. Who doesn’t like to feed birds?

Birds in Bangkok

He took some pictures of the birds and then cautioned me against taking more bags from the lady. He said she would want money for them. I told him, no, she didn’t say anything about them costing anything before telling me to feed the corn to the birds, so it wouldn’t cost anything. haha. So naive. This was our first day of our first trip just over a month after we’d moved to Malaysia. I had no clue. So, I gave Troy two of the bags the lady had given me and he fed the birds, too.

We had fun for about 10-15 minutes, just throwing corn for the birds and taking pictures. The lady stood there and laughed along with us and some people stopped to watch us. It was pretty fun.

After we’d had our fun, we decided to keep going on to the Grand Palace, which was just down the street. As soon as we started talking away, the lady started yelling and waving her arms and going crazy. We had no clue what was going on. We stood there staring at her for a moment until we finally understood her saying baht, which is Thai money. Troy chided me a little and said that he was sure the lady wasn’t just being nice to foreigners. So, we asked her how much.

400 baht! What?!

Seriously. She wanted 400 baht. That’s as much as it costs for one person to get into the Grand Palace. We definitely were NOT going to pay that much for a few small bags of dried corn that we probably could have picked up for less than 20 baht at a local store.

Troy tried to argue with her for a few minutes, about how she couldn’t charge that much when she’d given us the impression that she was just giving the stuff to us. He really doesn’t like it when people try to rip him off. Neither do I, for that matter. We started just walking away after a little bit, but she kept screaming after us, so I went back and gave her a handful of coins. Nowhere near 400 baht, but it was somewhere around 50 baht.

After that, we learned that if anyone handed us anything, they most likely wanted money and that we should refuse to even hold whatever they were trying to push into our hands.

Even with the crazy lady and her little scam, we did have a good time feeding the birds and I really enjoyed watching them all jump after the corn we were tossing to them.
Birds in Bangkok Birds in Bangkok

20 Replies to “Feeding the Birds in Bangkok”

  1. Angelic Sinova

    That’s crazy she would try and scam you like that. Why not ask for money before she gave you the bag? At least you got a fun story out of it and a little fun with the birds <3

  2. salmadinani

    Looks like you had a lot of fun feeding the pigeons! Too bad about the lady trying to scam you but I guess that’s what happens in a lot of countries with tourists.

  3. thatfinancechic

    I am so happy that you had a great time despite that crazy lady. There are scrammer everywhere you go, you just have to be careful. This is a story that you will never forget….

  4. Rebecca Swenor

    It sounds like you both had fun feeding the birds. I may have been a little thrown off by all the birds that came but it still would have been fun to do and see. Thanks for sharing and great photos too.

  5. Samantha Angell

    Definitely a good lesson for you! I’ve learned when traveling never to let anybody hand you anything- they make it so difficult to give it back ,and always want money.

  6. Fi Ní Neachtáin

    Wow, so many birds. You got some great shots of them too. I’m so jealous you got to visit Bangkok, I really want to visit Thailand someday.

  7. Rena McDaniel-Alz Caregiver

    I’ve not visited anywhere outside of the U.S. and one of my fears is having something like this happen. I don’t like the idea of going somewhere were I don’t speak the language. I’m glad you got if figured out though!

  8. Sara-Jayne

    I love that you had fun with the birds but not the scam of course. The same thing happened to us in Spain, some man was making people take his photo which we thought was sweet, then he was charging people!

  9. Michelle Hwee

    Wow they have pigeons in Bangkok too, how interesting. I’m from NYC and we have those guys everywhere. Looks like you had fun!

  10. tammileetips

    With our travels I have learned I have learned to be cautious of people offering us things when we go places. You got some great shops and a great story to share!

  11. Penny Struebig

    That’s crazy! I’ll definitely keep this story in mind if I’m travelling and someone offers me bird feed. I have to admit, I would have been a little freaked out with all those birds around me.

  12. Debra Needles

    Don’t ya just hate that when people try to rip you off? Turns a really nice experience sour. Looks like fun feeding those birds, though! I bet they were happy with the experience!

  13. Kat B.

    I guess those type of people wait on the sidewalk every where you go. There were some men like that in Germany who kept offering to take our photos and then they wanted money for it. But at least you had fun feeding the birds.

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