I know this has been covered on many other websites before but I thought I would post something here as I saw one of these fake monks the other night and it got me to thinking why more people aren’t aware that these monks are not real monks. In fact, most aren’t even Thai nor do they speak Thai.
Anyway, they usually troll the lower areas of Sukhumvit with a offering bowl and walk up to you on the street or will enter outdoor cafes and ask for money. In fact, they can be fairly aggressive about it. In the past I’ve seen them travel in packs of three but most recently there seems to be a lone fake monk making the rounds and I haven’t seen him with any of his previous partners in crime.
Keep in mind the following about monks if you have doubts:
A real monk would never ask for money. I’m sure if you are somewhat familiar with Buddhism in Thailand you might know that monks accept alms but in Buddhism giving to the monks benefits the giver. So a monk would never ask or beg for money. He simply allows people to benefit themselves by accepting their gifts.
No monk would be trolling the Soi Cowboy and Nana areas at night with an offering bowl. Ever! If you see one at night asking for money you can be 1000000000% sure he’s fake.
And if you’re still in doubt ask yourself why not a single Thai is giving them an offering. Better yet, ask yourself why he hasn’t approached any Thais. I’ve seen bar girls give a 20 baht note to beggars on the street and wai at every shrine they pass. Believe me, if these guys were legit Thais would be making offerings. The fact that they aren’t making offerings and aren’t wai’ing them when they pass should be a huge tip-off.
I don’t really understand why the Thais don’t report this. They all know the monks are fake. Most don’t even know how to wear their robe properly so it’s fairly obvious to your average Thai.