Friday, October 25, 2013

DOUBLE STANDARD PRICING - THAILAND

Bangkok Post's recent headline "B500 foreigner-entry fee on the table" pissed me off again. While it is not a lot compared to the amount we overall spend on a trip to Thailand, it is yet another attempt to rip off foreigners only. 

You can see it all over the beautiful Kingdom that there is a double standard for foreigners, foreign-looking tourists, or even foreigners who live in Thailand. 

Just recently I realized that the entry fee for foreigners at Wat Phra Kaeo, the temple in the Royal Palace, is now 500 Baht. I haven't been back a while, but last time I paid just 200 Baht. And yes, castles in Europe are expensive too, but we do charge every person who visits, and don't just charge foreigners. Can you imagine how many people would call us "racists" if we charged only foreigners?


Also recently I came to Wat Mahathat in Ayutthaya again and given the huge number of tourists I have brought here, I should actually get in for free (or be paid!!). Seeing the sign and having been here for a while I naturally just read the Thai language and handed over 10 Baht, instead of the 50 Baht they charge a foreigner.  



During the recent Vegetarian Festival in Bangkok, I wanted to pay my respect to the Golden Buddha Statue in Wat Traimitr, as I usually do when I am in the area. But even to just do a quick prayer, in and out, I had to pay an entry fee, because I was a foreigner. Thai's don't pay.  But leaving the temple compound I found this sign around the corner of the main shrine, which was a parking for foreigners only sign. Take a good guess why foreigners have to park here! 

And yes, I know when in Italy or Germany, we have to pay a tourist fee for certain hotels, but it is not an "entry fee" for the country. And it is not a racist double standard pricing policy, because natives and foreigners have to pay the same fee.

So, back to the Bangkok Post article! It is just another way of ripping off the tourist and finding yet another lucrative way of getting more money into the pocket of the officials. I am sure we all pay 500 Baht many times during our stay in Thailand, but then it goes into the pocket of someone who works at a restaurant, a tip for a tour guide or a souvenir shop, but not to some government official. Those 500 Baht will do absolutely nothing for us "foreigners"!

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