Expats Facebook Group Keeps Tabs on ‘Dual Pricing’ Venues

Image: Pantip.com

BANGKOK — The days of showing up at a pristine national park only to be told you’d be charged 10 times what a local would pay is over, thanks to a Facebook community naming and shaming venues that continue to apply “farang prices” on foreign visitors. Now you can avoid them like the coronavirus.

In 2PriceThailand Facebook group, expats living in Thailand are warning each other about places that demand dual pricing for foreigner regardless of their residence status, a practice openly endorsed by by state and private businesses alike, despite criticism of outright discrimination. 

“The intention of this group is to give foreigners the ‘Right to Choose.’ We don’t think it is fair that some tourist attractions disguise the fact that they have a dual price system,” the group’s About page says. 

“Our opinion is that if they want to overcharge foreign tourists by as much as 200% then that is their decision. But, don’t do it in a way that is both sneaky and insulting.”

The group also says they hope to see the abolishment of the dual-pricing system in Thailand.

Pricing for a boxing stadium in Bangkok charges 1,000 baht for foreigners, and 300-500 baht for Thais.

“Thai people are internationally known for their kind and generous hospitality,” the bio section says. “The actions of a few tourist attractions are damaging that reputation.”

The group’s admin is popular British blogger Richard Barrow, who regularly writes about Thailand’s tourist attractions and scams on his websites. 

One of the posts in the group is a warning by user Aisha Moller Pedersen that the foreigner admission fee for Phra Nakhon Khiri Historical Park is 150 for foreigners and 20 baht for Thais. 

Just to step on the beach at Nangyuan Island Dive Resort, foreigners pay 200 baht (doubled up from 100 baht due to COVID-19), while Thais pay 30 baht, group memberTrevor Cardozo posted on Monday.

Another user, Nosha Assareh, wrote that at Koh Chang Waterfall, the entrance fee was 200 baht for foreigners, while adult Thais only pay 20 baht.

A tourist attraction in Bangkok features its ticket prices in Thai and Arabic numbers. The “farang price” is nearly twice as expensive.

“I was there during the weekend and brought my work permit as well but no luck and worst of all the ticket-seller was very rude,” Assareh wrote Tuesday. “So, we decided to leave. This is a widespread and systematic racism which should be stopped immediately.” 

User Adrian Mira Leon wrote Wednesday that adult foreigners pay 100 price to enter the Queen Sirikit Botanical Garden in Chiang Mai, while Thai adults pay 40 baht.

But it’s not all negativity – members also post about places that offer the same prices for Thais and foreigners. “Sukhothai Historical Park offering same prices for Thai and farang,” wrote user Philippa Boyd in a Sunday post.

“Doi Tung Tourist Attraction – no duel [sic] pricing, and the nicest gardens I’ve seen in Thailand,” posted Breandan O Donnghaile on Monday, referring to the Mae Fah Luang Botanical Garden in Chiang Rai. 

Above: A tourist attraction in Nakhon Pathom province charges 150-300 baht for Thais, and 650 baht for foreigners.

Dual pricing – known derisively among the expat community as “farang price” – is a long-established practice in Thailand, where tourists are often treated as golden geese by certain business operators. 

The practice is justified by an argument that Thais pay taxes to maintain the public venues like national parks, even though expats in Thailand also contribute their income tax money – sometimes more than their Thai counterparts.

Dual pricing existed even during the coronavirus pandemic, as seen in some hospitals charging “farang price” for virus testing. A number of temples and national parks  also banned expats from their sites, citing a vague claim of coronavirus concern. 

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