Travel Tips : Dual pricing in Thailand
Probably thanks to Richard Barrow in Thailand there was an article in the Bangkok Post about the infamous dual pricing system that is used at many places in Thailand. There even is a facebook dedicated to 2pricethailand. Dual what?? Well very simple, at some / many places non-Thai people pay a higher price as Thai people. Almost all National Parks use a dual pricing system, although some do not. Now you could argue that non-Thai do not pay tax in Thailand so it would be normal if they pay a little bit more. But also many private business use a dual pricing system. So it has actually nothing to do with paying tax. And sometimes the price difference is not a little bit but just 15 or 20 times the price Thai people pay. The all dual pricing system in Thailand is a bit more complicated as you think. Personally I refused to go to places that practice dual pricing but there are many ways to view the dual pricing system.
- If you do not read Thai then you might not be aware of the dual pricing system. Because at many places they use the Thai numeral signs. And that is weird because normally they are almost never used anymore. So I think they do that because they know it is not fair, they know people will complain if they see it. Some business even make different counters or entrances. So they are trying to hide their dual pricing system.
- You could argue that Thai people are poor. And yes there are many poor Thai people, for them even 20 Thai baht entrance price is expensive. Think about father, mother, grand-father and 3 kids. That would costs almost 100 Thai baht to enter, that is expensive if you make 200 Thai baht a day. But most Thai people visiting National Parks are not poor, they drive their BMW, Mercedes or almost new SUV cars. And this also goes for business that use dual price system, it are mostly not the poor Thai people going there.
- As of the National Parks, yes at some National Parks there are many non-Thai visiting. So yes here the Department of National Parks is making a good extra income. But most National Parks are hardly visited by non-Thai people so they would not at all be missing income if non-Thai people would pay the same price as Thai people.
- The high prices of National Parks stops some travel companies from making tours to National Parks.
- So non-Thai people pay more because they do not pay tax? Actually all non-Thai people living & working here pay tax. And even tourists pay VAT (and airport tax, etc.). And all hotels pay local tourist tax.
- The dual price system gives non-Thai people the unpleasant feeling of being ripped off just because their skin, just for being not Thai. This feeling has a history because in the old days most tourists would have a white skin, so it actually looked like discrimination based on skin colour. But of course in reality nationalism is used to simply charge some people more.
- Paying a little bit more? I will not name places or business but there are places where Thai people pay 20 Thai baht and non-Thai pay 500 Thai baht. That is 25 times more!!!
- That the government is practicing this dual pricing system is a message to Thai people that it is OK to charge some people more. That is why some business and hospitals (private & government) are charging non-Thai more. And even some shops where there are no fixed prices on items might charge non-Thai more. And that goes on to the motorbike taxi boy, the taxi driver and even some restaurants.
- A funny thing about the thing mentioned above is that of course rich Thai people sometimes also pay more for things. What shows it is just about making more money.
My idea? Make dual pricing illegal. And raise the standard price for National Parks & tourist attractions like some temples but let elderly, children, students and poor people in for free. Regardless if they are Thai or Non-Thai. Regardless if they are tourist, working in Thailand or just living in Thailand.
That all said in my home country there is indirectly also a dual pricing system. Locals can get discount cards for museums and there are many other way locals can pay less. Tourists do most times not get that discounts.