Apr 17, 2014

Are people in Chiang Mai really annoyed by Chinese Tourists?

Picture by Chinese Tourists
A reason to be annoyed? Chinese tourist posing in Chiang Mai

"Anti-Chinese feelings in Thailand high as influx of tourists angers locals", writes Hongkongs South China Morning Post. Chinese tourists are said to have "clambered aboard student buses at Chiang Mai University, made a mess in cafeterias and sneaked into classes to attend lectures". They are said to be "loud, uncouth, culturally unaware".

Do people in Chiang Mai really have a problem with Chinese tourists? "The number of Chinese tourists visiting Chiang Mai is huge — last year it was over 200 000, and the percentage of troublemakers among this is tiny", writes Peerawat in Bangkok Post. And remembers: "Three or four years ago, Chiang Mai’s tourism industry was facing a big problem. Oversupply of hotel rooms put operators in the red. Hotels were mostly empty, and the room rates were pretty low." Restaurants, souvenir shops, and other businesses now enjoy the Chinese boom.

And Chiang Mai traffic police is now learning Chinese. A photo showed on their Facebook Page shows, that the police members not only learn words as "red light" and left turn", but as well phrases like "you’re cute" and "I love you". Therefore Chiang Mai City News asked: "Chiang Mai Traffic Police Learn Chinese to Reduce Accidents... and Date Chinese Girls?".

There is another point: Chiang Mai has its own Chinatown near Warorot market and its own Chinese temples. "The old, local Chinese have established here for a long time and have lost a lot of their original culture and (...) mixed very well with the Thai locals. Many Thai have some Chinese blood in their veins and those who claim to be fully Chinese are in fact not really Chinese anymore in their behaviour, but more Thai", writes Chiang Mai Locator. For example: Yingluck and Thaksin Shinawatra, the present and former Prime Ministers of Thailand, are the children of a Chiang Mai family of Chinese descent. And Thai-Chinese people control a big part of Thailands economy, as Paul Richard Kuehn notes.

Picture by marhas
Pung Tao Gong temple in Chiang Mai

Picture by marhas

Picture by marhas

So, may be, the anger of Chiang Mai people about Chinese tourists, is reported by newspapers, who don't exaclty know the influence of people of Chinse origin in Thailands society. And some readers remember, that American und European tourists can be loud, uncouth and culturally unaware as well. And may be many people in Chiang Mai are just happy, that the Chinese comedy film "Lost in Thailand" (see on Youtube) has been turned here and became a blockbuster in China (read more). And this is the reason, why tens of thousands of Chinese people now flock into Chiang Mai.