Thailand Issues Good Behavior Manual for Tourists

Thailand has issued a good behavior manual for Chinese tourists.

Etiquette manuals in Mandarin are being printed for the 90,000 Chinese tourists who are expected to travel to Thailand for Chinese New Year, later this week.

The manual will instruct visitors on museum etiquette, requesting that paintings are not touched, warn against using public property as lavatory facilties, and encourage proper driving behaviour, according to the Tourist Authority of Thailand office in Chiang Mai.

…Locals accused them of defecating in the city’s moat, causing accidents by driving recklessly, and defacing several tourist attractions, according to the Bangkok Post.

Thailand and China are geographically close, and while ethnic Chinese often have high status in Thai society the Northern part of the country is heavily Chinese-influenced and of course Chinese tourists — increasingly prosperous and positioned to travel — find Thailand a convenient destination.

While much of the concerns are likely xenophobia, despite a reputation for friendliness a suspicion of foreigners is also quite common. While I’ve visited the country many times, I’d never expect to be accepted as anything other than farang.

I view the printing of guides in Mandarin as being a move primarily aimed at Thais — mollifying their concerns and playing to their prejudices, rather than as a move aimed at changing behavior of tourists. Bread and circuses, like free wifi throughout the country.

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Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Maybe they’ve seen too many american TV with the homeowner going outside in their bathrobe and waving to the neighbors.

  2. Good, it’s about time. I hope they add not talking at the top of your lungs inside an elevator. Actually just tone down the volume of speech below 90dB. I have lots of interaction with Chinese tourists almost every day and I must say that they do tend to behave on the BTS.

    Thai media does explain the socioeconomic reasons behind some of the behavior.

  3. Been to Thailand many a times… and got to say that the Chinese are quite the rudest of all of the tourists there. Remember a bus ride with a bunch of Chinese who didn’t take a single breath between their words. They talked for an hour straight – all 4 of them, at the same time. The bus driver turned up the music, but to no avail. My girlfriend couldn’t handle it anymore so she turned to them and asked them to be quiet, as they weren’t the only passengers on the bus. Did little to quiet them down. It’s as if nobody else existed outside their little click. Sadly, Chinese tourists act like this all over East Asia, where I live.

  4. ‘While much of the concerns are likely xenophobia’ – Really?
    I guess you haven’t run into too many tourists from mainland China.

  5. John. I think not. The General seems to be more of a Royalist (yellow shirt). While the red shirts far left groups have strong communist ideology . Many of the red shirt leaders were communist party members including Weng Tojirakarn

    Nice try though.

  6. Walk down Nimmanhaemin Rd in Chiangmai for an hour and then tell me what you think. I used to apologize for my countrymen (USA) who speak so loud. However, compared to the mainland Chinese, even Texans and New Yorkers are shrinking violets and epitomes of courtesy and tact.

  7. i’m always hesitant to put all my eggs in one basket. for every poorly behaved chinese tourist i’ve seen on my travels, i can probably come up with 2 worse-behaved drunken aussies. obnoxious comes in every nationality.

  8. @pavel I agree. Such a generalization against Mainland China tourists as a whole is the easiest accomplishment if it makes you feel great about yourself, but it is also unnecessary and, to me, somewhat childish. For those HK Chinese who try so desperately distinguish themselves from their mainland compatriots, I have seen many poorly behaved HK Chinese (yes, LOUDER and RUDER than those from the mainland) in Japan and other Asian countries when I travel.

  9. Not saying it is not partly true but Thailand government better be careful not to kill the golden goose (chinese tourists) as they can be quite sensitive toward negative comments toward them.

  10. I wouldn’t complain if they killed the Golden Goose; at some point Chinese tourists need to learn that they aren’t at home and different rules of behavior apply. Israeli tourists used to have the worst reputation, but an Israeli government-sponsored campaign worked well to educate their travelers. Maybe the Chinese government should do the same, though I’m not sure they’d be sensitive as John notes above.

  11. @ JD: Obviously you are confused. Even the Chinese government issues publications intended for domestic use reminding citizens that they need to stop urinating and defecating in public areas.

    The loudness rap, though is unfair. I used to think people in China were loud, but later realized that it is tonal characteristics of the language which make us feel as though they are loud and arguing.

  12. @J.C. When I say “such a generalization against Mainland China tourists as a whole”, I did not mean the Thai government, but rather some other responses in this post. True that the Chinese government reminds its citizens not to urinate in public areas, and I think government in the West should do that too to their citizens, if they have seen what those drunk Brits, French or Americans or whatever do in Asia.

  13. @ JD: Again, confused. In China it is extremely common to see people of all ages uriniate whenever they want and wherever they want. At least the Brits, French and Americans you talk about are drunk. With Chinese it’s generally the sober ones that are worst.

    There is a world of difference between an isolated case of a drunk peeing or defecating in a shrub or tree and your normal Chinese adult peeing in the middle of a sidewalk or taking a dump in the elevator.

  14. This is correct, no one should forget about the rules of behavior of society. Especially in a foreign country. When I was in Thailand, I was amazed only by the fact that on the roads movement, though rough, but understandable. Everyone concedes, to each other. At least I thought so, because when I rented a scooter in Chiang Mai, I was warned that it would be difficult, but the Catmotors team, has done everything possible for me to be safe. Routes and advices were important for me at that moment.

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