On March 24, after finishing his tour at the snack night market in Bangkok, Chinese tourist Li Xing stepped over a large number of “tuk-tuks” and taxis on the side of the road, turned on the taxi-hailing software pre-installed on his mobile phone, and concentrated on Wait for the arrival of the online car-hailing car.
Because he was afraid of being dizzy and dragged away to “gag waist”, the first thing Li Xing did when he got in the car was to check whether he could open the windows for ventilation. When the vehicle started, she immediately opened Google Maps and stared at the navigation the whole time, monitoring whether it matched the actual route.
On the Chinese Internet, “Thailand Tour” has become synonymous with bloody horror, which inevitably increased Li Xing’s worries. However, she wasn’t scared away.
”Do a good job of strategies and homework in advance, and take more precautions in the local area. There shouldn’t be too many problems.” Li Xing told the “Watching the World” reporter.
Outbound travel was resumed on January 9 this year, and the first batch of Chinese tourists arrived in Thailand the next day.
However, it took only two months for the originally thriving tourist market in Thailand to change from a resort to a horrible hell for Gayaozi.
The reason is that on March 9, a Douyin big V posted a video, speculating that behind the Thai male model restaurant and Thailand’s tourism industry, there is a black industry chain that targets Chinese tourists.
Later, such urban legends became more and more outrageous, and evolved into rumors of Ga Yaozi. Whenever the IP is displayed in Thailand, netizens will always greet: “Is your waist okay?”
What is the real face of the “Thailand Tour” under the turmoil?
Tourist Attractions Turned into Horrors
At 6 am on March 21, Li Xing, who departed from Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, started a 6-day, 5-night trip to Bangkok with his girlfriends.
This is her third trip to Thailand and the first since the end of the epidemic.
Before departure, the issue of tourism safety in Thailand was already aroused. Various dangerous rumors against Chinese tourists were spread, such as “150 yuan for taking a taxi for 2 kilometers”, which once made Li Xing hesitate.
But the holidays have already been arranged, and the itinerary and hotels for a few days in Bangkok have been arranged. With apprehension and anxiety, Li Xing downloaded local taxi apps such as Grab and Bolt before departure, and specially included them in the itinerary planning. Bypass the controversial vortex male model restaurant and other Internet celebrity check-in points, in order to avoid the “minefield”.
The so-called male model restaurant in the vortex comes from a Douyin video.
By the edge of the blue glowing swimming pool, row after row of male waiters were topless, splashing water and playing. This scene at a restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand, was originally a special program designed by the store to attract customers, but unexpectedly became a hot topic on the Chinese Internet in March.
“Male Model Restaurant” in Bangkok
Thailand is neither the rumored hell nor the imagined paradise.
Some said that there was a suspected seller transaction in the store, and some said that many domestic Internet celebrities went to check in and lost contact.
Subsequently, there were more rumors about tourism safety issues in Thailand, from the bloody kidney cutting of “Ga Yaozi” to Chinese tourists becoming the target group of kidnapping and extortion.
There are also rumors that there is a convenient human trafficking channel between the Myawaddy region of Myanmar, which is more than 6 hours away from Bangkok, and Thailand.
Thailand, which has been rated as the most popular tourist destination in Southeast Asia for many times, has become a horror cave that many people talk about in a blink of an eye.
Seeing that rumors are intensifying and China’s huge tourism market is about to be lost, Thailand’s Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Prayuth can’t sit still.
He revealed through a spokesman on March 21 that he had ordered a clarification of the so-called “security issue”.
By the end of March, a reporter from “Watching the World” discovered on the Chinese Internet that the IP addresses of some Internet celebrity bloggers who had been reported to have been “lost” had been displayed in China, and many of them even posted messages saying “reporting safety”. video.
The video that initially claimed the male model restaurant was a “trap” was also blocked.
Only more tourists and netizens were left in a daze.
What is the real Thailand like?
Xiao Lun, who lives in Foshan, Guangdong, has the right to speak about this. Since Xiao Lun first landed in Chiang Mai in 2010, she has since become a travel enthusiast who regularly travels to Thailand independently.
When talking with the reporter of “Watching the World”, Xiao Lun was walking through the night market stalls of various sizes, and the horn of the busy “tuk-tuk” was mixed with the phone. In Chiang Mai in March, the night temperature exceeded 20 degrees Celsius, and she was going to buy a glass of fruit ice.
In her many personal experiences, Thailand is neither the hell nor the imagined paradise—she has also stepped on the pit.
It was a night 8 years ago. Xiao Lun arrived in Bangkok with her younger sister and went straight to Patpong Night Market, a famous local sightseeing spot. In the nightclub bar area of the night market, the younger sister who wanted to watch a performance was recruited into a small bar that needed to go up to the second floor. At the door, Xiao Lun also lowered his vigilance when he heard the staff say that it was 100 baht per person.
Bangkok, Thailand, January 8, 2023. Chinese tourists visit the Temple of the Emerald Buddha inside the Grand Palace after China eased travel
Xiao Lun recalled that they sat for less than 3 minutes and only ordered two bottles of water. A burly waiter took out the bill and said that the bill required 4,700 baht (about 1,000 yuan).
Obviously cheating, Xiao Lun tried to use English to reason with the other party. The female performers on stage and the big man downstairs, adding up to a dozen people, “surrounded them all at once.”
Xiao Lun tried to call the police, but the strong man on the opposite side panicked and changed the price to 2,000 baht.
After throwing away the cash, Xiao Lun took his sister and quickly escaped from the “black shop” bar, and immediately ran to the opposite side of the road, asking an honest-looking Thai boy to call the police.
In the end, the police came with an interpreter and ordered the store to return all the items to Xiao Lun. The accident was finally over without any risk.
The biggest lesson for Xiao Lun is, “Never enter an entertainment place with a second floor, it is very likely to be a black shop.”
In the past, the promotion of Thailand’s “high quality and low price” was too popular.
In Xiaolun’s view, it is possible that Thailand’s tourist police are colluding with unscrupulous traders. “If you report and complain, the other party will return the money to you, but if you swallow your anger, you will be slaughtered.”
The issue of tourism safety in Thailand has always been controversial.
In 2017, 23 percent of travel insurance claims occurred in Thailand, according to British insurer Endsleigh, which ranked it at the top of its “Top 10 Dangerous Travel Destinations”.
The most famous accident is the capsize of a cruise ship in Phuket in 2018.
On July 5, 2018, in the waters of Phuket Island, Thailand, two ships carrying 122 Chinese tourists encountered a severe storm on the way back to Phuket Island, and capsized in the sea near Coral Island and Maitong Island respectively.
47 of them were killed.
Rescue boats are searching for and rescue after a tourist boat capsized in Phuket, Thailand, July 7, 2018
Tourists participate in the snorkeling project in Phuket
In addition to natural factors such as weather, the accident also involved some human safety factors.
According to investigations by the Thai side, the tour group at that time was an illegal “zero-dollar group”. At the same time, the charter travel agency refused to listen to the warning of the storm coming from the Meteorological Bureau and insisted on going out to sea, which led to disasters.
Such accidents are common.
According to China Business News, a tour guide in Phuket Island, Thailand said that the most common safety accidents they come into contact with daily are wading accidents and traffic accidents. As far as she knows, in mid-March this year, there were accidents involving Chinese tourists diving in Phuket.
The Chinese embassy in Thailand also issued a safety reminder announcement on March 22, which revealed that some Chinese compatriots who came to Thailand to travel were in danger while participating in the island snorkeling project, and unfortunately died.
In fact, the difficulty of this type of activity seems to be very low, but the risk is very high, and fatal accidents occur frequently every year.
On the other hand, the special geographical location also adds a shadow to Thailand’s tourism safety.
Xie Jiakai, a Chinese who has lived in Thailand for 8 years, said that the fact that Thailand is a transit point for many Southeast Asian illegal groups is not entirely alarmist.
Xie Jiakai is currently in Bangkok, running a Chinese-language online media and several Chinese communities, and also handles the reception business of Chinese tourists to Thailand.
He told the “Watch the World” reporter that Thailand’s entry threshold is relatively low, people are mixed, and it is close to high-risk areas, so compared with China, it is inevitable that there will be more fraud news.
”On the Internet, there are many fraudulent recruitment information disseminated, so many Chinese compatriots think that they are going to work in Thailand. But in fact, when they arrive in Thailand, they will be smuggled to high-risk areas and squeezed down.”
Journey to paradise forever
With the resumption of outbound tourism, Thailand has become the largest outbound tourism destination for Chinese tourists.
According to data released by the Thailand National Tourism Administration, by the end of this quarter, the number of Chinese tourists entering Thailand is expected to exceed the original target by 30%, approaching 400,000.
One side is preparing for retaliatory consumption, and the other side is waiting for retaliatory “slaughter”. The volume of complaints about rising prices is increasing.
Bangkok, January 9, 2023, Thai officials distribute garlands to Chinese tourists at the airport
There are many rumors on the Internet that Thailand was slaughtered and customers were slaughtered, which is not groundless.
Li Xing, who is currently still in Thailand, told the reporter of “Watch the World” based on his own experience that the rising cost of traveling in Thailand is reflected in daily necessities, food, housing and transportation.
For example, green coconut, in the past, she usually bought it in Bangkok for 20 baht, equivalent to RMB 4-5. Now it has basically doubled, which is almost the same as in China. The price increase of durian is also obvious. In the past, it cost 100 baht to get a full box, but now it costs 200 baht.
But she felt that the more obvious price difference was still in the air ticket price.
On the night of Chinese New Year’s Eve last year, she flew back to China from Thailand to celebrate the New Year, and the air ticket sold for more than 5,000 yuan. Now one-way air tickets are basically more than 1,000 yuan. But before the outbreak, she used “Double 11” to grab a one-way ticket of more than 200 yuan.
Yue Han is the executive editor-in-chief of Thai Chinese media “Thailand Net”. In his opinion, the price of tourism in Thailand is expected to be about 20% higher than in 2019, and may stabilize at this level. He told the reporter of “Watch the World
” , Everyone thinks that Thailand has become “expensive”. On the one hand, this is indeed the case. At the same time, the previous promotion of Thailand’s “high quality and low price” is too popular.
Under the influence of inflation, rising prices and exchange rates have become a common phenomenon in well-known regions where Thailand’s tourism industry is thriving. “So when we saw that the actual prices in Bangkok were not much different from those in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, everyone couldn’t accept the gap.”
Although the rumors about the dangerous journey to Thailand and full of ghosts and ghosts were falsified one by one, the once cost-effective “poor travel paradise” , also gone forever.
Chinese tourists traveling to Thailand need to make budget and psychological preparations for higher costs, which should be one of the necessary homework when planning outbound travel.