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  • Dec 25, 2014
  • Updated: 3:52pm
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PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 February, 2013, 10:56am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 April, 2014, 4:46pm

Chiang Mai locals shocked by 'rude' Chinese tourists

BIO

Amy Li began her journalism career as a crime news reporter in Queens, New York, in 2004. She joined Reuters in Beijing in 2008 as a multimedia editor. Amy taught journalism at Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu before joining SCMP in Hong Kong in 2012. She is now an online news editor for SCMP.com. Amy can be reached at chunxiao.li@scmp.com, or follow her on Twitter @AmyLiSCMP
 

The successful, low-budget Chinese comedy Lost in Thailand has lured tens of thousands of Chinese tourists to Chiang Mai, but they left locals in Thailand’s historic and culturally rich northern city complaining.

After seeing a record number of Chinese tourists over the Lunar New Year holiday, some locals described what they experienced as “cultural clashes”, others simply found the visitors' behaviour disturbing and rude.

In a Letter to Editor published in Thailand’s English daily The Nation, Lamphun resident Vint Chavala wrote:

[Chinese tourists] tend to drive speedily on the wrong side of the road, and often go against traffic on one-way streets. Chinese tourists also often stop in the middle of busy intersections - just to argue among themselves about directions.Some hotel and guesthouse operators are turning them away because they say Chinese tourists often rent a room for two, but stay overnight in a group of four or five. They also deplore their tendencies to litter and hang their clothing on the balcony railing.

Chavala then went on to urge the Thai government to work with the Chinese consulate to better educate its tourists so Thailand will “thrive” instead of “suffer” from Chinese tourism.

On social network sites and local forums, locals posted more evidence of what they say are offensive acts by the Chinese:

  1. A tendency to not flush the toilet.
  2. Flouting traffic laws when driving, riding a bicycle, or parking their car.
  3. Being loud - even in five-star hotels.
  4. Littering, spitting, queue-jumping.
  5. Allowing children to defecate in public pools.
  6. Terrible English-language skills that lead to difficulties in communication.

Even Chinese people living in Chiang Mai said they found the behaviour of their fellow countrymen shocking and embarrassing.

“In the past I’ve always told people with pride that I am Chinese. I will be reluctant to do that in the future,” wrote one local.

"Please stop bringing shame to our people," wrote another.

Still, more Chinese tourists are bound to visit. The Tourism Authority of Thailand expected more than 1.5 million Chinese to visit by 2014.

Why the increase in visitors? When Chavala asked a Chinese tourist why he came to Chiang Mai, the man in his 30s "stabbed a thumb to his chest and said 'I am rich'."

 

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This article is now closed to comments

estaquio
yes, it's not easy adapting to the left side driving. but if you drive fast then how will you learn?
Of course, there are a lot of westerners who lack manners terribly, but the number of Chinese people being 'uncivilized' or the degree of their grossness are unbelievably high. if it's just one person peeing by the road after a night of binge drinking, it certainly won't make it to the news. but letting your children defecate on public pools?? abroad?? that is something else. and why are you complaining on loud noise late at night in pubs? the reason why they're there is so that they can be noisy and rowdy. they can't do that in a restaurant or beside the streets, although I've seen some white people do that. But in a 5 star hotel lobby? to have the money to pay for the rooms , you are expected to have some refinement. and shouting is not.
nd49
It's one of the complain because of tourist behavior. not the language skill.
Situation is old chinese tourist woman come to a man and ask for something in chinese (may be direction?). The man can't understand so he try to ask if the woman can talk in English.Still, the woman doesn't give up and try to talk to him in chinese. few minutes later the man try to walkaway and after he walk away. the woman seems to be angry and start complaining.
If you go to another country you have to prepare yourself. Many japanese that couldn't use english come to thailand with a guidebook that translate their need into Thai. So when they want something they just ask the local by pointing at the book.Don't upset if locals don't understand you because you too don't try to understand them.
ericrobinson
Same situation in Hong Kong!
marnus.karmeaungleu
Ahm unfortunatly i am in chiangmai ...yes that really torrible with this situation to be honest in my possition i worked in tour agent and guesthouse i didnt take any chinese people cause other will be ... Same problem every where in chiangmai if group from this people come ..no one want hanging around not at all no rule for them yes their hanging cloths on the balcony and washing in the washing tabs wow that amazing no one wanna use toilet after them pretty dirty aeww.... But it true they was only 2 person but louding like a hundred people so i wanna beg from deep of my heart please be polite and respect culture rule and open your eyes what local should do or dont do really annoyed
molivan
It happens everywhere. Chinese from mainland are always a problem every time you encounter them whether in the airport, hotels, restaurants or in a plane. Its better to avoid them if you dont want to spoil your day. They should attend seminar for proper behaviour before they are given exit visa.
Hollander323
The Thailand authority has a duty to resolve this with the Chinese government, or just halt this big business which bears big benefits for both countries.
What the Chinese should do is to brief all their nationals before they go abroad for visits (business and tourist) ,remind them to respect local practices and to behave properly, send some officials to look after them in terms of behaviors at the destination countries. This happened some 40 years ago, Japanese tourist in HK from time to time urinated in the street ( I saw this myself), these Japanese probably had a peasant background and not lived in city before, the Japanese government then gave all these people briefing before they left Japan, and the problem was then solved. The Chinese government should just do the same.
william.ma.71
To become more civilized is a process and people need to get educated and be exposed to the outside world; until the people are better educated, you will continue to see the problems and terrible behaviors. China government can definitely and should do something to educate the tourist traveling outside of China so they don't disgrace the Chinese people. As an American Chinese living in Hong Kong, I have to endure the cultural differences but I must say I have never seen or heard of any Chinese tourist in the US letting their children defecate or urinate in the public. They are generally better behaved and less annoying when they are in the United States.
goncalo
You don't need to go to Chiang Mai to witness the lack of manners of Mainland tourists. I've seen them spitting to the ground inside five star hotels in Macau, for example. It seems that the Comunist Party is incapable of educating the masses.
Camel
Besides, how lame this story is written, ... typical bashing style but let's take it into review.
I have been to Thailand for holidays and Ms. Amy lee, guess what.
All what you wrote about the bad behaviour of the Chinese, that not quite new to the Thais, as that's actually how the Thais behave themselves.
Traffic? there is no traffic rule in many cities in Thailand. Taxi? paying by the meter? never! only if you are a good bargainer you will have a decent ride to a reasonable price.
Hanging out clothes? everywhere. Even hotels.
A group of 5 sleeping in a standard twin hotel room? Seems you never have been to Phuket. All the youngsters from Europe, booking a twin room and share in groups. that's how they save their money for party. So, don't pretent that Thailand has been a well organised place and now the bad Mainlanders come and destroy everything.
Ah, yes, Thailand is popular for Westerners because of the services woman offer there. Ask a Westerner why he goes to Thailand. Because of the beaches or because of the other b'ches.
You think they behave well in Thailand? They do in Thainland that, what they can not at home. Party, drinking and behaving bad. yeah and of course visiting the well known establishments.
And yes, you ask the Westeners why they behave like this? well, because they are rich or at least richer than the Thais and the Thais want their money.
nd49
you'll have to understand that,unlike phuket or pattaya, Chiang mai is not a Night-Life tourist destination. Most street is almost empty after 11pm. And most of the westerners travel by tuk-tuk or public transportation.They don't drive a car in the city. Many chineses rent a bicycle stop at the middle of the street just to take a photograph.They would've get themselve killed.
Some other complains
- Some chinese smoke and drop ashes on a food tray in buffet restaurant.
- Not watch other people while walking on the street. Don't care when they hit other people.
- Hit old women to her knees with a cart in department store and walkaway like nothing happen.
-bargain at the food stall(Most people don't bargain the food because it's already cheap).
- some group even try to extort money from local store by pouring coffee on their own shirt and ask for damages
I've been living in chiang mai for 30 years and never see westerner(yes ,some of them might be drunk. but they're still behave well) ,japanese ,korean did anything like this before
May be if you wanna behave like that, you should've go to pattaya or phuket. not chiang mai.

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