It’s Because I Am A Farang
This is my first submission about Thailand. Generally speaking I like the stories of Statler & Waldorf.
Ok. Here is my story. I lived in Thailand 18 months. I didn’t work and my budget was limited. I tried to work there but while I lived in the kingdom I had the time to read Stickman's site, this lead me to change my plans about the Land Of Smiles. Thanks Stick.
And thanks to all the people who wrote here.
Coming to Thailand and thinking of staying for a long time? You must have a plan. Agenda. Principles. And red lines. It can protect you from yourself and all the surprises that appear in the Land Of Smiles.
Here it's one of the most important principles. I will call it the same – same which mean us farang pay the same as Thai people. It’s hard to do but no need to give up. Just do it politely. In some case it will work. Many times it's the stupidity of foreigners which for them 20 baht is not much but while they act this way. The Thais have built a concept about foreigners which you can't change. Like Dana who cries like a cat because of a corn. Well you create this situation and now you blame the Chinese. Just don’t buy. Believe me, it works!
Ok, back to the story. I was trying to make an early visit to the place where transportation goes from central Bangkok to Aranayapratet / Poipet border. Actually it’s a shuttle to the casino players.
I was basing it on info from foreigners who had done it so it seemed to me to be reliable. Also as it mentioned one of the most dangerous things is based on Thai people's directions. And so it was. I walked the whole way from the Pong to Dusit Thai Hotel until I reach HSBC bank <That's not far! – Stick>. No one knew about this bus to the casino in Cambodia border. The perfect English speakers in the Dusit reception and a near by travel agency. Even the security guards in HSBC bank tried to help me and asked a few guards in next building. I found the right guy who says this is the place.
The day after I was there in 6 AM in the right place and in the right time. Everything looks great. I was welcomed with a smile and a coffee. Very nice. Then a woman starts to collect the money for this transportation. All Thai people pay 100 baht. Only I had to pay 200 baht. This is not written in my book. The same -same principle is broken here.
Here's how the conversation goes.
Thai woman : 200 baht please
Me : I don’t pay
Thai woman :200 baht
Me: tamay kohn Thai jai loi baht, tamai farang pay ning loi baht. tamai. . . .
Thai woman : 200 baht
Me : me farang hai loi baht. Falang will not pay. Again I ask why I need to pay 200 baht. I don’t understand. All this time I mention farang over and over.
It was amazing to see the situation. All Thai people went into the "not hear, not see, not talk mode". All the people saw she try to scam but nobody talk. This all situation was embrace. With the entire face concept and the shame (maybe) come a creative solution. The Thai woman went and asked the driver then she returned and said ok, 100 baht.
Maybe it’s was not worth it. This situation I came across many times in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. What I did was to break a stigma. It was always a surprise to the locals and I got some respect (more about this in the future).
In Thailand it was the same principle. Even for a five baht. When Thais know that you know, they leave you alone with the scams.
And. . . . Not all is scams. Many people are cool and decent but it takes time to find them.
Another great story happened in Minburi. I walked near the Sansiri building projects. It looked good there but actually it was very hot and I wanted a drink. I passed near a small hut of construction workers. They sell drinks there and also there was nobody there to buy.
I got closer. "Sawadi krap" I said to everybody. "Nam yen tawaray? (how much for cold water ).
"sip ha baht".
So I ask tamai. You can not charge me this price since farang who speak Thai must get a discount here !
"Farang put pasa Thai no same same as farang mai put pasa Thai. Well it didn’t impress the Thais.
So I left the place and went on my way. And always this trick is works everywhere in the world. After few meters I walk the Thais wave to me to return back. I got my discount and maybe I pay 5 baht, the same as 7 Eleven. It didn’t make me rich and I don't think I am stingy. But it helps to prove a point to the Thai people. While most foreigners pay over price and even smile back to the Thais, knowing that they rip you off.
There are other foreigners who will not pay more than the regular price. When you pay over price and it means nothing to you. It actually encouraged those salesmen to continue with the inflated price. You are able to do something to stop it. It’s
up to you, really.
It would be good if more people stood up for getting the right price, like you have.