03 December 2009

Something about tourists in Thailand

This post is the result of my observing other tourists in hotels, cafes, buses... in Thailand and Cambodia.
Warning: this post is full of stereotypes and prejudices. Take it as seriously or un-seriously as you like!

Tourist No 1
We are sitting in a cafe, belonging to one of those cheap-ish hotels that one finds all over South-East Asia. Actually quite nice, sitting in the shade, writing postcards, sipping watermelon-shake. The place is called "Tony's Place".
Arrives a minivan. Exit a Brit, blond, white, age close to retirement. Exit another Brit, blond, white, fat belly, age close to retirement, wearing a cowboy-hat. Followed by two big suitcases. Followed by two golf bags. Followed by two Thai women, age about 20 years younger than the Brits.

(Note: you can exchange the word "Brit" by "Swiss", it would be the same.)

Tourist No 2
Sitting in a bus leaving Phnom Penh. Half of the passengers are tourists, the other half well-off Cambodians. Behind us, two young women. Blond. Age around 20 years. One American, the other Australian. Both wearing spaghetti-tops and very short shorts. Telling their story about how they got sooooo drunk last night in that nice pub with so many nice Cambodian guys. Drinking a lot of whisky. Dancing on the tables. Getting robbed and having 150 USD stolen. Not remembering how they got back into their dorm beds. Had to get up early to get on the bus. Have a hangover.

Tourist No 3
Location: same as in the first story. Enter a couple, European, blond, in their twenties. The girl is heavily made-up, wearing a shirt and very, very short shorts. Don't know where they come from because didn't hear them talk.

To finish, and as a comment to tourist No 2 and 3, here's a citation from our guidebook to Thailand (yes, the one everybody has...):
"The Thais hold modesty in personal dress in high regard. Shorts above the knee, sleeveless shirts, tank tops and other beach-style attire are not appropriate (...) when outside Bangkok."

No other comment. I let you have your own thoughts about this.

2 comments:

  1. :-) very funny, and in what concerns non respect for local sensitivities, very true. I guess few tourists care to read a little bit about the local culture and habits before going. Or they just don't care.

    Although, to be honest, in India we haven't crossed many of these stereotyped tourists (except at the big tourist spots like Taj Mahal). There are a lot of independent travellers in India and they tend to be much more respectful (in general, there are of course exceptions).

    I guess Thailand is a much better place to see all sorts of old good stereotypes.

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  2. Well, in India the stereotype gets in panic, "oh, so many people", "oh, so dirty", This is one of the points that makes India unique, even in touristy places like Goa.
    Thailand is much cleaner, it is ready for everyone.

    Talking about ready for everyone! In Bangkok, I was having dinner alone, on the table next to mine an American guy, hippie style, living in Guatemala travelling in Thailand, nothing special, right? He was on a wheelchair, he told me he was travelling alone!

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