Will a $16 Fee to Get Into Thailand Bring Classier Tourists?

Tourists to Thailand may soon be charged an entrance fee of 500 baht. That comes out to about $16, not really overkill for getting into a country that’s full of street markets, pad Thai and full moon parties, now is it?

The proposed entry fee is backed by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, the Ministry of Public Health and the Royal Thai Police, and the collected fees would of course go back into government initiatives. But it’s not necessarily raking in fee money that has the Thai government behind it. It has to do with who they want and don’t want in the country. And they want better tourists.”Now is the time for us to have quality tourists,” said Public Health Minister Pradit Sintavanarong to the Bangkok Post.

Take that dread locked, sandal wearing, backpackers!

The travel industry however isn’t necessarily excited about the proposed fee. “The plan will affect the tourism industry, both in the short run and the long run, because tourists will feel bad about Thailand and they may feel they are being cheated,” Sitdiwat Cheevarattanaporn, chairman of the Association of Thai Travel Agents said.

Might be time for the Thai government to figure out another way to keep the riff raff out.

Bangkok Taxi Drivers Will Be Nice Now, Promise

Bangkok’s taxi drivers are a picky bunch. In the past, tell a Bangkok taxi driver that you want to go someplace they don’t like and they simply refused to go there. Giving taxi drivers, in general, a bad name, passengers often were over charged when it came time to pay the fare too. Now, thousands of Bangkok taxi drivers have pledged not to refuse service to passengers in a campaign aimed to reduce complaints.

Aptly called Taxi Jai Dee (means kind, good hearted in Thai) the program was initiated by the Royal Thai Police this week and runs through the 2014 New Year holiday week. More than 2,000 volunteer cab drivers have promised not to refuse service to passengers and to charge fares based on the taxicab’s meter for both local and foreign passengers alike.

Under Thailand’s 1979 Land Traffic Act violators face a maximum fine of 1,000 baht (U.S. $39), 15-day seizure of their driving license and deduction of 20 driving points.

That said, Bangkok taxi drivers want passengers to be fined for violent acts committed and want video cameras installed in every taxi cab.
Last year, three taxi drivers were murdered by their passengers in Bangkok. This week, three passengers attacked 53-year-old taxi driver Boonchuay Thongtae in Thawi Watthana, one of the 50 districts of Bangkok.

Taking a taxi in Bangkok any time soon? Check these tips:

[Photo Credit – Flickr user dominiqueb]