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  1. #1
    Premium Member caller's Avatar
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    Default Where have all the tourists gone?

    I notice we have members here that visit and travel all over Thailand, so I thought it might be worth gauging the view about the current level of tourism in Thailand.

    According to TAT, record numbers are still invading every square inch of Thailand, with the notable exception of Hua Hin and Cha am, that is, which are both very quiet and now mainly rely on all year round Bangkokian weekenders. And I never see the hordes I used to see in Bangkok.

    Before Christmas, Thai businessmen in Phuket were bemoaning their lot, despite TAT claiming all was well. There was a literal war of words between the two groups and in respect of the Chinese, the Thais themselves have admitted the numbers visiting are well down.

    So what's your experience of the current situation - business as normal or dropping like a stone?
    'Tis me

  2. #2
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    I notice very little difference around Khao Yai but it was never that popular with foreigners. If anything I see a small increase in foreign tourists staying locally which probably means they are visiting the National Park - I'd love to hear their comments when they learn the admission price is 400 baht. Given that there is (supposed to be) an election coming, I am not really surprised at TAT's claims .

    I would agree that Bangkok is quieter than it was but in some part Westerners seem to have been replaced by an ever growing Arab community of tourists and businesses.

  3. #3
    Premium Member sisaket's Avatar
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    Interesting Topic
    Last week I went uptown BKK to see Slash (Guns n Roses) with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators at GMM Live House (top of Central Word) I got off the BTS at Chit Lom and walk along the Skywalk, had a quick look at the Erawan Shrine which was choc-a-bloc with Chinese (but that can be normal).
    Late OCT we went to Wat Saket (Golden Mount) and was on a Saturday, I feared would be load a of folk, but was a bonus not many people at all a mixture of Thais and Farang, I had foolishly agreed to go from there to the Weekend Market to buy some items for a sister-in-law (we know exactly where to go) im not the biggest fan of the place, and it was rammed full of people dithering about. Just before New Year me and Mrs went to Gateway Ekamai Mall Bangkok (everything Japanese) unsurprisingly full of Japanese and Thais, but I cant say if the Japanese were mainly Ex-pats or tourist, im guessing a mixture of both.
    NOV I was at the Surin Elephant Round Up (Surin City) there were a fair few Foreigners at the Events, Mrs was talking to some from Florida (USA).In DEC was at the Surin Chinese Winter Festival and was really busy mainly with locals but with a few Foreigners, a sister-in-law went the night after and she also noted it was busy.
    In DEC we had a Ceremony to attend in Bang Saray (Chonburi) later on Mrs and the gang of 3/4 cars full went to one of the Navy's beaches and she said it was full of Foreigners,I had something else to do so I did nt go to the beach.
    Again later on in DEC I went with Mrs to buy some of her supplies to Chinatown (Yaowarat-BKK) that was heaving with Thais and Tourists.
    We had a Temple Ceremony to attend in Yasothon, so we stayed in Yasothon City for a couple of days (last weekend) I never saw another Farang, I ve only ever seen Thai Tourists at the Giant Naga and Giant Toad in Phaya Thaen Public Park in the city,but they must be having a push on tourism as we saw a big advert "The 13 Wonders in Yasothon" I know tourist dont normally go to places like Yasothon or Roi-et apart from Rocket Festivals but I like it there, if people can adapt and chill im sure they would like less visited places, always somewhere to eat great food or drink a coffee, today i ve been off on my own visiting Temples in Northern Surin Province.
    Last years Moto GP I think opened up a few parts of Isaan to people who may have never thought about venturing to Buriram / Surin etc, people we talked to really loved their experiences and would return for more if they could, literally people from all over the world were present. I have noticed in the last few years more and more Cambodians coming over into Surin.
    bangkok mags

  4. #4
    Premium Member caller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sisaket View Post
    Just before New Year me and Mrs went to Gateway Ekamai Mall Bangkok (everything Japanese) unsurprisingly full of Japanese and Thais,

    Again later on in DEC I went with Mrs to buy some of her supplies to Chinatown (Yaowarat-BKK) that was heaving with Thais and Tourists.

    Cambodians coming over into Surin.
    I know Gateway well and it's not normally a place I would expect to see many tourists really.

    My time in Bkk isn't really spent visiting tourist places, apart from some of the big stores, but every now and again we head somewhere and it's just not how I remember from my earlier visits.

    I dread going to Chinatown because of the crowds, I think it's one of the areas that always gets busy. But when my sister was here and we went there to buy some things for her grandchildren, it was midweek and it was actually a pleasure for once. Still busy, but not in a shuffling along with the hordes type of scenario.

    I noted a few battered Cambodian cars in the Prasat area when we went into and left Cambodia via Chong Chom. But a friend from Korat who is a tour guide regularly meets Cambodian civil servants who apart from the sights, want to go to the stores. I would suggest they are some of the few that can afford to do so.

    Hua Hin is just quiet and it seems the same down the coast south from here. I am heading down to Sam Roi Yod tomorrow, so I can check. I was in town on Tuesday evening, not late, but certainly at the time you would expect to see the restaurants busy and most were empty. But then again, in areas a bit further south like Soi94, they seem to attract tourists now and when I ate a meal there on the same evening, I was surprised to see tourists there as well. But talking to the few business owners I do know, it's very quiet for them and anyone who has regularly visited the town over the years will notice the difference.

    I accept there has been a shift away from western tourist visitors here and that in itself might account for my perception about the decline in numbers. But from Khon Kaen to Bangsaphan and points in-between, I hear the same story - where is everyone?
    'Tis me

  5. #5
    Forum Regular สมาชิกประจำ nigel&panada's Avatar
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    I'll find out in 9 weeks when I see the length of the queue at Suvarnabhumi immigration.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by caller View Post
    Hua Hin is just quiet and it seems the same down the coast south from here. I am heading down to Sam Roi Yod tomorrow, so I can check. I was in town on Tuesday evening, not late, but certainly at the time you would expect to see the restaurants busy and most were empty. But then again, in areas a bit further south like Soi94, they seem to attract tourists now and when I ate a meal there on the same evening, I was surprised to see tourists there as well. But talking to the few business owners I do know, it's very quiet for them and anyone who has regularly visited the town over the years will notice the difference.
    We first went to Hua Hin in December 2006, except for one year, we have went back every year upto 2013.
    There seems to have been a number of new condos built, especially south of the town centre over the years.

    The last time we went was in August 2016 and it was the first time we have stayed south of the town as we have always stayed around Market Village. It was very quiet to what we had experienced in the past, I know it was out of season but I think there had been some explosion that had gone off prior to our trip, which might of contributed to it being so quiet.

    Are the tourists numbers down or are they more spread out ? I noticed on our trip in 2016 they were near to completing a new shopping mall.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sisaket View Post
    Last years Moto GP I think opened up a few parts of Isaan to people who may have never thought about venturing to Buriram / Surin etc, people we talked to really loved their experiences and would return for more if they could, literally people from all over the world were present. I have noticed in the last few years more and more Cambodians coming over into Surin.
    Yes Buriram has changed beyond all recognition and I'm surprised that every time I visit I see more and more Westerners. I was peeved that I missed the Moto GP even though I was in Thailand at the time. I hope they get the F1 sorted though (discussions taking place) although I'm not sure Buriram is up to F1 in terms of accommodation etc. yet - totally different crowd.

  8. #8
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    We are currently in Thailand but going home in two weeks after 3/4 months which we do every two years. We hire a car and travel around from our home base near Korat. This time Korat now has another Mall and the place seems to have a lot more western faces. We were pleasantly suprised by our visit to Hua Hin and will return there. Bangkok especially Sukhumvit road seemed more full of Indian/ Arab faces and the Malls plenty of Russian voices but less English ones than before. Pattaya well was Pattaya, nice to see another mall, but same as Bangkok and less British. Loads of Chinese tourists around mostly in tour groups, Had a good meetup with fellow Tyke Elad as well. In immigration coming in from Cambodia out of approx 300 only a dozen western faces, those I spoke to included Americans. Brits, Aussies and a Slovenian girl. All the Brits I speak to have problems with the exchange rate and a number from last time have left Thailand for pastures new or back to the UK. So yes I think lots of visitors but less Brits.

  9. #9
    Premium Member caller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg / Pairin View Post
    Are the tourists numbers down or are they more spread out ? I noticed on our trip in 2016 they were near to completing a new shopping mall.
    They are officially down. Even TAT states 80% of visitors to Hua Hin are Thai.

    It has spread out, Takiap is now condo land and two more are being built as I write, one that directly overlooks the north side of Wat Khao Takiap.

    Kao Tao has also become condo land but it still isn't busy. Best Western have just announced plans to build a 400+ resort there! The mind boggles as hotel residency is way down. I'm sure more people are using Airbnb now, but surely they should still be visible?

    The new Mall in Hua Hin, Bluport, was completed and opened 2 years ago. As it stands, It's a white elephant. I can't say too much, as my other half works for one of the two partners that own it. But it's fair to say there is no love lost between them.

    I did go down to Sam Roi Yod earlier and spent a little while on the beach at Khao Kalok beach. There were a handful of white families on the beach, which was pleasingly empty. On the way back I drove past the Evason and Sheraton Hotels, where the fronts are visible, so residents can overlook the sea whilst lounging by the pool. There was no-one in sight!

    I also went to Dolphin Bay (Sam Roi Yod beach) and although it's still a quiet area, it's much developed since I first visited about 13 years ago now! But crawling along, there was a modern type café open, but most places were not. They were shuttered or had blinds drawn down. There just aren't the numbers there to support so many businesses. I think they are busier at weekends.

    It's such a beautiful area down there though, I love it for the peace and quiet and as I live south and west of Hua Hin, it's just a short drive away for me.

    Maybe the thread title should be changed to, 'where are all the tourists?'

    And today, yet again, the pollution levels in Bangkok are shocking, with all sorts of warnings being given, but no solutions forthcoming.
    'Tis me

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by nigel&panada View Post
    I'll find out in 9 weeks when I see the length of the queue at Suvarnabhumi immigration.
    I had a brief visit to Bangkok last week and the 5 Fast Lane immigration desks were at least 12/15 deep. Leaving a few days later it was a breeze at 10:45 - just a few ahead of me in security and just one at immigration. I wish it were always like that on departure!

    I'm back again next week for a couple of days, I'm hoping the arrival experience is better. It will be a 22:00 arrival (from Hong Kong) so hopefully not too busy at that time.
    Tobias - โทเบียส

  11. #11
    Veteran ผู้มีประสบการณ์ toddmeister's Avatar
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    I was peeved that I missed the Moto GP even though I was in Thailand at the time
    Do they host any other bike racing throughout the year? I looked at the MotoGP calendar but its not until late in the year. We will be in Isaan in April, wondered if there are any racing events at that time?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by caller View Post
    I also went to Dolphin Bay (Sam Roi Yod beach) and although it's still a quiet area, it's much developed since I first visited about 13 years ago now! But crawling along, there was a modern type café open, but most places were not. They were shuttered or had blinds drawn down. There just aren't the numbers there to support so many businesses. I think they are busier at weekends.
    We stayed at Dolphin Bay Resort on our first trip to Hua Hin, I enjoyed it but it was to quiet and no shops for the Mrs.

    We will be heading to Hua Hin on the 26th July for a week. I will probably book into My Resort if its just my family or it will have to be a Villa if the Mrs brothers are joining us.

    The Thai community in our area are tending to avoid Thailand during the months of December/January for a couple of reason's. Time out of school is more strict for kids in secondary school and the poor exchange rate is making it to expensive, especially as most hotels and resorts will be charging peak rates.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobias View Post
    I'm back again next week for a couple of days,
    Right, about time you got the beers in .

    - - - - - - - u p d a t e d - - - - - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by toddmeister View Post
    Do they host any other bike racing throughout the year? I looked at the MotoGP calendar but its not until late in the year. We will be in Isaan in April, wondered if there are any racing events at that time?
    WSB at Buriram - 15 - 17 March unfortunately but there's some form of racing there most weekends - could be diesel pick ups though .

    I haven't checked for a year or so but when I last looked, you couldn't rely on the information on their website - major events were missing!! A local hotel manager told me the owner of the ciruit and local entrepenuer Newin Chidchob fails badly when it comes to marketing.

  14. #14
    Veteran ผู้มีประสบการณ์ N Barton's Avatar
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    https://www.bric.co.th

    Looks like April is about the only month when there isn't anything on, could be down to the heat ?
    We'll never win the Premier League,
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobias View Post
    I had a brief visit to Bangkok last week and the 5 Fast Lane immigration desks were at least 12/15 deep. Leaving a few days later it was a breeze at 10:45 - just a few ahead of me in security and just one at immigration. I wish it were always like that on departure!

    I'm back again next week for a couple of days, I'm hoping the arrival experience is better. It will be a 22:00 arrival (from Hong Kong) so hopefully not too busy at that time.
    on my last visits leaving was the worst massive lines was a little worried at one point that i might actually miss the flight .
    12/15 deep is not bad i remember when the line was no line a mass of people before the lines .

  16. #16
    Premium Member sisaket's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toddmeister View Post
    Do they host any other bike racing throughout the year? I looked at the MotoGP calendar but its not until late in the year. We will be in Isaan in April, wondered if there are any racing events at that time?
    They have Car and Bike racing events all year. Dont forget Songkran is in April.
    In the Stadium next door: Buriram United v Beijing Guoan 9th April : AFC Champions League match day 3.
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    Forum Regular สมาชิกประจำ Sammy Shrimper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by N Barton View Post
    https://www.bric.co.th

    Looks like April is about the only month when there isn't anything on, could be down to the heat ?
    Might have something to do with Songkran. Regarding number of tourists, I have noticed a drop in Chinese but an increase in Indians in the Pattaya area.
    Get busy living or get busy dying

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    Jan and I are going to Hua Hin this Sunday Looking forward to it especially as some of wifes family will be joining us.Then its up to home near Udon . Will not be to unhappy if its not crowded .Melnathan

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by melnathan View Post
    Jan and I are going to Hua Hin this Sunday Looking forward to it especially as some of wifes family will be joining us.Then its up to home near Udon . Will not be to unhappy if its not crowded .Melnathan
    It's not. I'm off to the smog of Bkk tomorrow!

    Edit, there's been a haze around Hua Hin, for 2-3 days. Could be all the rice stubble being burnt. My lawn and drive were covered in the stuff.
    'Tis me

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