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Come back Farangs! Tourism in Chiang Mai decimated by Chinese exodus


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The whole country is losing visitors from all nations, the country is it doing everything possible to kick us out, or not let us in at all.  No matter how legal you think you are, it is nerve-wracking to go through immigration,.......who needs that?

I hear it from so many people about all the rules are making it so unpleasant.

I have been here for a long time and have learned to accept it, but many choose an easier life.

 

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12 minutes ago, neeray said:

Your answer contained TMI. (Too Much Information)

The strength of brevity, it answers the question without causing confusion. Buddha himself wasn't even sure it existed, it is a Hindu idea originating in the Avaita Vedanta and he rejected some of the Hindu teachings. He even found the idea of reincarnation as suspect but was willing to say that a burning candle could light another however the two candles remained different entities only the flame was the same. Karma has many interpretations but all agree that karma can come calling in this life or the next.

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36 minutes ago, Kay McDonnell said:

The whole country is losing visitors from all nations, the country is it doing everything possible to kick us out, or not let us in at all.  No matter how legal you think you are, it is nerve-wracking to go through immigration,.......who needs that?

I hear it from so many people about all the rules are making it so unpleasant.

I have been here for a long time and have learned to accept it, but many choose an easier life.

 

Most of the people who are having difficulties are the ones living  here long term for no apparent reason 

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Meh, it's tourism, it's been going up and down in boom and bust cycles for the last couple of decades. '97 financial crisis, baht plunges, tourists and expats come in droves. 9/11, tourism recedes. SARS, bird flu, yellow shirts at the airport, red shirts in the streets... tourists stay away, then they come back. Anijang, anijang, anijang.

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I have stayed in Chiang Mai a long, long time.

 

I`ve told friends how I now feel about the city and that it`s become boring. I receive the same old responses, no it`s not the city, it`s you my friends tell me, I have changed. I`ve got older, I`ve done it all, blar, blar, blar, blar. And these responses are mostly from people that have only stayed here for a maximum of 4 years at the most.

But no, it`s not me going through some kind of male menopause and it`s also not my imagination.

 

Back some years ago the LK Road and the surrounding areas was the place to hang out. It was teeming with bars and nightlife. There were also other bars spread around the city, many open to 2.00 and 3.00 in the morning. There were also many local cafes and restaurants that were open till 1.00 and 2.00 in the morning, it was possible to have an enjoyable no pressure relaxed night out in the bars and then go for a meal afterwards. Some of the bars had free shows, Thai comedians performing on stage, Thai dancers and many Farang bands would play at the bars. Plus there were girly shows some quite eye catching to say the least.

 

Now please let me put the record straight. WE WERE NOT SEXPATS, we enjoyed those nights out for the party type atmosphere, pretty girls as eye candy mostly, a few drinks, music and decent food. Also back then there was no supply and demand as nightly entrainment venues were plentiful so the prices were kept reasonable.

Then the clamp downs began. Bars were told to keep the music down, Farangs were banned from giving musical performances in town, the frontages of bars were knocked down, girls were told; no more hello welcomes, no more bar licences were being issued, bars started to be shut down. All the little open bars behind the night market were levelled and literally gone over night and the little Thai owned cafes that used to open late closed. As the nightlife venues began to decline so what was left increased their prices to compensate for loss of customers. But instead of squeezing the golden goose, they killed it off completely. And now it`s all tact.

 

Also back then the massage parlours were mostly staffed by attractive young women, but they were legit. Now the attractive young women have been moved to the Spas at rip off prices and the regular massage parlours staffed by ugly Isan women and old grannies more interested in happy endings then a massage. For the Chinese tourists I guess this is a big turn off. And we have the karaoke scams where tourists can be billed for 30000 baht and beaten up if refusing to pay.

 

Another point, the city has created more shopping malls than is necessary. The kad suan kaew that has fallen into decline and pure grot, the Prom that has all the fun and atmosphere of a mausoleum, the Airport Plaza that has seen better days, the Maya where mostly budgeted expats hang out for the free Wi-Fi and the Festival Mall that seems to be the most popular for the time being. But still, who wants to hang about shopping malls all day.

 

The months of March and April are intolerable here, it`s probably the equivalent of smoking 200 cigarettes per day.

 

So there you have it, why the tourists are not visiting Chiang Mai and I`m speaking as someone who has seen Chiang Mai in a different era.

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I live in Cha Am which does not see Chinese Tourists very much at all. The "High Season" has not occurred for the past two years and it looks pretty much the same this year. There are many businesses suffering, on sale or just closed down. Its a lot worse than the TAT would like to admit.

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Oh? I thought your cheap visa stunt made the whole of China change their travel plans at the last minute and every Chinese person was going to Thailand? No?

 

Honestly, som nam na!!! The farangs are tired of your scams, of being treated like dirt, of being marginalised for more 'quality' and/or Chinese tourists, the illegal police shakedowns (read: extortion) and a complete disregard for visitors' safety and security. And it looks like the Chinese are smartening up too. Good!

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I've never seen the draw. For all the years I've been in Thailand, aside from my first noob trip I've never returned.

 

Totally dead

Absolute backwater

Not even 2nd city status

Khon Kaen might be more lively

No real transport

Condos worse value than BKK for purchase

Inconvenient visa run

City is poorly laid out

Broke ass farang

Not much cooler than BKK msny months

Smoke, lots of smoke

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On 11/21/2018 at 3:22 AM, worgeordie said:

But on the 4th November, there was a post on this forum 

which stated "Bookings Surge at Chiang Mai Hotels for Cool Season",

wishful thinking ?  or fake news.

 

regards worgeordie

Maybe we will never know the true movements in tourist numbers, there appearing to be some lack of confidence in official statistics. However, during the seven years I have been visiting Chiang Mai, I am sure that the composition of this city's tourist visitors has changed significantly. For example, I see more groups (eg. families, young people, tours), but fewer singles; More from Asian countries (China, India, ASEAN), but fewer from Europe, Aus. and N.America). The new mix of tourists spends it's money in different quantities and priorities. Some businesses will have gained, others lost. So maybe not fake news, just selective stories? The questions I would ask are, 'how well have the CM tourist industry and it's constituent businesses responded to changes in their customers?' and 'how well are the Thai authorities responding to competition from other ASEAN countries?'

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7 hours ago, cyberfarang said:

But no, it`s not me going through some kind of male menopause and it`s also not my imagination.

 

I agree here as well.

 

I was around during these times and had the time of my life when I was well enough to get out. You see, you had the options to go out till the sun came up and you did not need to be a sexpat. Some of the best nights of my life. Not an Isan girl in sight; many white skinned beauties from CR and the surrounding areas. The Hello Girls. Bliss in so many ways. It was totally different. Eating at 3am with 20 friends. Head off to another Thai smaller bar and play pool till the sun came up. Company was just about everywhere to be found and so many small underground type of clubs. It is not like this now.

 

Today I spent in town and saw a lot of farangs getting ready for tonight. I called into a few old bars I spent time in and the same girls that I knew ten years ago were still working out of them and they are just old and past the used by date. They told me times are hard. No young blood and looking at all the old Isan Grannies out the front of the massage places sure didn't want me to call in for a massage!  I saw fewer Chinese this year. Last year we had a lot more Chinese. Yes, we got more farangs in town now but after tonight, it will be back to normal in a few days time and this short cash infusion will forget about.

 

It is not how it used to be by a long shot. That is killing Chiang Mai.

 

 

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7 minutes ago, totally thaied up said:

It is not how it used to be by a long shot. That is killing Chiang Mai.

Times change, your perception(s) change and life and progression moves on.  

 

Your doppelganger will be repeating you in ten years time with their views of now.  

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To put it succinctly, Chiang Mai has moved on from the kind of boring, sleazy entertainment that an older subsection of expats pine for. Young people have created other ways to enjoy themselves-- they go dancing, meet up with new friends made online, hook up with locals through Tinder etc. Tourists still come to Chiang Mai and still have a great time, just not by groping desperate hilltribe girls in full view of passing traffic on Loi Kroh road. The great thing about Thailand is that nobody cares whom you sleep with, how you pay, or where you find your happy endings. But Thais value discretion in such matters, and if you're an expat you simply have to learn to find your pleasures discretely and stop pretending to be a tourist circa 1992.

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3 hours ago, fanjita said:

Times change, your perception(s) change and life and progression moves on.  

 

Your doppelganger will be repeating you in ten years time with their views of now.  

Ah please, get bored of hearing this. My perceptions have not changed and what has happened in Chiang Mai is not progression.

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40 minutes ago, Puwa said:

To put it succinctly, Chiang Mai has moved on from the kind of boring, sleazy entertainment that an older subsection of expats pine for. Young people have created other ways to enjoy themselves-- they go dancing, meet up with new friends made online, hook up with locals through Tinder etc. Tourists still come to Chiang Mai and still have a great time, just not by groping desperate hilltribe girls in full view of passing traffic on Loi Kroh road. The great thing about Thailand is that nobody cares whom you sleep with, how you pay, or where you find your happy endings. But Thais value discretion in such matters, and if you're an expat you simply have to learn to find your pleasures discretely and stop pretending to be a tourist circa 1992.

Sorry, but I`m sure the Chiang Mai guest house owners, hotel owners and others in the hospitality business will disagree with you.

 

There maybe young tourists visiting the city, but they`re certainly not spending.

 

Some of us still have some sparkle left and on occasions enjoy a good night out, age is irrelevant, so is being a tourist or an expat.

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On 11/21/2018 at 10:45 PM, cyberfarang said:

Lets try and put this in perspective and annualise why Chiang Mai is no longer a tourist attraction:

 

1.       Virtually no nightlife. I`ve been in the town on occasions when everything seems to be packing up at 10.00pm.

 

2.       Whether some like the girly beerbars or not they still brought in the western tourists. The LK Road has become dilapidated dump, and if guys fancy a late night drink with some female company, there is virtually nothing.

 

3.       Duel Farang and Thai pricing for the usual tourist attractions that can all be covered in about 3 days.

 

4.        Dirty, filthy massage parlours mostly staffed by old grannies that most have transformed into happy ending parlours for desperate old men.

 

5.       The choking season,  usually from February to the end of April. A period when there is a mass exodus of expats from the city.

 

6.       The strong baht Vs weak western currencies. Nothing seems to knock the baht off it`s perch.

 

7.       The Thai mentality that during the so-called high season that`s not happening, when short of customers is to increase their prices rather than decrease their prices to attract more customers in.

 

8.       An abundance of over priced Spas, that can charge several thousand bahts for a couple of hour

 

 

 

Sure I can think of a lot more if I put my mind to it.

 

 

The city has lost it`s zest, it has simply become bland and boring. 3 or 4 days is enough for any visiting tourists and if seen it once, no point in returning. There`s been nothing new here for years.

 

Your points are all valid except most of them are true of all of Thailand and are not just Chiang Mai specific, apart from perhaps the burning season and the night life, I'm even not certain about the night life aspect. Sure, Chiang Mai doesn't have the night life of say Pattaya or Patong but it's not as though it's completely devoid of night life entirely, I'm not a night owl any longer but it seems to me that Chiang Mai's night life is spread over a larger area rather than being concentrated in a single tight zone, plus night life means different things to different groups. Nieman Heiman seems to be chocka with bars and restaurants whilst the area near the riverside of anusarn market  is lively but slightly more upmarket. I get the idea that some expats are finding change hard to handle and think that just because the bars in the girlie street, Loy Kroh, are dying/dead, that must mean there's nothing left and I don't think that's true (based on my walk about two nights ago). What I think is true is that the nightlife scene in CM has transitioned from one that was beer bar/girlie bar centric to one that is now more diverse and less seedy and that's not a bad thing, CM never intended nor wanted to become a Pattaya of old, IMHO. FWIW I think the key tourism issues that affect CM currently are:

 

the weakness of currencies against THB;

impact of the burning season;

Guest house/hotel closures;

traffic congestion;

Price controls - the prices of many things in the tourist areas seem way too high even without factoring the strong Baht;

public transport availability (maybe);

early closing (maybe).

 

 

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14 hours ago, donnacha said:

If only the Filipinos could somehow figure out how the Thai secret of how to make delicious food widely available at reasonable prices!

 

Yes.

 

Likewise for any neighboring country.

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And with your last paragraph plus points by cyberfarang] no one should expect any farangs or Chinese (for different reasons)  to be coming back. The tipping point has just passed. All the above negatives except for the too strong baht are baked in the cake now. The only way reversible now is a much better exchange rate. 

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18 hours ago, cyberfarang said:

I have stayed in Chiang Mai a long, long time.

 

I`ve told friends how I now feel about the city and that it`s become boring. I receive the same old responses, no it`s not the city, it`s you my friends tell me, I have changed. I`ve got older, I`ve done it all, blar, blar, blar, blar. And these responses are mostly from people that have only stayed here for a maximum of 4 years at the most.

But no, it`s not me going through some kind of male menopause and it`s also not my imagination.

 

Back some years ago the LK Road and the surrounding areas was the place to hang out. It was teeming with bars and nightlife. There were also other bars spread around the city, many open to 2.00 and 3.00 in the morning. There were also many local cafes and restaurants that were open till 1.00 and 2.00 in the morning, it was possible to have an enjoyable no pressure relaxed night out in the bars and then go for a meal afterwards. Some of the bars had free shows, Thai comedians performing on stage, Thai dancers and many Farang bands would play at the bars. Plus there were girly shows some quite eye catching to say the least.

 

Now please let me put the record straight. WE WERE NOT SEXPATS, we enjoyed those nights out for the party type atmosphere, pretty girls as eye candy mostly, a few drinks, music and decent food. Also back then there was no supply and demand as nightly entrainment venues were plentiful so the prices were kept reasonable.

Then the clamp downs began. Bars were told to keep the music down, Farangs were banned from giving musical performances in town, the frontages of bars were knocked down, girls were told; no more hello welcomes, no more bar licences were being issued, bars started to be shut down. All the little open bars behind the night market were levelled and literally gone over night and the little Thai owned cafes that used to open late closed. As the nightlife venues began to decline so what was left increased their prices to compensate for loss of customers. But instead of squeezing the golden goose, they killed it off completely. And now it`s all tact.

 

Also back then the massage parlours were mostly staffed by attractive young women, but they were legit. Now the attractive young women have been moved to the Spas at rip off prices and the regular massage parlours staffed by ugly Isan women and old grannies more interested in happy endings then a massage. For the Chinese tourists I guess this is a big turn off. And we have the karaoke scams where tourists can be billed for 30000 baht and beaten up if refusing to pay.

 

Another point, the city has created more shopping malls than is necessary. The kad suan kaew that has fallen into decline and pure grot, the Prom that has all the fun and atmosphere of a mausoleum, the Airport Plaza that has seen better days, the Maya where mostly budgeted expats hang out for the free Wi-Fi and the Festival Mall that seems to be the most popular for the time being. But still, who wants to hang about shopping malls all day.

 

The months of March and April are intolerable here, it`s probably the equivalent of smoking 200 cigarettes per day.

 

So there you have it, why the tourists are not visiting Chiang Mai and I`m speaking as someone who has seen Chiang Mai in a different era.

Your complaints are mostly lack of bars, no decent massage shops, and issues with the malls.

Sounds to me then like Pattaya would be the perfect place for you....

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15 minutes ago, morrobay said:

And with your last paragraph plus points by cyberfarang] no one should expect any farangs or Chinese (for different reasons)  to be coming back. The tipping point has just passed. All the above negatives except for the too strong baht are baked in the cake now. The only way reversible now is a much better exchange rate. 

I don't devaluation happening as a direct move although there are some things they could do to weaken the currency, given the direction the global economy is headed that might be smart.

 

I would also be careful about thinking that tourism in Thailand has now gone into terminal decline, historically Thailand has been excellent at attracting new sources of tourism, it's also far too early to conclude that Chinese tourism to Thailand is now totally lost and anecdotal evidence suggests that is far from the case. TBH this issue reminds me very much of the threads we used to see on TVF years ago when the western expats stopped visiting in large numbers and the beer bars became empty, tourism is dead people cried, they've killed the goose that lays the golden egg they said....personally I think this is just another twist in the road, a twist that was unexpected and might have been avoided but it's all part of the same old tourism pattern.. 

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*

80% of the Falang tourists are not people with money anyway.

Most hippie types staying in hostels eating granola and drinking coffee.

They only money they truly spend is when they get stopped on a motorbike and have to pay a fine.

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8 minutes ago, bkk6060 said:

Your complaints are mostly lack of bars, no decent massage shops, and issues with the malls.

Sounds to me then like Pattaya would be the perfect place for you....

I have some sympathy with CF's views on the way CM has changed because I also liked the CM I knew 15 years ago and today things are very different, not necessarily worse, just different and a part of that is an ageing issue, our ageing. But you can't blame the City for not wanting to go down the Pattaya route and the country has always said it wanted a better class of tourist, they didn't get that with the Chinese mass market but at least they did pretty much nail the sleaze aspect, albeit they may well have gone too far. I can't think of any tourist destination where family tourism and sleaze don't coexist in the same town or city yo some extent, in Chiang Mai there is room for both, perhaps in Chiang Mai they've gone too far and in Pattaya they haven't gone far enough, dunno. 

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The Chinese are now going to Siem Reap and Phnom Penh where it’s normal to s*it on the sidewalk, in a taxi, in the airport immigration queue or in the middle of a busy street


Sent from my iPhone using Thaivisa Connect

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Never been to  Chiang Mai and don't get it. If you want nightlife - Pattaya. If you want a city - Bangkok. In the big picture overall Thailand has been popular because it is a brand name. Reminds me of this seafood restaurant in South Jomtien that was great. Then the staff changed and quality/quantity went downhill. 

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5 minutes ago, morrobay said:

Never been to  Chiang Mai and don't get it. If you want nightlife - Pattaya. If you want a city - Bangkok. In the big picture overall Thailand has been popular because it is a brand name. Reminds me of this seafood restaurant in South Jomtien that was great. Then the staff changed and quality/quantity went downhill. 

Have read your post a few times but don't quite get your point. In one sentence you say "Thailand has been popular because it is a brand name". Then you speak of a seafood restaurant and say "the staff changed and quality/quantity went downhill".

So what's your point? Are you saying that the quality/quantity within the brand (Thailand) changed and caused the "brand" to go downhill?

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8 minutes ago, neeray said:

Have read your post a few times but don't quite get your point. In one sentence you say "Thailand has been popular because it is a brand name". Then you speak of a seafood restaurant and say "the staff changed and quality/quantity went downhill".

So what's your point? Are you saying that the quality/quantity within the brand (Thailand) changed and caused the "brand" to go downhill?

Something like that

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51 minutes ago, morrobay said:

Never been to  Chiang Mai and don't get it. If you want nightlife - Pattaya. If you want a city - Bangkok. In the big picture overall Thailand has been popular because it is a brand name. Reminds me of this seafood restaurant in South Jomtien that was great. Then the staff changed and quality/quantity went downhill. 

A city doesn't have to be just one thing, it can be several things but each with a different emphasis and in different proportions, getting rid of one or more of the half dozen or so basic elements entirely is however a dangerous game I think. I also think that's where Thailand sometimes has difficulty by not achieving balance, it's often all or nothing, black and white with no grey.

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A lot of change is related to the smartphone culture / psychology, the general increase in population of both visitors and residents - therefore dividing the pie more ways, and in some cases investors misjudging the returns.

There have been a lot of changes in both consumer behaviour and business in the last 10 years and I think a lot of people have misjudged it.

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2 minutes ago, simoh1490 said:

A city doesn't have to be just one thing, it can be several things but each with a different emphasis and in different proportions, getting rid of one or more of the half dozen or so basic elements entirely is however a dangerous game I think. I also think that's where Thailand sometimes has difficulty by not achieving balance, it's often all or nothing, black and white with no grey.

Exaggerated by the fact Thais love to copy business models. In our family we have a word for many of the renovations - it's Nimmanhaemified. Self explanatory I think.

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