Thailand, the “land of smiles”, can be forgiven for wearing a frown these days.
The country was among the first to open its borders widely to tourists from Mainland China by rescinding the need to apply for a visa in advance. These days, PRC passport holders only need show up at a Thai airport and pay 1,000 Thai baht for a visa on arrival.
While this ease of access has no doubt boosted the country’s economy among other benefits, it’s also brought some problems. Just this week, a Chinese couple tossed scalding-hot water onto an Air Asia flight attendant on a flight from Bangkok to Nanjing, and now the capital city received some rough treatment at one of it’s most famous tourist attractions: the Grand Palace.
Photos circulated on Twitter this past weekend showing the barriers guarding the palace’s wall painting, which is the longest of its kind in the world, toppled. iFeng reports the barriers were pushed down on Saturday by Chinese tourists, who refused to own up to it until they were told the incident was caught on surveillance camera. Fortunately the barriers didn’t damage the elaborate painting.
The original Twitter post is below.
There’s no doubt most Chinese tourists behave themselves admirably while on holiday, and Thailand is seeing the benefits of more open borders. But after the events this week, the country can be excused for failing to wear its frown upside down.