CHIANG RAI – Artist Chalermchai Kositpipat of Wat Rong Khun, perhaps better known to foreigners as the “White Temple” in Phan Chiang Rai is now urging Thai people not to hate or despise Chinese tourists in general simply because some of them have misbehaved, lack manners or cause troubles to people in this country.
The artisit admitted that he had a previous negative attitude towards Chinese tourists and was among the first group of Thai people who openly reprimanded them because of their lack of understanding of Thai culture.
In February 3, 2015 he banned Mainland Chinese tourists for half a day from entering Wat Rong Khun, the “White Temple”, one of the top tourist destinations in Chiang Rai, after complaints of inappropriate toilet usage.
The â€˜White Temple incidentâ€™, as it was dubbed by Chinese media, caught the attention of government officials as well as the press in both China and Thailand.
Governmental functions such as The Ministry of Tourism and Sports have stressed repetitively that Thailand welcomes Chinese tourists.
Chalermchai has now changed his tune saying after having come into direct contact with quite a few Chinese tourists, Chinese government officials and tour guides, he found out that the Chinese government had tried its utmost to educate its people not to cause troubles in countries where they are visiting.
Mr Chalermchai said that his temple in Chiang Rai, the famous Wat Rong Khun, had played a role in changing the behavior of many Chinese visiting Thailand.
â€œThey behave better today. They respect the places they visit because they were educated by their government and our temple,â€ said the national artist who however admitted that there are some Chinese tourists who are yet to change their behavior.
He said he didnâ€™t understand why many Thais didnâ€™t like the Chinese tourists merely because a minority of them caused troubles. â€œThe Chinese are our guests. Our economy is in bad shape, so do not reprimand or hate them too much. We should teach them how to behave and do the right thing for our own benefits,â€ Thai PBS Reported.
â€œI flushed their excretes and I repaired what they broke but I told them not to do it again. I hired more people to look after them and there were now less breakings and no excretes. And this is what we should do and not to reprimand them because they are our guests,â€ said Mr Chalermchai.
Suprising this enlightenment comes after Mr Chalermchai’s announcement that he will start collecting entrance fees from foreign visitors later this year.
Starting in October, foreign visitors including Chinese tourists will have to pay 50 baht to enter the prayer hall and another 50 baht for the art hall
However, the artist said, tickets will come with goodies: a guidebook in English and Chinese, and a commemorative medallion.
Thais will not be required to pay the entrance fee, but they can choose to do so if they want the guidebook and medallion, Chalermchai said.