‘Cheapest city on earth’ not proud of it

your say August 18, 2017 01:00

Every now and than we get to see another “survey” that says this or that city or country is the best or cheapest. These surveys are utter nonsense and flawed.

If we take Thailand as an example, prices can vary by a lot depending on which city and in which part of the country you’re holidaying. In some small cities you will pay Bt1,500 for the same kind of three-star hotel that in a tourist area will cost almost double that. And the same goes for food and transportation.

Those surveys are paid for by companies or people with vested interests to point people towards those destinations, and nothing more.


What on earth is the British Post Office’s interest in this? Oh yes – they flog foreign currency and travel insurance.

It would be better if they put the effort into ensuring half-decent mail service between the two countries.


The tourists who come to Thailand can’t possibly lift any kind of economy out of the doldrums. What kind of uneducated talk is that? 

The economy in this country rises and falls based on the decisions of those in power. Too many high-cost projects that aren’t needed, the never-ending warfare machine and the rules and regulations that make foreign investment harder than in many other countries.


Perhaps they should be drawing attention to the fact that Thailand has never been more expensive than it is right now due to the increasingly dismal value of the British pound.


I think the author does not understand that the word “cheap” has a few different meanings.

Samui Bodoh

When I went to Kuala Lumpur, I found just about everything cheaper than in Bangkok. Also, Malaysia issues a 30-day “visa” exemption.


Thailand and Bangkok in particular are not cheap. They used to be, until the greed machine kicked in and the prices escalated. Many other parts of Southeast Asia are cheaper than Thailand. 

I know someone is going to say, “If you don’t like it, then leave.” Well, like many foreigners here, I have a Thai family. As for not contributing, I bring in over Bt2 million a year. Not bragging, but it is needed to take care of my family. Many other guys I know with Thai families also spend around the same.

Overly expensive, I don’t believe so, but cheap it certainly is not.


“The cheap prices foreign tourists enjoy come at the cost of Thai taxpayers, whose money is spent on infrastructure, electricity, tap water and other services,” the editorial states. “These are what is keeping the cost of living here highly affordable for visitors from overseas. The several million people coming to Thailand each year also contribute to traffic congestion and rubbish in the big cities, making local lives worse. Is all this worth the bragging rights over being called the cheapest city on earth?”

 Insulting and wrong, in my opinion. Anybody would think the locals don’t get access to services, subsidise tourists, or that services would in some way be less expensive if visitors were not around. 

Arguably, tourists drive standards upwards. As for any economic arguments, even with backpackers, Thailand must inevitably gain, since visitors are not on the take. Indeed, in any other country with pretensions to civilisation, the amenities and services mentioned are a function of decent, basic society, and not in any way dependent on tourism.

 Thailand is star-struck with the mythical five-star tourist dispensing wads of cash – to the extent it scorns the very trade that directly provides for many of its poorer citizens. 

Today’s backpackers become tomorrow’s businessmen, breadwinners and the type of consumer Thailand seemingly regards as worthy of its gracious hospitality. But they won’t come again faced with such an insulting attitude. 

Who can blame them? What has Thailand got to be so high-handed about? Why would five-star tourists want to come to Bangkok anyway?