One of my frustrations when it comes to promoting tourist attractions and events is that quite often the information is only in the Thai language. And so, before I can promote it to my readership I have to take the time to do a translation. In some ways, it’s a bit like me doing their job for them, for free. Another frustration is that sometimes their information is vague or even not fully true. That is the problem that I had today when I tweeted about free entrance to the Ancient Siam in Samut Prakan.
On the Facebook page of Ancient Siam (see here), they posted a message in Thai saying that on the occasion of Asanha Bucha Day, a religious holiday, entrance would be free between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. They didn’t say it was for Thais only. In fact, they addressed their message to “all tourists” (นักท่องเที่ยวทุกท่าน). So, like I do, I translated this special offer into English and tweeted it out to all of my followers on Twitter and also posted on Facebook. I did this in good faith. There has been special offers like this in the past. For example, Museum Siam sometimes has free days and this is for everyone, not just Thais.
The first I knew something was wrong was when one of my followers tweeted that he had just arrived at Ancient Siam and that they weren’t letting him in for free. In fact, they told him he had to pay, even though Thais were going in for free. Of course, I felt embarrassed about this as I had promoted this special offer to all of my followers. Others later tweeted that they too had arrived at Ancient Siam thinking it would be free. As I live not far from the park, I decided to jump in the car and drive over there to find out what was going on.
Ancient Siam tried to argue advert & FB page said free only for Thais. I read it to them in Thai pointing out it says ALL tourists are free.
Initially I got in for free. But, this was probably because the ticket collector recognized me as a regular visitor. I love the Ancient Siam and often bring visitors here. I also come to many of their events to take pictures. So, I went back out and went into the ticket office to ask them if it was free today. They said, “no”. I then pointed out to them their Facebook page that said that it was free after 4 p.m. I was then told that it said it was only free for Thais. I politely told them that it didn’t say this. So, I read to them the bit in Thai where it says “all tourists”. Of course, they weren’t expecting me to be able to read Thai. They then said if I had a work permit I could get in for free.
As I didn’t really want to go in anyway, I continued to politely point out that their Facebook posting said all tourists could go in for free. Regardless whether they have a work permit or not. I know they meant this to be for Thais only and that they weren’t expecting someone to translate and tweet their Facebook post. But, as the mistake was theirs, I was hoping that they would admit to this and let all foreigners in for free. Unfortunately, even tough the manager had come by this point, they just refused to let foreigners in for free. They kept pointing out that the offer was only for Thais. They didn’t seem to understand that their Facebook posting was false advertising.
It was pointless continuing. I had made my point. I know they are not the policy makers and so I didn’t get angry with them. But, I left it by saying that next time they have a special offer that they should write “Thais only”. They apologized and said that they would. Time will tell if they will or not.
My stance on two pricing is that they can do it if they like, but don’t do it in a deceitful way. Be upfront and honest about it. The same goers for advertisements like this one. If they meant it to be only for Thai people, then they should clearly say this. There are plenty of foreigners out there that can read Thai like myself. And not all of them have work permits. If you want us to be repeat visitors, please treat us with some respect.