Chinese tourists invade CMU
published : 3 Mar 2014 at 10:52
writer: Terry Fredrickson
Lured by the hit movie Lost in Thailand, up to 500 Chinese tourists a day are visiting Chiang Mai University. Campus officials are having a hard time coping and are considering an entry fee.
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Chinese tourists visit Chiang Mai University. CHAIYOT YONGCHAROENCHAI
Chinese tourists in class of their own in Chiang Mai
University considering charging visitors after box-office hit 'Lost in Thailand' prompts campus tours
Chiang Mai University will this week start charging tourists to visit its campus after a series of bizarre incidents in recent weeks involving Chinese visitors who have swamped its grounds.
The university, and its tranquil lakeside surrounds, has become a "must see" destination for the Chinese after it was featured in the 2012 smash hit movie Lost in Thailand, which has grossed more than US$200 million (6.5 billion baht) at the box office.
Associate Professor Rome Chiranukrom, who handles international relations at the university, said they were getting up to 500 Chinese visitors a day who were roaming the campus and disrupting the running of the university.
The intrusive behaviour included some Chinese pitching a tent near the Ang Kaew lake and writing "we are here" in paint on the ground, causing car accidents, sneaking into classrooms to take snaps of teachers and students, and, leaving a mess in the canteen.
However, the strangest misbehaviour, which is widely encouraged on Chinese travel websites, involves costume play where the visitors buy or rent a student uniform and pose for pictures. Mr Rome said on many occasions Chinese tourists in university uniforms have sneaked into classrooms and attended lessons.
Some real Chiang Mai University students have fun on campus. PATIPAT JANTHONG
Last Monday a Chinese teenage brother and sister dressed in uniforms and being photographed by their parents in front of the campus were noticed by a campus security guard who took them to Mr Rome.
Mr Rome said he informed the family it was against university regulations for non-students to wear the uniforms — consisting of dark slacks or skirt, a white top and purple tie — which they had purchased from a clothes shop across the road from the university's main entrance.
They were taken to a local police station and warned they could be fined 100,000 baht or face up to a year's jail under Thai laws covering university dress codes. Mr Rome said they were not charged.
"The parents told me that they admired Chiang Mai University so much and they wanted to be part of the university," Mr Rome said. "They even said that they wanted to enrol their children at the university.
"I saw this as a great opportunity instead of a threat. It is a good chance to publicise not only the beautiful setting of the university, but also its academic excellence."
Mr Rome said overall the university was "not too worried about the situation" and they were happy to welcome the Chinese visitors in Lanna style. The biggest problem they created was traffic mayhem on campus. "They have bad traffic manners," Mr Rome said. "Part of it is because they drive on the different side from Thailand. They have caused a lot of accidents on campus".
From Tuesday, the university will start 30-minute mini-bus tours of the university charging adults 50 baht and children 20 baht.
Tourists on bicycle will be charged 50 baht for a four-hour visit or 100 baht for the whole day. Motorcycle parking fees will be 100 baht for four hours and 200 baht for the day. Cars will be charged 200 baht for four hours, and 500 baht for the day and vans 300 baht and and 1,000 baht for the same periods.
Mr Rome said volunteers would provide the tourists with information and a map. The mini-bus tour will have a guide speaking both English and Chinese.
Anchalee Vittayanuntapornkul, the owner of CM Paradise a major operator of Chinese tours in Chiang Mai, said the fees would not deter the Chinese tourists.
"Are they trying to turn the university into a zoo?" she asked angrily.
"Instead of collecting fees, why don’t they enforce stronger rules to control crowds? I've never heard of any university in the world collecting a fee just to go inside. Mae Fah Luang University in Chiang Rai is much more beautiful than CMU, but they don’t collect fees to go to visit the campus.”
She said Chiang Mai University would gain a reputation for being selfish and greedy and the city's reputation for being a cheap, friendly destination would be tarnished.
"If they can afford to come all the way to Chiang Mai, they can afford to pay 50 baht to go in the university," she said. "The Chinese tourists are not stupid. This will not stop them from coming to visit the campus."
Mr Rome denied the university was trying to fleece the tourists.
"It is not that we are trying to make the money out of the tourists," he said. "But there are some operational fees for the bus, five tour guides and the map. We are trying to make this more organised and prevent further problems created by the Chinese tourists."
Learn from listening
- academic: relating to education - เชิงวิชาการ
- admire: to respect somebody for what they are or for what they have done - ชมเชย,ยกย่องสรรเสริญ
- afford: to have enough money to be able to pay for something - มีเงินพอจับจ่าย ซื้อหา
- associate professor (noun): a teacher at a college or university who has a rank just below the rank of a professor - รองศาสตราจารย์
- behaviour: the way that someone acts or behaves - พฤติกรรม, การกระทำตัว
- bizarre: very strange and unusual - แปลกประหลาด,วิตถาร,ผิดปกติ
- box office (noun): the place at a theatre, cinema/movie theater, etc. where the tickets are sold ที่ขายตั๋วภาพยนตร์หรือละคร - ที่ขายตั๋วภาพยนตร์หรือละคร
- campus (noun): the buildings of a university, college or business and the land around them - พื้นที่ที่เป็นที่ตั้งของมหาวิทยาลัย
- charge: to accuse someone officially of committing a crime - ตั้งข้อกล่าวหา
- code: rules of proper behaviour for a particular job, organisation, etc. - มาตรการ, กฎเกณฑ์, ระเบียบ
- consider: to give careful thought to something before making a decision - พิจารณา
- deny: to say that something is not true - ปฏิเสธ
- destination: the place where someone or something is going - จุดหมายปลายทาง
- deter: to make someone decide not to do something - ขัดขวาง, ยับยั้ง, ป้องกัน
- disrupt: to interrupt something and prevent it from continuing by creating a problem - ได้รับการกระทบกระเทือน ถูกทำให้หยุดชะงัก
- encourage: to cause someone to want to do something - กระตุ้น ให้การสนับสนุน
- enforce : to make sure laws are obeyed - บังคับให้ใช้, บังคับให้ทำ, ใช้กำลังบังคับให้ปฏิบัติตาม
- enrol: to put yourself onto the official list of members of a course or college - ลงทะเบียน
- excellence: the quality of being extremely good - ความเป็นเลิศ
- feature: to include someone or something as an important part - มีบทบาทสำคัญใน
- fees: money that you pay to be allowed to do something - ค่าธรรมเนียม
- fine: to be required to pay an amount of money because you have broken the law - ปรับเป็นเงิน
- fleece (verb): steal from and cheat people -
- greedy: wanting more money, things, or power than you need - อยากได้, ตะกละ,ละโมบ, ซึ่งเห็นแก่ตัว
- gross (verb): to earn money, used for films and other entertainment -
- grounds: an area of land around a building or set of buildings - บริเวณ, สถานที่
- hit: a successful product -
- incident (noun): something that happens - หตุการณ์
- intrusive (adj): too noticeable, direct, etc. in a way that is disturbing or annoying - ที่ก้าวก่าย, ที่ล่วงล้ำ, ที่รบกวน
- involve (verb): to be an important or necessary part or result of something - เกี่ยวพัน, เกี่ยวข้อง, พัวพัน
- manners: behaviour that is considered to be polite in a particular society or culture - มารยาทสังคม
- mayhem: a situation in which there is little or no order or control - ความโกลาหล
- mess (noun): a dirty or untidy state - สภาพสกปรกและไม่เรียบร้อย
- misbehaviour (noun): behaving badly - การประพฤติตนไม่สมควร
- occasion: a time at which something happens - ครั้ง, โอกาส
- operational (adj.): connected with the way in which a business, machine, system, etc. works - เกี่ยวกับปฏิบัติการ
- operator (noun): a person or company that runs a business - ผู้ดำเนินกิจการทางธุรกิจ, ผู้ประกอบธุรกิจ
- opportunity (noun): a chance to do something, or a situation in which it is easy for you to do something - โอกาส
- overall (adj): total; including all the things or people that are involved in a particular situation; general - ทั้งหมด, โดยทั่วไป
- pitching: putting up a tent and fixing it into position - ตั้งโครงขึ้น
- pose: to stay in a particular position in order to be photographed - วางท่าถ่ายรูป
- prompt: to cause something to happen or be done - ก่อให้เกิด
- publicise: to make information about something generally available - เผยแพร่, ประกาศ
- regulation: an official rule that controls the way that things are done - กฎระเบียบ
- reputation: the opinion people have about how good or bad someone or something is - ชื่อเสียง
- roam: to move or travel around in no particular direction - เดินทางท่องเที่ยวโดยปราศจากจุดหมาย
- selfish: caring only about yourself rather than about other people - เห็นแก่ตัว
- setting: the place where someone or something is, and all the things, people, or emotions that are part of that place - สภาพแวดล้อม,
- slacks (noun): trousers/pants for men or women, that are not part of a suit - กางเกงทรงหลวม
- snapshot: a photograph, especially one taken quickly - ภาพถ่ายเร็ว
- sneak (verb): (past: snuck) to go somewhere secretly, trying to avoid being seen - เดินหลบ,เดินลับ ๆ ล่อ ๆ
- surrounds (noun): surroundings; the area around something - บริเวณโดยรอบ
- swamp (verb): to make somebody have more of something than they can deal with - ทำให้แบกรับภาระ, ทำให้หนักอึ้ง, ท่วมด้วย
- tarnished: spoiled; making people have a worse opinion of you than they did before - เสียหาย ด่างพร้อย
- threat: a danger - อันตราย
- tranquil: quiet and peaceful - สงบ, มเงียบสงบ
- uniform: the special set of clothes worn by all members of an organisation or a group at work, or by children at school - เครื่องแบบ
- volunteer (noun): someone who is not paid for the work that they do; someone who does something willingly without being required to - อาสาสมัคร