Racial Discrimination at Asiatique in Bangkok
When Asiatique The Riverfront first opened in Bangkok I was one of their main supporters. I was there during the opening event and often blogged about various events on their premises. I also wrote a blog promoting Asiatique as being the new Suan Lum Night Bazaar. But the relationship soured a bit between us after they deleted my questions on their Facebook page and then banned me from posting any more (see here). I was questioning the reasoning behind their decision to have dual pricing for the new ferris wheel. On their Facebook they wrote in Thai that the prices were 200 Baht for Thais and 250 Baht for foreigners. I translated this into English and then asked why they felt a need to have two prices. After all, Asiatique attracts more up-market Thais who are far richer than the average foreigner. They didn’t like my question which eventually led to me being banned.
As a direct result of my banning, the foreign community in Thailand and abroad came together and bombarded the Asiatique Facebook Page with complaints. So much so that they had to temporarily close their fan page. When they came back they had capitulated saying that there would now be one price for everyone (see here). I thought that was the end of the matter. But, it would see that as soon as all of the fuss had died down that Asiatique decided to again go back to having dual pricing. Thais are 200 Baht and foreigners are 250 Baht. I know that the difference is only 50 Baht, but look it as this way. Why create all of this hard feeling just for a measly 50 Baht extra? But the main problem here is that the practice is racial discrimination. If you are Asian and can pass yourself off as being a Thai, then you can get in for only 200 Baht.
I contacted Asiatique again about this matter and this is what they said: If you have an issue with the ticket price of wheel, please kindly contact the wheel owner. As I have informed you many times, Asiatique is the land owner who rent the space to tenants and we have no control in pricing over any tenants in our project just like Central or The Mall. Your latest question in our facebook, won’t make any changes at all since you’ve questioned to a wrong person.
By this thinking, landlords of places like MBK and Pantip plaza shouldn’t be held accountable for sale of pirated goods on their premises? If Asiatique are not carefully monitoring shops and restaurants on their premises then who else are discriminating against foreign tourists? Does the ladyboy show Calypso have two prices? Do shops charge foreign tourists more money for goods? What about the restaurants? Do they have two menus, one for Thais and one for foreigners? How can we have confidence in Asiatique any more if they allow such discrimination in this day and age. This is Bangkok after all and this kind of thing shouldn’t be allowed to continue. What do you think?
UPDATE: The Ferris Wheel isn’t the only attraction at Asiatique that charges foreigners more. The Calypso show in Warehouse 4 also discriminates against foreigners. Thais can watch the show for 600 Baht but foreign tourists have to pay 1,200 Baht. Do restaurants and shops at Asiatique have this policy too?