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Tax-paying foreigners not entitled to local price at National Parks

Tax-paying foreigners not entitled to local price at National Parks

PHUKET: Foreigners who possess a valid work permit and pay tax to the Royal Thai Government through a Tax [payer] Identification Number (TIN) have no legal entitlement to the “local rate” at any of the National Parks throughout the kingdom, a National Parks tourism promotion officer has confirmed.

By The Phuket News

Saturday 27 December 2014, 08:49PM

TAKE A HIKE: If you want to enjoy the beauty of Thai national parks, but are not Thai, then you are expected to pay the price, five to 10 times more than Thais. Photo:  BrokenSphere

TAKE A HIKE: If you want to enjoy the beauty of Thai national parks, but are not Thai, then you are expected to pay the price, five to 10 times more than Thais. Photo: BrokenSphere

By Chawala Kongsaeng

The clarification follows an inquiry to The Phuket News from an expatriate reader asking for help to clarify the long-running confusion on whether legitimately working foreigners are entitled to the Thai rate at national parks.

“I have gone to several national parks and most charge only the Thai admission charge when I show my passport and work permit. However, there have been two around Krabi who refuse. I was wondering what is the actual rule for this for foreigners. Surely there is a standard agreement across all national parks throughout Thailand,” wrote Celi Harper.

To shed some light on the matter, The Phuket News contacted the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation headquarters in Bangkok, as well the offices of various national parks in/near Phuket.

All officers we spoke to were in agreement that there are only two main charging standards – for Thais and non-Thais – and that work, tax or visa status are irrelevant.

Based on our accumulative experience and accounts, flexibility for resident-status foreigners visiting national parks throughout the kingdom has been inconsistent. Some have been allowed to pay the Thai fee simply by speaking Thai to the officer, or showing the park officer their Thai TIN card, work permit, student ID and/or driving license, while others have been outright refused and told they must pay the “foreigner fee”.

Our inquiries have confirmed this. 

“Depending on the park, or specific park duty officer, foreigners may be allowed to pay the Thai rate,” explained the Chief of Tourism Promotion office of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, Wanlapha Yuttiwong.

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However, she confirmed that this “flexibility” was not based on any laws or regulations, which on the contrary, she insisted, stipulate that foreigners, regardless of their official status in Thailand, are obliged to pay the foreign price.

Foreigners even do not qualify for free entry if under 3 or over 60 years of age. 

She noted one exception: students who are part of a qualified academic institution group activity at a national park will collectively be figured into a group discount rate, for which nationality of individual group members is not scrutinised.

Throughout the Kingdom of Thailand, there are 124 National Parks, as listed on the Department of National Parks Website here. That's the English version, listing with the prices for foreigners. The prices for Thai are here.

The Thai rates range from B10-40, while the foreigner rates range from B50-400, or five to 10 times more.

The DPN classifies adults as people aged 15-59, and children 3-14.

“Regardless if you have lived and worked here for many years, you [foreigners] aren’t entitled to the same privileges as Thais. You need to pay the same amount as foreign tourists, but if you are lucky, you might benefit from the flexibility [exercised by some park officers],” she said.

Asked why she thought the fees were so high, Ms Wanlapha remarked “We don’t get enough budget from the government to maintain the parks, and lately the number of foreign visitors to national parks has declined.”

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bb | 19 January 2015 - 15:54:49

I just had a park refuse to honor my work permit for a reduced fee.  First time.  Disappointing and won't be going back.  

Thomas Nutterfield | 18 January 2015 - 12:47:51

@HotPepper, you are right, but Thailand is actually more discriminatory than most other Asian countries. Vietnam for example, very rarely has dual pricing anymore, while China eliminated it in 1996. Even Laos doesn't practice it very much despite being quite poor. So Thailand seems to be the greediest of the Asian countries and of course Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong etc. are also free of dual...

Thomas Nutterfield | 18 January 2015 - 12:45:42

I have never heard of even Thai seniors getting a discount at any tourist attraction. Very young children might, but not elderly people as they still pay the adult price. I can read Thai and I have never noticed a seniors price as it doesn't exist. So Thailand doesn't just discriminate against foreigners, it also discriminates against elderly people, including it's own.

christianmiles | 10 January 2015 - 17:42:46

This is very nice and really appreciating.
you can also visit for more information.

HotPepper | 07 January 2015 - 08:29:56

So Ms. Wanlapha says you foreigners will pay more because tourist rates are down so we must keep charging you more to help our country with income. Thailand is no different than most asian countries, racist, xenophobic, want tourism for the money only. Here on Phuket, safety is out the door, foreigners are hit up for every baht that can be squeezed out of their wallets, all while the Thai is smili...

Latisha | 03 January 2015 - 15:35:27

I had no idea how to approach this befnre-oow I'm locked and loaded.

KamalaRider | 01 January 2015 - 14:55:17

So almost the ONLY way to have some benefits for paying taxes are now gone.
I will never visit any park in Thailand that use a higher price for me than my thai wife and daughter. I was told early on, one of the benefits of having a WP, I was eligible for Thai prices in for instance public parks. My wife and daughter are the ones hurt the most by these insulting rules and fees as I will never visi...

Ye Mengfu | 31 December 2014 - 23:58:32

The Day China came to be a WTO member, it immediately applied  non discriminatory rates  equal for locals and for foreigners at it museum\'s which were before that day 4 to 8 times higher  for foreigners . The actual situation in Thailand is a blatant discriminatory measure non compliant with  the National treatment WTO  principle.

chazwolf | 29 December 2014 - 09:49:12

When will everyone learn that Thailand only ever want falangs money and not the falangs? Ever hear about the saying "behind the smile"? This is why falangs get persecuted at every opportunity in Thailand for money and to make it very hard to live here and work here. But as is seen now, and will be seen for sure next high season, tourism is down a lot and that means less money for Thailan... | 28 December 2014 - 22:13:59

I have only been refused the Thai rate once in 14 years - that was in Phuket at the Bang Pae waterfall in Phaklok.  It seems most local officers have more sense than the head office.  If the numbers of foreign visitors to Thai national parks are declining then surely you should think about reducing the price.  Or perhaps I don't understand the laws of economics..

Derek | 28 December 2014 - 19:22:42

The same at bars, restaurants and shops all over Phuket. Land of Smiles? Not so much.

charlie | 28 December 2014 - 10:09:05

The main problem in Thailand is that civil servant interpret the law at their wills; so some civil servants say the law is like that and other civil servants say the opposite.

Grordie | 28 December 2014 - 08:04:09

You have got to love that final sentence: " ... and lately the number of foreign visitors to national parks has declined.” 

So Mrs Wanlapha, just why do you think the numbers are declining?

You couldn't make it up.  Stupid is as stupid does and unfortunately, you can't fix stupidity.

sunset37 | 28 December 2014 - 01:34:10

Does \"ANYONE\" refer to Thai nationals or "anyone" in the true sense of the word?
"She noted a few exceptions: Anyone under 3 or over 60 years old can get in for free".

charlie | 27 December 2014 - 21:27:04

And what about some foreigners holding a "Permanent Resident Permit?"


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