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$330 meal with compulsory tip angers Bangkok tourists

May 22, 2015 Destination Thailand, Headline News No Comments Print Print Email Email

egtmedia59Tourists in search of bargain Thai dining who took up a Bangkok taxi driver’s recommendation of a seafood restaurant, were shocked to be charged the equivalent of AUD 330 for what seems to have been a fairly modest meal.

A photo of the receipt, posted on social media, has quickly gone viral, the Bangkok Post reported. The prices do seem high, though the bill is not in the league of one in Singapore last year, when a restaurant charged a tourist the equivalent of AUD 600 for a single crab.http://www.thailand.net.au/training/

The Bangkok bill of THB 8840 (AUD 300) includes 17% value-added tax (VAT) and a “mandatory” THB 800 tip.

The Chinese tourist who had to pay it is not happy. She wrote that a taxi driver suggested that she and her friends try a seafood restaurant on Ayutthaya Road in Ratchathewi district, Bangkok.

“The driver was chatty and looked honest, so my three friends and I decided to check out the restaurant.”

The bill (showing Australian dollar equivalents) includes one crab (AUD 60), four tiger prawns (AUD 65), a snapper (AUD 67), a dish of stir-fried octopus mixed with salted egg (AUD 36), a bowl of rice (AUD 5.60) and one pot of tea (AUD 11), plus VAT and AUD 30 compulsory tip.

Thai food is usually cheaper, but in many countries, tourists sometimes get stung. In May last year, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) was reportedly doing what it could to help a family of four tourists who bought a chilli crab dish at Boat Quay’s Forum Seafood Village restaurant during a holiday visit – and suffered a severe reaction to the bill.

The bill for the family meal came in at SGD 1186 (a little over AUD 1000, at the time) and included a single crab which cost SGD 707 (AUD 605).

The family, visiting from the Philippines, was stunned by the figure, the Straits Times reported.

In that case, the restaurant was prepared to compromise and could offer “a partial refund because of the misunderstanding”, the paper reported. The restaurant’s menu clearly states that the Alaskan king crab costs SGD 208 per kilogram, a restaurant spokesman said, but the waiter, who speaks poor English, had not informed the tourists of the final price.

Written by Peter Needham

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