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Life is looking up for foreigners still residing in Thailand, but it comes through a desperate competition over their wallets.

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As Thailand continues to shut its borders from visitors, the few remaining tourists and long-term visa holders still residing in the country are enjoying the positive effects of the global pandemic.

Usually crowded destinations are a distant memory of the past, hotels and resorts are offering huge discounts, and local bars and restaurants are waging war with dropping beer prices.

Beaches of Koh Tachai are uncrowded and peaceful. For a fleeting moment you might even feel like Robinson Crusoe, alone on a tropical island.

Return to the golden age of travel

When the backpacker culture gained popularity in the early 90s, exploring South-East Asia was all the rage. Many of today’s travel gems were still in their infancy — unspoilt by hordes of Samsonite tourists.

Through the popularity of backpackers, these destinations became well-known and slowly transformed into crowded tourist traps. This kept the backpackers exploring new destinations, and the twisted cycle repeated.

Some destinations are starting to remind how it used to be back in the good old days when mass-tourism wasn’t an issue. Expats and locals have a unique opportunity to experience the beauty of Thailand from an uncrowded angle, which might not happen again during our lifetimes.

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Perfect time to travel for those who do everything to avoid trendy and popular destinations, simply because, or especially because other people are flocking to them.

Pattaya bars drop beer prices

Most bars have reopened in Soi LK Metro, a popular nightlife district in Pattaya.

Bars in Pattaya have started a full price war, lowering beer prices to compete over the few remaining foreigners still left in Thailand.

Signs in Soi LK Metro have the prices dropped by up to 20 baht, which is a pretty good deal for an area where the average beer price has floated around 70 baht.

The price war comes at a point where businesses are fighting for their survival. An earlier grim prediction by The Tourism Council of Thailand warned, that up to one-third of tourist-orientated businesses might go under within the next 6 months.

There are an estimated 10,000 farangs left in Pattaya. Coincidentally before COVID-19, there were also around 10,000 bars, but not all of them have reopened.

Price war was only a matter of time, and portraits the financial struggle the bars are going through.

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Winners will survive and get to keep their businesses. Casualties will hang another “Bar for Sale” sign, and leave for good.

Even bar girls have bills to pay, and with the tourists gone they are getting more and more desperate. The price war is hardly limited to beer prices.

Some bars are more resilient than others. The few that have enough loyal regulars will keep their head above water and weather the storm. Most are not as lucky.

While cheap beer and peaceful travel destinations is a welcome change for the remaining foreigners in Thailand, they also had to endure financial stress. How willing are they to spend their remaining savings when the future is still shrouded in uncertainty?

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