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Foreigner Fee Politics

You end up frustrated with the people, the hoteliers, the expensive bus ticket sellers that you just know are ripping you off, this annoying bloody foreigner fee that is just ludicrously more expensive than the local fee,… but actually, it’s the higher powers in the country that you should be frustrated with as it is them creating this cause and effect of high prices.

A couple of French tourists I met told me that every night each hotel has to call what we will name the ‘hotel police’ and tell them how many foreigners are staying there. They then have to pay a surcharge for these foreigners. Same with bus rides, the bus company operator isn’t collecting 4 copies of your passport for the fun of it, the government want to know our exact whereabouts at every possible stop and charge the bus company for the privilege of taking us foreigners.
The checkpoint officials also seem to get involved, marching up to you and demanding your passport, possibly to make sure they get the extra foreigner fee from the bus company too. It’s frustrating as hell.
{Edit: This could be here-say however and it could just be about controlling where tourists are going.}
But as frustrating as it is for us, we are lucky we can at least leave whenever we want. If you happen to fall in love and marry a Burmese person and decide to set up your life over there, you will still have no rights and have to go to Yangon every 3 months to pay for a visa extension. You will also still be classed as a foreigner, as will your children, and you must pay the foreigner prices.

I personally am not sure things are getting better for the normal Myanmar locals by having let tourists into the country or not. Is the money going into the right hands?

Myanmar have potentially entered the ‘tourists coming to our country’ game all wrong, with foreigners seemly getting charged just for breathing in this country. Either the ‘powers that be’ have not thought this through very well, or they really do not want backpackers, commoners, or anyone that earns less than a certain amount coming into their country and want it to be only the holiday elite. In which case all hospitality industries should be learning Russian in preparation.

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