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“Dual Pricing” for foreigners: another travelers’ ripoff

August 4, 2020 10:59 pm Published by


When considering whether visitors from overseas should pay more to visit a tourism destination, there is another way of looking at the matter: local people, earning perhaps 5~10% as much per month as the foreigner, should be allowed to visit for less money. Thus “dual-pricing” for popular attractions in other countries. Fair or unfair? You tell us.

The Republic of Indonesia is attempting to expand its appeal to global tourists, considering its 17,000 islands and 260-million-strong population gets fewer visitors than the tiny city-state of Singapore

(population: 5 million, many of whom are foreigners). Most tourists who come to Indonesia head to Bali, and that’s it. So how to encourage more visits across the archipelago? Certainly not be flagrant differentiation in what overseas visitors pay to visit tourist sites compared to locals.

Consider one of the most famous sites on Java: the Buddhist monument of Borobudur.

While Indonesia is far from the worst, there is still a degree of annoyance when world heritage sites like Borobudur (restored, let us hasten to add, with overseas funds) impose a higher fee on foreign visitors.


As you may have heard, hence you have been googling around the latest information about Borobudur entrance fee, it is true that since May 1st 2017, the officials have raised the rates for entering the UNESCO site, Borobudur Temple, and Prambanan temple as well as Ratu Boko temple. To be short and simple, below are the updated entrance fee for Borobudur in   2019:

Borobudur  USD25 (IDR325K).
Sunrise Borobudur via Manohara Resort  IDR450k.
Borobudur + Mendut + Pawon USD30.
Prambanan only USD25.
Prambanan + Plaosan + Sojiwan USD30.
Ratu Boko USD25.
Sunset Ratu Boko IDR175k.
Combo ticket for Borobudur and Prambanan  USD40 (IDR520k).

What you should know!
The rates above valid for one adult with international passport, single entry. Rates for adults who bring KTP or KITAS get different rates. See: 
Tiket masuk Borobudur 2017 terbaru.


(Cut to the chase: locals pay around 15% of the above prices to visit these sites.)

The strongest argument is for public facilities that local people support with their taxes – like Jakarta’s Ragunan Zoo:

Ragunan Zoo, founded in 1864, is a 140-hectare (350-acre) zoo in Pasar Minggu, South Jakarta, Indonesia. The zoo has over 295 species of animals, 171 species of flora and 3,122 animal specimens including birds. Ragunan Zoo is a popular weekend destination for Jakartans family. Ragunan Zoo is a combination between zoo and park, so it is also known as Ragunan Zoological Park.

Now it is clear that the ticket price for entry is not going to cover upkeep on such a vast operation: Ragunan is being supported by the taxes of average Indonesians. So why should a non-tax-paying foreign visitor not pay more?

On the other hand …

This is a private business. How come foreigners are being stuck with a much steeper entrance fee? Scandalous, no?

Other countries in the Southeast Asian region are moving toward a single price for locals and foreigners. Vietnam has officially decreed it is ending dual-pricing at all heritage sites.

 Here’s how it should go. Several decades ago, Ya Udah Bistro opened up in old Menteng, serving fine Euro-Asian fare in a pleasant open-air environment. Prices were set to be affordable by all – local folk as well as the steady stream of overseas patrons, many of whom had read recommendations in Lonely Planet and other tour guides. There was never any question of charging anyone more than anyone else; everybody shares the pain together.

Now with masks, disposable gloves, disposable paper menus, waitresses sterilizing the place as they go along and proper social distancing, in tune with the times.

Do you have any opinion on the controversial subject of ‘DUAL PRICING’? Please say your piece in the space provided below. And enjoy our ‘fair price’ hospitality.

We would love to have your feedback on this matter, and will share comments with all readers.

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