Tourists wearing cheetah print budgie smugglers at Thailand airport

A photo of two men wearing cheetah print budgie smugglers at a Thailand airport has outraged locals who saw it as disrespectful of their culture.

The picture of the two tourists in animal print togs at Phuket Airport went viral on Thai social media this week.

The men were snapped sorting their suitcases at the luggage trolley stand in nothing but their swim briefs — unless you count sunnies, thongs and a bum bag.

“How do they have no shame? Those are undies when not near water,” one person wrote.

“And in a conservative country, too,” said another.

A third added: “I’d have a hard time believing that this is the normal culture anywhere.”

Others, however, said the attire was par for the course in a tourism economy.

“If you want mass tourism, not everyone will toe the cultural line unfortunately,” one person said.

There was some added confusion as to whether the men had arrived in Phuket ready to hit the beach or if they planned to check in to their outbound flights and travel in swimwear.

“Pants are required at the airport. The airline won’t let them on,” one wrote.

“Some people like to get the very last minute of sunshine,” another added.

“They are excited and ready to swim,” guessed a third.

Although the men’s nationality wasn’t known, many commenters said there was a “100 per cent” chance they were Australian.

But another said: “99.9 per cent accurate. If they were also barefoot it would be 100 per cent.”

Thailand is one of a slew of tourist hotspots that has begun to crack down on travellers’ bad behaviour, which has ranged from awkward to outright disrespectful.

Post-lockdown, the country’s tourism bodies have expressed a desire to pivot their tourism strategy towards quality over quantity.

“To build a new ecosystem, we need to become less reliant on the number of tourists and focus more on increasing tourist spending, attracting quality tourists, developing the supply chain with our partners, and distributing income fairly to the local communities,” said Tourism Authority of Thailand boss Yuthasak Supasorn.

“We need to create a balance between economic wealth, social wellbeing, environmental wellness, and human wisdom.”

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