''They swallow what they can and spit out the rest on the table. It's disgusting. I don't like them at all,'' says Pee, owner of the well-known pork rib soup restaurant in Chiang Mai's old town where the scene is taking place.
''They come in groups of four, but they only order one bowl of noodles and a bowl of pork rib soup to share,'' he says.
During the past year, Chiang Mai has opened its doors to a surge in Chinese tourists, much of it off the back of the successful film Lost in Thailand, which was set in the northern city. The low-budget comedy set a box-office record by grossing US$200 million after its release in December last year, the highest figure ever for a Chinese film.
Between January and September this year, tourist arrivals to Thailand from China increased a dramatic 93% from the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.
Many take advantage of the proliferation of direct flights from China to Chiang Mai. Chinese travellers already topped the list of visitor arrivals last year with 2.5 million, up by 47.1% from 2011. The Thai-Chinese Tourism Alliance Association expects four million this year.
But despite the large sums of money these tourists bring, many local business owners complain about the travellers' uncouth behaviour _ spitting on the street, failing to flush the toilet, pushing in and any number of messy dining habits.
Last week, China's National Tourism Administration published a 64-page illustrated Guidebook for Civilised Tourism, aimed at educating its citizens about cultural sensitivities and adjusting their behaviour to prevent the spread of anti-Chinese sentiment abroad.
CLASH OF CULTURES
Cherry, a 21-year-old from Xi'an in central China, travelled to Thailand for the first time last week with her mother.
Being a fresh graduate and just beginning her first job, Cherry could only afford a short trip, spending two days in Bangkok and another two in Chiang Mai.
She admits the movie Lost in Thailand was the major factor that drew her here. She doesn't care much for attractions and cultural sights _ she only wants to visit landmarks featured in the film.
Cherry tells Spectrum she had no idea that Chiang Mai locals have been complaining about the behaviour of her compatriots.
''I don't think we are being rude or disrespectful to your culture. People in my generation are more aware of cultural sensitivities,'' she says.
''We have better education. We have been exposed to other cultures more through the education system.
''It is possible that older generations of Chinese people are behaving in ways that offend Thai people because they are not well-rounded and well-educated like us.''
She says spitting, pushing in and speaking loudly in public areas are quite common in China, but attitudes are slowly changing.
''I don't do that myself, but older people usually do. I believe this kind of habit will change soon. Travelling to other countries is something new to us. We need to adjust ourselves a lot,'' she adds.
Wenyu Zhou, 37, moved from Shanghai to Chiang Mai recently after spending more than a decade travelling back and forth to Thailand on business and holiday. He says Thai people need to realise that some of the things they find offensive are considered perfectly normal in China.
''I know it is not good, but not flushing a toilet, for example, is a very Chinese thing. If you travel to China, even in the big cities, you will see the toilets there are not clean. This is the kind of culture they grew up with,'' Mr Zhou says.
''I don't have this problem since I travel a lot. But when I was young, I grew up with the old-fashioned toilet that did not require flushing at all.''
Mr Zhou says there are a lot more Chinese people coming to Chiang Mai due to the growing availability of cheap, direct flights from their home country. He says Lost in Thailand also most likely played a part in the city's increased popularity as a tourist destination.
But he also notes that the main reason is that Chinese citizens are becoming increasingly wealthy, giving them access to international travel for the first time.
With the emergence of a middle class, he says, attitudes are hardening against impolite behaviour, particularly in major urban centres. People who have bad habits often hail from smaller cities or rural areas, which are slower to adapt to change.
''I'm not defending Chinese people for their bad habits. I think we need to learn and change ourselves to be better quality and more desirable tourists,'' Mr Zhou says. He recommends that Thai people engage directly with the problem and to make it clear when someone's behaviour is not acceptable.
''It would help them a lot if they know what they are doing is unacceptable here. Then they will learn and will not repeat the same mistake.''
QUANTITY VERSUS QUALITY
The owner of a jewellery shop near Tha Pae Gate, who preferred not to be named, said she does not consider Chinese travellers a desirable group of customers.
''Many Chinese tourists come to my shop and pretend they are interested in the products,'' she said.
''They touch them, feel them and try them on but they never make a purchase. What makes them undesirable is that they want to keep those items as souvenirs without paying for them.
''When I catch them stealing, they either yell at me and pretend they didn't do it or just drop the items and walk away. We don't have CCTV cameras here, but I can remember every single item. If one is missing, I always notice.''
Tanet Rakhan, a 41-year-old tuk-tuk driver, says he has noticed a lot more Chinese tourists coming to Chiang Mai this year. Most are young couples in their 20s, he says.
''They use my service, but sometimes it is not worth my time since they normally try to bargain the price down a lot,'' he says. ''They are quite stingy and budget conscious.''
Mr Tanet says he is regularly approached by groups of four to five Chinese tourists to take them across town, but they offer to pay him only 5 baht each. When he tells them the going rate is 100 baht, they attempt to bargain him down to 40. When he declines and prepares to drive away, he says he is regularly abused.
''I sometimes take them out for a tour outside town to see the umbrella village, elephant camps or the monkey school,'' he says. ''They have no problem paying me to take them there, but then they yell at me when they have to pay entrance fees for some attractions, even though I informed them about it already.
''Chinese are not the biggest spenders. I'd prefer to take Europeans since they never have problems paying for the entrance fees.''
This complaint over tourist ''quality'', however, is likely to be addressed soon. The Chinese government early this month implemented a policy to regulate outbound ''zero dollar'' package tours.
The regulation will likely see a short-term dip in Chinese tourist arrivals, but tourism operators point to the long-term benefit of ''better quality'' travellers.
Zero-dollar tours refer to cheap tour packages in which Chinese travellers pay only a small amount of money to tour agents. But when they are in Thailand, the tourists are pressured into buying overpriced products and accommodation or optional programmes they had not planned on joining.
Under the new Chinese regulation, all tour programme details and all expenses for Chinese tourists must be explicitly stated, and the tour packages can be paid for only in China.
Surachai Benjasathaporn, 46, owns the Red Cup coffee shop opposite the main entrance to Chiang Mai University. He says that while cleanliness issues can irritate him _ some tourists don't flush the toilet, he says _ he accepts that many of the issues that others complain about are simply part of Chinese culture.
Mr Surachai says the surge in Chinese tourists has been a boon for his business, mainly because Chiang Mai University was featured in Lost in Thailand.
Most of his customers are young couples who travel independently.
''Sometimes large groups [of Chinese] come to my coffee shop and only buy a single cup of coffee between them, while the rest of the group doesn't order anything and even brings food from outside to eat in my shop. But I really don't have problem with that,'' he says.
Anchalee Vittayanuntapornkul is the owner of CM Paradise Tour in Chiang Mai. She sells tours directly to Chinese tourists, and is aided by her ability to communicate fluently in Mandarin.
She says most of her clients are well-educated and well-behaved, traits she puts down to her online sales method. Ms Anchalee says selling tours online can help screen out problematic clients, as only educated people have access to the internet and credit cards.
''The most popular tour that I sell is the elephant camp tour, mainly because it featured in one of the scenes in Lost in Thailand. Most of the Chinese who come to Chiang Mai want to see the real locations where the movie was made,'' Ms Anchalee says.
''The Chinese market is our priority now. They have more purchasing power and they are starting to travel more, particularly the younger generation. Chinese tourists are important to our market and they will be the main driver of our economy in the future.''
Ms Anchalee urged local people to try to understand the Chinese culture before passing judgement on tourists' behaviour.
''Their country opened its borders only recently and the Chinese people are still very inexperienced as tourists. Things that may offend some people here _ such as spitting on the street or not flushing the toilet _ are all completely normal parts of the lifestyle and culture in their home country,'' she says.
WRONG SIDE OF THE LAW
Chiang Mai Tourist Police deputy inspector Therdphong Chunlasilp says the number one problem involving Chinese tourists in Chiang Mai is driving _ they are not familiar with the local roads or with Thai traffic laws.
''There have been many times when they have stopped their vehicles wherever they feel like,'' he says.
''There are many accidents caused by Chinese tourists on a daily basis, especially on the road leading up Doi Suthep.
''I understand that traffic in China drives on the right-hand side, and they may not be used to our system, but what I don't understand is why they stop in the middle of the road to talk to each other or even to take photos while there are many cars behind them.''
Communication is also a major issue. Many Chinese tourists lack even basic English or Thai language skills, making conflict resolution difficult. Police receive daily complaints from local business operators. Song taew drivers are often forced to ask police for help when Chinese tourists refuse to pay the agreed price.
''Most of the Chinese tourists we see are low-quality tourists. They don't want to give but they always want to get the most out of everything,'' Pol Col Therdphong says. ''For example, some mu kata (Thai-style barbecue buffet) restaurants have banned Chinese tourists because they don't know how to eat the buffet properly. They eat a lot in the restaurant, but then they also fill their bags with food from the buffet to take home.''
The Tourism Authority of Thailand's Chiang Mai office director, Wisoot Buachoom, says during the past year his agency has taken local business operators to roadshows in Hong Kong, Macau, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
''The reason we chose these cities is because we saw a very high potential in these location due to the direct flights to Chiang Mai,'' he said. The TAT has traditionally targeted European tourists, but the emergence of China at the top of the arrivals list has forced them to alter their focus. ''It's not like we are giving special attention to the Chinese market, but we have seen this market grow a lot during the past few years and it is getting consistently stronger. We are welcoming all Chinese tourists, while also taking good care of our existing customer base,'' Mr Wisoot said.
He said he's aware that there have been complaints about traveller behaviour, and the TAT is working to improve communication between locals and Chinese tourists.
''We have published brochures with instructions on how to be good tourists in both English and Chinese language. The content shows the cultural dos and don'ts when coming to Thailand,'' Mr Wisoot explained.
Despite his frustration at their frugality, Mr Tanet, the tuk-tuk driver, says Chinese tourists are helping to fill the gap in the low season when there are few other tourists around.
''Even though there are some Chinese who are not willing to spend money, we are relying on them for low season income,'' he says.
''When there are not many Europeans coming during the rainy season, Chinese tourists are here to fill that gap. If we are lucky enough, we will find a rich Chinese who asks us to take them to jewellery shops where we can make a lot of commission. My friend who drives a van recently made 700,000 baht in commission from a single tourist group.''
Mr Wisoot from the TAT says Chiang Mai generates at least 50 billion baht per year from tourism alone. He says there will always be some problems when foreigners travel to a country for the first time, but stressed that most were interested in learning and experiencing a new culture.
The more people travel, the more they will start to realise that some of their actions may be offensive to people in other countries, and learn to adapt.
''I think it won't be too long before Chinese tourists can adjust themselves and behave better in order to respect other cultures. I would like to ask local Chiang Mai people to be a little bit more tolerant and treat them like part of the family. They will soon become the valuable guests that we desire,'' he said.