(Farang is Thai for foreigner) I agree with Phil.uk.net that Farangs seem to rave about places that aren't very good. Yes you and I must have been away the day they put magic mushrooms in evertyone's tea, which causes them to think : "Everyone does... so it must be great".
Me I make my own decisions no matter what other people think. I was heading from KL to Koh Pha Ngang, but I like to stop off at small towns on the way so it took me 2 weeks to reach there. When I arrived I thought 1. It's not Thailand as prices are double, and locals rarely smile and 2. I didn't like it much.
It seems Burma has exclusion zones by use of strong laws. Thailand has achieved the same thing by virtue of Lonely Planet and brainwashing. Thus there are 2 zones : Real Thailand, and tacky tourist zone Thailand. One can see that Farang are confined to Kao San Road Bkk, Chang Mai and Trekking, Phuket, Koh Samui Ko Pha Ngan and the diving islands like Koh Tao. Malaysian tourists are largely confined to the border brothel areas.
One can find equally gorgeous beaches on the mainland quite easily accessible without ferries and the food and transport are not double prices, but Farangs seem to love the artificial places, whereas they don't go to the normal Thailand of generous, smiley friendly people.
The Thai culture in those touristy areas has been squashed and mishapen. It's as if Thais can only work there if they hold a Mafia work permit. Maybe Thais and Mass Farang tourists mix like orange and milk. It seems to bring out the worst in both of them. A lot of the Thais become slimey greedy manipulative moneymakers, while the Farang are more often ignorant arrogant and loud.
Seems as well as these "unindependent tourists", in the other places the foreigners seem to be weirdos. Do I fall into the weirdo category ? No wonder many Thais don't like Farangs.
Overpaying I hold to the principle of getting the right price, though I don't mind tipping for good service particularly to poor & Myanmar workers. That way you are not making it more expensive for the travellers after you and not skewing the local market. . But all too often the Farang's principle is "ah fuck it, it's only $2, $5, $10"
Phil points out this doesn't help the poor as the rich class take the money and continue to pay their workers a pittance.
OK by rights, the government could restore confidence in the Baht and pay people like rice farmers properly. So that a 200 Baht hotel room costs 20 quid and a 25B fried rice should cost £2.50. But they don't so that's one big reason we come to Thailand.