I live 6 wonderful years in Thailand. Andy has summed it up well. I would add that Thais would not want someone to lose face by saying they are sorry. When some loses face all lose face as all have a duty to preserve face for all present. A untruth is often the best way to avoid unpleasantness.
Nothing is as it seems. You are truly " down the rabbit hole here". You can fight it or relish but, you will not change it.
I personally believe that the average person says a half-truth every 3 minutes in normal conversations. When I had a Real Estate office with 10-15 agents, I was aghast when one of the agents said more or less salesmen are expected to lie. And, I told him, that the only value of a sales person is his word. Which after having them for a couple of years, I gave up, and released all of their licenses in one day. But, I had 20 closing waiting to close, and they had 10 among the whole group.
I cannot bear to talk with Travel Writers, as that is their methodology, they try to write as big as lies as possible, trying to make them plausible, but just pure sensationalism. I get paid for consulting, and what is it, paid to tell the truth, they just want an honest sentence to come out of my mouth.
I managed a boutique $$$$ hotel in the Caribbean for many years. What you say, Andy, is 100percent true. The best advertising was the free editorial from travel writers. It was most likely to be seen as true. I became very good at farming the travel press. They want something for nothing, personal attention and copy which we would provide. It sold more rooms than any paid advertising .
"Farming the travel press." This is a great way of describing the situation.