Thailand Weekly Vol. 02
Thailand news and stories delivered free to your inbox every Sunday 🇹🇭
Happy Sunday. Hope you all have a great week ahead and are one day closer to your next trip to Thailand. The ‘Land of Smiles’ is waiting!
No More Thailand Pass?
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is drafting a plan that will make it significantly easier for tourists to return to the Kingdom in the second half of 2022. The idea behind this is to ensure that travel rules reflect the changing tone in how Thailand approaches COVID as a whole. In fact, TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn said that the plan to downgrade the pandemic to an endemic on July 1st will likely result in the termination of the Thailand Pass altogether. A move like this would be key in attracting the number of tourists that are needed in order to reinvigorate the desperate travel industry currently sitting as a shell of its formers self.
TAT has also stated that the country can expect more short-haul arrivals this summer from key markets like India, Vietnam, and Malaysia. In fact, a network of Vaccinated Travel Lanes is forming in Asia as leaders try to find ways to re-open ‘safely’. On March 15th, there will be a major travel lane opening that involves Thailand, Cambodia, and Malaysia.
In the case of the Malaysia x Thailand arrangement, governments will jointly allow six daily flights between Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok, and four daily flights between Kuala Lumpur and Phuket.
As far as I’m concerned, any forward progression as it pertains to Thailand Tourism news is great. It started with the Phuket Sandbox Program, which then expanded to other sandboxes across the Country, which then turned into the Thailand Pass. All of this is great, but I just wish this movement would happen faster. With many places in Europe and North America fully moving on from the pandemic, it’d be great if the timeline to drop just about all requirements (including any sort of test on arrival system) was something like April 1st. Given that Thailand is averaging over 22K reported cases per day, nothing is being kept out that isn’t already here. It just feels like it’s time to turn the chapter and get people back in business.
Iconic Trees Get Protection
Thailand has some of the most beautiful nature anywhere in the World and the northern part of this Country is certainly no exception. This past week, the Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment announced new rules to protect the century-old Yang Na trees that you can find on the Chiang Mai to Lamphun freeway.
The new regulations take effect immediately and protect a nine kilometre stretch of road where these Yang Na trees are especially common. This specific stretch of newly protected land includes around 900 Yang Na trees that are at least 150 years old. These trees were planted during the reign of King Rama V and are a landmark of Northern Thailand.
The updated regulation prevents any sort of trimming or cutting except through special government authorization, while it also bans any pouring or dumping of material (concrete, asphalt, etc.) that may harm the roots or trunks of the Yang Na trees.
Between the Beaches, Jungles and Oceans of the South, combined with the Forests, Mountains, and Reservoirs of the North, this Country has something for anyone and everyone. It’s amazing to hear that there are new conservation efforts being put in place to protect the stunning biodiversity that defines this entire region.
Thailand Travel Tip
Thai’s are probably my favourite group of people in the World. They’re just so awesome in every way. If you plan on travelling here, being able to speak their language will improve your experience 10X. English isn’t that prominent outside of the main tourist areas, so if you plan to do some exploring throughout the Country, it’s worth preparing yourself by learning some basic Thai.
For the foodies out there, picking up some key words and phrases will also grant you access to all sorts of Thai recipes you wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. Ling, the App I used when I first moved here is designed to make it fun, and as easy as possible.
Click here to check out Ling for yourself and start learning some Thai!
Brand New Airport In The South
There’s a new airport coming to town. At least that’s what residents of one of Thailand’s Southern most Province’s can say. The Betong Airport in Yala (close to the Malaysian border) broke ground in 2017 and was completed back in 2019. It has a modern terminal meant to serve around 300 passengers per hour.
The project’s first ever commercial flight will be operated by Nok Air on March 14th. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and cabinet ministers will actually be on board for the inaugural ceremony upon arrival.
The airport is part of the government’s plan to strengthen the economy, as well as security in the region. Betong Airport will serve as a hub linking the provinces of Pattani, Narathiwat, and Yala.
I’ve spent all sorts of time exploring the four major tourist areas here in Thailand which consists of Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Koh Samui, and Phuket. One of the things I’d like to prioritize this year though is to get off the beaten path and make a point to check out some of the quieter provinces like Nan, Phayao, Nakhon Si Thammarat, etc.
Although there are definitely concerns and potential challenges one may run into in Thailand’s deep South, I’ve heard amazing things about it’s nature, people, and food. The idea of a new airport, in a unique part of Thailand, with direct flights from Bangkok is always an exciting prospect for someone like me that enjoys exploring the many gems that this Country has to offer.
Only In Thailand 🇹🇭
Our imagination can often get the best of us. That’s exactly what happened to this child who ran away from his aunty in fear of her being a ghost. The fact is, she was just wearing a sheet mask meant to moisturize her skin. The footage is pretty funny and has made its rounds across Thai social media over the past month.