Thailand Weekly Vol. 25
Thailand News and Stories Delivered Free to Your Inbox Every Sunday 🇹🇭
G’day everyone. Coming at you from a rather cool Bangkok evening. I never thought I’d say that 27 degrees feels a little on the chilly side, but life over here has softened me up. The Canadian in me is extremely ashamed haha! Hope you all had an awesome weekend and are closer to your return to Thailand. I was in Khao Lak for a day this past week and it just highlighted the fact that places like Bangkok and Phuket are miles ahead of some of the more low-key spots when it comes to Thailand’s grand re-opening. It was extremely quiet, but equally as beautiful. There’s still lots of areas worth visiting that are still in pristine condition with very little crowds. That clock is ticking though!
Upcoming BKK Marathon To Be World Class
The upcoming Bangkok Marathon is generating high hopes from the city’s new Governor. Taking place on November 20th, Governor Sittipunt said that he’s expecting organizers to put on a world class event, while also promoting the importance of health and exercise. Each of the four categories, which consist of a full marathon (42 km), half marathon (21 km), mini-marathon (10.5 km), and micro marathon (5 km), will start and finish near the Grand Palace in Bangkok’s historic Phra Nakhon district. The mayor plans to meet with officials to discuss how to best attract foreign participants in the same way that the Tokyo, London, and New York marathons each do. Participation fees range between USD $25 and USD $75 depending on the race you sign up for. If you’re looking to participate, you can register here.
This seems like a fun event that would be rewarding to take part in. Who knows, maybe I’ll convince Chris to run in it and film the whole thing! Imagine the title of that video - “I Ran 26 Miles Across Bangkok”. That’d be a good one. In all seriousness though, marathons always seem to be these great community building events in major cities around the world. I’ve only ever run what these organizers would call a mini-marathon (10.5 km), and although it was tough, it was an amazing time with good friends back in Canada. As per the Governor’s ambitions, I don’t think that Bangkok is quite at the level of New York, Tokyo, or London yet as it pertains to being one of those key circuit stops for anyone that is serious about running, but I do think that it has the potential to become one. One of the best ways to enjoy this city is at street level, and I bet that participants will be snaking through some interesting areas of Bangkok as part of the race. I just hope the organizers have set up LOTS of water stations. Running in this heat is no joke. I’ve gotten lightheaded on a few occasions and had to find the closest 7/11 ASAP.
New Cannabis Bill Provides Clarity On Weed Laws
The government’s most recent cannabis bill aims to clarify the rules amidst the confusion that many have felt since the plant was first decriminalized back on June 9th.
Below is a breakdown explaining each of the key points:
People are allowed to grow up to 15 cannabis plants for household use and personal consumption only
Those wanting to grow more than 15 cannabis plants will need to register with the government through one of the multiple available registration portals
Selling and/or advertising cannabis flowering buds, cannabis hashish, cannabis extracts, and equipment used for smoking cannabis products online or in vending machines is prohibited
People are allowed to grow up to five Rai of hemp for household use and personal consumption only
Those who want to grow, process, and extract cannabis for commercial purposes must seek the proper permits and get government approval
Individuals who want to grow, process, and extract cannabis for commercial purposes must be Thai citizens that are at least 20 years old
Legal entities that want to grow, process, and extract cannabis for commercial purposes must be owned and operated by Thai citizens
Both individuals and legal entities looking to export cannabis must seek the proper permits and get government approval
It is illegal to sell cannabis, hemp, and any related products to those under the age of 20, pregnant women, or women who are breastfeeding
Certain premises such as public parks, restaurants, and temples are off-limits to cannabis smoking
Hospitals, medical practitioners, dental practitioners, Thai traditional medicine practitioners, applied Thai traditional medicine practitioners, traditional Chinese medicine practitioners, state agencies, the Thai Red Cross Society, and animal hospitals can also register to grow cannabis plants and will be able to make medicines from the from the plants for patients without seeking additional permission
Well this bill definitely provides a lot of clarity as to what cannabis decriminalization actually means in Thailand. There’s nothing surprising in here, but the cool thing is that they haven’t leaned away from allowing those to use it recreationally. Based on this bill, the door is still wide open for dispensaries to operate openly and freely around the country with the proper paperwork. Anyone looking to legally set up a legitimate shop will need to get the right permits and approval. Prior to this, it was confusing as to who was allowed to sell, where they were allowed to sell it, etc. That’s why we saw so many little busses, carts, etc. selling it on the side of the road with police not exactly knowing what to do about it. That technically isn’t legal and this bill makes that crystal clear. As expected, it looks like they’re also treating the advertising of cannabis the same way that they do for alcohol. Not allowed. All in all, I still think that the definition of decriminalization will change over time, but the clarity of this new bill is light years ahead of what was previously outlined.
Thailand Travel Tip
One of the most common questions we get from those of you that watch our videos goes like this. “Hey guys, I’m coming to Thailand in three months, any hotel suggestions in Samui/Phuket/Bangkok/Chiang Mai, etc.? Up until recently, we really only knew of a few awesome spots that we had personally stayed in. As you guys know, we don’t really recommend that people visit a certain spot, eat at a specific restaurant, stay in a certain hotel, etc. unless either myself or Chris has actually been there and enjoyed it ourselves. The best example of this is Teenee. There’s now 375 spots in there, and between the two of us (mostly Chris), we’ve visited every single pin. There isn’t a single one that wasn't vetted beforehand. Circling back to the hotel discussion, we wanted to expand our knowledge in this space so we could confidently answer any hotel-related questions that come our way on a daily basis. So, we built a formula that analyzed close to 1000 hotels/resorts across Thailand and then generated a single score for each property based on real guest reviews/ratings across 15 different booking platforms (Google, Booking.com, Agoda, Tripadvisor, etc.). Think of this like the ‘ultimate’ score. From there, we reached out to the top 50 and asked them if they wanted be included in the boutique collection that we’ll be recommending. The top 1% of hotels in Thailand across different price-points based on actual customer ratings. Their side of the deal is that they need to implement a code that gives our community (all of you guys) 10% off. The property I’m writing about today is one of the spots that our formula identified as part of this whole process. I actually just got back from Phuket after paying them a visit and walking through their property. It’s called X10 Seaview Suites Panwa Beach, and I can confidently say that this is one of the coolest hotels I’ve been to. Located in the Southern part of the Island, the views are insane and the private villa-style suites make it the perfect place to stay for a few days, or a few weeks. With just 10 units, it’s super high-end and feels extremely boutique. The reviews speak for themselves. If you’re looking for somewhere that’s quiet, beautiful, and surrounded by amazing nature, then I’d definitely consider booking here and getting 10% off while you’re at it. Just enter code ‘RW4U’.
Thailand Ranked No. 1 For Wellness Retreats
A report published this past week indicates that Thailand is the top destination globally for those seeking a wellness retreat. The group that published the report used TripAdvisor to determine which nations had the best resorts, wellness, and spa facilities country-wide. The group also analyzed specific keywords in the reviews of each property across different locations. Thailand was the number one spot by a substantial margin with a score of 9.5/10, followed by Indonesia, the Maldives, and Mexico. You can see the full breakdown below.
List of Top 10 Countries For Wellness Retreats:
List of Top 10 Countries With Best Rated Wellness Facilities:
As per usual, Thailand ranking high on anything related to tourism comes as no surprise to me. This is a country that has mastered that game better than almost any other place in the world. Specific to health and wellness, the proof is in the pudding when you look at the sheer number of wellness and spa facilities that have 4-star+ ratings. Based on the report mentioned above, there’s 30% more quality facilities in Thailand compared to second place India, and it’s light years ahead of Costa Rica, Mexico, Greece, the Maldives, etc.
Only In Thailand 🇹🇭
Water Monitor afraid of Stray Dogs? This might be one of the most ‘Thailand’ headlines I’ve ever seen! This past week, the large lizard had the scare of its life when it was forced to climb up a telephone poll after it was chased and bitten by a pack of dogs in Central Thailand’s Saraburi Province. Local villagers called rescue workers to come and help as they were concerned that the animal would get electrocuted, while also worried that it would cause damage to the community’s electric grid and result in power outages. The rescue workers scaled the pole, taped the lizard’s mouth shut, and then drove it off on a motorbike to be released into a more rural area without those pesky stray dogs. If that isn’t the definition of a ‘Thailand’ story then I don’t know what is!