Thailand Weekly Vol. 01

Thailand news and stories delivered free to your inbox every Sunday 🇹🇭

Welcome. This is the first ever edition of ‘Thailand Weekly’. Every Sunday you can expect to receive news and stories from this wonderful Country delivered right to your inbox. By Thailand Lovers. For Thailand Lovers.

– Adam

Summer Is Here

We all know Bangkok is one of the hottest cities on Earth and boy has it ever delivered on that title this past week. After a cool start to the year by Thailand standards, the Meteorological Department announced on Wednesday that summer has arrived and is expected to last until mid-may. The switch-up in seasons is a result of a change in wind direction in the northern part of the Country, from northeasterly to southeasterly, the department said. Hopefully this year is cooler than the record-breaking heat that we saw in the summer of 2016 where the Country experienced its longest heatwave in 65 years.

Northern Thailand can expect especially hot conditions this summer, with daily highs exceeding 35°C. Between this heat and general air pollution that residents have to deal with, hopefully there’s some rain to clear the air and drop the temperatures, even if it’s only temporarily.

One thing to look forward to however is the upcoming Songkran Festival which marks the start of of the Thai New Year. The festival is a deep rooted tradition celebrating one of the most important dates on the Buddhist calendar, but is also well-known as the world’s wettest celebration. The true Songkran tradition is to sprinkle water on others, however it has transformed greatly as locals and travellers often use buckets and water guns to create the world’s largest water fight. Talk about cooling down in the heat! The current sentiment for these activities are positive, but we’ll have to wait and see what actually happens given the high number of daily COVID cases that Thailand is experiencing.

Our Take

Thailand has a tropical climate throughout, so this type of heat can be expected. All it really means is that I’ll be paying a visit to some of Bangkok’s epic, futuristic malls to pick up some extra dry-fit shirts. I guess my A/C bill might also be a little higher than normal given that it’ll be working overtime these coming months!

Welcome Back (After 32 Years)

The first Saudi Arabian Airline direct flight to Thailand in 32 years arrived at Suvarnabhumi International Airport this past week with 71 passengers onboard. This marks a massive milestone in the resumption of positive relations between the two Countries. The aircraft was given a warm welcome where airport officials sprayed water in the air to form an arch over the plane. Passengers were also treated to a Khon mask dance performance and received some souvenirs.

Diplomatic ties between Thailand and Saudi Arabia were suspended for three decades following the infamous Blue Diamond Incident back in 1989. Essentially, a precious 50-carat diamond amongst other precious stones and jewellery was stolen by a Thai janitor from the Saudi Royal Place. Although the thief was eventually claimed to be captured, strange things continued to happen after, resulting in deteriorated relations between the two nations. The situation seems to have been resolved this past January when Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha visited the middle-eastern country and paid a call to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud. They vowed to leave the past in the past and forge a new path ahead.

As a result, about 200,000 people from Saudi Arabia are predicted to visit the Kingdom this year with the resumption of direct flights and partner-oriented tourism initiatives. This also means that for the first time in decades, Thailand plans to facilitate the deployment of labour to Saudi Arabia.

Our Take

Nobody likes conflict, and in a time where Thailand desperately needs tourists to return following the pandemic, I think that any move to encourage more visitors to come and help rejuvenate the tourism industry here is a good thing.

Thailand Travel Tip

There’s a lot of different travel insurance companies out there and often times it’s a pain to find the right one. I get all sorts of emails about this topic from those of you that watch our videos over on Retired Working for You, so I decided to include the company I use in the first every volume of ‘Thailand Weekly’.

SafetyWing is a global travel insurance company that provides awesome coverage for anyone that lives abroad, but their rates and coverage make it ideal for those vacationing in Thailand as well. The big advantage here is that their coverage includes COVID related costs. Can’t recommend these guys enough.  

TAT Launches ‘Holideals’ With Digital Tokens?

In a new initiative created by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, domestic travellers will be able to use digital tokens to purchase travel packages and vouchers. The program (creatively named ‘Holideals’) offers packages on things like restaurants, activities, hotels, and spas. This is the first time the Thai travel industry has allowed travellers pay using digital tokens.

Our Take

Although an interesting idea, it seems as though this program is only geared towards domestic travellers given that the main information page is only available in Thai (at least from what I can gather). I think it’s always good to promote in-country tourism, but given that it feels like the World is opening up and moving on from COVID, perhaps an initiative like this would be better off geared towards international travellers to encourage those from abroad to make their next trip one that involves Thailand. In 2019, there were over 39 million tourist arrivals which made up an overwhelmingly large percentage of tourism-related revenue.

Only In Thailand 🇹🇭

Hungry monkeys overrun town in Northeast Thailand? That’s right. Thousands of monkeys from the Don Chao Puta forest Park came to town in search of food. Natural food sources in their native environment is scarce because of the hot weather these days. The monkeys had a clear plan in place as they travelled in six packs of 300-400 monkeys in each pack. Only in Thailand 🙊

Press Worthy 🔥

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