Thailand Weekly Vol. 08

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

No more tests on arrival? Mango sticky rice goes viral? Dolphin saved in Phuket? Water spraying Tik Toker on BTS? All of this covered in the the 8th volume of Thailand Weekly.

– Adam

Welcome Back!

The Test and Go program for those travelling to Thailand will no longer be in place as of May 1st, marking the most significant easing of entry requirements to date. The news comes as PM Prayut Chan-o-cha says that ‘many countries are easing travel restrictions significantly, and our country depends considerably on tourism to support our economy’.

Below are some details to help you understand exactly what this all means:

Vaccinated Travellers:

No more PCR tests on arrival, however, travellers can still do an ATK test if they would like to. It’s completely optional. There’s no need to book a one-night stay at an approved hotel, and the insurance coverage requirement has been lowered to USD $10,000. The Thailand Pass remains in place, but the only paperwork required for registration are your passport details, proof of vaccination, and insurance coverage. You can find details as to what it means to be ‘fully vaccinated’ here.

Unvaccinated Travellers:

If you’re considered an unvaccinated traveler, thing are also looking up. If you provide proof of a negative pre-travel PCR test when you arrive, you’ll be treated as if you were vaccinated. No quarantine and no SHA+ hotel booking required. If you are unable to show proof of a negative test on arrival, you’ll be subject to a five day quarantine at an AQ hotel.

Our Take

This is the news that we’ve all been waiting for. No more testing on arrival. It’s the one thing that has spooked many people around the world away from visiting Thailand, and for good reason.

It’s amazing to see this axed. I really feel that this is the beginning of the floodgates truly opening up on the return of mass-tourism to the Kingdom. I can only imagine that many of those who travel here regularly will book their next trip ASAP after waiting months for this testing requirement to get dropped.

It is strange that the Thailand Pass is still something that people will need to get before travelling here, especially given the little information you actually have to provide as part of it, but hey, it is what it is and I expect that this too will be axed as of June 1st.

Mango Sticky Rice Goes A-List

Mango Sticky Rice gone viral? Popular Thai rapper Milli enjoyed this tasty treat in the midst of her performance at the Coachella Music Festival in California this past week. Sales in Thailand and around the world jumped significantly after she played her song ‘Mango Sticky Rice’ to a cheering crowd. It has gone so viral that the Thai government is looking into registering the dessert on UNESCO’s cultural heritage list while also looking for other ways to harness Thailand’s cultural influence abroad.

In Bangkok, street food vendors have had to double their inventory of mangos, while restaurants that work with one of the many delivery apps such as Foodpanda, Grab, or Lineman have had to shut down mobile orders in order to restock.

Our Take

It’s amazing what a viral moment can achieve. Whether it’s the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, the White and Gold vs. Black and Blue dress debate, or the Yanny vs. Laurelaudio illusion, it’s crazy how fast things can spread these days no matter where you are in the world.

In this case, I love to see my favourite dessert of all-time get its moment in the spotlight. I remember coming to Thailand for the very first time in 2019 and immediately falling in love with the dish. Hopefully this is something that further popularizes Thai culture overseas and encourages people to visit this amazing country that perhaps wouldn’t have thought of it otherwise.

Thailand Travel Tip

Thailand is an easy place to explore at surface level. The tourist areas are well-defined, the locals are friendly, and things are relatively straightforward. Having said that, as soon as you want to start pulling back the hundreds of layers that make this country extra special, it can get difficult. Local restaurants, activities, attractions, nightlife, etc. can be tough to navigate. Bangkok’s back-alley noodle shops. Koh Samui’s secret beaches. Chiang Mai’s speakeasy bars. They’re all special places, but can be almost impossible to find unless you have local friends. That’s why we created the Teenee App. It’s a handpicked list of the best things Thailand has to offer, overlaid on an easy-to-navigate map interface. Every spot is recommended by Thais or Expats that actually live here. With the ability to search, filter, and enjoy bite-sized videos across hundreds of recommendations, it’s like having a local friend in your pocket at all times. Click here to check it out.

Dolphin Rescued In Phuket

Those enjoying a morning at Nai Yang Beach in Phuket this past weekend spotted a dolphin washed up on shore at around 7:30 AM. After being notified, a rescue team quickly sprung into action to give the mammal first aid, before brining it to the Sireetarn Marine Endangered Animals Rescue Centre for further treatment. One of the veterinarians on scene said the dolphin had a wound on its tail, mouth, and right side of its body.

It’s likely that the mammal was caught and injured by a discarded fishing net, prompting marine officials to order officers to regularly be on the look-out in the area for dolphins that may be stranded or injured.

Our Take

Well, this is one of the sad realities of humans and sea-life sharing the ocean in 2022. It’s good that there were experts on scene relatively quickly to get the dolphin the attention it needed, but it’s a shame that this went down in the first place. Thailand has struggled to protect its wildlife from human activity, and it’d be awesome to see the government continue to ramp up protection on its unbelievable nature like they’ve started to do in all National Parks with a ban on single-use plastic. You can read more about that in a previous version of the Thailand Weekly here.

Only In Thailand 🇹🇭

Ahhh, Tik Tok. A place where you can find all sorts of cringey material at every scroll. A tourist apologized to Bangkok residents this past week for taking things a bit to far on the city’s BTS system during Songrkan celebrations. Tik Tok user Shizu0405fc3 splashed water on unsuspecting riders and didn’t wear a mask on the BTS while filming a dance video. I definitely feel bad for the locals that had a wetter BTS ride than what they had anticipated, and actually get a bit of second-hand embarrassment when watching these videos. Tik Tok is like the Wild West, you never know what you’ll see!

Press Worthy 🔥

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