Thailand Weekly Vol. 10

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

First off, apologies on being a day late! I normally try to get these out every Sunday, but wasn’t able to finish it in time because I was at my first ever Thai wedding ceremony. Super fun. Hope you enjoy this week’s edition! 🇹🇭

Thailand Ranked No. 4 Among Top Travel Spots

Thailand has been ranked as one of the premier travel destinations for international tourists. The Visa Global Travel Intentions Study has the Kingdom coming in at number four, right behind the US, UK, and India. The study reveals that approximately 30 percent of those that responded chose Thailand as an ideal spot to take take a break and relax, while 18 percent chose it as somewhere they’d like to adventure and focus on outdoor activities. The survey also reveals as a whole that more people than ever are interested in actual activities, including travel, to help them de-compress and rejuvenate. Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai, and surprisingly Hua Hin, were reported to be the top spots that tourists are researching online through different channels. The activities and interests that seem to be most popular based on the same report are Thai Massages and Thai Cuisine.

Our Take

Once again, it doesn’t surprise me one bit that Thailand finds itself at the top of another tourism ranking. You all know what makes Thailand special, so no need to go too far into it here, but its perfect mix of nature, food, culture, religion, people, and nightlife make it my favourite place on Earth. I can already feel Bangkok roaring back to life. In fact, on the very first day of a test-free, quarantine-free Thailand, 21,000 people showed up. 17,000 in Bangkok alone. I understand that this is nothing compared to the 100,000 people that arrived daily in a pre-pandemic world, but I honestly think that pending any sort of crazy turn of events in the coming months, Thailand will push towards this number faster than expected. The government has targeted an average of 1 million visitors per month in the final quarter of the year. Call me crazy, but I feel that they have a real shot at doubling this and averaging closer to 2 million.

Maya Bay To Close For Rehabilitation

Maya Bay, made popular by the well-known Leonardo DiCaprio movie ‘The Beach’, will be closed once again throughout August and September for natural rehabilitation. Once thought of as the poster child for over-tourism and all of the problems that come with this, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment closed the island for three and a half years to revive its broken marine ecosystem before re-opening it at the start of 2022. The break has helped Maya Bay’s marine ecology come back to life, which now has much healthier coral reefs and is once again attracting the long gone Blacktip Reef Sharks.

Almost 100,000 people have visited the bay since it reopened earlier this year generating over 20 million baht in income according to Minister Varawut Silpa-archa. “We could say we made the right decision by introducing new regulations to manage tourism activity on this small but world-class island. It was prudent to forbid boats from docking in front of the beach, and also moving the entrance to the back of the island,” Mr Varawut said.

As per current regulation, up to 380 people per hour can visit the park as to not disturb the local marine ecosystem that exists. Swimming is not allowed, and advance bookings are mandatory.

Our Take

I love to see this. Back in October, I had a chance to pass by Maya Bay from the ocean entrance at the front and it was absolutely spectacular. Of course, we weren’t able to get in the actual park area as it was still closed, but just seeing the natural beauty of this place from afar blew my mind. Once our Thai captain explained to me in more detail why everything was closed, as well as the the crazy amount of progress they’ve seen in the revitalization of the Bay’s marine ecosystem, its cool that the government is sticking to its plan and not turning back the page on three and a half years of nature nursing itself back to health. This initiative is what defines sustainable tourism. Something that I can definitely get behind as we push ahead past the pandemic and into the next phase of international travel.

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!

No Tourism Fee Quite Yet

Thailand PM Prayut Chan-o-Cha has opted to push back the introduction of a 300 baht (USD $12) entry fee for International travellers arriving into the Kingdom. As part of its initial announcement back in January, the government established that at some point in 2022, a 300 baht fee will be levied on visitors to help develop attractions throughout the country and cover insurance costs for foreigners unable to pay for health-related emergencies while here.

The PM says that the scheme needs more thought put into it as it’s more complex than what meets the eye. Airlines would have to figure out how to exempt Thai Nationals, Government Officials, Diplomats, and Foreigners with Work-Permits, while also determining what exactly defines a tourist. If you’re here on a retirement visa, should you pay the fee? If you’re married to a Thai, but don’t hold a work-permit, are you considered a tourist? These are just a few of the details that need to be dialed-in, and with tourism numbers finally starting to increase for the first time in a few years, the PM feels that now is not the time to be rushing into something like this without the proper due diligence.

Our Take

I have no problems with a 300 baht tourist fee. It’s not like it would be the first of its kind. Places such as Italy, Japan, Switzerland, Bhutan, etc. all have some variation of this to help fund the exact same things that Thailand is looking to fund. At the end of the day, it’s only $12 and certainly wouldn’t make or break a trip to this amazing country for anyone that I know. Having said that, it’s probably not the best time to put something like this in place. People love to complain about anything and everything, and with Thailand seeing an increase in tourism numbers for the first time in years, it makes sense to not rush into anything that may draw criticism to the country’s most important industry. Tourism.

Only In Thailand 🇹🇭

Bullfrog shots? Well that’s exactly what has become a popular menu item after doing its rounds on Thai social media. The beverage is made up of cooked bullfrog, dried chillies, and spicy sauce. After going viral throughout the Kingdom, the Department of Health issued a statement which warned of bullfrogs being prone to carrying parasites, so before consuming such a drink, make sure that its cooked properly. You definitely won’t catch me trying my luck with this wacky menu item any time soon!

Press Worthy 🔥