Thailand Weekly Vol. 12

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No More Thai Pass? Nightlife to ‘officially’ reopen? More National Parks Taking A Breather? Lizard Causes Floods? All of this and more in Volume 12 of the Thailand Weekly 🇹🇭

No More Thai Pass?

Starting June 1st, Thai Citizens returning home from abroad will no longer need to register for the Thai Pass that has acted as the entry ticket for anyone looking to enter the Country. The pass remains for foreigners, but instead of waiting up to 1-day for approval, travellers will be issued a QR code immediately after registration is completed.

Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul mentioned this past Friday that “it’s possible that we will cancel the registration requirement of the Thailand Pass for foreigners. We need one more month to have a clear answer”.

The news comes as Thailand tourism revenue throughout the first quarter of this year dwarfed that of last year by over 2000%. The Kingdom is expected to welcome its one millionth visitor later this month. Since January 1st, 966K people have entered Thailand in comparison to the 428K people that arrived throughout the entirety of 2021.

Since the end of the Test & Go Program, foreign arrivals have risen from around 8K people per day to over 20K per day.

Our Take

The proof is in the pudding. Less restrictions equals more tourist dollars. It’s great that Thai people are now able to enter their Country without any sort of barriers, but I do find it strange that foreigners are still required to go through the Thai Pass process given that there is now automatic approval place. Wouldn’t Thai people be returning home from the exact same places that many foreigners will be arriving from? If the move is aimed at limiting the spread of COVID, it makes no sense. I don’t think this is the case though.

My best guess is that the Government feels better off knowing that all foreigners who are currently wanting to enter Thailand have insurance coverage of at least USD $10K. This is still one of the few items you need to upload as part of registration for the Thai Pass. I can definitely understand that. My prediction is that by July 1st, there will be ZERO requirements to enter the Kingdom aside from the standard TM.6 immigration arrival form that all tourists had to complete even prior to the pandemic.

Thailand Bars To Officially Re-Open

Thailand’s CCSA announced this past Friday that bars, pubs, and clubs in both ‘Green’ and ‘Blue’ zones can officially reopen fully starting from June 1st. Nightlife venues all across the Country are currently supposed to shut down at midnight. You can find the current zoning destinations here. This alcohol cut-off time has especially impacted nightlife operators in parts of Bangkok, Pattaya, and Phuket, which are famous for some of the wildest nightlife districts in the world.

One of the leaders of the Thai Hotels Association said that the government must be willing to take more risks with the curfew if it wishes to remain competitive with other Countries in the region and make tourists feel welcome. It looks like this is exactly what’s happening as of June 1st.

Our Take

It’s awesome to see nightlife venues able to ‘officially’ open up in full once again. I will say that for the past few months, many operators defied the curfew and remained open past the midnight cut-off time, but ran the risk of getting in some trouble. These businesses have had to go through a lot over the past few years. Many of them have completely shut down, but for the one’s that were able to weather the storm, I couldn’t be happier that they can operate fully and freely starting June 1st. It’ll be VERY interesting to see how long (if ever) it will take for these districts to get back to the point they were at in 2019. My guess is that these areas will actually become better than they were before the pandemic. Although lots of places have shut down, there’s also been lots of new places that have opened up. Often times with a fresh perspective and interesting take compared to what existed before.

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. Especially the past two years. I get all sorts of emails about this topic from those of you that watch our videos over on Retired Working for You or Best Of Thailand, so I decided to include the company I use in this week’s edition 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. Signing up takes a couple minutes and is super straightforward. Can’t recommend these guys enough. Especially while we’re still living in a world that involves Thai Passes and proof of insurance.

More National Parks To Close For Recovery

Starting last week, three of Thailand’s most beautiful National Parks will close for 5-months to give nature a break and rejuvenate itself throughout the Country’s rainy season. These parks include Mu Ko Similan, Mu Ko Surin, and Mu Koh Lanta. They will open back up on October 14th as per the policy put in place by the National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation Department.

This follows the announcement of Maya Bay closing down throughout August in September for natural rehabilitation.

Our Take

Similar to the take I had on Maya Bay closing, I’m a big fan of officials taking the long-view approach and preserving Thailand’s amazing nature, even if it means forfeiting some of the revenue that these parks generate. Although the Kingdom definitely isn’t known for being one of the most eco-conscious places out there, I’ll give credit where credit’s due. Since the start of the year, they’ve banned all single-use plastic in National Parks, are allowing nature to heal itself, have outlined a plan to tackle Bangkok’s air pollution, and are making a rush to become a regional leader in the EV space. There’s always more that could be done, but it really does seem like there’s an effort being made to protect Thailand’s nature in the short and long term. The biggest and perhaps most complex step that still needs to be taken is somehow incentivize businesses of all sizes to minimize plastic use as much as possible on things that enable day to day living.

Only In Thailand 🇹🇭

Heavy flooding caused by a water-monitor? That’s right. After heavy rain this past week in Bangkok, a lizard is being touted as the cause for widespread flooding in the city’s Bang Kaen District. Water Monitors are one of the most common reptiles that you’ll see throughout Bangkok’s parks and canals. While navigating through the city’s massive water drainage network, one of them got stuck inside a water pump which is what caused the widespread flooding in the area. I feel bad for this poor little guy. Hopefully he made it out alright.

Press Worthy 🔥