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Thailand Weekly Vol. 16

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

If you’re a Thailand Lover, this  week’s edition is a good one for you. As of July 1st, there will be zero entry restrictions to get into Thailand. Bye bye Thailand Pass. They’ve even taken it a step further and have arguably made it easier than pre-pandemic days to enter this amazing country. More on that down below. 

Also, if you happen to be in Bangkok next weekend, you’re invited to a meetup we’re having on Saturday June 25th at the Lush Rooftop Bar on Soi 11. Festivities will begin at around 7 PM, so come early as we’ll be giving out free drink tickets to the early birds. Should be a fun night! 

No More Thailand Pass, TM 6 Form Paused

The CCSA announced this past week the complete cancellation of the Thailand Pass program for all travellers entering the Kingdom as of July 1st. The program was cancelled for Thai citizens as of June 1st, but is now extended to all nationalities. Travellers will also no longer need to purchase Covid-19 insurance prior to entering the country. The only requirement still in place is that people will be have to show proof of vaccination after landing. If you are not vaccinated, you’ll have to show proof of a negative ATK test result. In addition to this, the government announced that all 77 Thai provinces will shift to Green Zones on July 1st where entertainment venues can stay open until 2 AM. Wearing masks in open, outdoor spaces will become optional, and temperature checking devices will no longer be required in venues across the Kingdom. 

One surprising but exciting new measure that was also announced is the halting of the TM 6 immigration forms that all travellers previously needed to keep in order to enter and exit the country. The move is expected to save upwards of 45 million baht per year for an estimated 65 million forms. It will also ease congestion at airports, and result in one less thing that travellers need to think about while in Thailand. 

Our Take

Just about everything mentioned above is something that we predicted a few weeks ago here on the Thailand Weekly. For all intents and purposes, the country will be fully open as of July 1st and the move couldn’t have come at a better time. Yes, most of us feel that these are all things that should have happened earlier on this year, but given that this set of initiatives will take effect leading into the busy summer months, the timing makes sense. It’s a surprise that they have decided to temporarily halt the TM 6 forms, but hey, I’m a fan of just about any changes that result in less friction and barriers for those travelling here. I love this play. 

Cabinet Approves Budget To Help Increase Andaman Tourism

The government has decided to prioritize the support of tourism and development for Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi, Trang, and Satun, all of which are located in Thailand’s Andaman Region. The approved 338.8 million baht budget will go towards the six tourism and development projects listed below: 

  1. Health services and environmental systems projects at Lipe Island in Satun at a total of 80.75 million baht.
  2. Conservation and restoration of dugong and other animals center in Trang at a total of 68.80 million baht.
  3. Phuket Health Sandbox at a total of 25.25 million baht.
  4. Center of tourism and coastal activities in Phang Nga at a total of 80 million baht.
  5. Pier and tourism development as well as Ji Lard Canal development in Krabi at a total of 35 million baht.
  6. Herbal onsen and hot springs tourism development in Klong Tom, Krabi at a total of 49 million baht.

Our Take

Aside from Trang and Satun, I’ve had the pleasure of spending a little bit of time in each of the other provinces that make up Thailand’s Andaman Region, and can confirm that they are all special spots. The six focus areas that they’ve identified for funding all seem to make sense from a tourism perspective, as well as an environmental perspective. On a separate but related note, if you ever find yourself in this part of the country, do yourself a favour and check out Railay Beach in Krabi Province. It’s not hidden gem or anything like that, but its probably the coolest place I’ve ever been to, and is the perfect oasis if you’re looking for a “vacation on your vacation”. To get there, you’ll need to head to Ao Nang Beach or Ao Nam Mao Pier, where you can then take a 15-minute long-tail boat ride to what feels like a different world. 100% worth it. If you do decide to take the trip, pay a visit to my buddy P’Non who runs what I think is the best coffee shop in Railay. He’s a magician behind the counter and will whip you up all sorts of goodies. 

Thailand Travel Tip

Thais 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 10-fold. 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 ThaiFor 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!

Bangkok To Look After Its Most Vulnerable

Bangkok’s newly elected Governor Chadchart Sittipunt is calling for cooperation after pledging to make the megacity better for those that are most vulnerable. 

Addressing Homelessness: 

Sittiphol Chuprajong, head of the Mirror Foundation’s homeless project, said “homelessness is a big problem that rarely gets addressed. During the pandemic, the city’s homeless population increased by up to 30%. The spike in the number of homeless is mainly because of increasing economic hardship during the Covid-19 pandemic as many people lost their jobs and other sources of income, so they do not have enough money for rent”, he said. The new BMA administration is aware of the issue, and has already started to work with stakeholders to draft policies to uplift the quality of life of Bangkok’s homeless. The administration is actively trying to determine how these people have some way to meet their daily needs and access public services. Leadership is also focused on providing support to those that are newly homeless due to the economic hardships over the past two years and is aiming to prevent this group from becoming permanently homeless by providing employment-finding services and also expanding access to affordable housing. 

Pledges To Help Those That Are Disabled: 

Governor Chadchart has also established direct communication networks with groups that represent those with disabilities in order to craft better policies for them in the capital. This past Tuesday, he chaired a meeting with the networks on how to promote their rights and interests. The attendees included associations for the blind, deaf and those living with intellectual disabilities, and officials from the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities Department and National Health Security Office. 

Some of the proposals put forward are listed below: 

  • The BMA should increase the job opening rate for 800 disabled people in Bangkok in the next two years
  • Disabled people who perform well should be promoted, while new technology courses should be added to occupational training programmes
  • Facilities in buildings and public sites in the capital must be enhanced, and a working panel formed to ensure standards are upheld
  • The BMA should prepare sites to issue disability cards for Bangkok residents and establish a service centre
  • More CCTV cameras should be installed and guide dogs offered in venues for safety

Our Take

These are all good things being discussed, and I imagine that it’s easy for most people to get behind. The new Bangkok Governor won last month’s election by a massive margin and is extremely popular with many of the city’s residents of all ages. It’d be awesome to see more support for those that have historically been “left-behind” in a way. I decided to include this story in this week’s edition because while I was out for lunch the other day, I saw someone in a wheelchair and immediately wondered how they get around this city. It can be a challenge for me at times, and I’m someone with a perfectly healthy body and mind. I couldn’t imagine trying to do it in a wheelchair, and really felt bad for this person. Ultimately, it’s cool that there is a priority on trying to make this amazing city better for for everyone. 

Only In Thailand 🇹🇭

There was an unusual incident that took place between two Buddhist Monks this past week in Nonthaburi Province. The pair got into an argument as to which should stay in a certain location and which should leave. It seems that there is an unwritten rule that two monks should not stand in close to each other and receive offerings of flowers, food or money. The argument became more intense, and eventually led to one of the monks allegedly hitting the other monk’s head with a rock. The victim is currently recovering from his injuries and the alleged attacker hasn’t turned himself into the police station yet. Officers intend to visit the temple where he lives for additional investigation. What a wild situation. 

Press Worthy 🔥