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Thailand Weekly Vol. 17

Thailand news and stories delivered free every Sunday 🇹🇭

Well, Bangkok officially feels like a new city. With the use of face masks now voluntary and largely left up to individual discretion, it’s a completely different experience walking throughout the city’s parks and streets. Much more enjoyable to say the least! The Thai capital was also just voted the 2nd best city in the world for remote workers, so its safe to say that this wonderful place has gotten its fair share of love lately!

Just wanted to also take a moment and thank everyone that joined us at our party this past Saturday. It was all of YOU that made this night so special, and we can’t wait to do another one again. 

Masks Now Voluntary In Thailand

Well, it’s official, “the wearing of a mask is a voluntary practice from now onwards so that people can now live closer to normal conditions. The Ministry of Public Health only recommends that the general public wear a mask when living with other people in a crowded place, in areas where there is a large gathering of people where they can’t maintain social distancing, or in a poorly ventilated place, to reduce the risk of transmission of infection.”

This means that people can now be outside and enjoy public spaces without wearing masks, but should still wear one in places like 7/11 or on the BTS Skytrain in Bangkok for example. The official announcement came on Friday morning as published in the Royal Gazette exactly 1-week before the anticipated July 1st date which had previously been set for the end of the mandatory wearing of face masks. It’s worth noting that private businesses such as malls, shops, taxis, etc. will be able to apply their own mask policies. It’s also expected that Thai government offices and schools will continue on with mandatory mask wearing for the time being. 

Our Take

This is the news that I’ve been waiting for forever. It probably doesn’t sound like a big deal for those of you that live in North America or Europe, but for those of us that live here in Thailand, it makes daily life so much more enjoyable. To not have to wear a mask while heading into Bangkok’s Benjakiti Park, or to be able to head into a local coffee shop without masking up will make living and travelling over here so much better. It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes for Thai people to adapt to a maskless world given that many locals wore them even before the pandemic. I bet it will be a while before we see more people without masks compared to those that do choose to wear them, but I have zero problem with that. I just love the fact that people now have the option to do whatever they’re comfortable with. I’ve already done some experimenting with this new rule here in Bangkok by going maskless into different shops and parks to see if there’s any sort of private enforcement, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised to even see some of the workers at local cafés and markets also enjoying this rule change. Point is, Thailand is now back in business and largely feels like its back to normal, so there’s no excuse to not book your next trip over here! 

Bangkok Ranked Second Best City For Digital Nomads

Bangkok is now touted as the second best city in the world for remote workers only surpassed by Lisbon, Portugal according to a study conducted by the UK-based ‘Instant Group’. The Thai capital ranked highly due to its mix of diverse selection of accommodation options, public transport systems, cuisine, and WiFi connectivity. Over half of the cities included in the study’s top 60 cities are located in Asia, with Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, and Hong Kong getting praise as well. 

You can see the Top 10 cities for remote workers listed below: 

  1. Lisbon, Portugal
  2. Bangkok, Thailand
  3. Thessaloniki, Greece
  4. Dallas, USA
  5. San Antonio, USA
  6. Seville, Spain
  7. Seoul, South Korea
  8. Sydney, Australia
  9. Athens, Greece
  10. Budapest, Hungary 

Our Take

I didn’t take a deep dive into the exact metrics, weightings, or overall process that guided this study, and was a bit surprised to see a few of the cities included in the top 10 list, but I can say confidently that Bangkok is an AMAZING place to work remotely. I’m not going to comment or argue that it should higher or lower on this list, but my overall experience here as someone that largely works remote has been nothing short of fantastic. The food, culture, and overall vibrance that this city offers is second to none. I feel beyond lucky to call Bangkok home. It’s also worth shouting out Chiang Mai as an ideal place to run a remote business. It packs a punch given its size and certainly beats Bangkok from a nature perspective. Nonetheless, I love seeing the Thai capital get some well-deserved praise in studies like these. 

Get 10% Off Your Next Stay At Samui's Top Beach Resort

Many of you know from our YouTube Channel that one of our favourite beach resorts in all of Thailand is the Meliá down in Koh Samui. It’s a world-class property located in Choeng Mon, which is a super cool part of the Island with an amazing beach and awesome restaurants. The resort itself has rooms that are perfect for a couples retreat, or a full-on family vacation, all tied together with friendly staff and an EPIC pool that snakes through a good chunk of the resort. It was recently listed as one of the best hotels in all of Thailand according to TripAdvisor, and you’re guaranteed to have a lovely time should you decide to book your Samui stay here.

Since we made our first video of this spot way back in October 2020, there’s been a ton of you that have reached out to us mentioning that you’ve stayed here or are planning on staying here. Given that we’re Retired, WORKING FOR YOU, we were able to convince them to give all of you 10% off your next stay. Just contact the reservations team at reservation.kohsamui@melia.com (or through their website), tell them the code “RW4U” and they’ll give you 10% off your next stay. Nice and simple. 

Malaysia To Replace India As Thailand Tourism King

As the Thailand Pass comes to an end on July 1st, it looks like Malaysia is set to replace India as the Kingdom’s top source of International visitors. Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said yesterday that “once Thailand Pass is no more, a larger number of Malaysian tourists than Indians is expected to make their way to Thailand”.

Indian nationals have made up the biggest group of tourists in 2022 with just over 100,000 arriving between January 1st and May 24th, but starting in June, Malaysian nationals have flocked to Phuket with daily Air Asia flights between Kuala Lumpur and the Southern Thai Island fully booked. TAT says that just over 78,000 Malaysian visitors entered the Kingdom between January and May. Minister Ratchakitprakarn said that factors drawing foreigners to Thailand are the weakening of the Thai baht against the US dollar, the relatively low cost of living, and reasonable hotel rates.

Our Take

Well, I don’t exactly have strong feelings or opinions on this change in tourism behaviour but I guess it’s interesting nonetheless. I am curious as to how many of the 78,000 Malaysian visitors are actual tourists versus workers that need to cross the border on a daily basis, but hey, if TAT says that Thailand is effectively attracting their Southern neighbours, then that’s cool with me. More than anything, I wonder what will happen when China opens up their doors and allows for easy travel in and out of the country again? Will Thailand be flooded with these visitors? My prediction is yes, but in the meantime, TAT has set a goal of averaging 3000 tourists per day from India, the worlds second most populous country. 

Only In Thailand 🇹🇭

Well I guess they say “different strokes for different folks” for a reason? A popular Thai singer has recently been scrutinized on Thai social media for filming her husband cooking a very strange type of meat. A Water Monitor Lizard. The animal is a protected species here in Thailand and is a common sight on the banks of Rivers and Parks throughout the country. This is definitely NOT a dish that I’ll be trying anytime soon. Actually, on second thought, I won’t be trying this one EVER. 

Press Worthy 🔥