The country has lifted travel restrictions, and is once again ready to welcome the world to its lavish palaces and ancient ruins, breathtaking beaches and secret waterfalls…
By Doug Wallace
With historic formalities and modern luxury, Thailand is a picture postcard of colour and culture, a sensorial thrill in the middle of the Indochinese Peninsula. And now that the country is fully open and safe, travellers can visit without overly onerous testing requirements or restrictions. Not only that, but the Thai people continue to maintain a peaceful and accepting nature, one that welcomes travellers of all backgrounds, races and sexual expressions.
Fittingly, the Thai government is planning to take its commitment to diversity and inclusion one step further by continuing to support a new Civil Partnership Bill, which would grant more equal rights to same-sex couples (legislation is planned before the end of 2022). This will be a big step for Thailand – the first country in Southeast Asia to make such progress with regard to LGBTQ rights.
An exciting and exotic new world awaits
When you arrive, be prepared to show proof of either a certificate of COVID vaccination or a negative RT-PCR or professional ATK test result within 72 hours of travel. There will be random checks of foreign visitors; if you’re found to be unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated and you don’t have proof of a pre-arrival negative test, you will be required to undergo a professional ATK test at the point of entry. (Visit tatnews.org for the most up-to-date information.)
From your arrival, you’re off on an adventure like none other, one that will no doubt begin in Bangkok, a busy capital with an international vibe, winding canals and vibrant street life. The city will serve as your intro to proper Thai cuisine, delivering a true taste sensation from the street stalls to the fancy restaurants.
Buddhism continues to permeate all aspects of Thailand life – ornate temples and Buddha monuments will all be part of your itinerary. The beaches are some of the world’s most famous, stretching down two coastlines supported by almost 1,500 islands. You can enjoy a myriad of water sports on those beaches, including scuba and snorkelling, kite-surfing and paddling, plus – of course – plenty of just lying on the golden sand.
Beyond the beach, Thailand’s prolific biodiversity serves up mountains and forest and coastline, all teeming with wildlife, offering multiple avenues for natural exploration and eco-adventure. And in the north, the Golden Triangle delivers protected parkland, along with amazing waterfalls and wild elephants – not to be missed.
New hotels opening this year include The Standard Bangkok Mahanakon, which will be the brand’s flagship property in Asia, sure to draw hipsters from all over the world. In the north, the new Meliá Chiang Mai sports some of that city’s most incredible vistas – and its highest rooftop bar. And the Kimpton Kitalay Samui – Kimpton’s first foray into Southeast Asia – has its own secluded Ko Samui beach cove.
However you slice the tantalizing icing on the Thailand cake, you’re destined to have an authentic adventure, generating memories that will last a lifetime.
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DOUG WALLACE is the editor and publisher of travel resource and podcast TravelRight.Today.