OPINION:

As the talk of COVID-19 dies down around the world, many travellers suffering from “caged bird syndrome’ are ready to fly again. It is still unknown for sure whether or not Thailand will be an available option for them.

The Land of Smiles is still currently under pretty strict social distancing regulations. Beaches and restaurants and limited spa/massage services have been re-opened with each adopting a special set of rules in order to be able to accept customers.

Some travel options within Thailand have re-opened for domestic travel but it looks like international visitors may not be accepted for some time. It is likely that Thailand will come to bilateral agreements with certain countries that would allow travel between them, so long as certain requirements are met.

Phuket International Airport remains closed until further notice and locals are not able to travel around freely yet. Domestic travel will need to be an option before any international visitors are even thought about. Ultimately the decision of the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand for flights and the Thai Cabinet and National Security Council to re-open the borders when they feel it is safe to do so.

As of right now, the state of emergency in Thailand has been extended until June 30. There is also a curfew in effect from 11 p.m. until 3 a.m. daily. You can almost guarantee that when Thailand does re-open, it will also be a very gradual process with a possible quarantine-like situation required by the traveler at either end.

Among the first “international travellers” will be the migrant workers in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. Cambodian migrant workers have started protesting not being able to return to work at a market on the Thailand side but as of yet, the gates remain closed to all international visitors.

For the time being, it seems as though Thailand will have to rely on domestic tourism until the end of Summer. The Pattaya News put out this morning that the Thai government is considering holding the postponed Songkran event in July so long as COVID-19 cases continue declining as a way for people to relax and unwind. It will no doubt be a decent boost for the economy, as many local expats would come out to celebrate and spend money (Provided Pattaya has the bars and nightclubs back in operation before then).

Folks living in Thailand will just have to make due without tourists for the time being. As we ease out of this thing more and more businesses and venues will open back up.  If you live here, what do you hope re-opens next?

Photo courtesy of Jomtien Sauna

Personally, I can’t wait to feel the icy-cold waters of Jomtien Sauna’s cryo-pool.  Hopefully they will be able to re-open soon. I have noticed a few other saunas throughout town have opened back up before they were given the go-ahead, probably best not to frequent a place that could end up get raided for social distancing offenses.  Would much rather wait for a venue that I know follows the rules and is lawful.  See you soon Andrea!

Restaurants are pretty much back in the swing of things, other than having their capacity reduced due to 6-foot distancing and spacing.  I truly believe life in Pattaya is returning to a state of “normal”.  We will surely see our lives resume before we see any tourists though.

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