Amazing Thailand is the place to escape it all
Amazing Thailand, the land of smiles, splendor and some of the best cuisine in the world reopens for tourism on July 1st with no quarantine needed for vaccinated travelers.
Travelers with UK, Australian, US and Canadian passports are not required to obtain a visa to enter. The 45 day entry visa issued on arrival can be extended to 90 days and the process is easy, requiring a visit to a Thai immigration office. The Thai immigration offices are efficient, friendly and helpful, they all have English speaking staff.
What is the covid-19 situation and travel requirements?
For a country twice the size of the UK and with about 4 million more people, Thailand has done very well to contain the spread of Covid-19, with just 175,000 cases and 1,213 recorded deaths, compared to the UK’s 4.51 million cases and 128,000 deaths, or the USA with over 34 million cases and 612,363 recorded deaths.
Whilst you must take precautions when traveling in Thailand, the chances of you catching corona are much lower than when you are back home.
- All Thailand travelers need to provide proof of an insurance policy that covers treatment for Covid-19 up to the cost of $100,000 / £70,632.
- A PCR test must be taken within 72 hours of departure, along with a further test taken on arrival.
- Unvaccinated travelers are still required to quarantine for 14 days in government approved facilities so the long haul travel is made worthwhile for those planning a long stay of up to 3 months to immerse yourself in the beauty and culture of Thailand.
A great way to escape the rat race for the retired, self employed, or those lucky enough to be able to work remotely over the internet.
What to see and do
Once quarantine is done with (those vaccinated and entering from 1st July 2021 don’t need to), travelers to Thailand won’t be stuck for things to see and do, from world class shopping in bustling Bangkok, visiting Buddhist temples, floating markets, ancient monuments to pristine tropical beaches, island hopping, superb diving and wild elephant safaris, Thailand has everything to offer the discerning traveler. The country is very safe and is great for families and couples.
Top 15 places to visit in Thailand
The places to visit and see in Thailand are too long to list, you could spend years exploring this wonderful and diverse country and it wouldn’t be long enough, so we give you the top 6.
You will want at least 5-days in the big city to explore the sights and to get around the world class and plentiful luxury shopping before getting around the beaches, islands and the rest of the country.
1 – The Grand Palace in Bangkok
The Grand palace has been residence of the Kings of Siam since 1782, the kings, their courts, and their royal governments were based on the grounds of the palace until 1925. King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), resided at the Chitralada Royal Villa and his successor King Vajiralongkorn (Rama X) at the Amphorn Sathan Residential Hall, both in the Dusit Palace, but the Grand Palace is still used for official events. Several royal ceremonies and state functions are held within the walls of the palace every year.
The palace is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Thailand and is the 3rd most visited place in the world, with over 8 million tourists each year.
Construction of the palace began on 6 May 1782, at the order of King Phutthayotfa Chulalok (Rama I), the founder of the Chakri Dynasty, when he moved the capital city from Thonburi to Bangkok. Throughout successive reigns, many new buildings and structures were added, especially during the reign of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V).
2 – Wat Phra Chetuphon (Wat Pho)
Close to the Grand Palace, this one is next on the list. Housing the world famous reclining Buddha, Wat Pho is first on the list of six temples in Thailand, classified as the highest grade of the first-class royal temples. King Rama I rebuilt the temple complex on the original site and it became the main temple for His Highness, where his ashes are also enshrined.
The temple was later expanded and extensively renovated by Rama III. The temple complex houses the largest collection of Buddha statues in Thailand, including the 46 m long reclining Buddha.
The temple is recognised by UNESCO, hosing a school of Thai medicine and is also known as the birthplace of traditional Thai massage which is still taught and practiced at the temple.
3 – The Wat Arun temple
This is one that could be planned with a river cruise down the Chao Phraya River where there are many sights to see, making a superb full day trip.
Located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River, Wat Arun is named after the Hindu god Aruna, actually meaning “Temple of Dawn”. Wat Arun is among the best known of Thailand’s landmarks, equally beautiful to visit by day as it is to marvel from a distance on one of Bangkok’s superb river cruises by night.
A Buddhist occupied the site at Wat Arun since the mid 13th century during time of the Ayutthaya Kingdom. The temple was then described as Wat Makok, after the village of Bang Makok which surrounds the site.
According to the historian Prince Damrong Rajanubhab, the temple was shown in French maps during the reign of Narai from 1656 to 1688.
Wat Arun was abandoned until the reign of Rama II, from 1809 to 1824. The King then had the temple restored and had the main pagoda raised to 70m. Work on restoring the temple was completed during the reign of Rama III, from 1824 to 1851.
4. Bangkok City Shopping
For those looking for world class shopping, designer brands and luxurious huge shopping complexes with infinite variety Bangkok is the place for you. The following are most impressive and are not to be missed whilst staying in Bangkok:
Just a couple of minutes walk from BTS Siam station, this lavish complex of over 400,000 square metres is amongst the largest in Bangkok, with over 10-floors, it has it all, with a huge range of specialty and designer stores and restaurants, a multiplex of 5 large screen cinemas, the Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World aquarium, an exhibition hall, the Thai Art Gallery, and an opera concert hall.
Located at: 991 Rama I Road, Pathum Wan, Pathum Wan District, Bangkok, 10330
This hugely impressive $1.5 billion designer complex located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River is cram packed with world leading luxury and designer brand names, with 525,000 square metres of shopping space, over 500 shopping stores, 100 superb restaurants and an art centre, it is not to be missed.
During the holiday season the site boasts stunning theatre shows, with a huge water fountain known as the “Iconic Multimedia Water Feature”, being the largest water fountain in Southeast Asia, spanning over 400 meters along the riverside, with the latest water fountain technology projecting the water up to 35 metres high in all different shapes and sizes.
Located at: 299 Charoen Nakhon Rd, Khwaeng Khlong Ton Sai, Khet Khlong San, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, Bangkok, 10600
CentralWorld is the 11th largest shopping centre in the world, at over 830,000 square metres and just a 4-minute walk from the Erawan Shrine, it lives up to it’s name, being central.
With 495 shops and stores over 7 stores, you can easily spend a day here and like Icon Siam and Siam Paragon, there’s a vast selection of eating establishments, with 70 restaurants spread across 3 floors.
Located at: 4 4 4/1 2 Rama I Rd, Pathum Wan, Pathum Wan District, Bangkok, 10330
5. The Ayutthaya Kingdom
A UNESCO world heritage site situated on an island between 3 rivers, the ancient kingdom, known also as “Siam” boasts well preserved ruins of temples dating back from between 1350 1767AD. The Ayutthaya kingdom is located on the Lower Chao Phraya Valley built after the decline of the Khmer Empire. After a century of territorial expansions, Ayutthaya became centralised and rose as a major power in Southeast Asia, facing Burmese invasions from Toungoo Burma resulting in the First Fall of Ayutthaya in 1569.
Located approximately 81km from Bangkok, it’s a 1 hour 15 minute drive. A taxi will cost you about 2,000 Baht each way and many will offer to wait for you. Best negotiate a deal before you leave with a driver.
A much cheaper (and more scenic) mode of transport is by train, with 32 a day departing from Bangkok’s Hualamphong station. Trains will see you arrive in Ayutthaya in between an hour and a half and two hours 30-minutes depending on which service you use. The fastest train at 8:30am, getting you from Bangkok to Ayutthaya in 77 minutes. A ticket will cost you between 15 and 280 Baht each way, depending on the service you choose.
You will want to spend all day perusing the Ayutthaya Historical Park of ancient palaces, Buddhist temples, monasteries and statues. You can also take a ride and get to feed Thailand’s famous Chang, the Asian elephant. The kids love them and most adults do too.
6. Krabi and the Islands
On southern Thailand’s west coast, Krabi province has superb, pristine white sandy beaches overlooked by immense cliffs and crystal clear turquoise sea. There are mangrove forests, over 100 islands within reach and some of the best diving in Southeast Asia.
Popular beach destinations include the Phi Phi Islands, Ao Nang Beach, with many restaurants, bars and cafes lining the Esplanade strip. Klong Muang and Railay Beach, which is accessible only by boat are some of the many attractions in the area. If you want a superb beach holiday after seeing the temples and the bustle of Bangkok, this is one of the many places to come, although in Thailand, you really are spoiled for choice. There’s great rock climbing also to be had in the province for the experienced sporting traveler.
Conclusively, we strongly recommend everyone to visit Thailand and spend as long as you can in one of the top 3 most beautiful and diverse countries in the world with all year round tropical climate.