It’s been a long while since Bangkok welcomed such a large number of tourists after the government scrapped all of the complicated Covid-19 preventive arrival measures in January. The city has become lively again with more foreign tourists and local people themselves who also tend to gradually start living their lives again.
And it may also be a long while since some tourists have visited the city. So here, TPN media has covered some of the major changes in the capital for our readers who are still deciding to travel here anytime soon to help them see more of Bangkok’s ‘atmosphere’ and what the city is now like after several clusters, closures, “lockdowns”, and pandemics in the past two years. So here goes:
1. Bangkok held its gubernatorial election for the first time in almost 10 years. It was a busy election as there were many candidates from all political ideologies, from both party affiliations and independents, making a significant political diversity for the ‘democracy’ country.
And we got our new governor “Chadchart Sittipunt” who was elected in a landslide victory.
2. As we all know that the arrival preventive measures and complicated procedures, such as Sandbox and Thailand Pass, at all international airports had been canceled, and several domestic measures have also been relaxed – especially the removal of the mandate on wearing masks in public places.
Wearing masks in public has become a matter of personal judgment and choice. However, some places still strongly recommended their service users wear masks at all times, such as some shopping malls, theaters, cinemas, restaurants, museums, temples, and in BTS Skytrains as well as the MRT.
Foreign tourists who are deciding to visit Bangkok should notice and be noted whether attractions they are visiting have a mandatory mask and/or other preventive measures or not, and they should strictly abide by those requirements. Most Thais in Bangkok are still wearing masks in all public areas.
3. Tourist attractions in Bangkok are noticeably bustling with more tourists, especially in tourist landmarks like Rattanakosin Island, the Temple of Dawn, or popular shopping destinations like Siam, MBK, and Chatujak. The city has come back to life and become lively again. Several souvenir shops in the tourist attractions also reopened after having to close their businesses for almost two years.
4. Entertainment complexes, pubs, and bars that had survived the pandemic are back in full swing. Alcoholic beverages can be consumed in restaurants and can be purchased in convenience stores just like in the pre-pandemic period.
Every night, more tourists, both Thais and foreigners, are seen coming out to drink and enjoy music at the entertainment venues in popular places like Patpong, Silom, Khaosan, Ekkamai, Thonglor, Asoke, Nana, Groove@Centralworld, etc. It is as if the ‘city never sleeps’ has truly returned because the venues are allowed to close at 2:00 AM. as usual. However, various venues still have measures to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 Coronavirus that the customers need to follow strictly. Four AM legal closures are still being considered by authorities.
5. Cannabis and hemp have been decriminalized in Thailand since June. But due to the vague announcements and no laws enforced since the decriminalized period, the use of the plants is still unclear as to what is known as “illegal” or “having legal effect”. Although the Public Health Ministry issued a statement after a long while that the legalization is meant for medical purposes only and the use for recreational purposes is strongly prohibited, the absence of clear legal regulations is still there.
This makes the use of marijuana and hemp lie in the gray area. Tourists may find their parts and extracts (with less than 0.2% THC) mixed in food and beverages. The plants may be found grown at home and smoked in private. And if any foreigners who plan to visit the country, think that smoking pot in public is fully legal here, they are wrong. Plus, our Public Health Minister Anutin once said that Thailand does not welcome foreigners who come to the country for this particular purpose. That being said, due to the current grey area cannabis vendors and dispensaries are all around Bangkok. Final laws on cannabis are still being debated by lawmakers. For now, buying and selling are decriminalized and private smoking is allowable.
Many Thais think that the full reopening of the country will benefit the country and the country’s economy more than cause negative effects. Many believe that the Thai economy is clearly recovering as tourism has always become Thailand’s main source of income.
In addition to a better economy, the full reopening to welcome foreign tourists also resulted in an increase in employment rates, causing people in the provinces to start returning to the capital to find jobs and gradually earn a living like a pre-pandemic life again.
Opening the country without complicated requirements also increases the number of tourists which will result in related-tourism businesses across the country moving forward with full efficiency.
For more changes geared to Pattaya, click here.
Need Covid-19 insurance for your next trip to Thailand? Click here.
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