Holiday in the sun
Out and about in the Kingdom
Welcome to Phase 4! No, I'm not talking about the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Phase 4, which hasn't kicked off yet because Black Widow is postponed to November. I'm talking about the easing of restrictions nationwide as the country goes back to "normal". Monday saw the lifting of curfew so we can finally go back to staying out late and sneaking back home, as well as the lifting of the ban on sales of certain refreshments in restaurants. It also means the reopening of a number of places and attractions all around the country, and if you're like me, you've been itching to get out of Bangkok, head to the beach for some vitamin sea or go on a road trip with your pals. This week, Guru's got a list of places you can visit on your post-quarantine domestic travel.
FIRST THINGS FIRST: CAN WE TRAVEL TO OTHER PROVINCES?
Domestic flights have resumed for inter-provincial travel. Airlines are implementing heightened safety measures. You can also take a bus though there's still a restriction in place for travelling to the South. The Transport Co are not allowing foreigners because they don't have a "national ID" — and no, passports are not acceptable substitutes. That being said, you can use other private bus companies. Trains have also resumed operations and can be used to travel to provinces.
For the first time in a long time, the beaches of Pattaya were actually clean much to the delight of beachgoers when they reopened earlier this month. The city is known for its rambunctious nightlife and crowded beaches, but since the beach closed on May 9, the waters have cleaned up. Koh Lan has also reopened and welcomed visitors since it closed shop in March. It's reported that some days a month the beaches will be closes for cleap-ups; reportedly from Tuesday to Thursday every second or third week of the month. Because of the lack of tourists, everything seems to be quiet even after the reopening so it may be the best time to go to Pattaya.
(Photos: Bangkok Post archive)
Hua Hin has always been a favourite getaway for Bangkokians and is arguably the choice for those who want a more peaceful, beach holiday compared to Pattaya. Hua Hin's beaches are open for swimming, strolling, relaxing and frolicking. Horse rentals on the beach have also resumed, so you can ride off into the sunset to celebrate the easing of lockdown measures. Hua Hin is home to two famous night markets, which are now open. The cozy Tamarind Market has already welcomed a number of guests, who were eager to finally be out and about. It's open from Thursday to Sunday, 4.30-10.30pm. Meanwhile, Cicada Market, depending on what time you're reading this, is about to open or is already open for the first time in months. As per usual, they'll resume being open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 4-11pm. Visit fb.com/TamarindMarketHuaHin and fb.com/CicadaMarket.
(Photo: Tamarind Market)
(Photo: Bangkok Post archive)
(Photos: Cicada Night Market & Tamarind Market)
The beaches of Phuket reopened last week, bringing the two-month lockdown to a close. You can finally visit and feel the sand between your toes once more. According to Patong Mayor Chalermlak Kebsap, beach lifeguards and inspectors will ensure that beachgoers maintain a safe distance from each other and that they're wearing masks. Parties on the beach are still prohibited so if you were hoping to get your seaside rave on, you might have to wait a few more weeks. Other services like beach beds, food stalls, umbrellas, jet skis and massages are available.
(Photos: Bangkok Post archive)
Royal Park Rajapruek offers a stunning lush landscape that guests can enjoy in more than 800,000m². Despite Chiang Mai being a heavily polluted city a month before the lockdown, this park was always an oasis of fresh air. The park reopened at the beginning of this month and is ready for a relaxing tour around its colourful gardens. Visit RoyalParkRajapruek.org.
The Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden is another place that's a must-visit if you want to be surrounded by nature after being surrounded by four walls for the past two months. The spacious garden offers different trails, including a Waterfall Trail, which passes by the Mae Sa Noi waterfalls. There's also a beautiful Glasshouse Complex, which houses different species of plants. Though the entrance fee depends on whether you're an adult, kid, Thai or foreigner, it isn't too expensive. Visit QSBG.org.
(Photos: Royal Park Rajapruek)
- Vana Nava Water Jungle, Hua Hin's small yet highly entertaining waterpark is reopening on June 22 in a limited manner. Its operating hours are from 11am-4pm and three attractions will remain closed: the Lazy River, the Rope Course and the Climbing Wall. Visit VanaNavaHuaHin.com.
(Photos: Vana Nava Water Jungle)
- A good number of national parks are slated to reopen on July 1. Some parks like Kaeng Krachan National Park is near Hua Hin and Phu Soi Dao National Park in Uttaradit will only open partially while others like Khao Yai National Park will reopen fully. Much like many of the places that have reopened, going to national parks won't exactly be the same experience that we're used to. Visitors won't be able to simply just walk in and visit anymore. According to Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa, visitors will have to make reservations to visit a park. This doesn't count the necessary sign-in through the Thai Chana website, which park staff will reportedly use to monitor how many people are within the park.
(Photos: Khao Yai National Park)
- Asiatique is one of the most Instagrammed spots in Bangkok so social media nuts must have felt a great loss when it had to close down. I jest, of course, because aside from a great night-time riverside view that's worthy of your IG feed, it's also home to a number of great food choices and shopping opportunities. If you've been dying to get back, Asiatique is reopening. The bad news is that you're going to have to wait a little while longer because they're reopening in August with no specific day announced yet as of the writing of this article. Hopefully, it won't be too long. Visit AsiatiqueThailand.com.
- You can act all mature and try to hide the fact you don't become a kid again when you visit Pattaya's Cartoon Network Amazone. You really expect me to believe seeing Grizzly, Panda and Ice Bear in person doesn't get you excited? And I haven't even mentioned the long winding water slides. While the kid in us is dying to finally be set loose upon this aquatic playground, it seems like we're going to have to endure a little longer. On their FB page, the park announced the "extension of the temporary closure until November 2020 or later". Visit CartoonNetworkAmazone.com.
(Photo: Cartoon Network Amazone)
- Santorini Park in Cha-am is a peculiar little place. Aside from the Mediterranean architecture, it has a number of attractions like a 7D and 4DX indoor ride, an "Alive Museum", a waterpark and a number of retail shops. It's pretty much an all-in-one destination. However, whether you're someone who's been here before and is looking forward to go back or you're someone who's been dying to check it out, there's a pretty long wait -- a year, to be exact. According to their FB page, they've suspended operations for at least another 12 months starting June 1. Visit fb.com/SantoriniPark.
(Photos: Santorini Park)