We are all more than a little happy that the pandemic is finally coming to an end and with the arrival of the vaccine, things will quickly return to normal. Of course, you will be wanting to take a long holiday to celebrate and if you have chosen tropical Thailand as your destination, here are a few tips to help you plan the perfect holiday.
- Entry Requirements – These are likely to change at any time and the best way to keep updated is to visit the website of the Thai embassy in your home country. There you will find out what the Covid requirements are for travelling to Thailand and when ready, you can submit your visa application. Tourist visas are valid for 2 months and can easily be extended inside Thailand and if you are retired, apply for a retirement visa, which can be extended on an annual Basis.
- Accommodation – Solitaire is an ASQ hotel in Bangkok that is government-approved and after your quarantine stay, you can check online for cheap resorts and hotels as you travel the country. It might be that you have to select a State Quarantine hotel from a list for the first 14 days of your stay, but this could change at any time. Booking online is always cheaper than a walk-in and if you are long-stay, consider renting a condo.
- Getting Around – Fortunately, Thailand has a great infrastructure; Bangkok has the BTS Skytrain that runs to every part of the city, plus there are yellow and green metered taxis everywhere and for travelling to other parts of the country, you have reliable train service and luxury a/c coaches. You can fly to Chiang Mai or Phuket, yet taking the train gives you a glimpse of rural Thailand, which is why the train is so popular with tourists.
- International Driving Permit – If you’re planning to rent a car or a bike, you are advised to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) in your home country and be prepared for anything and everything when you drive in Thailand! Do make sure you take out health insurance, as medical treatment can be very expensive (there are many world-class hospitals in Bangkok). Comprehensive health insurance would cover you for every eventuality and never ride a motorcycle without wearing a helmet. Click here for more long-stay information in Thailand.
- Dengue Fever – This awful disease is transmitted by mosquitoes and in the rainy season, it is very common. You should always apply mozzie cream or spray prior to the arrival of dusk, when these terrible creatures come out to play! If you are unlucky enough to catch Dengue Fever, there is no cure and you will have zero energy for 10-14 days, which is no fun at all! There is no risk of Malaria unless you are planning to trek into the jungle, so no need to have any anti-malaria shots (they make you sick).
- Open a Bank Account – Withdrawing money from the ATM using your credit card is costly; rather open a bank account in Thailand and transfer to that account and with an ATM, you can withdraw money whenever you like and it won’t cost you anything. Don’t be surprised if a bank politely refuses, it does happen, but the branch across the street could be completely the opposite. Once you have an account, you can apply for Internet banking, which is a free service and will prove to be invaluable; your ATM can also be used as a debit card, which most retail stores accept.
- Check for Covid Travel Restrictions – If you visit this site often, you can receive any travel updates from the Thai government and be prepared for a few roadblocks if you are driving upcountry, as there are regular police checkpoints. If you are fully vaccinated, there might be no restrictions, which is an incentive to have the shots.
- Keep Valuables Safe – This applies to every country in the world and Bangkok has its fair share of pickpockets. Keep your passport and travel documents close to your person, especially when in crowded areas and for other valuable items, you have a safe in your hotel room. Thailand is one of the safest places to travel and common sense would dictate what you do and where you go.
Long stay holidays are becoming very popular and with some careful planning, you can make your adventure smooth and convenient. You are advised to pick up a small Thai phrase book when going off the tourist track, as English is only spoken in tourist spots and this will help you find what you are looking for.