It’s official! As of the beginning of October 2021, Thailand has lifted its travel ban on all countries, including South Africa, with certain restrictions in place (see below). That means that sun-seeking South Africans are now welcome to return to Thailand’s tropical beaches for the well-deserved R&R that they’ve been craving after yet another challenging year – and just in time for the holiday season!
A brief history of Thailand
From the 10th century onwards, Thailand was dominated by the Khmer people before the Kingdom of Ayutthaya attained its independence despite the other city states falling under the control of the Burmese. Many years later, General Taksin took back Thonburi and used his power to free the other city states from Burmese domination, resulting in the formation of the country that was called ‘Siam’ at the time. Over a period of many years, the nation entered into amicable treaties with western nations, including Britain and France, making it possible for its people to escape the prospect of widespread colonisation.
In 1932, the Siamese Revolution began, resulting in the termination of the Ayutthaya Kingdom’s monarchy. It was replaced by a constitutional monarchy overseen by the military. Many residents were terrified of communism and ultra-nationalism as instability grew throughout the lengthy period of military rule. Luckily, these fears never came to light and, in 1992, Thailand established its first democratic government, which remains in place to this day.
Exploring tranquil Thailand - what to do on your holiday
Explore the Grand Palace
It’s arguably the top attraction in all of Thailand, and most certainly the most sought-after in Bangkok. The Grand Palace was constructed in 1782 and housed the Thai King, the Royal court and the administrative seat of government for well over a century. While it’s quite a sight to behold, there’s more to it than just its external beauty. Inside you’ll find many treasures waiting to be discovered, including a 14th century emerald Buddha statue and an antique throne.
Hire a scooter for sight-seeing
Why walk when you can travel like a local? Most Thais prefer to zip through the streets on a sturdy scooter – and it’s as practical as it is entertaining! Just remember to wear a helmet and closed shoes, and to keep your wits about you as you weave in and out of traffic in search of the region’s most enthralling sights and adventures.
Visit a floating market
Thailand is awash with floating markets – bustling congregations where tradespeople sell their wares to buyers from boats as they pass through the khlong (canal). These floating markets present an incredible opportunity to sample local cuisine and fresh produce full of vibrant colours and mouth-watering flavours, as well as collect a few souvenirs to take home for friends and family. Some of the most popular floating markets are the daily Damnoen Saduak Floating Market in Ratchaburi and the Amphawa Floating Market in Samut Songkhram.
Support local craftspeople
Hoping to make sustainable travel a priority for the duration of your trip to Thailand? One way of doing so is to go out of your way to support local. A great (and exciting) approach is to take a tour offered by a community-based initiative, such as Local Alike. This initiative is focused on allowing visitors to explore the ‘real’ Thailand through its awe-inspiring locals, all while supporting the community’s craftspeople. Its offerings include village tours, night-time bike tours, and volun-tours.
Get a Thai massage
Your holiday to Thailand simply wouldn’t be complete without a traditional Thai massage (or three!). Along with getting a taste of Thai culture, there are so many other benefits to getting this type of massage, such as stress relief, improved circulation, reduced muscle stiffness, and a general sense of rejuvenation and vitality.
You can visit Thailand today!
Thailand is open to fully-vaccinated South Africans as part of the country’s Sandbox programme. What this means is that you’ll be allowed to access one of the aread in the Sandbox programme for duration of 7 days following which you’ll have the freedom to travel anywhere else in the country whenever you wish.
If a holiday to Thailand is on the cards, there are a few other requirements to be aware of ahead of your travels. You’ll be required to:
- Submit to a mandatory COVID-19 RT-PCR test on arrival at the airport and wait at your hotel room for the test results to be processed.
- Show proof of health insurance (it must provide coverage of at least THB 3.5 million for medical expenses due to injury or illness, including COVID-19 and be in place for the duration of your holiday).
- Present proof of a negative COVID PCR test, conducted no more than 72 hours before your departure.
- Present proof of a booked and paid for 7-night stay at an accommodation supplier in an approved region.
- Provide proof of a booked and paid for domestic COVID PCR test before travelling to Thailand.
Looking for an unmissable Thailand holiday package? Flight Centre is ready to deliver! Most of our packages are inclusive of return flights, accommodation, return transfers, and some meals.
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