The discovery of Thailand for tourists has become a real holiday for quite a lot of Russians: from their point of view, there is hardly a more suitable place for wintering, relaxation and, in general, an escape from the bustling Western civilization. During the pandemic, Thailand has changed – as, indeed, the rest of the world. We tell you what you need to consider when going on a long-awaited vacation.
From July 1, 2022, the rules for entering Thailand have changed: the country has completely abolished the Thailand Pass registration system and abolished the requirement for a COVID-19 health insurance policy.
Both vaccinated tourists are allowed into the countries (Sputnik is among the approved vaccines, the last vaccination must be done no later than 2 weeks before arrival), and unvaccinated tourists with a PCR test done within 72 hours before departure. If for some reason tourists cannot provide a negative PCR test result, they will have to take a rapid test at the point of entry. Random checks may also be carried out at international airports upon arrival or at border points.
Everyone else (who is vaccinated) does not need to take PCR upon arrival, the notorious “Sandbox” has been canceled, so you can move freely around the country from the first days.
Flights to Thailand
Aeroflot has already announced the sale of direct flights from Moscow to Phuket. Departures will be carried out daily on Airbus A330-300 aircraft, starting from October 30, 2022. What is especially pleasant, because this particular island has been and remains one of the most favorite winter destinations for Russians.
But while you have to get with transfers. Etihad Airways transports from the Russian capital to Bangkok via Abu Dhabi for 27,700 RUB one way and 16 hours, Qatar Airways — via Doha for 37,700 RUB (more than a day on the way), there are also routes through Bahrain, Istanbul and other cities. You can fly to Phuket with Qatar Airways and Bangkok Airways (from 30,600 RUB one way, 1 day 9 hours with connections in Doha and Bangkok), Etihad Airways (from 33,800 RUB, 18 hours 20 minutes via Abu Dhabi) and others
Aeroflot Airlines has announced the sale of direct flights from Moscow to Phuket. Flights will operate daily from October 30, 2022.
Hotels and accommodation
The list of the most budget options includes Pattaya, Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. There you can rent a small apartment for 8,000-10,000 THB per month (plus utilities and internet), while in Phuket, for comparison, modest studios rent for 15,000-20,000 THB. Thailand is considering the possibility of paying with Mir cards, but so far they are not accepted, and most Russian tourists bring dollars or euros with them. In exchange offices in large resorts, even rubles can be exchanged for baht, but there is no such option at bank offices and airports.
Hotels continue to comply with anti-COVID measures: more than 18,000 tourist infrastructure facilities have been SHA + certified, which means that their employees are vaccinated and the premises are processed. On Patong Beach, double rooms in comfortable “treshkahs” cost from 300 THB per night, on Krabi, Chiang Mai, Bangkok and South Pattaya – from 400 THB. Suite in the “five” Surin will cost 800 THB per day.
Food prices are comparable to Russian or slightly lower: a liter of milk – 40 THB, a kilo of chicken fillet – 170 THB, a pack of coffee – 100 THB, rice – 40 THB per kilo. A can of beer costs 50-60 THB, a bottle of imported wine – from 600 THB. The cost of local fruits depends on the season. In the evening markets, a couple of ready-made dishes like chicken skewers and pasta cost only 15-20 THB, and this is almost a full dinner.
In Pattaya, you can eat cheaply in the food courts of shopping centers, street cafes and at the macaroons. In Phuket, the prices are slightly higher: street food in Patong is 60-70 THB, and meals in a cafe are from 100 THB. The average bill in Thai restaurants is 600-700 THB for two without alcohol.1
/1 Beaches and entertainment
You can always find the beach for free or go to a beach club, pay for a cocktail and use a sun lounger and umbrella all day. An hour massage session in the salon costs 150-400 THB, a yoga session costs 300-400 THB. For a glass of local beer in a bar, they charge from 100 THB, for a cocktail – from 120 THB. Some establishments offer a “cocktail buffet” – unlimited access to drinks for a certain amount (on average, about 800 THB per person).
There are still many excursions at the resorts: island tours in Pattaya – about 1500 THB, trips to the Angthong Marine Park on Koh Samui – 1900 THB, jeep safari – 1500-1800 THB, sightseeing city tours by minibuses – around 600 THB per person . There are more expensive options: “non-tourist places in Bangkok” will be held for 8,000 THB, and for an individual boat trip in Phuket with fishing, snorkeling and swimming on the islands, they will ask for 44,000 THB.
What else to read on the topic
7 cheap souvenirs to bring back from Thailand
Why should you never swim at night in Thailand?
The most common scams in restaurants in Thailand: read and don't be fooled
What has changed
Firstly, the tourist flow has seriously decreased: in the first half of 2022, about 70 thousand Russian tourists visited Thailand – and before that, 1.5 million came annually. In general, there are few people: regulars claim that they have never seen the streets and beaches of Phuket like this deserted. But this is most likely not for long – experts predict an explosive growth in tourist flow due to the lifting of restrictions. Roads in Thailand have become freer, traffic jams only in the evening in busy areas. There is much less garbage in the sea and on the coast, the water has become transparent even in Pattaya (although there are a lot of jellyfish because of this).
Most restaurants and shops are open, QR codes are not required, but non-contact thermometers are installed at the entrance. Cautious Thais wear masks even on the beaches, although it is allowed to be there without them. In Rawai, Nai Harn, on the legendary Volkin Street in Pattaya, life is in full swing, as before the pandemic, but there are also “frozen” areas like Karon Beach, where many establishments are still closed. Kata Beach now comes to life only in the evening: some cafes and shops open so that tourists attracted by discounts in hotels are not so bored. In some places, they note a sharp increase in prices for housing and services, as well as attempts by hotels to save on food and service. But be that as it may, Thailand is not in danger of losing popularity: according to polls, it is confidently in the top of the best countries to travel after the pandemic.