If you’re anything like us, you’re probably spending what little free time you have this month (outside of holiday festivities) dreaming about the places you want to travel next year. If we can be optimistic for a moment (which always feels a little dangerous these days), next year looks to be a year where many of us get back out there and explore the world for the first time in over two years.
So why not make that first trip in two years a trip to Thailand?
Thailand has long been a favourite. Back in the before times (2019), it was in the top 10 most visited countries in the world, and Bangkok was the most visited city in the world, attracting over 22 million visitors that year. Thailand has a beautiful natural environment, with beaches in the south, jungles in the north, and appealing cities in between. It has famously friendly people—it’s known as the Land of Smiles, after all. It has some of the best (and most affordable) food in the world and appealing historical landmarks dotted throughout the nation.
There’s so much to recommend Thailand for a 2022 vacation. So if you do hope to see Thailand in the new year, what can you expect?
What to expect on a Thailand vacation in 2022?
Smaller Crowds & More Intimate Experiences
One of the perks of travelling right now is that you have fewer tourists to contend with. As we wrote earlier in this article, Thailand is one of the most popular destinations in the world. Millions of people visit Bangkok and Phuket every year, so sharing Wat Pho or the nightclubs of Phuket with other tourists is par for the course. But not right now. At the moment, Thailand is at an all-time low in terms of visitors. You won’t find the same groups of tourists outside the Grand Palace in Bangkok or have to jostle for room at a popular restaurant in Chiang Mai. There’s a definite advantage to having some more space and time to yourself when exploring such a popular country.
As well, the Thai people are famously friendly. Not only that, but their economy relies heavily on tourism, so people are happier than ever to have you visit and eat in their restaurants, stay in their inns, and shop for their goods. Visiting Thailand is always a pleasant experience. While the experience of visiting in 2022 won’t be the same as in the past due to the nature of the times we live in, it has the opportunity to be a more intimate experience than you could’ve had before.
Great Beach Escapes
The islands of Southern Thailand are famously beautiful. Sandy beaches line the coasts, rocky karst islands provide stunning panoramic views, and resorts cater to travellers who want to be pampered and relax after the hectic past two years. Put Phuket, Koh Samui, or Krabi on your travel itinerary and you’re assured of a relaxing time in Thailand.
The resort experience is the highlight of staying in the south. You’ll enjoy beautiful accommodations right on the beach, access to sandy beaches and warm waters, and plenty of leisure options. You can head on walking tours through island towns, enjoy a foodie tour that showcases the flavours of the south, or rent a kayak at your resort to explore island caves and hidden beaches. There are cooking classes and cocktail classes, which equip you with knowledge to make some favourite foods when you return home. You can explore landmarks such as James Bond Island, which was featured in The Man with the Golden Gun, or visit the Big Buddha statue that towers over the island from Nakkerd Hill near Chalong. And let’s not forget about the spas and wellness classes that are popular throughout the resorts. You can unwind with daily massages (Thai massages are famously thorough and limbering), take part in a yoga class, or sign up for a more extensive detox program.
Right now, you can take advantage of a sensational offer that gives you a free two-night stopover in Dubai en route to Phuket. The stopover allows you to see Expo 2020 Dubai, the World’s Fair that is occurring until March 31, 2022 in Dubai and which showcases pavilions and innovations from 190 countries around the world. After the stopover, you arrive in Phuket to relax at a first-class resort and spa for a week.
Exciting Culture & Delicious Food
Even in the midst of upheaval, Thailand’s cultural delights have not changed. You can still enjoy the delicious food that is the envy of much of the world. Hit up the famous street stalls in Bangkok’s Chinatown (Yaowarat) to enjoy dishes like pad thai, pork satay, and a variety of curries. You can splurge on a night out at one of the eight Michelin-starred restaurants in Bangkok (28 restaurants in the whole country have been awarded Michelin stars). Perhaps most appealing to some travellers, you don’t have to break the bank in Thailand to enjoy high-end cuisine. The street food is ludicrously affordable for how good it is, and the gourmet restaurants will set you back less than at a similar place in Europe or North America.
Furthermore, the experience of visiting Thailand is as exciting as ever. There are simply so many things to do. In Bangkok alone, you can visit Wat Pho to see the famous Reclining Buddha statue, see the Grand Palace, the official residence of the King, and go shopping in the famous weekend market, Chatuchak. Tour the city’s canals and visit a floating market, go shopping at high-end shopping malls like Siam Paragon, and relax from the heat in Lumphini Park. Chiang Mai has more temples to visit, as well as access to the surrounding jungles to see rehabilitating elephants at the Elephant Nature Park. Chiang Rai has some of the most astounding architecture in the entire country. The unfinished temple of Wat Rong Khun, with its whitewashed colour palette and dragon scaling, is among the most beautiful buildings in Southeast Asia.
If you’re in for a truly memorable cultural experience and like staying active while travelling, consider our vacation, Hike, Bike & Hill Tribes in Northern Thailand. It includes a visit to the famous landmarks of Bangkok, including Wat Pho and the Grand Palace, a bike and boat trip through nearby villages, and a long-tail boat cruise along the canals of the city. It also takes you up north to Chiang Rai to see the city’s monuments and visit a nearby Hloyo village where you can meet Akha people. The vacation ends in Chiang Mai and features a visit to a Karen hill tribe village in the surrounding hillside and tours of the outskirts and little-known temples.
Hike, Bike & Hilltribes Northern Thailand
DELUXE | PRIVATE-GUIDED: This active adventure combines nature, culture, and luxury hotel comforts on a journey through Thailand. Begin in Bangkok with a countryside cycle tour to temples and floating markets. Then travel north to Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai to hike in lush jungles, cycle to ancient ruins, and visit remote hilltribe villages.More Details
You can also easily combine Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket together on one vacation and enjoy deluxe accommodations in each destination. There’s no one proper way to see Thailand. It accommodates so many different travel styles and experiences.
Deluxe Thailand with Airfare
DELUXE | VACATION PACKAGE WITH AIRFARE: Discover Thailand on this classic vacation. Start in Bangkok, where you’ll see temples and explore the river. Continue to Chiang Mai to visit remote hilltribes and city markets. Close out your time in Phuket with several days at a beachside resort.More Details
What are the current health and safety protocols for Thailand?
Every vacation has a few more hoops to jump through these days, but all in all, getting to Thailand and exploring the country is fairly straightforward.
Currently, travellers from the US and Canada who are fully vaccinated (with the second dose no less than 14 days prior to travel) are exempt from quarantine when entering Thailand. They must take a negative PCR test within 72 hours of departure to Thailand, and must have confirmed pre-payment for the first night at a SHA+ hotel, as well as a RT-PCR test upon arrival and prearranged airport transfers. Travellers must also apply and receive a Thailand Pass prior to departure and have an insurance policy with coverage of no less than US $50,000. Luckily, a Goway Destination Specialist can help you with all these arrangements.
Once you actually enter the country through Bangkok International Airport or Phuket International Airport (the only two international points of entry, at this time), you take an arrival PCR test and then are transferred to your prearranged hotel. Once your PCR test comes back negative, you’re free to travel anywhere in Thailand starting on Day 2. Meanwhile, unvaccinated or partially-vaccinated travellers must submit to a mandatory 10-day quarantine in Phuket under the sandbox entry model, or submit to a mandatory 14-day quarantine elsewhere.
As we said, there are a few more hoops to jump through to get to Thailand, but it’s worth jumping through in order to experience all the many wonders that Thailand has to offer.
13 Dec 2021, 2:24 p.m.