There are so many things to look forward to during a trip to Bangkok. Whether you enjoy exploring the city, shopping at the floating markets or savouring delicious halal Thai food, there's a reason why Thailand's capital city is a favourite among Muslim travellers.
On 1 June 2020, the Thailand government had announced that they're reopening all business and economic sectors including attractions, restaurants, shopping malls and more. While international travel is still banned for now, let's take a look at how travelling to Bangkok will look like in the new normal.
1. Thailand bans all international flights until 30 June 2020
A mid-year holiday in Thailand is definitely not in the cards this year as the country is only expected to open their borders and allow international travel starting 30 June 2020.
In efforts to boost domestic air travel, however, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) had reopened 7 domestic airports on 6 June 2020 after resuming flight operations at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok last April.
If Thailand continues to handle the pandemic well, we may see the country reopening its borders in June as promised.
2. Shopping malls are open with increased hygiene measures
Major shopping malls in Bangkok, including CentralWorld, are stepping up their cleanliness and hygiene measures during the pandemic. For instance, a mandatory temperature screening is required for all staffs and shoppers at the mall's entrance.
Apart from advising shoppers to maintain a one-meter distance while queuing, there will also be additional temperature screening at the entrance of every store. Besides that, every shopper must maintain social distancing when taking the escalator, waiting for their turn at the restaurant, and hanging out at open areas.
3. You'll see cute robots in major shopping malls
Thailand is also stepping up on the technological front by having adorable robots to assist you. At CentralWorld, the ROC (Robot For Care) will do temperature screening on shoppers and LISA (Live Intelligent Service Assistant) can direct you to the nearest bathroom to wash your hands and remind you to wear a face mask.
The most popular robot among CentralWorld shoppers is the AIS K9. A robotic hound dog that roams around the ground floor of the mall, AIS K9 will carry an alcohol-based hand sanitiser on its back, so you can sanitise your hands if you stumble upon it!
Credit: Siam Paragon on Facebook
Siam Paragon, one of Thailand's largest malls, employs a smart cleaning robot that keeps the floors squeaky clean and provides a friendly smile to passersby. Just be sure not to get in the way when the robot is busy keeping the mall clean!
4. Street markets are back in business
If you love practising your bargaining skills, the street markets in Bangkok is a great training ground. Selling clothes, accessories and shoes at affordable prices, some shoppers even walk around with a large suitcase or shopping bag in tow.
Since 3 May 2020, outdoor markets including the famous Chatuchak Weekend Market has officially reopened, much to the delight of local shoppers.
However, the opening of outdoor markets in Bangkok comes with strict guidelines. For example, vendors and shoppers are required to wear a face mask at all times and maintain a two-meter distance from one another.
A minimum of two-meter distance also applies when queuing at the food stalls at Chatuchak Weekend Market. Since cash is still the main mode of payment, look out for various service points where alcohol-based hand sanitisers are provided for the public. Alternatively, we also recommend bringing a travel-friendly hand sanitizer wherever you go.
5. Hotels will reopen in July with attractive promotions
Since most hotels in Thailand are set to reopen in July, the president of Thai Hotels Association (THA), Suphawan Thanomkiatphum, had urged hotels and resorts to offer promotions in June and July 2020.
In a bid to increase the hotel occupancy and encourage staycations among the locals, there's a possibility that these promotions will be extended to tourists once international travel is allowed in June.
6. Restaurants, street stalls and food courts are allowed to reopen
According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, restaurants and beverage shops, convenience stores, street stalls, food courts and cafeterias are allowed to reopen starting 1 June 2020.
Since Bangkok is also known for its amazing Muslim-friendly Thai cuisine, we can't wait to enjoy the Thai-style biryani at Yusup Pochana, spicy tom yam at Samat Muslim Food, and more delicious halal food in Bangkok once it's safe to travel again.
7. Spas and traditional massage centres are back
Your future trip to Thailand can also include a relaxing Thai massage! Spas, Thai traditional massage shops, and foot massage shops have reopened since 1 June 2020, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
After two months of closure, some locals even arranged to get a relaxing massage on the first day. To step up their hygiene measures, Thai masseuses are required to wear a face shield and avoid massages in the neck and facial area. All floor mats and massage tables must also be disinfected after every massage session to maintain cleanliness at the spa.
8. While more attractions have reopened, some remain closed
The Thailand government may be easing its lockdown measures in major cities, but some businesses and activities remain temporarily closed. The Tourism Authority of Thailand has provided a full list of places in Bangkok that have reopened or remain closed during the pandemic, but here's a summary that every traveller should know.
Allowed to reopen
- Restaurants and beverage shops, convenience stores, street stalls, food courts and cafeterias
- Shopping malls, department stores and community malls
- Hypermarkets and wholesale markets
- Botanic gardens, flower gardens, museums, learning centres, historic sites, archaeological sites, public libraries, and art galleries
- Zoos and public parks
- Water parks and amusement parks
- Children's playgrounds and children’s play areas in markets, floating markets and flea markets
It's going to be a while before we can plan our next getaway to Bangkok, but we'll definitely return to experience the bustling shopping mall, savour delicious halal Thai food, and meet the friendly locals again. To inspire your future travel plans to Thailand, we hope these articles will come in handy!
- 10 Muslim-Friendly Resorts In Thailand For Your Ultimate Vacation
- 8 Halal Items From 7-Eleven You Should Get On Your Next Thailand Trip
- 14 Must-Try Muslim-Friendly Street Food In Bangkok