Thailand Reopening continues with more destinations to reopen in October

Thailand is set to reopen more popular tourist destinations, Bangkok Chiang Mai, Hua Hin and Pattaya from 1 October. The reopening scheme starts with Phuket Sandbox from 1 July and continues with the Samui Plus from 15 July, Phuket 7+7 Extension from 15 August. It allows fully vaccinated tourists to travel to Thailand without the need to quarantine.

The Royal Thai Government has announced plans to reopen Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chon Buri, Phetchaburi, and Prachuap Khiri Khan from 1 October as part of the second phase of the country’s reopening scheme.

From mid-October, another 21 destinations up and down the country will reopen. These include Chiang Rai, Lamphun, Mae Hong Son, Nan, Phrae, and Sukhothai in the North; Bueng Kan, Nong Khai, Ubon Ratchathani, and Udon Thani in the Northeast; Kanchanaburi and Ratchaburi in the West; Chanthaburi, Rayong, and Trat in the East; Ayutthaya in the Central Region, and Nakhon Si Thammarat, Ranong, Satun, Songkhla, and Trang in the South.

Thailand is set to proceed with the fourth phase of reopening in January 2022, with 13 border provinces to reopen under travel bubbles with neighbouring countries.

Nearly 9 million people have been fully vaccinated nationwide in Thailand. Over 25 million have received their first dose while another over 600,000 people received their third vaccine dose, according to the Ministry of Public Health.


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The sunny side of Koh Lanta
Text & Photo : Anders Pihl More relaxed than nearby Phuket, the island of Koh Lanta continues to be a longtime favorite among travelers from all over the world. The island shows a sunny side at the west coast where a string of enchanting beaches lines up. Koh Lanta is a 30 kilometer long island in the Krabi province with a remarkable two-piece character. The west coast lines up first-rate beaches, all with prime sunset locations. The east coast is very different and has vast areas of mangrove swamps between tiny fishing villages. If Koh Lanta was fleeting the island would probably tip over on the west side because it is where all the visitors reside. Exploring the magnificent west coast of Koh Lanta from north to south is a truly fun escape. The road follows the coast more or less all the way, displaying the island in all its diversity. You get to know Lanta while traveling and learn where your favorite spots are right away. I begin in Saladan, a town where most of Lanta’s important infrastructure are gathered, with shopping, banks, police, pharmacy and doctors. Near Saladan the shallow bays of Klong Dao and Long Beach awaits. Both are very popular with Scandinavian families. It is clean and proper here. Hotels and restaurants are definitely a bit more upmarket. Towards the central part of the island the ambience becomes different. It is more motley and vibrant with travelers of all ages and styles. Expensive hotels with pool villas lies side by side with budget guesthouses. Trendy latte cafés rub shoulders with reggae-hangouts. The inviting beaches relieve each other. The longest ones, Klong Khong and Klong Nin, become social scenes in the late afternoon when everybody gathers before the sunset. If you want to be where people are, it is definitely the central part you are looking for. The more south you come on Koh Lanta the more beautiful it gets. The island rises at the height, while the recurrent bays shrinks. Inside them you find beaches with splendid natural beauty. An obvious stop on the way south is the small Nui Beach, embraced by steep green slopes and overlooked from the lovely restaurant Diamond Cliff. Even more striking is the mighty Kantiang Bay with cabanas on high stilts at the far end. The average age among adults are clearly lower here and the vibe more bohemic. At the southernmost end you find the deep rainforest in national park Mu Koh Lanta and Lighthouse Koh Lanta out on a small peninsula. What about the east side then? The east coast of Koh Lanta is absolutely worth another excursion. You get happily surprised when you arrive to Lanta Old Town, the oldest city of the Island. The main street is bordered with cafés and cozy small shops. The alleys between the houses leads out to jetties where you can have a delightful seafood lunch while looking at the sea outside with islets and karst mountains. Still you can claim that Koh Lanta is the local people’s island. Daily markets thrive as always, small mosques remain in the middle of the tourist settlements. On the eastside there are several villages of the where the Chao Ley live, an Indo-Malayan people that sometimes is called Sea-Gipsies. Chao Ley have been living on Lanta for hundreds of years. All the way from north to south you see why Koh Lanta is so loved by so many. There are no deck chairs, no beach vendors, no jet skis, no mega resorts, no high rises and no ostentation. So far Koh Lanta retains a balance between well developed tourism and the small-scale and local society. Location click here
Dream golf in paradise – now Thailand is opening again
Night golf, park-like golf and jungle golf – Thailand has it all. Written by Martin Strömberg on Thailand is set to reopen more popular tourist destinations. Chiang Mai, Hua Hin and Pattaya from 1 October and Bangkok from 15 October.  Since July, Thailand has reopened some parts of the country to tourists. The reopening scheme starts with Phuket Sandbox from 1 July and continues with the Samui Plus from 15 July, Phuket 7+7 Extension from 15 August. It allows fully vaccinated tourists to travel to Thailand without the need to quarantine. Now fully vaccinated tourists can go to Phuket and Koh Samui without having been quarantined and the golf courses are ready to open their doors to welcome visitors again in some parts of the country, while other parts of Thailand are expected to open their doors soon. Full details of what applies to Phuket can be found here. On Koh Samui there is a similar model that you can read more about here. For golf instructor Juha-Matti Vuorinen, this means that life returns a little more to normal. Juha-Matti has lived and worked in Thailand for eight years and knows golf in the country in and out. He knows what the Nordic golfers want at the same time he knows which courses to play if you really want to enjoy the absolute best golf in Thailand and where the hidden gems of golf paradise in Thailand among approximately 250 courses. Here are Juha-Matti’s personal tips and handpicked courses from fabulously beautiful park courses to real jungle golf of the highest class. Phuket Best Course: Blue Canyon Country Club – Award winning golf course (Yoshikazu Kato, 1991, 1998)  At Blue Canyon, there are two high-class 18-hole courses, Canyon course and Lake Course. Canyon Course has been the venue for some memorable international tournaments, including the Honda Invitational in 1996 and the Johnie Walker Classics Tournaments in 1994, 1998 & 2007. The most memorable was in 1998 which witnessed Tiger Woods staging one of the most astounding comebacks of the game to see Ernie Els defeated in a playoff for the final hole. The award winning has since been the ultimate experience for many players. For non-golfing family members, Phuket offers plenty of other activities such as water sports, paradise beaches and if you are interested in rum you can visit Chalong Bay Rum Distillery and learn how to make white rum. The 40 meter high landmark Big Buddha is another popular excursion at the top of Nakkerd Hills. Koh Samui Best course: Santiburi Golf – Ocean view (Pirapon Namatra) Santiburi is the only 18-hole golf course on Koh samui. It has taken advantage of the level differences and the natural contour through the jungle and hillsides above the beautiful beaches. The golf course has a scenic panoramic view of the Gulf of Thailand and Koh Phangan. Most holes have ocean and beach views. Waterfalls and screens run through the land adding a natural beauty with the hills providing a picturesque backdrop. It’s a very tough course – particularly the back nine and you will need to be on top of your game and also enjoy a slice of luck to score well. It is a true hidden gem and it is a must if you visit Koh Samui. For anyone who does not want to play golf, Koh Samui is full of beautiful beaches and wonderful scenery such as Namuang Waterfall or Angthong National Marine Park. Phang Nga Best Course: Katathong Golf Resort & Spa (Wiwatchai Prangpitak, 2015) – Spectacular course At the relatively new Katathong Golf Resort, you will be struck by beautiful scenery – perhaps the most spectacular course in Thailand, according to Juha-Matti. There are lots of unconventional but interesting holes. It takes just over an hour from Phuket Airport to get here and Katathong is located just north of Phang Nga in incredibly beautiful scenery. There are also a variety of accommodation types overlooking the golf course at the resort. From October 2021, more destinations are set to open for tourists. Bangkok from  15 october and Hua Hin, Pattaya and Chiang Mai from 1 October. Bangkok:  Best Course: Summit Windmill Golf Club – Park-like course (Nick Faldo, 1993) Conveniently located near Bangkok International Airport (Suvarnabumi Airport), this golf course attracts lots of golfers thanks to its location, just about 30 minutes from Bangkok. It is a park-like golf course. Nick Faldo’s innovative design has succeeded well with the course and water comes into play on many of the holes. There are a lot of risk-and-reward holes over water. Here you can also play after dark due to the course being equipped with electric lights since 2004 and it is a dramatic feeling to walk around in a tropical golf environment in semi-darkness. The luxurious clubhouse is modern and built like a medieval European castle. Hua Hin: Best courses: Black Mountain (Phil Ryan, 2007) and Banyan Golf Club (Pirapon Namatra, 2008) Black Mountain, with its three nine-hole courses, is well known among Swedish golfers as it is the Swede Stig Notlöv who created the facility. The golf course has hosted both European Tour and Asian Tour competitions which have been much appreciated by the players since it opened. The course winds its way up the mountain slopes and is always in excellent condition. Banyan Golf Club has been voted by Asian Golf Monthly as one of the country’s three best courses for three years in a row, because it has a wonderful clubhouse overlooking the course.