Thailand accepts vaccinated travelers, Karambol App plans things to do
Thailand is experimenting with reopening the country for tourists but with a catch that would restrict and monitor their movements. However, for visitors who successfully meet the infamous “sandbox program” requirements, the new Android & Apple iphone friendly app Karambol is making sure tourists get the most out of their stay.
Thailand tightens restrictions
After new developments in coronavirus cases around the country, Thailand announced its decision to continue certain restrictions.
In 2021 Thailand announced its “sandbox” program which would allow fully vaccinated tourists to enter Phuket without needing to quarantine. However, visitors must spend a minimum of 7 nights on the island and receive a negative Covid-19 test before traveling anywhere else in the country.
This effectively turned the popular tourist island into a closed quarantine ‘sandbox’ and only in hotels with an SHA++ certification. This means that the hotel is approved by the Thai government for quarantine and complies with necessary health measures and standards.
On January 7th, 2022, Thailand announced that while there would be no lockdown, there will be greater restrictions on alcohol consumption. Similarly, the mandate stated that bars and nightclubs will remain closed while schools will remain open.
The decision comes after a doubling in virus cases due to the omicron variant rapidly spreading in the country. Cases grew to 7,526 and 19 new deaths were recorded. All visitors must now go directly into quarantine or use the sandbox program in approved locations.
Approved sandbox locations have also been expanded to include Koh Samui, Koh Tao, and Koh Phangan along with the previously stated Phuket. This popular beach often tops lists of things to do in Thailand and was likely chosen for that reason.
Despite a growing number of cases, Thailand has had success in vaccinating its citizens with more than 100 million doses administered to a population of approximately 60 million. Booster shot programs are currently active across the country.
Planning an itinerary for things to do in Thailand
Amidst the confusion and requirements when visiting Thailand, there is still the question of what to do after the quarantine. For this, a popular app helps tourists plan their visit based on the number of days they will be staying and which city they’re in.
The app offers planning for four different categories including ‘beach’, ‘culture’, ‘nature’, or ‘recommended’. Every stop on the itinerary is tailored to the options on this filter and tells the user what time to arrive and the activity’s expected duration. With these tools it is possible to neatly order a 10 days Thailand itinerary into a list of amazing sightseeing destinations.
For example, a 3-day trip to Bangkok begins, according to the app, at 9am on Day 1 at Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK). This is an attraction in itself and is one of two international airports serving Bangkok.
The sightseeing trip begins at Wat Pho, also known as the ‘house of the reclining Buddha’. The temple has a massive collection of Buddha images including a large statue of the sacred persona lying down and measuring 46 meters long.
At this site there are many notable temples and monuments to see, such as the Grand Palace which is next on the list. This was the primary residence of Kings until 1782 when a revolution overthrew the monarchy, replacing it with a constitutional monarchy. The palace is also home to the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand, known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.
Another notable sight is that of Wat Arun which stands majestically beside Bangkok’s famous river. The temple takes its name from the Hund god Aruna who is associated with the rising sun. A full day of sightseeing deserves a special feast, and there is no better feast for the eyes and tongue than one of Thailand’s floating markets.
The Khlong Lat Mayon floating market was originally founded by a humble farmer to help his community profit from their labor. It began as a small group effort with only 5 stalls, but it quickly grew to become one of the most popular markets in the city.
Continuing the Thailand itinerary
On the second day of a hypothetical trip planned through the Karambol app, the day begins with a trip through a khlong, or tributary river. Historically, khlongs were used to transport people and produce across the city and long and slender boats similar to gondolas in Venice.
In fact, Bangkok was once termed the “Venice of the East ” because of this network of khlongs. Although many have since been filled in, some still exist on the Tonburi side of Bangkok. And from the lowest river to the highest point, the trip continues.
The King Power Mahanakhon Observation Building was once Thailand’s tallest structure until 2018. The facade is specially designed as a glass curtain with cuboid spiral cuts which gives it a distinctive appearance. From the observation deck one can look out into an amazing view of the city as well as all its natural attributes such as the rivers and ocean in the distance.
Of course, Thailand itinerary would be complete without a visit to Chinatown, and Bangkok’s is one of the largest in the world. Founded in 1782, this historic district was home to the mainly Teochew immigrants entering the then Rattanakosin Kingdom.
The main attraction is along Yaowarat Road and features many restaurants, shops, and hotels with a distinctive Chinese character. This would be a great stop for dinner before moving onto the last stop for day 2 at the Bangkok National Museum.
This house of culture conserves Thai artifacts from several periods including the Dvaravati, Srivijaya, Sukhothai and Ayutthaya eras. There is also a collection of Buddhist art from different regions ranging from China, to Indonesia, to Java and Cambodian Khmer.
The final day
TThe list of things to do in Thailand continues into its final day which features many of Bangkok’s most spectacular sights. Beginning at 10 am on Khaosan Road. This is a famous spot for backpackers from all over the world since many tourism agencies offer cheap excursions to other parts of Thailand including Chiang Mai and it’s famous beaches.
A quick breakfast or morning beer will do the trick before moving onto an exciting time at the Rajadamnern Thai Boxing Stadium. Here visitors can witness Thai boxing at its finest with a steady roster of up-and-coming fighters appearing on the ring every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday.
If the last day happens to fall on the weekend, then a trip to the Chatuchak Weekend Market definitely makes the list. With more than 15,000 stalls divided into 27 sections, visitors can find anything they want from exotic foods, to even more exotic animals, and great traditional clothing and souvenirs.
Some tourists most look forward to the famous Soi Cowboy, which is the next and final stop of the day. This street is Bangkok’s most famous ‘red light district’ and features go-go bars cladded in neon lights. Escorts await the curious traveler on the street and gently tap their hands to signal them into the fluorescent hallways to the back where… need we say more?
Keep in mind that this itinerary was produced by selecting ‘recommended’ on the Karambol website filter. However, users can customize their trip according to what they like. There is still so much more to explore in Thailand such as the majestic jungle villages in the North, as well as its many islands surrounded by pristine beaches.
Story by Fernando Acevedo