When People Leave Downtown, That’s the Time To Go

Travel during the times of Covid-19 is tough. Everybody knows that making those trips that you have always wanted to go on, and seeing those countries that you have always wanted to see has to be put on hold for a little while until we can work this thing out. But that does not mean that travel is gone altogether. It just means that those epic trips need to be replaced by simpler excursions to check out that part of the world where you live. Luckily, I found myself in a place that I did not know a lot about, and this gave me the opportunity to dig in deep into the country I reside, Thailand. And considering that it has been over a hundred days since there has been a new case of the disease originating within the country, it means that a lot of places are now available for us.

This weekend was the best weekend to get out of my hood and check out a different part of the city of Bangkok. The reason being is the government declared it to be a four day weekend to make up for the lost holiday week of Songkron that was supposed to happen way back in April. Because of this new holiday, many people have packed up their cars and headed to the various beach resorts in the country. I, on the other hand, took the other approach. I went to the place where nobody would be. I didn’t feel like fighting the crowds amongst the sand and surf, or jostle for a place at one of the bars or restaurants in Thailand’s most famous tourist spots. I instead decided to go downtown to enjoy the open streets and reduction of traffic.

It was a great choice. I now have access to some of the best restaurants this country has to offer, and I don’t have to wait to get a seat at any of them. I was also able to find a really great deal at one of the premiere hotels in one of the premiere spots downtown that allowed me comfort without breaking my bank account. I am also going to get to enjoy a relaxing weekend while checking out parts of the downtown area that I have not seen yet. It was an easy choice to make and so far, it has paid off. Granted, it is a quick little jaunt, but what more could I ask for a weekend? I am not stuck in a long line of traffic, hoping to grab a moment in a place that is overcrowded because everybody had the same idea to vacation in the same place at the same time. Instead, I go where I know where they will not be and suddenly find the place to myself.

I am starting to think this is how I should spend every holiday weekend. It is by far the best way to experience a part of the country I have not seen yet.

 

Travel During Covid19 – Siam Summer

Even the stuffed animals are fitted with face masks

Usually, during this time of the year, I will have already hopped on a plane and have taken a long plane ride back to the United States to visit with family and friends. I would be unwinding from a busy school year, and trying to get over jet lag while making the adjustment to the new time zone. It would be a time to cover a lot of ground that I have already been over before, but I would be looking forward to the familiar.

This year has been a little different with the emergence of this new virus that has stopped the world in its tracks. It is an extremely dangerous time to travel, and I had no idea if I would be allowed back into Thailand for my job if I decided to leave it. There were options, but the most logical one was to stay put for the summer and hope that I would not go crazy doing something different while still stuck in the rut that I had experienced at the end of the school year.

So I am here in Bangkok, trying to find ways to enjoy the summer as best as I can.

Luckily for me, Thailand has done a really good job of getting the pandemic under control in its country. It has basically banned anybody from entering the country for unimportant reasons, closed down all of the shops and public places to make sure that the spread of the virus did not happen, promoted a culture of social distancing and wearing face masks, and creating great programs to track people so if there is an outbreak they can quickly get it under control before it gets out of hand. Because of this, many places are starting to open up again, and it is starting to return back to normal.

Of course there are a couple of places that are not allowed to open up yet such as bars, sporting events, and certain kinds of massage parlors, but there is really only one of those that I partook in anyways, so I can patiently wait for the bars to open up again, and it is probably a good thing that they have not done this yet.

There are a couple of hot spots in the nation as well that have not opened up its doors to people inside of the country yet. The pandemic is getting under control in these spots, but it has not been long enough for the government to feel safe to open them up, but most of them are a long ways away from Bangkok and not something that I could get to easily, mainly Phuket, Chiang Mai, and the national parks. There is also talk that the parks will open up at the end of the month and the other will follow soon.

In other words, Thailand is taking their time to make sure that they are doing things right so by the time the dry season starts and tourists want to make it back to the country, they should be able to do it safely. It just means that Thailand will be a quiet country this summer, making it the perfect time to explore it. The plan is to make sure that we are not spending more than a week at home at a time, and spend the rest of the time exploring the different parts of the country. It is still a little too early to go crazy on the coast or the northern mountain regions, but it is a great time to head down to the downtown area and explore the places we haven’t seen there yet. We won’t be able to visit the big tourists sites, or enjoy the rooftop bars, but we are okay with this. It is just nice to be outside of the house, and get to look at four different walls. It is not the summer I would have planned a couple of months ago, but I am still going to be able to make the most of it, and have a great Siam Summer.