Earlier this year at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, the cabinet put on hold the three Songkran holidays to prevent citizens from travelling and spreading the disease.
The decision has been made since 30 June according to Narumon Pinyosinwat, a spokesperson for the Thai government. However, despite the announcement of the “substitution” date, there was no discussion of water fights and the regular activities aligning with the annual Songkran – as it falls on a Monday it would be a long weekend. With the emergency decree being extending to the end of July (the move has been formally accepted today), a ban on “big gatherings” would possibly be enforced at the time. No reference is made about the distribution at this point of the remaining two days of the delayed Songkran Break.
On July 28, there is another holiday that celebrates His Majesty the King’s birthday, and it will turn the long weekend into an extra weekend. Traditionally, Songkran sees the Thais travel home for the annual holidays as an escape from the main cities. Thai citizens can experience an extensive holiday over the 4-day weekend (and you can be assured that there will already be several Thais beginning on the Friday before that).
What is Songkran?
Songkran is an occasion for family gatherings, trips to the temple and annual house cleaning. Most Thais enjoy time with their family and friends on their holidays. Traditionally, on the 1st day of the Songkran, which is officially National Elderly Day, Thais hold the ceremony of Rod Nam Dum Hua. Throughout the ceremony, the young people will offer aromatic water as a sign of humility to the elderly and ask for their blessings.
Songkran ‘s 2nd day is National Family Day. The family will wake up early to give monks alms, then spend the rest of the day sharing a good time with their families. The Bathing of Buddha image is one of Songkran ‘s significant religious ceremonies through which devotees splash out scented water on the Buddha’s statues at home and at the temple. Many religious Thais would engage in Buddhist ceremonies and merit activities all throughout the holiday.
The pandemic may be under control for now but as we know the virus spread unpredictably and this may be a struggle to determine where outbreaks arise again, ensuring that flexibility is important for travel plans, we strongly advise you to avoid places currently identified by the Thai Ministry of Public Health, the World Health Organization, and Disease Centers as well as those which have an increasing number of cases, if you are planning your family or business trips. Please consider flexible ticketing, so that you can recover any of the expenses if you decide to adjust your schedule.
Since mid-March, the country has been under various lockdown restrictions, when the authorities declared a state of emergency against the coronavirus – shutting down malls, national parks including beaches.
The past weeks, following the latest phase of Thailand ‘s continued lifting of travel restrictions and coronavirus closures, a number of Beaches and tourist attractions have begun welcoming tourists.
Many businesses have reopened for business as the country returns to normality nationally. Thailand’s Health Department (DOH) advises that the number of tourists to famous tourism destinations be limited to ensure that the transition is safe and regulated as the physical distancing procedures remain in effect.
Beaches will be supervised according to the DOH in order to ensure that activities and attendance do not cause a major threat for tourists; capacity restrictions are likely to be imposed to stop crowding, whereas watersports will be strictly regulated to avoid potential transmission of the virus.
To ensure visitors stay healthy, hand wash and sanitizer stations are provided at famous sites, while companies, parks and public services (such as restrooms) stick to strict cleaning procedures and protocols.
The Ministry of Tourism and Sports in Thailand has announced that five of Thailand’s most famous islands would reopen to international visitors as the Kingdom removes restrictions, reviving the tourism sector across stages.
These islands are scheduled to be fully operating in Phuket, Krabi and Surat Thani by August respectively. On 30 June, the Minister announced these places will be the first to receive international tourists, as Thailand gradually welcomes tourists abroad.
“ Initially, we will open five islands – Phuket, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao, ”said a government official in a statement.
He added that the Public Health Ministry is currently debating the process through which travellers should be permitted to enter such areas. “To continue with, we can restrict the number of tourists based on each area ‘s capability to efficiently test visitors for COVID-19, ”