Sponsor break 15:30 est
M: Welcome to Travel Radio Podcast. Today I am pleased to welcome a new guest to the program, Ric Gazian. Thank you for joining me Ric!
R: It’s a pleasure to be here Megan.
M: Ric, would you take a moment to introduce yourself?
R: (Excerpt from Ric’s bio) “Hi, I am Ric Gazarian aka GlobalGaz. I am on a quest to travel to all 193 UN countries and I plan to share with my readers; must-see places, unique experiences, and off-the-beaten path locations.
There are so many great travel content creators sharing advice on traveling to amazing places all around the world. But my goal is to help travelers visit locations that are less visited with less actionable information. I will share with you my travels to countries like Afghanistan, Algeria, Mauritania, or Pakistan. Or places, that people love to debate if they are even a country like the Principality of Sealand, Transnistria, or Abkhazia.”
M: How can people find you online?
M: Now, I’ve said it previously, but I do want to thank you for the inclusion in the Travel Massive 34 Must Listen Travel Podcasts. It’s an honor and I will proudly continue to spread the word about the list. So THANK YOU!
R: Of course it was a no brainer to add you to the list!
M: You are kind to say so! Here is a link for people interested in the list and joining Travel Massive.
M: Ric, let’s move into today’s podcast topic. Ric, what are we going to talk about today?
R: Reopening Thailand!
M: So to start, as a resident, I’d like to get your perspective on the scene in Thailand during the height of Covid and how is it now. To be clear, I say at the height of Covid for Thailand because they are living and operating much like normal currently. Hopefully, Covid is in the past for Thailand. What can you tell us about that?
R: Less than 4,000 infections, less than 60 dead for a country of 70 million. The country was effectively shut down in April and May. Today, it is practically 100% open internally. The giant exception, the borders are closed to visitors. In 2019, Thailand welcomed 40 million tourists, this year about 7 million and the vast majority of those visited in Q1.
M: Like many countries tourism is important to Thailand, and many countries citizens, like the US are chomping at the bit to visit Thailand. What can you tell us about the opening, or anticipated opening of Thailand to foreigners?
R: Thailand just rolled out the STV. Thailand has just welcomed over 300 tourists all from China. There is a real push and pull for the safety of the country verse the tourist economy, which is somewhere 10-20% of GDP. A number of plans have been launched, and most of them have been quickly scuttled.
STV is for long stay tourists for up to 270 days. There is a mandatory 14 day quarantined once you arrive as well as a number of other hoops you need to jump through. So in other words you have been to be a very motivated individual to want to come to Thailand now.
M: Do you want to make any predictions as to when US travelers might be welcomed back and under what conditions?
R: Well, one of the qualifications for the STV is a “foreigner from a low risk country”. On virtually any metric out there, the US is ranked near the top for risk. Just my opinion, the opening of Thailand to US citizens will be timed somewhat with the rollout of the vaccine in the US. So hopefully Q2 into Q3.
M: Now let’s take a short pause for a Travmarket Media break.
M: … and we are back!
M: Have you heard the term used “Revenge Travel”?
R: No, but I like the sounds of it.
M: People are really planning to do mega trips or “Revenge Travel” to make up from the trips they had cancelled. Lot’s of people are itching to get into Asia. If travel professionals or even travelers listening wanted some pointers on how to plot out an Thailand itinerary, where should they start?
R: There are so many options obviously based upon time, budget and interests.
I will start with the Big Three. Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket.
Less popular. Koh Chang, Chiang Rai.
M: Now, in online stalking you, like a good interviewer, I came across a story of the 7 Most Fascinating Abandoned Wonders of The World. It featured exploring the kinds of places I like to check out. Some remind me of Sci-Fi filming or even a shooting location from the recent series Hannah. These are eerie! Are these all your own photos?
R: During covid, I created a series of the Wonders of the World … but they were all off the beaten path … so man-made, natural, experiences etc. For the Abandoned Wonders of the World, I actually made this a collaboration piece unlike the other lists.
M: In light of this article I like and your other similar explorations. Do you have anything unique or off the beaten path that we should check out in Thailand?
R: An alternative list, not as well known will be Historic Town of Sukhothai and Associated Historic Towns (Si Satchanalai), Koh Kood.
Soneva Hotel https://soneva.com/soneva-kiri/
M: Good stuff! Now, prior to recording, we discussed that there are two festivals you wanted to talk about that are unique to Thailand. I read an article you wrote about one, I’m assuming you will talk about and want to give parents the heads up that this might be a little scary for kids and to press pause now. Ric, can you tell us about these two festivals and when people would go to participate in them?
R: Great timing! I just got back from the https://globalgaz.com/visiting-phuket-vegetarian-festival/. And another amazing festival is the Wai Kru Sak Yant. https://globalgaz.com/sak-yant-tattoo-festival-day-one/. There is a company to be aware of, to create a truly unique experience. https://www.wheresidewalksend.com/
M: Now, before this podcast gets too long for listeners to consume on a dog walk, is there anything else you want to mention before we close it out?
R: Thailand is an onion.
M: Thank you so much for joining me!
R: Yes, it’s been great to be on the podcast. Thank you for having me!
M: This is Megan Chapa, host of Travel Radio Podcast. Thank you for listening, and have a great day!
Bio Ric Gazian:
Ric Gazarian is on a quest to travel to every country in the world.He has visited over 140 countries, with more every year.
He shares his experience on off-the-beaten path locations, unique experiences and must-see places.
Ric is a professional photographer, writer, author, podcaster, film producer and blogger.
He is also a travel leader and influencer. He founded and organizes a 3.000 person travel networking group in Bangkok. He is also the Chapter Leader of Travel Massive in Bangkok as well as the Asia Coordinator for Travel Massive. Ric was the former Secretary in the Professional Travel Blogger Association.
Articles From Travel Research Online Featuring Thailand:
Thailand’s Colorful Charms