After a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin announced to reporters that tourists from India and Taiwan will be able to enter Thailand without a visa starting November 10th of this year.
In September, Thailand removed its visa requirement for Chinese visitors, who made up 11 million of the record 39 million entries in 2019 before the coronavirus outbreak.
The newest government statistics shows that between January and October 29, 22 million tourists came to Thailand, spending a total of 927.5 billion baht (about US$25.67 billion).
Government spokeswoman Chai Wacharonke said, “Arrivals from India and Taiwan can enter Thailand for 30 days visa exempt.”
About 1.2 million Indians have visited Thailand so far this year, making it the country’s fourth-largest source market behind Malaysia, China, and South Korea. More airlines and hotel chains are catering to the increasing number of Indian tourists who are travelling internationally.
The new government in Thailand is counting on the tourism industry to help boost the economy and make up for the persistent weakness in exports.
Meanwhile, if Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s proposal to make visa-free entry for mainland Chinese tourists permanent goes through, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) had hoped that visitors from Taiwan and India would be next in queue for permanent visa waivers.
While the current visa waiver for Chinese visitors expires on February 29th, Mr. Srettha has suggested making it permanent.
While leading a Thai team to the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on October 19, he made this remark during the signing of a letter of intent between the TAT and eight Chinese enterprises.
More than 3 million Malaysians have visited Thailand so far this year, with 2.65 million Chinese having done so as of October 15 (the Chinese were the largest group of travellers to Thailand before to the Covid-19 outbreak).
Earlier this month, Thailand’s tourism office projected that by 2023, the country would welcome between 4 million and 4.4 million Chinese visitors.
Top 15 Places to Visit in Thailand
Thailand is a diverse and beautiful country with a wide range of attractions for travelers. Here are some of the best places to visit in Thailand:
- Bangkok: The capital city is a bustling metropolis known for its vibrant street life, grand temples, and bustling markets. Don’t miss the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun.
- Chiang Mai: Located in northern Thailand, Chiang Mai is known for its historic old town, beautiful temples, and the annual Yi Peng Lantern Festival. It’s also a gateway to the nearby mountains and hill tribes.
- Phuket: Thailand’s largest island is famous for its stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, and water sports. Patong Beach is the most popular area for tourists.
- Ayutthaya: This historical city, just north of Bangkok, was the second capital of the Siamese kingdom and is known for its ancient ruins and temples. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Chiang Rai: Home to the unique White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) and the Blue Temple (Wat Rong Suea Ten), this city in northern Thailand offers a different perspective on Thai temple architecture.
- Krabi Province: Krabi is known for its beautiful limestone karsts, pristine beaches, and outdoor activities like rock climbing and island hopping. Railay Beach is a popular destination.
- Koh Samui: This tropical island in the Gulf of Thailand offers white-sand beaches, waterfalls, and a range of resorts for all types of travelers.
- Pai: A small town in the mountains of northern Thailand, Pai is known for its relaxed atmosphere, hot springs, and beautiful scenery.
- Sukhothai: The first capital of Thailand, Sukhothai is known for its well-preserved historical park with ancient temples and Buddha statues.
- Koh Phi Phi: These stunning islands in the Andaman Sea, made famous by the movie “The Beach,” offer crystal-clear waters, great snorkeling, and a lively nightlife scene.
- Hua Hin: A beach resort town with a royal palace, night markets, and golf courses, Hua Hin is a favorite getaway for both locals and tourists.
- Koh Tao: Known for its excellent diving and snorkeling opportunities, this island is a top destination for water sports enthusiasts.
- Erawan National Park: Located in Kanchanaburi Province, this park is famous for its emerald green ponds and waterfalls, which you can swim in.
- Koh Chang: This island is a quieter alternative to some of the more touristy Thai islands, offering beautiful beaches and lush jungles.
- Phang Nga Bay: Known for its dramatic limestone karsts, this bay is famous for its boat tours and the picturesque James Bond Island.
Thailand has a lot more to offer, from cultural experiences and historic sites to natural beauty and delicious cuisine. The best places to visit depend on your interests, whether it’s exploring the city, relaxing on the beach, or immersing yourself in Thai culture.