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Best known for its much-hyped annual elephant round-up, the provincial capital of SURIN, around 150km east of Khorat, is an otherwise typical northeastern town, a reasonably comfortable place to absorb the easy-going pace of Isaan life. There’s a handful of good, mid-range hotels in the centre and, as a bonus, there are some fantastic Khmer ruins nearby. Many pass through the city on their way to the village of Ban Tha Sawang, 7km away, where Thailand’s most exclusive silk is produced.

Surin Weather Overview

Surin experience a tropical monsoon climate which remains hot and humid all through the year. In Surin, the wet season is oppressive and overcast, the dry season is humid and partly cloudy, and it is hot year round. 

Average temperatures in Surin vary little. Considering humidity, temperatures feel hot for most of the year with a fair chance of precipitation about half of the year. The area is less temperate than some — in the 17th percentile for pleasant weather — compared to tourist destinations worldwide. Weeks with ideal weather are listed above. If you’re looking for the very warmest time to visit Surin, the hottest months are April, May, and then March. See average monthly temperatures below. The warmest time of year is generally mid April where highs are regularly around 98.6°F (37°C) with temperatures rarely dropping below 78°F (25.6°C) at night.

Check the table below to have the general idea of Surin & Sisaket weather throughout the year.

Month High/Low (°C) Rain
January 34°/ 19° 0 days
February 34°/ 19° 1 days
March 36°/ 24° 9 days
April 35°/ 24° 14 days
May 35°/ 25° 21 days
June 34°/ 25° 14 days
July 32°/ 23° 25 days
August 30°/ 23° 25 days
September 30°/ 22° 24 days
October 32°/ 22° 15 days
November 31°/ 20° 4 days
December 31°/ 18° 0 days

Best time to go to Surin

The best time to visit Surin is from November to March which are the dry months. During this season, visitors can easily roam around this city and be a part of the occasional Elephant Festival. Other months can be extremely humid or hot for tourists to truly enjoy this newly modernised city.

The busiest month for tourism in Surin, Thailand is January, followed by July and August. Prices for hotels and flights will be most expensive during these months, though you can save if you purchase well in advance. Tourists are unlikely to visit Surin in April. Those willing to visit at these times will likely find it the least expensive month.

Surin Seasonal Weather Guide

Spring (March through May)

Humidity and temperatures combine to make this season feel warm. Highs range from 98.6°F (37°C) and 94.2°F (34.6°C) with similar temperatures in the later months. Rain is somewhat common with 2 to 10 days of significant precipitation per month. Spring is the slowest for tourism, which makes it a good time for those looking for deals.

Summer (June through August)

The middle-year months have very comfortable weather with high temperatures that are quite warm. These months see the most precipitation with 10 to 13 days of precipitation per month. June – August is the second busiest season for tourism in Surin, so lodging and other accommodations may cost slightly more.

Fall (September through November)

Fall daily highs range from 90.3°F (32.4°C) and 88°F (31.1°C), which will feel very nice given the humidity and wind. It rains or snows a significant amount: 2 to 14 days per month. Tourism is fairly slow during these months due to the weather, so hotels may be lower priced.

Winter (December through February)

Weather is perfect this time of year in Surin to be enjoyable for warm weather travelers. The average high during this season is between 95.1°F (35.1°C) and 85.3°F (29.6°C). On average, it rains or snows a smalll amount: 0 to 2 times per month. These times of year are the busiest with tourists.

Surin Current Weather & 7-Day Forecast

SURIN & SISAKET WEATHER

Surin is a small city in the northeast of Thailand that’s famous for it’s annual Elephant Roundup Festival. It’s a fairly quiet town, but there are a few things in the city and province that are worth checking out.

1. Learn about silk at the Queen Sirikit Sericulture Centre

The Queen Sirikit Sericulture Centre is an initiative by Queen Sirikit to maintain the Thai silk industry and its heritage - centres bearing this name can be found in Surin province and in other provinces throughout the country. It is a community hub for both educating foreigners about Thai silk and for generating income for local residents.
The centre offers guided educational tours, on the full silk-making process, and includes care of silkworms, how silk can be used in medical treatments, silk dyeing, and more. You can even pick up some sericulture items at the gift shop to remember your trip by!

2. Save the elephants with the Save Elephant Foundation

If you love animals, especially elephants, and want to help them, have an experience unique to Thailand through the Save Elephant Foundation. This is a charity organisation that works with communities in and around Thailand to help save elephants.

Volunteer projects are available in Surin, including a 7-day experience that will educate you on elephants and animal tourism in the province. You pay a fee for room and board and for the chance to feed and take care of elephants. This is the perfect attraction for ecotourists and animal lovers.

3. Stop by the San Lak Muang

If you’re not used to travelling in Thailand, it might be surprising to know that the San Lak Muang, or City Pillar Shrine, can be found in every province in Thailand. It has an interesting history, starting with the idea that these were built in accordance with ancient customs. What you need to know, however, is that it is a great attraction in which to spend some time.

The San Lak Muang that can be found in Surin is an incredible sight and highly revered by the Thai. The shrine also houses statues of deities and you can leave some donations in the form of flowers and gifts. Take the time to stop by the Surin San Lak Muang before you start your day.

4. Get lost in Phanom Sawai Forest Park

If you hear bells, then you’re most likely in Phanom Sawai Forest Park. This gorgeous, hilltop forest houses a giant white Buddha, various shrines, waterfalls, a pond, and trails that you can traverse for scenic photographs. It’s a great afternoon trip!

You’ll want to take some food and drinks with you if you’re planning to spend the day in the park because unlike many other parks, there aren’t a lot of dining options. Also, be careful when walking around because elephants do roam wild here!

5. Learn about the province at the Surin National Museum

Culture and history meet at the Surin National Museum, a great attraction that will teach you everything you need to know about Surin Province. Subjects the museum covers include archaeology, traditional industries, history, culture, and architecture.

Because the province was under Khmer and Angkor rule during those respective empires, expect to see a lot of history that touch on both of these periods of rule. And don’t worry, if you don’t speak Thai, most of the exhibitions have English translations that accompany them.

6. Pay your respects at Wat Burapharam

Wat Burapharam is in the centre of Surin and is one of the most beautiful temples in the province, so keep it in mind when building your itinerary. It is also the home of a replica of the country’s national Buddha, the original of which sits in Phitsanulok.

Remember to dress appropriately when visiting this temple and be respectful of the Buddhist monks. You will be given the opportunity to release little birds for good luck and take photographs of the Wat as well as buying souvenirs that help with the maintenance of the temple. It’s a great morning trip, so get here early!

7. Learn about Khmer history at Prasat Mueang Thi

Not to be confused with Prasat Mueang Tam, which is located near Chiang Mai, this is a small Khmer temple. It is attended to by both Thai and Cambodian soldiers, many of which will be happy to ask any questions you have about the site.

This small temple has three prangs, or tiered towers, that are in disrepair, but it’s still a fascinating attraction, considering that there are officers here, who are eager to give you more history. If you’re on your way to Prasat Si Khoraphum, take a detour for about an hour and spend some time here.

8. View Khmer art at Prasat Si Khoraphum

If you’re a fan of Khmer monuments, schedule a trip to Prasat Si Khoraphum, a 12th-century Khmer monument that was built as a Hindu temple to the god Shiva. It is best known for the bas-reliefs of the temple, the five prangs, or towers, and the fact that it was renovated in the 16th-century to become a Buddhist temple.

You will want to take photos of the lintel, which features Shiva, dancing, and two apsara, or celestial dancers, below it. These are of historical and artistic significance because it’s rare to find well-preserved lintels of Shiva in the country.

9. See a generations-old tradition at Ban Buthom Basketry Village

About 14 km (8.7 miles) away from Surin sits the Ban Buthom Basketry Village, a community that comes alive after the harvest season, when many of the village residents take up basket-weaving as a way to make extra money when not at their rice fields. These baskets feature generations-old techniques, done entirely by hand, making them a great souvenir to take home.

The village can be quiet during the growing season, so be sure to visit after January, when the harvest season ends. That’s when you’ll find a bustling village and there are dining options, as well.

10. Spend the morning at Wat Nong Bua

Anyone who loves cultural history will be interested in Wat Nong Bua. As the second-largest Buddhist temple in the city, it’s an important building for history enthusiasts, both for its architectural marvels and the Thai Lü village that is set up right behind the wat.

The temple itself hosts jataka murals, thought to be done by Thit Buaphan, who has done work on other temples, as well as other marvels. While admission is free, a donation is appreciated as are any purchases made at the village, that help to maintain the temple.

11. See the majestic wonder of Wat Thepserin in Surin

Travelers who enjoy structural attractions and architecture will enjoy exploring the scenic “old Bangkok” of Thailand where Surin lies. In the province of Surin especially, several temples have become tourist attractions dating all the way back to the 1800s. Wat Thepserin is a beloved temple that is situated near Kasatuek Bridge and Hua Lam Phong railway station and has been around since 1893. This royal temple is popular for having a crematorium on one side and a monastic residence on the other. This tourist attraction is filled with enshrined images of Buddha and interiors boasting “lai rod nam” designs.“ Learn the rich history behind this Surin treasure and take the best angular shots of one of the most beloved temples in the country.

12. Learn more about Surin's water irrigation projects at Huai Saneng Reservoir

Surin is a part of Thailand that happens to have quite the interesting hidden gems. From temples, springs, to beaches and reservoirs like the Huai Saneng Reservoir, indeed, Surin boasts potential for another great tourist attraction to visit apart from Bangkok and Krabi Islands. If you’re traveling with family and friends, Huai Saneng is an ideal place to tone down your travel plans and just enjoy sunset walks overlooking the town’s irrigation project turned scenic city attraction. This part of Surin is scattered with gorgeous water lilies and colonies of unique birds that will definitely catch the eye of a bird watcher. Simultaneously, learn about the reservoir’s impact on the local life of those living around the area and discover how Surin turned this water work into a scenic spot for locals and travelers alike.

13. Spend your last day in Surin with a shopping spree at Robinson Lifestyle

It’s never a great trip if you don’t spend your last day shopping around the best stalls and getting the best bargains from local stores. Visit Robinson Lifestyle mall in Salak Dai Subdistrict and shop from a variety of options in retailers like Carnival and Banana among other department stores, or see a movie at the SF Cinema City. Whatever you like to do on a leisure day, there’s definitely something for you when in Robinson. Get that last minute souvenir-shopping done and see what local products and Thai goods are best sold in one of Surin’s prized shopping establishments.

Surin’s food scene is difficult to conceptualise. For a small city, it has far more Western food choices than you would expect, but the usual Thai street food can seem strangely hard to find unless you know where to look. All in all, Surin does have something for everyone.

For the ones seeking for local tastes

If seeking local foods, head straight to the central market and snag grilled chicken (or grilled frogs) with sticky rice, curries for take-away, all sorts of colourful Thai sweets and sausages, and no shortage of fried bugs or red ant eggs. The prepared food is cheap and a healthy range of fresh fruit is also available. Food stalls are open all day within the central market, although the greatest variety can be found between 17:00 and 22:00, when a night market sets up directly west of the proper market. We noticed a lot of Khmer speakers here so don’t be surprised if that curry tastes similar to what you had down in Siem Reap.

Apart from the central market, there’s a smattering of local-style noodle and chicken-rice (khao mun gai) shops around town, including no shortage around the bus station. For lunch, look for the hole-in-the-wall kap khao joint on the west side of Thanasan Road just north of the roundabout. Here you can enjoy spicy curries and stir-fries for 30 baht per dish, and all the offerings are displayed so you can just point to what you want.

For a great Thai meal in a more comfortable setting, head to Koka restaurant, located one block east of the roundabout on Thetsaban 1, on the right if heading east. It’s a large two-tiered open-air deal set back from the road, with chunky wooden tables and a similarly chunky Thai-Chinese menu. The steamed New Zealand mussels with garlic and shiitake mushroom and spicy shrimp salad with lemongrass were fantastic, and reasonably priced -- most dishes come in between 40 and 120 baht.

For the lovers of western foods

Many of the bars and Western restaurants are grouped on the northern side of town near the bus station and Sirirat Road. The car park just east of the bus station is home to a series of foreigner-run watering holes/restaurants: Farang Connection, directly opposite is the English-Thai run Sportsman Pub then almost next door the Norwegian-Thai owned Oasis Bar. The former is the largest, most organised bar with an extensive selection of Western and Thai dishes. If you want a full English breakfast or Norwegian meatballs, Oasis is the place. Sportsman is particularly friendly and serves a range of European food and also Indian curries to go with cheap Thai food. All of the above foreigner-run spots close between 22:00 and 01:00, depending on customers, and all are good places to meet local expats.

If you need some air-con and WiFi to go with quality Doi Chaang coffee and baked goods, head to Top Bakery on Krungsri Nai Road, just north of Wat Burapharam and a five-minute walk east of the market. Next door, an old woman sells homemade sala bao (steamed Chinese buns) and khao niao bing, banana and taro wrapped in sticky rice and grilled in banana leaves.

Over on Sirirat Road, in front of Thong Tarin Hotel, Big Bite restaurant serves a huge menu of Thai, Western and Chinese food. It’s a tad pricey but portions are large and the steak and fries probably won’t disappoint you. German-Thai run Noi & Norbert restaurant just north of Big Bite sells homemade sausage, sandwiches on German rye and good pizza for 200 baht to go with 20 kinds of German beer, and they stay open late. Continue north on Sirirat then hang a left on Surin Phakdi Road and you’ll find more Western food: Sri Neipe Thai-German restaurant serves schnitzel and Thai food in an inviting open-air setting, and neighbouring Starbeam restaurant covers pizza and Thai food, and free WiFi, in cute air-con confines.

For Nightlife

For nightlife, there are the aforementioned bars near the bus station, but if you want to really let loose, check out the soi, known locally as Soi Coca, just down from Thong Tharin’s beer garden. There you’ll find several bumping nightclubs -- Speed3 is the largest -- and some late-night bars advertising “Coyote Dancing”. If seeking something more low-key than Soi Coca but more happening than the foreigner-run joints, there are several beer gardens on Sirirat Road.

Surin has a couple of great guesthouses to go with a handful of hotels. Note that during the elephant festival rates generally go up by 30 to 50% and reservations are recommended.

Budget options

Hop Inn Surin 

Add: 5/1 Soi Poy Tang Ko, Nai Mueang District Mueang Surin District, 32000 Surin, Thailand

Hop Inn Surin provides air-conditioned rooms in Surin. The hotel also offers free WiFi and free private parking.

At the hotel, every room has a balcony. At Hop Inn Surin all rooms come with a desk, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom.

Languages spoken at the reception include Thai and English.

KT Knight Hotel 

Add: 87, Srikrungnai Road, Nai Mueang, Mueang, 32000 Surin, Thailand 

KT Knight Hotel offers free WiFi and rooms with air conditioning in Surin. Featuring a 24-hour front desk, this property also provides guests with a terrace. Rooms come with a TV with satellite channels.

At the hotel, every room is fitted with a balcony. The private bathroom is fitted with a hairdryer. All units feature a wardrobe.

Banna Pruksa Resort 

Add: 175 Moo 18 Soi Si Narong 9, Si Narong Road, Tambon Nok Mueang, 32000 Surin, Thailand

Located in Surin, Banna Pruksa Resort provides 2-star accommodation with private balconies. Featuring a garden, the 2-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi. Private parking can be arranged at an extra charge.

Guest rooms at the hotel are equipped with a seating area, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels and a private bathroom with free toiletries and a shower. The units include a desk.

With staff speaking English and Thai, guidance is available at the reception.

Mid-range options

Slive Hotel 

Add: 169, Lakmuang Rd., Naimuang, Muang, 32000 Surin, Thailand

Located in Surin, Slive Hotel features accommodations with a restaurant and free WiFi throughout the property. Situated opposite to Surin Hospital, guests can relax at the roof garden on the 4th floor or make use of free private parking on site while staying at Slive Hotel.

Every room at this hotel is air-conditioned and features a 40-inch flat-screen TV with satellite channels. Certain rooms have a seating area for guests' convenience. Guests will find a kettle in the room. The rooms come with a private bathroom fitted with a shower. Complimentary minibar is included in all units.

Offering a 24-hour front desk, the property also provides bicycles for guests to use free of charge. Free shuttle services within the town is available.

One Fu Hotel 

Add: 280/1 Moo 1, Tambon Salakdai, Ampur Muang, Surin, 32000 Surin, Thailand

Offering a terrace and views of the garden, One Fu Hotel is situated in Surin in the Surin Province Region, 4 km from Surin. Guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant. Free private parking is available on site.

Each room at this hotel is air conditioned and is equipped with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. Rooms are fitted with a private bathroom. For your comfort, you will find slippers and free toiletries. One Fu Hotel features free WiFi throughout the property.

THE WOOD 

Add: 9 เทศบาลบำรุง ต.ในเมือง อ.เมืองสุรินทร์, 32000 Surin, Thailand

THE WOOD features a restaurant, bar, a shared lounge and garden in Surin. This 3-star hotel offers a 24-hour front desk and a concierge service. The air-conditioned rooms provide a garden view and come with a wardrobe and free WiFi.

At the hotel, each room comes with a patio with a city view. At THE WOOD each room is equipped with a desk, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom.

Guests at the accommodation can enjoy a à la carte breakfast.

THE WOOD offers a terrace. 

Maneerote Hotel 

Add: 11/1 Soi Poytungko Krungsrinai Rd., Nai Muang, Muang Surin, 32000 Surin, Thailand

Situated in Surin, Maneerote Hotel has a garden and a terrace. Among the facilities of this property are a restaurant, a 24-hour front desk and room service, along with free WiFi throughout the property. Private parking can be arranged at an extra charge.

At the hotel, all rooms include a patio with a city view. At Maneerote Hotel, rooms are equipped with air conditioning and a private bathroom.

Guests at the accommodation can enjoy an American breakfast.

Jarat Mansion 

Add: 13/1 , Trirong road,Maung, Surin, 32000 Surin, Thailand

Jarat Mansion offers air-conditioned accommodation in Surin. This property features both free WiFi and private parking free of charge.

At the hotel, each room is fitted with a wardrobe. At Jarat Mansion the rooms include a desk, a TV and a private bathroom.

Speaking Thai and English at the 24-hour front desk, staff are willing to help at any time of the day.

Fortune Mansion 

Add: 111 Lakmuang Rd Tambon Naimuang Amphur Muang, 32000 Surin, Thailand 

Featuring air conditioning, Fortune Mansion offers accommodation in the heart of Surin. Free WiFi is featured throughout the property and free private parking is available on site.

The accommodation is fitted with a flat-screen TV. Every unit features a balcony and a private bathroom with a bath or shower. Towels are provided.

Surin Hospital is set opposite to the property, while convenience stores like Big C Supercenter and Makro Surin are only a 3-minute drive away. Fortune Mansion is 76 km from Buriram Airport and 2.4 km from Surin Airport.

Ryans Resort 

Add: 80 Ban Khok Weng Prasat, Surin , 32140 Prasat, Thailand

Ryans Resort provides simply furnished rooms with air conditioning and a private balcony. It features an outdoor pool and fitness equipment. Free Wi-Fi is available in public areas.

Offering on-site parking, Ryans Resort is 30 km from Surin City and Thai-Cambodian Border. Buriram Airport is 120 km away.

Simply furnished, the rooms are provided with a cable TV, a seating area and a refrigerator. An en suite bathroom comes with shower facilities.

For meals, enjoy a variety of international dishes, as well as refreshing beverages at the on-site Ryan Sports Bar.

Deluxe options

Sorin hotel 

Add: 22 Thanon Thetsaban 3, Tambon Nai Mueang, 32000 Surin, Thailand 

Located in Surin city centre, Sorin Hotel offers a modern accommodation with sun terrace and views of the city.

Free WiFi is featured throughout the property and free private parking is available on site.

Every room at this hotel is air conditioned and is equipped with a flat-screen TV. Some rooms have a seating area where you can relax. You will find a kettle in the room. All rooms come with a private bathroom. For your comfort, you will find slippers and a hairdryer.

Guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant Ho By. 24-hour front desk and 24-hour security is available at the property.

Free use of bicycles is available at this hotel and the area is popular for cycling. The nearest airport is Buri Ram Airport, 46 km from the property.

The Gun Hotel 8 

Add: 13/1 Thepsunthorn Road, Nai mueang, Mueang, 32000 Surin, Thailand 

Situated in Surin, The Gun Hotel 8 provides 5-star accommodation with private balconies. Among the facilities at this property are a 24-hour front desk and ticket service, along with free WiFi throughout the property. Free private parking is available and the hotel also features free use of bicycles for guests who want to explore the surrounding area.

All rooms are fitted with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a microwave, a kettle, a shower, a hairdryer and a desk. At the hotel the rooms come with a wardrobe and a private bathroom.

The Gun Hotel 8 offers a terrace.

By flight

Surin doesn’t have an airport, but Nok Air offers transport to/from Bangkok through its “Fly and Ride” service. In Surin & Sisaket, a minibus picks up passengers at the Majestic Hotel and drives them to catch a daily flight out of Buriram airport.

By train

Surin is a main stop on the Northeastern line.

In Bangkok, trains depart at 05:45, 06:10, 10:05, 15:20, 18:55, 20:30, 21:50 and 22:25, arriving in Surin around nine hours later.

In Surin, trains return to Bangkok at 05:20, 07:55, 09:40, 11:30, 16:40, 19:30, 20:25, 21:00 and 22:00.

Fares range from 73 baht for a hard third class-seat up to 350 baht for first class, and some trains have sleeper options. These trains stop in Buriram, Nakhon Ratchasima (Khorat) and Pak Chong (Khao Yai).

In Surin, trains continue east to Si Saket and Ubon Ratchathani at 00:30, 03:20, 04:30, 05:40, 07:00, 09:40, 12:10, 13:45, 15:10 and 17:20.

By bus

Surin’s bus station is conveniently located to the east of Jitrbumrung Road and within walking distance of the train station. Fares include:

  • Bangkok (Morchit): First-class government buses depart hourly from 07:00 to 12:00 and again from 18:00 to 23:00, and cost 333 baht. Buses operated by Nakhon Chai Air depart at 08:25, 09:25, 11:25,14:25 and hourly from 20:25 to 23:25, and cost 350 baht.
  • Chong Jom (Cambodia border crossing): Minibuses depart every 20 minutes from 06:10 to 17:50, cost 45 baht and take around 1.5 hours.
  • Si Saket: Minibuses depart hourly from 05:00 to 17:00, cost 70 baht and take around two hours. These also service Sikhoraphum.
  • Ubon Ratchathani: First-class buses depart at 05:30, 14:30, 17:00 and 19:00, cost 150 baht and take three to four hours. VIP buses depart at 08:00 and 10:00, and cost 220 baht. If these times aren’t convenient, take an hourly minibus to Sisaket and transfer there to an hourly minibus to Ubon.
  • Buriram: Minibuses depart hourly from 07:00 to 16:00 and take around an hour.
  • Khorat: Departs at least once per hour from 06:15 to 17:45, costs 125 baht for second class or 160 baht for first class, and takes three to four hours. Many of these also service Nang Rong. If heading to Phimai or virtually any other destination in Northeast, Central or Northern Thailand, transfer in Khorat.
  • Khon Kaen: First-class buses depart roughly every 1.5 hours from 04:15 to 15:00, cost 220 baht and take four to five hours. There are also second-class buses departing in the same time frame for cheaper. If heading to Udon Thani or Nong Khai, transfer in Khon Kaen.
  • Chiang Mai: Buses operated by Nakhon Chai Air depart at 16:30, 18:15 and 21:00, cost 785 baht and take around 13 hours.
  • Chiang Rai: A single bus with Nakhon Chai Air departs at 19:25 and costs 840 baht.
  • Rayong (Ko Samet): Departs at 08:00, 10:00 and hourly from 19:55 to 22:45, costs 517 baht and takes seven to eight hours.
  • Pattaya: Departs at 03:30, 04:30, 05:00, 08:30, 10:00, 19:00, 20:15, 21:00 and 22:30, takes seven to eight hours.

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As some of you may have seen in the news, Thailand is gearing up for a ‘soft reopening’ to vaccinated travellers a month from now on July 1.

It is official, sort of. After months of kicking sand around debating if it will really happen, the Centre for Economic Situation Administration (CESA) has officially approved the Phuket Sandbox plan, an important step forward. The announcement, made late this afternoon, June, 4th, appears to answer the often-posed question if the sandbox plan would ever happen after the much more intense and deadly third wave of Covid-19 swept through Thailand.
Then, the island will be opening Phuket International Airport to foreign travellers as proposed by the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

The trial will be the first of its kind in the country, and if successful, may be rolled out across other parts of Thailand. The Thailand Authority of Tourism (TAT) has already earmarked Krabi, Pattaya, Bangkok, Buriram, Cha-am, Koh Samui, Phang-nga and Hua Hin as possible destinations to try out the scheme.

Each model will be slightly different, depending on geography, and international visitors will still have to get a visa in advance and fill out some paperwork (see details below). Nevertheless, this will come as promising news to those travellers desperate to visit Thailand!

If the Phuket Sandbox Scheme goes ahead, from June to September 2021, Thailand is expecting to receive up to 129,000 international visitors – will you be one of them? In this article, we’ll attempt to answer all of the questions you might have about the Phuket Sandbox and more!

Disclaimer – Information regarding the Phuket Sandbox Program is changing literally every day and is dependent on the COVID-19 situation across Thailand. While we update this article regularly to the best of our ability, we cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions.

Learn more about our travel guide for Phuket island here

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Also known as the Nine Emperor Gods Festival or the Kin Jay Festival, the Phuket Vegetarian Festival is an annual event celebrated primarily by the Chinese community in Thailand and throughout Southeast Asia.

Running for nine days, the vegetarian festival in Phuket is considered by many to be the most extreme and bizarre of festivals in Thailand. The Phuket Vegetarian Festival could be Thailand's answer to the Tamil festival of Thaipusam celebrated in neighboring Malaysia. Devotees not only adopt a special diet for the holiday, a select few participants prove their devotion by practicing self-mutilation.

Some of the feats performed include piercing cheeks with swords, walking on nails or hot coals, and climbing ladders made of knife blades! Most participants miraculously heal up without needing stitches or medical care.

WARNING! The content and the images are not recommended for the faint of heart! Consider before continuing.

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Buddhist Lent Day (Thailand Wan Khao Phansa, Laos Boun Khao Phansa) is the start of the three-month period during the rainy season when monks are required to remain in a particular place such as a monastery or temple grounds. Here, they will meditate, pray, study, and teach other young monks. In the past, monks were not even allowed to leave the temple, but today, most monks just refrain from traveling during this period. You will still see them out during the day.

It is said that monks started remaining immobile in a temple during this time because they wanted to avoid killing insects and harming farmland. Apparently, traveling monks were crossing through fields, thus destroying the crops of villagers and farmers. After catching wind of this, Buddha decided that in order to avoid damaging crops, hurting insects, or harming themselves during the rainy season, monks should remain in their temples during these three months.

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The Hmong New Year celebration is a cultural tradition that takes place annually in select areas where large Hmong communities exist and in a modified form where smaller communities come together. During the New Year's celebration, Hmong dress in traditional clothing and enjoy Hmong traditional foods, dance, music, bull fights, and other forms of entertainment. Hmong New Year celebrations have Hmong ethnic traditions and culture and may also serve to educate those who have an interest in Hmong tradition. Hmong New Year celebrations frequently occur in November and December (traditionally at the end of the harvest season when all work is done), serving as a Thanksgiving holiday for the Hmong people.

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Thailand never fails to amaze its thousands of visitors with the most vibrant festivals that are sure to delight them by offering glimpses into the heritage and traditions of the country. Each month offers an exciting opportunity to be a part of these festivals. From kids to adults and old-aged people, locals have the time of their lives during these festivities. Considered to be one of the best ways to relish a memorable time in what is already known as an incredible country, these festivals in Thailand are the most popular ones to be a part of.

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Magha Puja (also written as Makha Bucha Day) is the third most important Buddhist festival, celebrated on the full moon day of the third lunar month in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Sri Lanka and on the full moon day of Tabaung in Myanmar. It celebrates a gathering that was held between the Buddha and 1,250 of his first disciples, which, according to tradition, preceded the custom of periodic recitation of discipline by monks.

On the day, Buddhists celebrate the creation of an ideal and exemplary community, which is why it is sometimes called Saṅgha Day, the Saṅgha referring to the Buddhist community, and for some Buddhist schools this is specifically the monastic community. In Thailand, the Pāli term Māgha-pūraṇamī is also used for the celebration, meaning 'to honor on the full moon of the third lunar month'.

Finally, some authors referred to the day as the Buddhist All Saints Day. 

In pre-modern times, Magha Puja has been celebrated by some Southeast Asian communities. But it became widely popular in the modern period, when it was instituted in Thailand by King Rama IV in the mid-19th century. From Thailand, it spread to other South and Southeast Asian countries. Presently, it is a public holiday in some of these countries.

It is an occasion when Buddhists go to the temple to perform merit-making activities, such as alms giving, meditation and listening to teachings. It has been proposed in Thailand as a more spiritual alternative to the celebration of Valentine's Day.

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