Straight out of Bangkok or quarantine, a slow trickle of tourists began returning to Pattaya over the weekend as the area transitioned from a coronavirus hotspot to an oasis of normalcy for those in “red zone” provinces.
Ladda, a company employee in Bangkok, said she came to Jomtien Beach with friends and family this weekend as it’s less than three hours from the capital. The beach was inviting with its clear waters, ample parking and reasonably priced food.
Pattaya on Monday officially became an “orange zone” for Covid-19 surveillance, with bars allowed to open, restaurants to serve alcohol, and nearly all businesses open. By comparison, Bangkok remains a “red zone” – despite reporting fewer than ten coronavirus cases Feb. 1 – where bars are closed, restaurants banned from serving booze and residents eyeing Pattaya as a place to escape.
Some foreign tourists and expats also are arriving. Joseph, a British national, just emerged from two weeks at a Pattaya quarantine hotel and was enjoying the hot sun in Jomtien.
Joseph said he was confident about living safely in Thailand as he has faith in the government’s coronavirus-control measures and is optimistic tourism will rebound.
Deputy Culture Minister Poramet Ngampichet wrote on his Facebook page Feb. 1 that he, too, sees Pattaya tourism rebounding eventually.