Grapevine: Will they won’t they?


Will they won’t they?
All visitors to UK, whether UK or Thai passport holders, must currently undergo hotel quarantine on landing in Britain. This adds 2,285 pounds to the cost of the trip. The next review date is late September but all depends on whether the UK authorities actually believe the Thai vaccination statistics.

Now we know
The Thai health authorities have now let slip why you have to wait around three months for your second shot of Astra Zeneca, assuming your first was the same. Apparently it has nothing to do with shortage of supplies but is a requirement because the build-up of anti-bodies with this brand of vaccine takes a long time.

Change of venue
People are asking if you can change your venue if your first shot was in Bangkok, typically Ban Sue rail station, and you live in the provinces. It depends where you live. In Hua Hin you can register online about a week in advance to get your number two jab there. Pattaya doesn’t have the same system. You can try registering in person at Pattaya City Hospital. Good luck.

Busy restaurant
Au Bon Coin restaurant in Jomtien, run by Jose and his wife, has always been popular with elite European diners. Grapevine paid a visit last week, thinking that the semi-lockdown here would mean prior reservation would hardly be necessary. Wrong! The place was full – making allowances for social distancing. Quality counts even during a recession.

Reminder on visas
Those on 60-days Covid visas and extensions can renew for a further two months if their current stay ends before September 27. At the time of writing, dunno after that. But most gurus think there will be further extensions until the borders are fully open. That’s likely to be sometime next year.

Flooded out
One positive result of the recent watery downpours is that people renting or buying houses are looking at the flood risk in the particular property of interest. It’s not just the threat of water coming in over the sandbags and through the front door. Many properties are more at risk from water coming up through drainage holes in kitchens and toilets. Can be serious.

Cambodia still strict
Cambodia’s record on vaccinating big numbers is better than Thailand’s. But the Phnom Penh authorities are still not issuing tourist visas to anyone. If you insist on entering, you need a business visa which in turn requires a 2,000 US dollar deposit and a prepaid booking at a quarantine hotel. Safety first is very much the policy over there.

Fewer eating opportunities
Starting next week, restaurant customers in Pattaya will need to show documentation that they are Covid-free or no risk. Will the law be enforced? As usual, farang-owned and high-end eateries will have to be wary of the boys in brown. And the hundreds of smaller Thai-owned cafes in various sois? Let’s wait and see.

Tractors on the beach
Pattaya is trying to open up to fully vaccinated visitors next month, howbeit with movement restrictions. It’s ironic that this beach resort is trying to encourage tourism whilst part of the beach front is undergoing massive reconstruction with heavy vehicles and diggers much in evidence. Walking Street is closed off too, but then that really doesn’t matter does it?

Decline of the apps
Although the malls and superstores are maintaining some health checks on arriving customers, almost everyone actually required to give an ID is using the manual system of name and phone number. Whatever happened to the trace and track apps? Some say Thais don’t trust the security of new technology whilst others say Wi-Fi often doesn’t work, causing extra expense. Probably both.