As Bangkok reopens to tourists, here's what it's like to visit now

Thailand is relaunching its 'test & go' program, which allows vaccinated travelers from certain countries to enter without facing lengthy quarantines. Here's a look at what tourists coming now can expect.

Travel, As Bangkok Reopens To Tourists

1/27/2022 6:15:00 PM

Thailand is relaunching its 'test & go' program, which allows vaccinated travelers from certain countries to enter without facing lengthy quarantines. Here's a look at what tourists coming now can expect.

As Omicron fears subside, Thailand is relaunching its 'test & go' program, which allows vaccinated travelers from certain countries to enter without facing lengthy quarantines. Here's a look at what tourists coming now can expect.

Both Jay Fai and Nusara are located in Rattanakosin -- Bangkok's historic Old Town. It's home to several of the city's most popular attractions, including the Grand Palace, Wat Pho and the Golden Mount.CNNtraditional Thai massage schoolIn Thailand, the main style of Buddhist meditation is mindfulness, known in the ancient Pali -- the sacred language of Theravada Buddhism -- as satipatthana.

During CNN's visit to Wat Pho, Deputy Abbot Phra Debvajracarya Thiab Malai discussed the importance of meditation -- and how it keeps one calm in a city as chaotic as Bangkok.Related contentLike almost everywhere in the world, the pandemic has caused immense damage to Thailand's hotel industry.

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, by Chef Worathon"Tae" Udomchalotorn. Wat Pho without the crowds Richard Quest explores Bangkok's Wat Pho temple to visit its famed massage school and take in a meditation lesson with the venerable Deputy Abbot. Both Jay Fai and Nusara are located in Rattanakosin -- Bangkok's historic Old Town. It's home to several of the city's most popular attractions, including the Grand Palace, Wat Pho and the Golden Mount. Visitors to these revered spots will enjoy a far less crowded experience than they would have in the past, when tour buses and tuk tuks lined the streets outside. "I thought Thai massage was supposed to be gentle." CNN's Richard Quest learns the art of Thai massage at the Wat Pho Massage School. CNN On a recent journey to Wat Pho, one of Bangkok's oldest temple complexes, just handfuls of travelers could be seen exploring its grounds. Officially known as Wat Phra Chetuphon, Wat Pho is famed for its 46-meter Reclining Buddha and traditional Thai massage school . Free of crowds, the complex's golden shrines, ornate pagodas and wonderful, restful cloisters and corners are now ripe for quiet contemplation. In Thailand, the main style of Buddhist meditation is mindfulness, known in the ancient Pali -- the sacred language of Theravada Buddhism -- as satipatthana. Wat Pho Deputy Abbot Phra Debvajracarya Thiab Malai provides a quick meditation lesson. CNN During CNN's visit to Wat Pho, Deputy Abbot Phra Debvajracarya Thiab Malai discussed the importance of meditation -- and how it keeps one calm in a city as chaotic as Bangkok. "Every day you take a bath to clean your physical body," he said."So, you can purify your mind by practicing the meditation. You have to focus your mind only on breathing in and breathing out and then your mind will be peaceful." For those who can't seem to get it right, don't worry. He says there's no such thing as a bad meditation. Related content Luxurious riverside stays Arguably Thailand's most beloved TV host, Woody Milintachinda shows Richard Quest his favorite parts of Bangkok. Like almost everywhere in the world, the pandemic has caused immense damage to Thailand's hotel industry. In a November interview with CNN , Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi, president of the Thai Hotels Association, called the easing of entry restrictions an important milestone in the recovery process. "There is now hope, not just for owners and operators, but for the employees as well," she said, noting that"50% of hotels were closed and 50% of employees left the industry" since the start of the pandemic. Though some Thailand destinations within the country were able to benefit from domestic tourism, Bangkok's hotels have been forced to get innovative by offering staycation deals to attract local clientele. Travelers coming to the city now will notice rates are far cheaper than they were in the past, offering great opportunities to splurge. Bangkok has added several new properties while the world was locked out, including two beautiful luxury hotels on the Chao Phraya River -- the