After more than two years of waiting in the midst of the pandemic, many countries are finally lifting restrictions on inbound tourists, determined to revive their flagging tourism industry. People are starting to travel. They're starting to take revenge trips. I tried to make up for the two years I had lost by taking one trip after another. May Day is a long weekend in Singapore. Some friends joked that half the population of Singapore is in Bangkok, including me.
She started her first trip since the pandemic with trepidation
I live in Singapore. Neighboring countries like Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia are now largely open to tourists, and friends around me are booking flights to travel. I went to Thailand, and the travel procedures are no different from those before the pandemic. There is no need for tourists to be tested and quarantined before and after departure. Thailand even cancelled the compulsory travel insurance. The removal of many restrictions on tourists is the most practical way to welcome tourists.
This trip, however, was different from the past. Excitement was mixed with trepidation. While Singapore government had determination and virus coexist, although there are thousands of confirmed cases, still every day people to work as usual, party, also need to self home quarantine after diagnosis but if quarantinable epidemic in a foreign country and that kind of trouble, even if there are medical insurance, in the stranger and under the condition of the language, can receive timely aid, Leaving some travelers with a wait-and-see attitude. But the virus could no longer suppress my desire to go abroad, and I decided to travel to Thailand anyway. Even if I really felt the turbulence of the plane flying into the thick clouds, I still didn't think it was real.
Once a hot spot, some shops did not wait for spring
Once I arrived in Bangkok, I made a series of trips to the same lock-in spots I used to visit before the pandemic, like Platinum Fashion Mall, which sells fashionable clothes at wholesale prices, Healthland, a chain of massage shops with affordable prices, At Siam Paragon Shopping Mall's ever-lively, bottom-floor food court, the colorful shapes of Thai food are sure to whet the appetite. My favorite pork foot rice and mango desserts still taste the same; Some favorite brands in shopping centers are still producing beautiful things; Some businesses have closed, their doors have been locked, and some have welcomed new tenants. Scala, Siam Square's most beautiful old movie theater, is a ruin, a flat, harsh, earthy yellow that will soon be occupied by an ugly building that will soon be forgotten. Too late to say goodbye, the original is such a feeling.
The Jam Factory on The banks of The Chao Phraya River is still there. It was founded by Duangrit Bunnag, a famous Thai architect, who turned an empty Jam Factory into an office. He kept The structure of The Factory, The old banyan trees in The courtyard, and The barren space constantly showed him its potential and possibilities. This led to restaurants, cafes and bookstores, which soon became a popular punching spot in Bangkok. Its dining room is still the never-ending summer, featuring the architect's home-grown cuisine. Independent bookstores and Wenqing cafes remain, and the square, protected by the old trees, still hosts weekend events. But the attached furniture store, which used to sell more expensive but good looking household goods, is empty. What is necessary and what is not necessary, in the pandemic, the answer to this multiple choice question, seems particularly obvious and cruel.
Before I could believe it was real. If I were still in my dreams, things would be as they always are. It's the small changes and the permanent changes, like the never-ending traffic jam in front of Central World, Bangkok's famous shopping mall (no longer as bad as it used to be, but still pretty bad) that remind me that I'm actually traveling in Bangkok.
On the streets of Bangkok, simplified Chinese is common, including in shopping malls and subway stations, which shows the contribution Chinese tourists have made to the local tourism industry. When I talked to the masseuse, she said that work was really not as busy as it used to be, that fewer tourists meant less tips, and that she had only returned to Bangkok from her hometown in northern Thailand three months ago to prepare for the arrival of tourists. For the past two years, she had no job and had to return home temporarily. It is true that Bangkok's Grand Palace is quieter with fewer Chinese tourists, but that is not necessarily a good thing for some people, such as the apparent number of tourist-less tuk-tuk cars on the streets. Most tourist attractions that rely solely on tourists could not survive the two-year absence of tourists. Singapore's famous food court in Chinatown, which could not expect a tourist spring, finally closed in October 2021.
Somewhere I wanted to go but never got to
Many travel media outlets have published predictions of post-pandemic travel trends, and Tripadvisor, one of the world's largest travel platforms, has released its travel report for 2022. The online survey of about 2,000 travelers in various markets found that there is one place in 2022 that people would most like to travel to that they haven't visited before. In the era of "unreliable" everything, more urgent to grasp something, people have a sense of urgency about everything, do not know when the desire to travel will be put on hold again.
. Who knows the next time will be two years, who knows who can't wait for the next time. So the morning before I left Bangkok, I took a rickety boat across the river to a place I'd wanted to go but never bothered to. It was the Portuguese Village of Bangkok, a neighborhood with a nice Catholic church and tidy buildings, inhabited by people of Portuguese-Thai descent. The fragrant smell of cakes wafted from the alleys. The Thais learned how to bake cakes from the Portuguese, and generations have made delicious cakes in primitive ways in this humble house. I bought a bag of freshly baked pastries, sat by the Chao Phraya River, and took a bite. It was a taste of the world.