As of July 1, 2022, the Thailand Pass will be scrapped, and rumours abound that the pandemic will be declared as endemic. While we are cheering and cautiously glancing at the future health experts call for caution. Hence we’re slowly embarking with more optimism yet little expectations towards the long way ahead of us and we want you to know that bangkokvanguards is still around. We may have no one at the office yet, and our social media channels are still in hibernation but we got new things in store for your next visit. Take a look below.
Good news first
After we bid farewell to the Thailand Pass, let’s add another dose of good news in the election of a new and progressive Bangkok governor: Chadchart Sittipunt who with our dear friend Sanon Wangsrangboon as the deputy governor have shown great leadership. This comes as a much needed tonic to our spirit after a long period of gloomy political and economic outlook, challenging private circumstances and a disconnect from the purpose and work that had filled every aspect of life.
Our struggle however is only part of a larger struggle of society trying to rebuild its economy and its trust in the future. We’re surrounded by people determined to build a better city, inclusive of the needs of everyone and undeterred by the uncertainties of today’s world. Tourism will play an important role but as a key economic driver it has yet to fulfil its potential in serving the social, cultural and economical needs of Thailand and we with our guests and supporters are here to play our part.
The dark, abandoned streets of the pandemic era a distant memory for good?
What does it have to do with you?
The realisation and willingness by the upper echelons in governance to create a better post-Covid tourism industry that supports local economies and communities will ultimately benefit international travellers. The focal point is shifting toward domestic tourism and bringing a much more diverse range of destinations onto the radar through festivals, the promotion of products and local accommodations. For you this means to experience a local and less explored side of Thailand which is great especially for repeat visitors. Apart from reintroducing what we have been offering prior to the pandemic it will be our mission to support the efforts to promote and co-design local travel experiences.
Can you still go local with bangkokvanguards?
Yes, we are still operating albeit in varying capacities as we’re rebuilding the team. But regardless our team size we never aim for volume but for quality. We have lowered the maximum number of participants in some of our full-day tours to only five people as we want each journey to be a unique adventure that leaves time for making friends, exchange, immerse, learn and be spontaneous.
First-timers to Bangkok can still go on a 9 hour walking and multi-transport urban adventure to learn why Bangkok is one of the most exciting and popular city destinations in the world while those who think they know Bangkok can go deeper and explore the hidden and culturally diverse micro-villages of Bangkok.
Foodies will enter heaven during our 9-hour multi-transport-, and culinary adventure co-designed with Mark Wiens. Cycling adventurers will associate “One-Night in Bangkok” with something totally different after they have joined the Nightriders Adventure and those keen on exploring one of the World’s largest and most dynamic Chinatowns will find their revelations on our Chinatown Unplugged.
Each of our experiences is designed with the people, communities and heritage in mind albeit through different angles (food, cycling, urban exploration). As we’re gradually and hopefully moving out of the pandemic, we are happy to reintroduce you to our city and we hope you will come and join us again.
Opening the hidden and local culinary world for you
Apart from celebrating tour bookings after a long break we’re out to explore and calibrate future tours ever more towards culinary tourism. We will have more updates with Mark coming toward the end of the year as we’re just getting reorganised. Whether we eat, marvel, learn or immerse, we’re not going to take you around in a coach but sneak through the back-doors, alleys and hinterland trails on bikes, trains, boats, rickety buses, Tuk Tuks and of course on foot.
Our focus areas
While we go deeper in the areas familiar to us, we’re focusing to craft experiences and promote the heritage of the Maeklong, Tha Chin and Chao Phraya River basins and provide everything from guide books, to new tours and maps to go on adventures in Bangkok unheard of elsewhere. This will be on our agenda in the years to come and to experience these worlds, we have even set up a new place for you to stay.
Stay secluded – our new heritage homestay
Additionally to get the best of the Maeklong River Basin (our home turf) we have opened a brand-new boutique homestay: Bangnoi 1960 – bookable in combination with our tours or individually on specific dates. Bangnoi 1960 is our launchpad for our Maeklong Heritage Trails project to support local and rural tourism initiatives and entrepreneurs in the Maeklong region.
Get your alternative guide to Bangkok – our new blog
We have also redesigned our blog page where we provide you an overview of Bangkok as a megacity, then zoom into different regions of the city e.g. Chinatown – down to the community level such as Saphan Han (one of 14 communities in Chinatown), all the way to the portraits of people such as the community leader of Saphan Han. We want to feature urban and rural communities, small businesses, local and fun travel experiences, insights to Bangkok’s heritage and local conservation efforts so that you have an alternative guide to Bangkok or recap the stories and places your experienced on our tours.
One useful way to have spent my time was to learn how to design maps. I’m working on new travel maps connected to the stories on our blog featuring the best food, hidden gems to provide alternative routes when you explore the city on your own.
Mapping the historic communities for the three river basins
However good things take time and we’re pursuing our mission currently with only one full-time person (Michael in charge for operations, accounting, marketing, being a tour guide, blogger, tour designer and maid) and one part-time person (Tong helping him stay sane) and most importantly our small group of qualified free-lance experience leaders. The rebuilding of bangkokvanguards will take time but we’re grateful for you, for visiting our website, for coming on our tours and those who have been supporting us throughout the years. Now, that Thailand is open again we’ll do our utmost to share our passion and purpose by telling stories and crafting memorable experiences.
It’s time to create memories again
Help us spread the word, share this blog with your friends and colleagues and reach out to us when you’re planning your visit to Thailand and we will go all-in.
Tracing my asian roots, telling stories and creating experiences around it.