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Bangkok and Phuket in top 15 list of places people most want to visit when travel re-opens

Maya Taylor



PHOTO: Planetware

The Thai capital, Bangkok, and the southern island of Phuket have come in at number 8 and number 14 respectively, in TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Awards 2021. The awards list the most popular worldwide destinations prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and the places people most want to return to once travel opens up again.

According to a press release from the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the awards look at the quality and quantity of reviews and ratings on TripAdvisor, when determining who makes the grade. Reviews of accommodation, restaurants, and attractions are all taken into consideration. For the 2021 awards, TripAdvisor looked at reviews and ratings from December 1, 2019 to November 30, 2020. As well as looking at where people travelled to while they still could, the awards also take into consideration the places people dreamed of visiting while the pandemic prevented them from doing so.

Bangkok still remains popular, combining the modern with the historic, with improved public transport networks making it easier to travel to the markets and temples of the Old Town. A new extension to the Blue Line underground takes passengers to Rattanakosin Island, home to the Grand Palace and Wat Pho, while the capital also boasts an increasing number of Michelin-starred restaurants in addition to its famous street food.

Meanwhile, Phuket’s beaches remain a draw for many international tourists who dream of returning. The TAT points out that the island has over 30 sandy beaches to choose from, with a huge selection of hotels and other accommodation providers. Its tourism industry has been decimated by the ongoing pandemic, but it seems travellers still have the island in their sights once travel re-opens.



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  1. Avatar

    Fred glue

    Tuesday, February 9, 2021 at 11:38 am

    If that is true above,,, the holidays in the kingdom will just skyrocket in price. Even for a single traveller’better be cashed up…..

  2. Avatar

    Andy W

    Tuesday, February 9, 2021 at 12:10 pm

    TAT should be disappointed because TripAdvisor isn’t used by millionaires, and definitely not by Chinese millionaires. So Thailand will have loads of relativity low spending travellers taking all the space TAT believe the millionaires will want…

  3. Avatar


    Tuesday, February 9, 2021 at 2:58 pm

    Without widespread vaccination, Thailand won’t open it’s doors anyway, so being higher on the list is nice…but closed borders and 14 days quarantine? No way !!! I’ll go to the Seychelles before I go to Thailand again.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Tuesday, February 9, 2021 at 4:05 pm

      Enjoy it … given the take up in the Seychelles so far, you’ll have the place to yourself.

      • Avatar


        Tuesday, February 9, 2021 at 4:20 pm

        Ij good to see you back. I was afraid you were involved in a buffalo colission.

    • Avatar

      Don jones

      Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 6:22 pm

      Plenty of the usual suspects leaving quarantine daily.Desperate men

  4. Avatar

    Issan John

    Tuesday, February 9, 2021 at 3:59 pm

    In that case there’s no need to worry about everyone going somewhere else …..

  5. Avatar


    Tuesday, February 9, 2021 at 4:56 pm

    The Return of the Back Packers.
    Khao San will BE Happy

    • Avatar

      Don jones

      Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 6:28 pm

      Yep known in the trade as dead wood

  6. Avatar


    Tuesday, February 9, 2021 at 7:39 pm

    It really doesn’t matter who wants to visit where and when becuase by the time things do open again countless businesses will have closed permanantly… so even when you do arrive there’ll be a lot less places to eat and try the wonderful food, there’ll be a lot less bar and clubs to go and sit and have a drink or 2 and watch the world go by, and unfortunately the places that are open will maybe have put up their prices to try and pay back what will maybe be quite large loans taken out just to stay afloat, and from what I hear from friends in Bkk and Pattaya quite a few less hotels to choose from as well. From March last year until say Oct this year and that’s if things go well, how many companies both big and small not including all the small solo traders and street vendors can last 19 months or MORE with no mjor foreign tourist influx??

    SO for those that do arrive as soon as things “get better” you’ll have beaches and the sights and then you’ll have to wait until new people come in the start those businesses from the ground up and attract tourists

  7. Avatar


    Tuesday, February 9, 2021 at 7:55 pm

    People ultimately go places to experience the culture, people and natural beauty of the country. That’ll still be there.

    You’d be surprised how quickly tour operators, hotels and restaurants will regenerate once there is money to be made. Unfortunately many that are there now won’t survive but there’ll be others to step up quickly and take their place.

    There are still plenty of people with money and a pent up demand for travel and tourism. Stock markets around the world are booming so there’s a lot of money itching to be spent.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 10:23 am

      Exactly, Ben.

      “The culture, people and natural beauty of the country” will still be there, unchanged, as will the infrastructure – improved, if anything, as there has been a break in which to upgrade rather than just maintain (something Thais are doing while farangs are whingeing).

      Some bars, restaurants, and hotels may have gone or changed ownership, but they’ll be replaced in no time by others if the demand’s there.

      If a few people go somewhere else in the meantime, the numbers are minimal and won’t affect mass tourism.

      The problem isn’t whether tourists will return or not – that’s a given, as it’s hibernation not decay.

      The problem is the loss to the economy in the interim, nothing else, and that’s what needs addressing.

    • Avatar

      Don jones

      Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 6:26 pm

      Lol you mean all the single white men currently or being released from quarantine right now ??

  8. Avatar

    Leo Z

    Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 1:35 am

    The full top 15 list is this (Thaiger should have provided the link, even if TAT didn’t):

    1. Bali
    2. London
    3. Dubai
    4. Rome
    5. Paris
    6. Hanoi
    7. Crete
    8. Bangkok
    9. Barcelona
    10. Istanbul
    11. Hoi An
    12. Siem Reap
    13. Marrakesh
    14. Phuket
    15. New Delhi

    Obviously the list should be taken with a grain of salt, as TA’s ranking methodology is sometimes opaque.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 10:37 am

      Thanks, Leo Z, no surprises except Dubai at #3.

      Zero “culture, people and natural beauty of the country”, unlike the rest, so I wonder if tourists will be as shallow after lockdowns end as they were before … maybe more so … 😮

  9. Avatar

    James R

    Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 2:50 am

    1 Hong Kong Hong Kong 29 million
    2 Bangkok Thailand 25 million
    3 London United Kingdom 19.2 million
    4 Macau China 20.6 million
    5 Singapore Singapore 19,7 million
    6 Paris France 19 million
    7 Dubai UAE 16.3 million
    8 New York City United States 14 million
    9 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia 14 million
    10 Istanbul Turkey 13.4 million
    11 Delhi India 12.6 million
    12 Antalya Turkey 12.4 million
    13 Shenzhen China 12.2 million
    14 Mumbai India 10.9 million
    15 Phuket Thailand 10.5 million
    16 Rome Italy 10 million
    17 Tokyo Japan 9.9 million
    18 Pattaya Thailand 9.6 million
    19 Taipei Taiwan 9.5 million
    20 Mecca Saudi Arabia 9.5 million

  10. Avatar

    Amy Sukwan

    Thursday, February 11, 2021 at 8:49 pm

    I’m perplexed by the methodology of this survey. So were these people who have travelled to these places, say, with the pandemic restrictions? Were these people who had been there prior to the restrictions? Or were these dreamers who have never been to any of these places, and who in all likelihood would come up with a new reason not to travel there even if Thailand opened up and partied like it’s 2019? How many of each of these groups were comprised in the survey? The first category is mostly here: folks like me desperate to make it due to family ties. The second category will likely not come with current restrictions. The third category weren’t coming anyways…

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