The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) recently presented the Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration (SHA) Plus Certificate to three of Bangkok’s most famous and revered attractions, the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and the City Pillar Shrine.
Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor, said, “The SHA Plus certification indicated that an attraction or a business not only had in place the required safety and hygiene standards to control COVID-19, but that at least 70 percent of its employees had been fully vaccinated.
“The SHA Plus standard criteria also requires that all – or 100 percent – or frontline staff be fully vaccinated as part of the assurance to international travellers who are returning to Thailand following the broader reopening schemes from 1 November that the safety and well-being of all visitors is of utmost importance to Thailand.”
The Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and City Pillar Shrine received SHA certification in 2020, and this year have continuously upgraded their sanitary and health measures, which is reflected in the upgraded certification to SHA Plus. They are among 510 SHA Plus-certified attractions and businesses in Bangkok (as of 5 November, 2021).
All three attractions reopened to the public on 1 November, 2021, after a temporary closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the same day on which Thailand began welcoming fully vaccinated tourists from 63 countries/territories and from around the world via the TEST & GO Exemption from Quarantine entry scheme and Living in The “Blue Zone” (17 Sandbox Destinations) programme, respectively. Partially or unvaccinated visitors are also much welcomed via the Happy Quarantine requirements.
This means tourists can once again marvel at the beauty and magnificence of the Grand Palace complex, which also incorporates the famed Temple of the Emerald Buddha or Wat Phra Kaeo, and the historical significance of Wat Pho also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha and which is a centre of traditional Thai massage. Bangkok’s City Pillar Shrine is also now once again welcoming both Thai and foreign visitors to pay homage.
To help ensure the safety of visitors and staff, the health and safety measures in place at all venues include the compulsory wearing of face masks at all times, body temperature screening upon entry, handwashing facilities, and registration on the Thai Chana application. Social distancing is observed at service points in the complex, and common contact surfaces are cleaned and disinfected every 20 minutes, while medical professionals are on standby in the case of emergencies or first aid being needed.
The Grand Palace complex is open daily from 08.30 – 15.30 Hrs. The entry fee is 500 Baht per person with tickets purchasable at the entrance or online at www.royalgrandpalace.th/en/home (online tickets must be purchased at least 24 hours in advance).
Wat Pho or the Temple of the Reclining Buddha is open to tourists daily from 08.00 – 16.30 Hrs. with admission at 200 Baht per person. The temple is situated a comfortable stroll from Wat Phra Kaeo and is renowned for its 46-metre-long reclining Buddha that is covered in gold leaf. It is also considered the leading school of massage in Thailand and is a wonderful place to enjoy a traditional massage.
Across the road from the Grand Palace, the Bangkok City Pillar Shrine (open daily from 06.30 – 18.30 Hrs.) represents the founding of Bangkok as the new Thai capital and comprises a square building with openings on all four sides, inside which are two gold pillars and six elephant tusks.
Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor, presented the SHA Plus Certificate to the Grand Palace on 28 October, 2021. On hand to receive the certification was Air Vice Marshal Suphichai Suthornbura, Deputy Secretary of the Royal Palace, in a special ceremony also attended by Dr. Amporn Chantawibul, Expert Committee, Department of Health, Ministry of Public Health, and Ms. Thapanee Kiatphaiboon, TAT Deputy Governor for Domestic Market.
For Wat Pho and the City Pillar Shrine, Ms. Thapanee presented the SHA Plus Certificate on behalf of TAT to Phra Mahathirajarn, Abbot of Wat Phra Chetuphon Wimonmangklaram (Wat Pho’s official name), and Ms. Punnapha Pridikhanit, Deputy Director of the Veterans Relief Organisation, which oversees the Shrine, on 5 November, 2021. The presentation was also attended by Dr. Amporn Chantawibul, Expert Committee, Department of Health, Ministry of Public Health.
About the SHA & SHA Plus Certificates
The Amazing Thailand SHA certification was introduced in May 2020, and was recently certified by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) in alignment with the WTTC SafeTravels protocols. The elevated SHA Plus certification was first introduced in Phuket in June 2021, as the popular tourist island was prepared to pilot Thailand’s reopening under the Sandbox programme from 1 July.
Both the SHA and SHA Plus certifications are used to assess 10 types of business; namely, restaurants and diners; hotels, accommodation and homestays; recreational activities and tourist attractions; transportation; travel agencies; health and beauty; department stores and shopping centres; sports for tourism; activities and meetings, theatres and entertainment, and souvenir shops and other shops.