Thailand 2.0

Throughout the pandemic, we'll keep publishing news to help you navigate the state of travel today (like whether travel insurance covers the coronavirus), as well as stories about places for you to put on your bucket list once it's safe to start going more far-flung.

After landing at Bangkok's glass-plated Suvarnabhumi Airport, which opened in September, you'll be forgiven for thinking the entire country's been upgraded. The new facility is equipped to land Airbus's 555-passenger A380 and then speed visitors downtown via light rail—currently under construction—in just 15 minutes. (Anyone who's ever braved a cab ride from the old airport into Bangkok knows those last five miles leave you more drained than any red-eye.) Complete the beta test with a connecting flight to Chiang Mai, where Tamarind Village, an old colonial compound, reopens in February after a top-to-bottom transformation into an earthy yet luxurious spa and hotel punctuated by a series of courtyards and watched over by one commanding, 200-year-old tamarind tree. Each of the rooms is decorated with colorful local textiles and the art of nearby hill tribes. A short walk from the front gate are more than 20 Buddhist temples and Chiang Mai's night bazaar, still buzzing like when it was a southern spur of the Silk Road. Farther afield, the Pai River's rapids churn through the jungled Dao Chiang Mountains, which yield sheltered singletrack and limestone peaks. Doubles from $170;

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