Thailand has announced plans to reopen to fully vaccinated tourists from a number of countries, including the UK, from November 1.
In a televised address, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha said that while the move entailed some risk, the tourism industry could not withstand the “devastating blow” of another lost New Year period.
The easing of restrictions follows Thailand’s removal from the UK’s red list earlier this week and means a relatively hassle-free vacation to Southeast Asia’s most popular destination will return soon.
Until then, while travel to Thailand is achievable, it is far from straightforward. Tourists must travel directly to a small number of “sandbox” destinations (usually islands), staying there for seven days before they can travel elsewhere in the country.
Here, we go over the new rules and point out what to look out for when booking a vacation to the long-haul favorite this winter.
What are the new rules for visiting Thailand?
From November 1, Thailand will grant entry to fully vaccinated visitors from 10 countries it considers “low risk”, including the UK. Other countries on the list include the United States, Germany, China, and Singapore. The list is expected to grow from December 1.
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha revealed that tourists from ‘low risk’ countries would have to show proof of a recent negative Covid test and take another test upon arrival, but could travel freely through the country.
Mr Prayut said: “The time has come for us to prepare to face the coronavirus and to live with it as with other endemic infections and diseases, just as we have learned to live with other diseases with treatments. and vaccinations. ”
He called the decision to reopen a “small but important first step in the decisive start of the process of trying to restore our livelihoods.”
Currently, the only way to visit the country without quarantine is to travel directly to a sandbox destination and stay there for at least seven days. Otherwise, tourists are subject to a seven-night stay in a quarantine hotel.
How does the existing sandbox system work?
Since July, Thailand’s “sandbox” program has allowed fully vaccinated foreign tourists to visit its largest island, Phuket, without the need for quarantine. Vacationers are required to stay at an approved hotel and pass two PCR tests during their stay, but after seven days they are free to travel to other parts of Thailand. Unvaccinated children under the age of 18 are subject to the same rules as their double-injected parents.
Key requirements for sandbox travel
- Obtain an entry certificate (CoE) before departure
- Download the Thailand Plus tracking app before departure and upload the required information
- Show proof of complete vaccination against Covid-19
- Present a negative PCR test result (issued no more than 72 hours before departure)
- Take a PCR test on arrival and on the sixth or seventh day before traveling to Thailand
- Show proof of travel insurance with Covid-19 coverage (minimum value of $ 100,000)
- Stay in SHA Plus accommodation (this is accommodation / hotel with approved safety protocols and where at least 70% of staff have been vaccinated)