The situation in Europe and the Americas has improved considerably compared to this time last year and the world is moving fast towards a normal travel situation. The UK, Europe and the US are now allowing vaccinated travellers to visit and return from almost all countries worldwide. Even Australia, which had shut down all doors last year, is now allowing citizens to travel.
While Asia has been one of the last continents to open, Thailand has now opened its doors and is now FULLY OPEN to fully-vaccinated travellers who have spent at least 21 days in any of the 63 ‘COVID-safe’ destinations listed in a new ‘Test & Go’ scheme. Those taking part in it only need to take a PCR test upon arrival and spend one night in a SHA+ certified hotel within 2 hours of the airport they arrived in. Once they receive negative results from their test upon arrival, they are free to explore the entire country unrestricted. Guests who have not spent 21 days or more in a COVID-safe destination before entering Thailand, are now able to do a ‘Blue Zone Sandbox’ holiday in one of 17 popular tourist destinations in Thailand.
HOW DOES IT WORK?Thailand’s much-awaited new tourism scheme is now officially underway. The new scheme revolves around 3 different entry plans based on vaccination status and country of origin: Test & Go, Blue Zone Sandbox and Alternative Quarantine.
Test & Go is the game-changing new scheme that allows vaccinated travellers who have spent at least 21 days in 63 ‘COVID-safe’ nations (see list of countries here) to enter and explore Thailand after a PCR test upon arrival and a one-night stay within 2 hours of the airport they arrived in -no quarantine or travel restrictions once results from the PCR test upon arrival are received!
Blue Zone Sandbox is for fully-vaccinated travellers who have not spent at least 21 days in a ‘COVID-safe’ country or families travelling with children 12-18 years old who are not fully vaccinated. It is a continuation of the successful Sandbox scheme that kicked off in Phuket, but now includes 17 other popular tourism sites across the country.
Alternative Quarantine is for travellers who are either unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated and involves a 10-day hotel quarantine.
In addition to the above changes, Thailand has also sought to simplify the ‘Certificate of Entry’ or COE process of gathering and authenticating documents required for entry. With the new Thailand Pass system (see below), which is now operational, travellers can simply submit required documents electronically and, once approved, show a QR code to officials upon arrival. Although some users have experienced difficulties with the system, we expect that kinks will be ironed out in due time. In short, Thailand has made significant inroads to substantially reopening the country to tourism, and there is ample reason to be optimistic for a return of travel to Asia in the months to come.
Steps for ALL travellers:Whether participating in Test & Go, Blue Zone Sandbox or Alternative Quarantine, all visitors to Thailand will follow the below requirements.
- Register for a ‘Thailand Pass’ at tp.consular.go.th by submitting required documents (below) before travel. After receiving confirmation of approval, guests will receive their Thailand Pass QR code. The site will become operational on 1 November 2021.
- Submit proof of full vaccination completed at least 14 days before arrival (if applicable).
- Anyone infected within the previous 3 months can submit a medical certificate of recovery and proof of at least 1 vaccination 14 days before departure to Thailand.
- Proof of negative PCR test results within 72 hours before departure to Thailand for ALL travellers irrespective of age (yes, we checked again and again).
- Submit proof of medical insurance with at least $50,000 of coverage valid in Thailand, paid accommodation and the included PCR test(s).
- Children under 12 years of age travelling with parents are exempt from vaccination requirements for Test & Go, while for the Blue Zone Sandbox scheme children under 18 years are exempt.
- Present Thailand Pass QR code to health officials before immigration procedures.
- Use pre-arranged transport from the airport to a SHA+ certified hotel for at least one night.
- Undergo PCR test at the hotel (children under 6 years old will have a saliva test). (Cost of the test included in hotel package price).
- Download MorChana, a contact-tracing app, at the hotel
- Wait for results from the first PCR test upon arrival (up to 72 hours, but normally less than 12 hours).
- Children 6-12 years old must receive PCR tests before flying and on arrival, while children under 6 years old will receive Saliva tests.
- It is still customary to wear masks in public places but not while cycling or when in restaurants, bars or private social gatherings.
3 ways to visit Thailand depending on country of origin and vaccination
In addition to the steps above for ALL travellers to Thailand, the following protocol will be in place for travellers depending upon whether they or fully vaccinated or not, and whether their country of origin is one of the 63 ‘COVID-safe’ destinations.
1. ‘Test & Go’ – for fully vaccinated travellers from 63 countries (list here):
- Arrive by air from approved countries (below) where guests have stayed for at least 21 days. NOTE: travellers do not need to be citizens of approved countries, they need only prove they spent at least 21 days in them -and this time can be split amongst multiple ‘COVID-safe’ countries so long as the duration is not interrupted with time spent in a non-COVID-safe country. If guests transit to a non-COVID-safe country during their travels in the last 21 days, the elapsed time in that country must not exceed 12 hours.
- No quarantine besides the first day/night at their hotel while waiting for results to come back from the PCR test upon arrival. If results are negative, guests are free to travel anywhere in Thailand.
- 1st day/night must be at a SHA+ certified hotel within 2 hours of the airport of arrival.
- A self-test antigen kit will be provided for the test on day 6; the result must be inserted into the tracking app.
- The following are ‘low risk’ countries eligible for ‘Test & Go’: Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Bhutan, Brunei, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece,Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Laos, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UAE, United States, Vietnam.
- Families with children 12-18 years of age who are not fully vaccinated must participate in the Blue Zone Sandbox scheme. Note: this also currently applies to families with children who are partially vaccinated, though this may change -watch this space.
- Go here for official information about the Sandbox from TAT.
2. ‘Blue Zone’ Sandbox – for fully vaccinated travellers from all other countries:
- No quarantine besides the 1st day/night at their hotel within 5 hours of arrival airport while waiting for results from their PCR test. If results are negative, guests are free to travel anywhere within the ‘Blue Zone’ they arrived in.
- First, 7 nights booked in the same hotel in one of the 17 Blue Zones and transfer booked with hotel, max 5 hours from the airport on arrival
- 17 ‘Blue Zones’: Bangkok, Phuket, Surat Thani (Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao), Krabi, Phang Nga, Chiang Mai, Trat (Koh Chang), Rayong, Udon Thani, Nong Khai, Samut Prakan, Loei, Ranong, Cha Am, Hua Hin, Buri Ram, Chon Buri.
- After a 2nd COVID test (ATK rather than PCR) on days 6 or 7; free to explore all of Thailand.
- Children under 18 years do not have to be vaccinated.
- Go here for official information about Blue Zone Sandbox from TAT.
3. Alternative Quarantine – for travellers who are not fully vaccinated:
- 10-day hotel quarantine on arrival + transfer booked with hotel
- Travellers should be able to enjoy some hotel facilities during the quarantine
- A negative result for the 2nd COVID test (ATK rather than PCR) on days 8 or 9 before being able to explore the rest of Thailand.
- Go here for official information about Alternative Quarantine from TAT.
HOW WE KEEP YOU SAFESpiceroads issues Covid guidelines inside our pre-departure information sheets for every trip explaining the requirements and protocols for each country you will visit. We also have Standard Operating procedures specifically adapted for travel during the time of Covid. You can review these here
FLEXIBLE BOOKING CONDITIONSWe have introduced new flexible booking conditions with no deposits required until 60-days before departure and added protection in case trips are cancelled or postponed. See more information here.
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