Thailand restores quarantine-free entry – and this time the whole world is invited
From February 1, Thailand will fling its doors wide open to foreigners from every corner of the world, offering quarantine-free entry for those who are fully vaccinated and test negative for COVID-19.
This time, quarantine-free entry will be available to travelers from all countries – though they will have to take two RT-PCR tests during their stay, not one as previously.
From Tuesday, travelers will have a choice of two entry schemes – Test & Go or the Sandbox.
Test & Go
As the name suggests, Test & Go requires travelers to undergo an RT-PCR test upon arrival and spend the first night in a pre-booked AQ or SHA Extra+ hotel, after which they can check out if their test is negative.
But they will also need to take a second RT-PCR test after five days and spend one more night at a pre-booked SHA Extra+ or AQ hotel. If the result is negative, they are free to travel across Thailand.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) says people of all nationalities can visit Thailand under Test & Go, provided they apply for a Thailand Pass in advance at https:///tp.consular.go.th/. From February 1, people can register for the Thailand Pass up to 60 days ahead of their trip.
Visitors will also need a Thai visa (if applicable), proof they are fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine, a negative RT-PCR test result issued no more than 72 hours before flying, evidence of paid bookings in an AQ or an SHA Extra+ hotel on the first and fifth day in Thailand, plus at least US$50,000 of COVID-19 insurance cover. Expat residents covered by Thailand’s public healthcare schemes are not required to buy insurance.
Travelers aged 18 and over are required to be fully vaccinated or provide proof of full recovery from COVID-19 infection after receiving one dose. Children between the ages of 12 and 17 can travel on their own provided they have received at least one jab, though this is not required if they are traveling with their parents.
Meanwhile, children under the age of six are not required to undergo an RT-PCR test before flying but must do a saliva test upon arrival.
This initiative currently covers Krabi, Phang-Nga, Phuket, and Surat Thani (Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, and Ko Tao). However, from Feb 1 it will be expanded to Chon Buri (Bang Lamung, Pattaya, Si Racha, Si Chang, Na Jomtien and Bang Saray) and Trat (Ko Chang).
But the resumption of Test & Go may reduce the appeal of the Sandbox scheme, under which travelers have to spend their first seven days in a Sandbox zone. They too will be required to undergo tests on the first and fifth/sixth day.
From Feb 1, travelers arriving in any of the Sandbox provinces in the South will be able to travel freely in Phuket, Phang-Nga, Krabi, and Ko Samui/Ko Pha-ngan/Ko Tao, provided they test negative upon arrival.
Both schemes share similar requirements, except Sandbox travelers must pre-book and pay for seven days of hotel accommodation. Tourists can register for the Sandbox scheme at https:///tp.consular.go.th/.
Vaccines recognized by Thailand
Travelers require full vaccination by any of the following brands at least 14 days before entering Thailand: Sinovac, AstraZeneca (Covishield), Pfizer-BioNtech, Janssen by Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Sinopharm, Sputnik and Covaxin.
What about the unjabbed?
Unvaccinated travelers and those not jabbed with recognized vaccines will have to stay at an Alternative Quarantine (AQ) hotel for seven days.
Before their trip, they must also register at https:///tp.consular.go.th/ with a paid AQ hotel reservation (at least 15,000 baht deposit), booked and paid-for RT-PCR tests (two for those quarantining for 7-10 days and three for those in 14-day quarantine), minimum of $50,000 insurance coverage, and a negative RT-PCR test result taken within 72 hours of travel.
By Thai PBS World’s General Desk