If you’re planning to travel to Thailand, here’s what you’ll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Thailand has recorded over 1,300 deaths and more than 185,000 cases of Covid-19 as of June 9.
All travelers must quarantine for 14 days in a government-approved quarantine facility or an Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) facility.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand announced that Phuket will be the first destination in Thailand to reopen to vaccinated foreign visitors without quarantine requirements from July 1.
What’s on offer
Picture-perfect islands. Golden beaches with swaying palms. Ornate temples and lush forests. Thailand has long been the go-to destination for those after a no-nonsense, easy-on-the-eye tropical break.
Who can go
Holders of US, Canada, UK and Australia passports are among those not required to obtain a visa when entering Thailand for tourism purposes and will be permitted to stay in Thailand for a period not exceeding 45 days on each visit. However, they are still required to obtain the Certificate of Entry and quarantine upon arrival.
Tourists from countries not on the visa exemption list can apply for a Special Tourist Visa (STV) .
All travelers who have received a Certificate of Entry are required to download the ThailandPlus Application and register. Upon arrival in Thailand they will have to show a QR code that will be scanned by the Thai authorities upon arrival.
Thailand has released an online step-by-step guide offering detailed information on entry procedures.
What are the restrictions?
Travelers entering under the “Tourist visa exemption scheme” can stay for up to 45 days.
Meanwhile, the STV, introduced in October 2020, allows for 90-day stays, and can be renewed twice.
Having initially been offered to travelers from low-risk countries, it is now available to travelers from all countries worldwide. You must apply for an STV via the Thai consulate or embassy in your own country.
All travelers must provide proof of an insurance policy that covers treatment for Covid-19 up to the cost of $100,000 and a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure. An earlier requirement for a “fit-to-fly” health certificate has been lifted as of April 1.
A PCR test must be taken on arrival, after which all travelers must quarantine at government-approved quarantine facilities or Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) facilities. This can include luxury hotels, some of which have developed quarantine packages.
A full list of participating hotels and resorts, along with package rates, can be found here: asq.locanation.com.
What’s the Covid situation?
For months, Thailand reported few locally transmitted Covid-19 cases thanks to strict quarantine on arrival rules.
However, the country is now experiencing a third wave of infections stemming from outbreak clusters in several Bangkok nightclubs in early April.
Inter-provincial travel is now discouraged.
At the moment, the country is reporting 2,000-2,500 new cases per day on average.
Restrictions have been tightened throughout the country. Six provinces have been designated maximum- and strict-control zones: Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan, Chon Buri and Chiang Mai.
Restaurants in these six provinces are open but only allowed to operate at 25% of their regular capacity. Sports venues — including fitness centers — have also been forced to close, along with theme parks, cinemas, spas and parks.
A nationwide vaccine program officially kicked off on June 7. Thailand aims to vaccinate 70% of the population by the end of the year.
What can visitors expect?
Masks are worn at all times in public, both indoors and out, while temperature checks are the norm. Those who do not wear masks face fines.
Entertainment venues — including bars and nightclubs — throughout the entire country have been ordered to close.
More than 80 national parks have closed temporarily.
Prior to the latest outbreak, areas within driving distance of Bangkok have been able to benefit from domestic tourists, but other normally popular destinations such as Phuket and Koh Samui haven’t been as fortunate.
Visitors to these destinations will find empty beaches and heavily discounted accommodation options.
In Phuket, many shops, restaurants and hotels in the southern beaches of Patong, Kata and Karon have closed due to the lack of tourists.
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