Is Thailand open for tourists? What to know about the country’s reopening
Thailand is one of the best countries to visit, no matter if you’re just starting out as a traveler or are already an experienced jetsetter.
It has everything you could ever want in a country, from warm sandy beaches to ancient ruins, delicious food, lush nature, culture, and so much more. Thanks to this, nearly 40 million people visited Thailand in 2019, and it was set to have its biggest year yet in 2020.
However, the pandemic changed all of that. As the COVID-19 virus began to spread, countries around the world — including Thailand — had to scramble and close their borders to curb the virus.
If you’ve been wanting to travel to Thailand, there is some great news: the country has already reopened! Tourists will soon be able to use their Thailand electronic visa to enter the country and make up for lost time.
Keep reading for the latest updates, including the reopening date, which regions are included, and more.
Thailand’s reopening date & Entry requirements
According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the country officially reopened on November 1st, 2021.
However, there are some important rules to keep in mind. The reopening scheme is only available to travelers who have been in one of the 63 approved countries for at least 21 days.
These countries include Australia, Canada, China, France, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States, among others.
Likewise, this program is open only to fully vaccinated travelers. At the moment, Thailand accepts the following vaccines:
- AstraZeneca (Covidshield)
- Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)
- Sputnik V
Those who plan to travel with their family should note that children under 12 years of age are exempted from the vaccination requirement if they’re traveling with their parents or guardians.
Before traveling to Thailand, all visitors must apply for a Thailand Pass and also have a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of traveling, an insurance policy with a minimum coverage of $50,000, and a confirmed hotel voucher at one of Thailand’s approved accommodations.
Upon arrival, visitors will be retested and need to stay at their pre-booked hotel room until they receive their negative test result. They will also need to take a lateral flow test on day 6.
The sandbox program
Is your country not on the list of eligible nations? No worries — there is also the Thailand sandbox program.
Under this scheme, fully vaccinated visitors can stay in a government-approved resort or hotel in one of 17 ‘blue’ destinations such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Koh Samui, Samut Prakan, Surat Thani, Nong Khai, and Udon Thani.
Travelers will need to stay at their accommodation for 7 nights before they are released and allowed to freely travel around the country.
There is also a special scheme for unvaccinated travelers, although they will be required to quarantine in an approved hotel for 10 days before they can be released.
Once visitors have arrived in Thailand, there are a few domestic restrictions that they must adhere to.
For example, the 17 ‘blue zone’ regions all operate under the new normal precautions. This means that restaurants, cafes, shopping malls, grocery stores, markets, theaters, and beauty shops are all allowed to work normal hours and without any capacity limits.
Those who want to travel outside of the blue zone should keep in mind that Thailand has a traffic light system, and divides each of its provinces into yellow, orange, or red zones. To learn more about the rules and regulations in these areas, it’s best to check the updated color zones via the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
The Thai government has also created the DMHTTA program, which tourists should follow while traveling around the country. The acronyms stand for Distancing, Mask wearing, Handwashing, Temperature checks, Testing for COVID, and using the Alert application.
It’s also important to note that wearing a mask is mandatory in public, both inside and outside. Those who do not follow the rules may be seriously fined (including the Prime Minister, who was fined $190 for not following the mandate!)
Those who want to see Thailand’s stunning natural beauty will be happy to hear that almost all of the country’s national parks are open and operating.
Currently, 140 out of a total of 155 national parks are open, including popular spots like Kaeng Krachan National Park lush jungles and sprawling rainforests; Khao Sok National Park’s beautiful turquoise waters; and Doi Inthanon National Park, which is arguably the most popular day trip from Chiang Mai.
Thailand’s reopening is welcoming news, especially to travelers who have been waiting to see their favorite attractions, try the world-famous Thai food, and enjoy learning about the local culture.
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