Traveling to Thailand during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

Editor’s Note — Coronavirus cases are in flux across the globe. Health officials caution that staying home is the best way to stem transmission until you’re fully vaccinated. Below is information on what to know if you still plan to travel, last updated on March 15, 2022.

(CNN) — 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.

The basics

Thailand has recorded more than 23,000 deaths and over 3.21 million cases of Covid-19 as of March 15, 2022.

On average, around 20,000-30,000 Covid-19 cases are reported per day as the Omicron variant continues to spread in the country.

On February 1, Thailand restarted its “Test & Go” program, allowing vaccinated international travelers from all countries to enter without lengthy quarantine restrictions. (Thailand temporarily suspended the program from December 22, 2021, citing the rising number of Omicron variant cases in the country.)
Those wanting to enter face several requirements, including proof of prepayment of one night of accommodation at a government-approved hotel on Day 1, where travelers must await the results of mandatory RT-PCR tests.

Travelers who have not been fully vaccinated are required to quarantine in an approved hotel for 10 days.

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-eyes 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.
Tourists from countries not on the visa exemption list can apply for a Special Tourist Visa (STV), which allows for 90-day stays, and can be renewed twice. You must apply for an STV via the Thai consulate or embassy in your own country.

What are the entry restrictions?

All travelers need to apply for a “Thailand Pass” prior to their journey.
As part of the entry requirements for the “Test & Go” scheme, foreign tourists must provide proof of an insurance policy that covers treatment for Covid-19 up to the cost of $20,000.

All travelers need to provide proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure.

Fully vaccinated international travelers can also travel to Thailand under the “Sandbox Program,” meaning they need to stay for a minimum of seven days in one of several approved destinations including: Krabi, Phang-Na, Phuket, Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan or Ko Tao.

Unvaccinated travelers must quarantine at government-approved quarantine facilities or Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) facilities for 10 days. 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:
The rules will be relaxed from April 1.
As part of the changes, international arrivals under any of the above three entry schemes will be allowed to enter Thailand without the need to show proof of a negative RT-PCR test within 72 hours of travel.

The number of days required to stay in the ‘Sandbox’ will be reduced to 5 days, while the quarantine period for unvaccinated travelers will also be dropped to 5 days.

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 was easing out of its third and worst wave of infections when the Omicron variant began to spread in January, leading to a swift increase in positive cases.

At the moment, the country is reporting around 20,000-30,000 new cases per day on average.

What can visitors expect?

Restrictions vary throughout the country, in line with a color-coded zoning system designed to reflect the Covid-19 situation in individual provinces.

Most major destinations are classified as “blue zones” and have had restrictions relaxed in recent weeks.

Museums, art galleries, historical sites, ancient monuments, spas, cinemas, pools, tattoo studios and sporting facilities are open throughout the country but required to operate under strict public health measures and limit the number of visitors at 75% of normal capacity.

Restaurants in Bangkok have resumed normal operating hours, and are allowed to serve dine-in customers alcoholic beverages until 11 p.m..

However, some types of entertainment venues, including nightclubs, remain closed nationwide.

Interprovincial travel has been allowed to resume, including domestic flights and trains.

Masks are expected to be worn in public, both indoors and out, while temperature checks are the norm. Those who do not wear masks face fines.

Useful links

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Joe Minihane, Julia Buckley and Karla Cripps contributed to this report

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