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Koh Samui Reopening For Tourism In Days Despite Rising Cases in Thailand

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Koh Samui’s Sandbox scheme on July 15th is set to go ahead despite a surge in cases in Thailand. 

On July 1st, Thailand reopened the island of Phuket to vaccinated travelers. The opening was the first step in repairing Thailand’s battered travel industry. However, Thailand has plans to reopen Koh Samui, Koh Tao, and Koh Phangan on July 15th in the second sandbox scheme. 

Cases have skyrocketed in Thailand recently, bringing Thailand’s reopening into jeopardy. Bangkok has gone into lockdown, and cases of COVID-19 are at an all-time high. Still, the country plans to reopen more islands in a bid to save the economy. 

The Entry Requirements 

Many people love Thailand because of its relaxed nature, but the current restrictions are anything but relaxed. Here are the entry requirements for the Koh Samui Sandbox Scheme starting from June 15th:

  • Travelers should avoid crowded areas in the 14 days before their arrival in Thailand (although they won’t check this)
  • Travelers need to arrive from an approved list of countries set by the CCSA, and travelers must have been in the approved country for more than 21 days before flying to Thailand. 
  • All travelers will need a Certificate of Entry (COE)
  • An official PCR test certificate with a negative within 72 hours before arrival
  • Travelers will need an insurance certificate showing healthcare expenses and treatment expenses for COVD-19, with coverage up to $100,000
  • If travelers are staying for less than 14 days, they will need evidence of an exit flight out of Koh Samui
  • Travelers will also need proof of vaccination from WHO-approved vaccinations, and you’ll need your final vaccination at least 14 days before arriving in Thailand 
  • Travelers under 18 will need a PCR test 

The Restrictions Upon Arrival 

So, once you’ve landed, you’re probably ready to enjoy those gorgeous Koh Samui beaches? Not quite, here are the travel restrictions on arrival: 

  • All travelers are subject to health screening upon arrival 
  • Travelers will also need to download a health app on their phone for their entire stay 
  • Travelers will then undergo a PCR test (at their own expense)
  • On day 6 or 7, travelers will need to take another PCR test 
  • Travelers staying for 10-14 days will need to take another PCR test on day 12 or 14 (yes, that’s four PCR tests in total)

If the tests come back negative, travelers are free to go anywhere on the island that’s under the designated pilot destinations. Therefore, some places are likely to be off-limits. Travelers can travel around the country after 14 days in Koh Samui, Koh Tao, and Koh Phangan.

The Current COVD-19 Situation In Thailand 

Thailand is suffering from its worst outbreak of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. There have been 86 COVID deaths, including 9,539 cases. As a result, Bangkok has gone into lockdown, and the Thai government is in a race against the Delta Variant strain. 

The country has given over 10,777,748 first vaccination doses, with 3.5 million full vaccinations. Nonetheless, this falls far short of the required number of vaccinations to halt the spread of the virus. In addition, Thailand has a population of almost 70 million, leaving many older adults vulnerable to the Delta Variant. 

Thailand Confirms Entry Requirements For Phuket Reopening In July

The Future Of Travel In Thailand 

Thailand had a target of reopening the nation within 4 months. However, the current state of COVID-19 means this looks less and less likely. Although the Phuket sandbox scheme has begun and the Koh Samui sandbox scheme will begin in days – the nation is far from opening the border. 

As Southeast Asia – who kept cases extremely low during 2020 – begins to struggle with the new variants, it seems like travel could be way off. Even if you decide to visit the sandbox schemes, you’re faced with countless restrictions, four PCR tests, and complete uncertainty. For many people, it’s just not worth the hassle. 

Although Thailand is trying to save its battered travel industry, it looks like normal travel is a long way off.

Read More:

Thailand Prime Minister Says Country Will Fully Reopen Within 120 Days

Thailand Confirms Entry Requirements For Phuket Reopening In July

Travel Insurance That Covers Covid-19 For 2021

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This article originally appeared on

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Wednesday 14th of July 2021

Isn't the airport in Koh Samui owned by the state airline and has some of the most expensive fares in the region due to no competition? Or has that changed recently?


Wednesday 14th of July 2021

North Korea is looking more inviting with far less stringent requirements.


Sunday 11th of July 2021

For Kho Samui there are more requirements. The first three days on the island you are restricted to your hotel. From day 3-7 you can only travel in pre arranged tours groups. On day 8 you are free to roam the islands. Day 15 you are free to travel in Thailand. Of course the rest of the country is going into lockdown and many forms of transportation are being shut down. Keeping in mind Samui only has a fraction of the business open, but they don’t expect many tourists so there will be no lines anyway.


Saturday 17th of July 2021

@EdwardV, So you're effectively going to an empty, overpriced place, with full of restrictions and extra costs associated with new rules just for the sake of being in Thailand? People should just boycott TH until they wake up and start treating Covid just like Singapore, UK or Slovenia.


Sunday 11th of July 2021

What constitutes a "case"? If it is anything but symptomatic there is an obvious problem...That's as good of a place as any to start asking questions about this pandemic so-called.


Thailand was a well beaten path and overrated from about 2010-2019. Lots of crazy characters hung around BKK which gave it some charm. The food is excellent and there are a few impressive sights. Beyond that though, Thailand is overrated. Plenty of better countries you can go to as a traveler, backpacker, expat, etc. There's no reason to give in to these insane nonsense entry requirements.


Saturday 17th of July 2021

@Liberty, check out Africa, Central/South America, Eastern Europe. Thailand grew too much of an ego.

Mike FreeRider Gagne

Monday 12th of July 2021

@Liberty, you make me laugh,Thailand is more than just BKK or Pattaya. Bang for the buck still the best option in SE Asia. Safe and friendly people so many Amazing places to visit. I've traveled 350,000 Km in 6.5 years on a motorcycle all over this area and Thailand still is the best value.