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Phuket Sandbox Expanded To 9 More Thailand Destinations

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The Phuket Sandbox, Thailand's program that allows foreign travelers to enter the country and stay in Phuket without needing to quarantine, has been given the green light by the Thai government to expand. The expansion means that those who enter as part of the sandbox scheme will be able to visit other destinations in the country, including some very popular tourist hotspots.

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The move makes entering as part of the sandbox scheme a much more attractive proposition for travelers, and could lead to a much-needed surge in inbound tourism figures in the coming few weeks. Here's everything you need to know about the sandbox expansion, plus a recap of what the sandbox scheme entails and how it has gone so far.

railay cliffs beach

Phuket Sandbox – Information For Travelers

Thailand – home to the world's most visited city, Bangkok – is a country that is extremely reliant on tourism. The pandemic has been tough on the Land of Smiles, resulting in many people being out of work due to the severe drop in tourism figures. Whilst travelers are still able to visit Thailand, having to stay in expensive mandatory quarantine facilities has proved a barrier for many. Looking for a solution to restarting mass tourism in a safe, manageable way, the Thai government launched the Phuket Sandbox scheme on July 1st in a bid to entice travelers back to the country.

railay tonsai limestone cliffs karst thailand krabi

Under the sandbox, fully vaccinated travelers can stay Phuket without having to quarantine, leaving them free to enjoy Thailand's largest and most popular island. Under the original rules, travelers had to stay in an approved hotel for the first 7 nights, before being free to stay in alternative accommodation on the island for their next seven nights, before they became free to leave the island and travel to other parts of the country after a minimum of 14 nights in Phuket. However, under the new expansion, travelers are able to leave Phuket after just 7 nights.

phang nga koh yao thailand

Sandbox Expansion – What Travelers Should Know

The new sandbox rules are already in effect, and allow travelers to move on to specific locations after just 7 nights in Phuket. The expanded list of destinations includes Koh Phi Phi, Koh Ngai, and Railay in Krabi; Khao Lak and Koh Yao in Phang-Nga; and Surat Thani’s three main islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao.

koh tao scuba diving thailand

In order to be able to visit these destinations, travelers must get a transfer form from their hotel in Phuket which confirms that they have stayed there for 7 nights. Travelers must also show two negative Covid-19 tests – one conducted on their day of arrival and the other on day six or seven of their stay in Phuket. After moving to one of the expanded destinations, travelers will have to stay there for a period of 7 nights before they are free to move elsewhere in Thailand. 

In order to visit the expanded destinations, travelers will have to use approved methods of transportation to get there. For the islands in Surat Thani province, travelers will need to take a direct flight from Phuket to Koh Samui. To get to Phang-Nga destinations, travelers will need to take the SHA Plus-certified boat or car services. For access to the destinations in Krabi, travelers must use the SHA Plus-certified boat or ferry services.

To date, the Phuket Sandbox scheme has welcomed more than 21,000 international arrivals, with only 58 testing positively for Covid-19. 

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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.

John Canfield

Tuesday 24th of August 2021

Sorry Thailand. The sand box won’t work. A negative test and vaccination card should be good enough. You don’t have many deaths for people under 60 so let the tourists in.


Thursday 19th of August 2021

So you still have to use sha approved hotels and transport ,so it's freedom to move about at an inflated cost , sorry thialand this will not make much difference at all, I agree with the comments made by Ashley.

Fred Flint

Saturday 4th of September 2021

@Richie, Then why are some hotels fully booked?

Steve Haigh

Thursday 19th of August 2021

So no need to quarantine to go to Phuket except that you have to stay in the government approved hotel for 7 days before you can go to your own home. How is that not quarantine


Thursday 19th of August 2021

The reality is, that you are free to travel in Thailand after 14 ("negative) days. That's good news. I don't understand why this article does not tell that there are no inland flights currently! So you are quite limited with your travel plans except you love 14 hour rides by certified busses to Bangkok or elsewhere. My inland flights were 2 times cancceled. My flight back home finally was akso cancelled. Be prepared for an adventure and take a travel agent with you, if you are not literate in online research and online booking. Apart from this, it is definitely the best time to visit this country and such an opportunity will never come back. It's calm, not the usual party noise, beaches are empty, Thais stay at home, traffic is at a minimum level, so that it's not anymore so dangerous to use the roads. And last but not least, prostitution is gone.

Rune Gustavsen

Thursday 19th of August 2021

Can I go to cha-am Thailand from Norway