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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
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