Travelers looking to visit Thailand this winter will be disappointed to hear the nation won’t be opening its entertainment venues until mid-January.
Thailand has recently taken huge steps to fully reopen the nation to international travelers when they dropped quarantine measures for 63 countries. However, travelers still face massive restrictions within the country.
The Continued Closure Of Entertainment Venues
Thailand closed all entertainment venues — such as bars, pubs, and nightclubs — in April due to rising cases of the Delta variant, which slipped through Thailand’s strict border restrictions and sent the nation into lockdown.
The authorities found the first clusters of the Delta variant in Bangkok’s Thonglor nightlife district in March. Health officials suggested entertainment venues were the catalyst for the continued growth of COVID-19 cases.
As a result, the government has now pushed the long-awaited reopening of bars until January 15, 2022, despite COVID-19 cases reaching their lowest level since May.
The CCSA had a general meeting chaired by the Prime Minister and opted to keep entertainment venues shut until mid-January. The government will only allow alcohol sales at restaurants within ‘blue zones.’ These ‘blue zones’ include Phuket and Bangkok.
Since November 1, Thailand has reopened restaurants within four different provinces:
- Phang Nai
However, the authorities in Phuket have allowed alcohol sales in restaurants since October. That’s despite the island’s so-called reopening in July when the government introduced the sandbox schemes.
Regulations on the hour’s alcohol sales within ‘blue zones’ vary depending on the type of province. Some provinces have curfews on alcohol sales whereby tourists can’t purchase alcohol past a certain time.
Thailand’s Confusing Entry Requirements
What’s more, Thailand’s current entry requirements have caused frustration among many international travelers. Despite the nation being open — albeit with incredibly strict restrictions — for most of the pandemic, the restrictions have deterred most travelers from entering.
As of last week, fully vaccinated tourists who’ve stayed a minimum of 21 days from 63 ‘low-risk countries — including the U.S, Canada, and the U.K. — only have to complete one night of quarantine.
Travelers have to show a negative PCR test result before and after landing in the country. Then, travelers would have to self-isolate on arrival for one night. If travelers received a negative COVID-19 test, they can travel freely around the nation.
But now the biggest challenge is Thailand’s travel pass, which is creating frustration for tourists. Travelers need to get a QR code to enter Thailand, but they’ll need to enter the following information first:
- Vaccination Certificate or Card
- COVID-19 Health Insurance Certificate
- Confirmed ASQ hotel booking or Confirmed SHA+ hotel booking (with pre-booked RT PCR test)
- Flight Booking
- Copy of Thai Visa (if required)
Unfortunately, tourists are reporting the system doesn’t work properly. The problems include not receiving a QR code, issues uploading a PDF form, and error messages.
“Complaints by some tourists that they had either experienced delays in receiving QR codes or in some cases had not received them at all, following the approval of their travel applications,” said The Bangkok Post.
The Current Restrictions Within Thailand
On top of the continued closure of entertainment venues and confusing health pass system, Thailand has various restrictions nationwide.
For example, Thailand still has an emergency decree in place, and instructions suggest travelers must not:
- Enter high-risk areas
- Hoard essential goods
- Attend public gatherings
- Propagate false information
The government is fining people for not wearing masks in all indoor and outdoor places and enforcing social distancing measures nationwide.
Although Thailand has made entering the country more straightforward, it’s still miles away from being the Thailand we all love to explore. The lack of tourists visiting in the coming months will reflect that.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories