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Thailand Plans To Reopen Popular Destinations Including Bangkok In October

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Things are looking up. Officials in Thailand announced on Thursday that the country plans to reopen the capital city of Bangkok and other popular tourist destinations starting next month. The announcement comes following studies which show that Covid infections may have peaked in the country, following record-breaking cases this past summer.

The lifting of restrictions for international travelers throughout different parts of Thailand are in hopes to boost tourism after over a year of a struggling industry.

Yee peng festival at Wat Phra Singh temple in Chiang mai, Thailand

Bangkok, Hua Hin and Chiang Mai Among Destinations To Reopen

The reopening of a number of destinations in the Kingdom of Thailand will follow the plan of the Phuket Sandbox program, which has been underway since July. The new destinations which are set to reopen include Bangkok, Hua Hin, Pattaya and the northern city of Chiang Mai.

Please note that this is still a partial reopening of the Kingdom. As said to Reuters news by the Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn, this reopening will be starting with areas popular with visitors. The minister also mentioned that the country has a target to reach 1 million visitors by the end of the year.

Mon Sone View Point, Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park, Angkhang mountain, chiang mai, Thailand

What Are The New Health Restrictions To Travel To Thailand?

Under the new travel guidance for October, all visitors to Thailand must provide proof of full inoculation against Covid, with the last dose given at least two weeks prior to travel. Approved vaccines for travel are the WHOs list of approved vaccinations, which are: Pfizer, Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Sinovac.

Thai woman sales at the Saturday Night Market on August 27, 2016 in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Visitors must also provide a negative Covid PCR test result taken no later than 72 hours before travel, and will be given another PCR test upon landing.

Travelers must then go directly to their SHA-plus approved hotel in the destination to wait for the results. Once a negative test result comes in, you’re cleared for travel. Travel health insurance must also be purchased for the trip, with coverage of at least 100,000 USD in case of emergencies.

tuk tuk parked in front of the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand

Phuket Sandbox Initiative Helping Tourism

Starting July 1st, the country began the Phuket Sandbox Program which has proven to boost tourism in parts of the southern Thai islands. The destinations of Phuket and Koh Samui opened to vaccinated tourists, following testing guidance and hotel stay.

The program expanded last month, with more islands in the region welcoming tourists. Under the updated guidance released in August, travelers can travel to specific destinations nearby after 7 days in Phuket and two negative test results – one from pre-departure and another taken on arrival.

The expanded sandbox program destinations include: Koh Phi Phi, Koh Ngai and Railay in Krabi. Khao Lak and Koh Yao in Phang-Nga, and the islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao. Travel must be done through approved modes of transportation.

Announcement Follows Postponed Reopening In June

Thailand was scheduled to welcome foreign tourists without quarantine restrictions in early June 2021, but the reopening was postponed following a surge in Covid cases throughout the Kingdom.

Since 2020, Thailand hasn’t officially closed to international visitors, but heavy travel restrictions have been enforced. Any international traveler arriving to the Kingdom must quarantine at a government-approved hotel for two weeks and undergo Covid testing. These restrictions had a big effect on mass tourism.

Swing hang from coconut tree over beach, Phangan island

U.S. Restrictions For Thailand

In August, the U.S. added Thailand to its Level 4 “Do Not Travel” advisory, along with the nations of France and Iceland. The advisory was made due to the high reported cases of Covid.

At this time, foreign nationals from Thailand are not allowed to visit the United States for non-essential reasons.

aerial photo of railey beach with karst peak mountains in Thailand

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Laurence Wheeler

Sunday 26th of September 2021

I'm okay with vaccine requirement. But last jab 2 within 2 weeks of entry is not practical. Most westerners have been vaccinated for months.

+ Keemao

Thursday 16th of September 2021

The whole idea is a cluster F. I have been to Thailand 3 times since COVID, did the ASQ 2 times before they locked you in the room snd again in July with the Phuket Sandbox. All these tests they make you pay for is just a money grab. Nothing more. Just look at Phuket. They have had to send people there now to try to control all the local infections that are now getting out of control NOT because of the Sandbox people but the residents!! So it's quite a proven fact that those that are vaccinated don't need all those stupid tests over 2 weeks and you don't need a SHA+ hotel!! There is just as much chance of getting COVID there as in a nice Airbnb that is cleaned before you arrive. If they truly want to get "tourists" back (most of the Sandbox people have family in Thailand and are not really tourists) then they need to just open up to vaccinated people. I just got back from Greece. Only needed proof of vaccination and no stupid SHA+ hotel crap and COVID insurance so those companies can suck up more money from people coming. The only thing that will help Thailand slow down COVID is DECENT vaccines (not the worthless Sinovac and Sinopharm) and get the people shot up. But I guess they just can't get it through their fat heads that all these things they make you pay for don't make any difference! You get tested before you fly. That should be enough. Yeah, I know the "you can still get it" people will jump in here I am sure, but the percentage is so so small it's mostly a nonfactor. So just open up to vaccinated people and get on with it!!


Wednesday 15th of September 2021

Every tourist will need to get a pre-approved Certificate of Entry (COE) first (, which does not yet show Bangkok on that online form, despite BKK apparently being included in the sandbox program as of October 1st. Meaning, once pre-approved, we can book the plane ticket and the SHA Hotel in Bangkok (for example), plus get insurance covering Covid, but how do they expect tourist to show on October 1st, if we cannot get pre-approved before that? Anyway, stupid me booked the plane ticket to BKK already for October 12 and now got to check daily for the COE to get updated. Hope I don't have to delay my flight.


Tuesday 14th of September 2021

“At this time, foreign nationals from Thailand are not allowed to visit the United States for non-essential reasons.“ Do you mean certain foreign nationals on the US travel ban proclamation who are still not allowed in...Thai nationals are not on the US travel ban.

A couple of my Thai friends have traveled to the West coast of the US for the summer vacation last August.


Monday 13th of September 2021

Looks like only vaccinated people will be allowed to visit. I'm in quarantine hotel now. I'm never getting vax. Looks like I made it here just in time.