With the country recently easing more of its Covid-19 related entry restrictions, Thailand is bound to have put itself firmly back on the map as a top destination for travelers this summer. However, working out what you need to actually be able to visit the country can be a bit of a minefield – and there are still plenty of rules that need to be followed once a traveler makes it into the country too. Here’s a look at what it’s actually like to visit Thailand right now.
Getting There – What Travelers Should Know
All travelers planning on visiting Thailand must have a Thailand Pass. This is a QR code that confirms the traveler has met all of the different requirements needed to be able to enter at present. Such requirements are as follows:
- Valid passport and visa if required
- Certificate of vaccination
- Paid AQ / SHA Extra+ hotel reservation confirmation for 1 day, including RT PCR test upon arrival, ATK test and airport transfer
- Insurance that meets the minimum cover requirements ($20,000)
Travelers must then choose their method of entry – Test and Go or a Sandbox scheme – with more info to be found here.
Prior to check in, airline staff will check that travelers have their Thailand Pass, as entry to the country is not possible without it. Upon landing in Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, travelers will have their documents checked once more, before they are picked up from the airport and whisked off to be tested at whichever testing facility their Day 1 hotel uses – usually a hospital or drive-thru testing facility. Those arriving in Phuket must take their pre-booked test at the airport after landing.
Those choosing to arrive via the Test and Go entry method in Bangkok will then be confined to their rooms until the result is confirmed to be negative; those arriving early may find out on the same day, though it is typically the next day. Those arriving through the Sandbox entry scheme may have more freedom, but are still not able to leave their hotel complex until their negative result comes back.
Travel In Thailand – Information For Travelers
Once travelers are free of their initial compulsory hotel stays, they are afforded the freedom to travel at will. However, travelers may still be required to show proof of their vaccination status in order to be able to visit a domestic destination within Thailand depending on the entry rules of the destination in question – more information can be found here. These restrictions can change at a moment’s notice, so travelers should check in with airlines before flying domestically. Travelers can fly to Bangkok without proof of vaccination or a negative test result.
For those planning on traveling the country by road, the situation is, as the Thais say, “same same, but different”. Whilst officially road and air entry have the same requirements, the reality is that quite often the road checkpoints for entry to mainland provinces are unmanned or will simply wave travelers through. This has been reported on several occasions by many travelers since the country reopened. However, to be on the safe side, travelers should make sure they have their proof of vaccination or a negative test result to hand wherever they go.
Travelers should note that Thailand’s social Covid-19 rules are strictly enforced throughout the country. Masks are worn throughout the country, even in open outdoor spaces, with travelers liable to fines for being caught without one. Entry into malls, convenience stores and restaurants will require a temperature scan and travelers to check-in to the building using the Thaichana app, or to write down their contact details. Public spaces will also more than likely have some social distancing measures in place. Whilst some establishments may be more lax in their enforcement of these rules, travelers should expect to have to fulfil them.
Thankfully for travelers, the scene on the ground has improved considerably during the last year. Whilst returnees to the country might find that their favourite pad Thai joint has long since closed down, thankfully there are noticeably fewer shuttered-up shops and hotels around the country’s popular tourist hotspots. Though numbers remain a fraction of what they were in 2019, the bars, beaches and streets seem to be getting busier by the week, providing a better atmosphere and vibe than Thailand had at the start of the pandemic. With beaches less crowded, hotels with cheap rates and enough going on to keep you busy, Thailand is a great option for any traveler this year.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com