Following the success of Phuket Sandbox program, Phang-Nga province reopened under Phang Nga Sandbox (previously Phuket Sandbox 7+7 Extension) to welcome tourists. Phang Nga Sandbox allows vaccinated travelers to travel there after landing in Phuket Airport and stay in the province for at least 5 nights.
Phang Nga is among the most beautiful southern provinces in Thailand, with the shore of the Andaman Sea to the west and Phang Nga Bay to the south. Phang Nga is full of unique natural resources including the stunning Phang Nga Bay which contains over forty small islands/ islets including Koh Tapu (also known as James Bond Island) where the film The Man with the Golden Gun was shot, the idyllic Mu Koh Surin and Mu Koh Similan which have been rated among the world’s best scuba diving sites, the tranquil sandy coast of Khao Lak as well as Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai.
What is Phang Nga Sandbox?
The so-called "Phang Nga Sandbox" also called by locals "Phang-Nga Prompt" is a model that allows travelers who are fully vaccinated to enter Thailand without quarantine. Fully vaccinated parents can travel with their unvaccinated children (please check Thailand Entry Rules for Children).
Starting from 1 October 2021, the mandatory duration of Sandbox stay has been reduced and now you can travel directly from Phuket Airport to Phang Nga and spend the mandatory 5 nights in Phang Nga Sandbox.
Phang Nga Sandbox Areas
Staying in Phang Nga under Sandbox program, you are free to travel anywhere and do activities within the Phang Nga "Blue Zone Area" that currently include the entire Phang Nga province and its most popular areas:
- Khao Lak, the most popular seaside resort area for tourism, located just 80 kilometers north of Phuket International Airport. Khao Lak is a beautiful, secluded place that is great for a couple or relaxed family vacation.
- Koh Yao Yai, a charming area of outstanding natural beauty consisting of a cluster of small islands nearby Phuket in scenic Phang Nga Bay. The way of life on the island continues to exist in the midst of truly beautiful and peaceful nature.
- Koh Yao Noi, a small island which sits halfway between Phuket and Krabi in the middle of Phang Nga Bay. The archipelago here is beautiful with islets around the island that are ideal for tourists who like peace and quiet.
Once you have completed the 5-night stay in Phang Nga province and have tested negative with your second COVID-19 test, the hotel will prepare a "Release Form", which can be used to travel to other destinations in Thailand. If your stay in the area is less than 5 nights, you must proceed directly to Phuket International Airport on the day of departure. At the point of entry back into Phuket, you will need to show a flight ticket or other proof of your international travel from Phuket.
Phang Nga Sandbox Rules
When travelling to Phang Nga, you must comply with a number of conditions. The arrival protocol for international travelers effective from 1st October 2021 are the following.
Arrival day 1: RT-PCR Test at Phuket International Airport upon arrival
SHA Plus Transport
- Travel from Phuket International Airport to SHA Extra Plus Hotel in the mainland Phang Nga province destinations (Khao Lak, Natai, Nam Khem, etc.) by a SHA Plus certified transport only via Ta Chat Chai Checkpoint
- Direct to the checkpoint pier to Koh Yao
Explore Amazing Phang Nga Blue Zone Free Travel
Day 1: Phang Nga province
Wait for the result of RT-PCR test in the hotel room. If tested negative, then you will be allowed to travel in the Phang Nga blue zone area.
Day 5: ATK test
More time in Thailand
Day 6: departure to other destinations in Thailand.
Documents Required for entering Phang Nga Sandbox
All visitors must have the following documents:
For entering Thailand and using Phang Nga Sandbox, Passport and/or Thai visa or eligibility to use Thailand visa exemption that have been approved by Phuket's Immigration when entering Phuket is needed.
International travellers need to apply for Thailand Pass, just like everyone else traveling to Thailand during COVID-19 pandemic.
Travelers need to show COVID-19 vaccine certificate with a vaccine that has been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Thai Authority. Proof of vaccination must be submitted when applying for a COE.
Health insurance policy with coverage including COVID-19 related treatment in the amount no less than 20,000 USD for the total duration of your planned stay in Thailand is mandatory for everyone entering the country under Phuket Sandbox scheme. You can easily buy the special package of AXA Thailand insurance online to meet all these requirements.
You will also need to present a prepaid booking of Phang Nga SHA Extra Plus Hotel for at least 5 nights (or less if you fly abroad from Phuket Airport earlier).
Proof of payment for the mandatory Phang Nga Sandbox COVID-19 Test that must be purchased directly from Phuket Swab Appointment System (PSAS).
Air ticket for an international flight to Phuket Airport. If you are planning to stay in Phang Nga for less than 5 nights, air ticket for an international flight from Phuket to another country will also be needed.
To enter Phang Nga by using Phang Nga Sandbox model, travelers need to present the COVID-19 free certificate issued within 72 hours before departure to Thailand. (not required from 1 April 2022)
Phang Nga Sandbox Hotels
Despite the fact that there is no quarantine requirement under Sandbox program, arriving tourists are restricted to stay for 5 nights at accommodations that received SHA++ (SHA Extra Plus) certification, which is issued by Thai government for safety and health measures standards.
You can easily book SHA Extra Plus hotels via OTA such as Booking.com or Agoda.com, travel agencies or directly with hotels. According to 11 January 2022 update from Thai Embassy in Vienna, the hotel booking confirmation must be inclusive of airport pick up*. When booking your stay with Booking.com, send the special request for your hotel to arrange the airport pick up and issue the confirmation.
*Note! Despite this note on Thai Embassy website, some of our readers report that their Thailand Pass applications were successfully approved with a fully prepaid confirmation of separately booked SHA+ certified airport transfer that is cheaper than transfer arranged by the hotel.
You must upload your SHA Extra Plus hotel confirmation in the Thailand Pass system for getting an approval to enter the country. If you will be booking SHA+ certified transportation for the trip from the airport to the hotel separately, don't forget to add the confirmation of prepaid airport pick up as an additional document.
You need to stay for at least 5 nights at Phang Nga province SHA Extra Plus hotels that are all listed here ⬇️.
We also have a list of Phang Nga Sandbox Hotels separated by popular tourist areas in Phang Nga to make finding a suitable hotel easier:
- Khao Lak SHA Extra Plus Hotels
- Koh Yao Yai SHA Extra Plus Hotels
- Koh Yao Noi SHA Extra Plus Hotels
- Phang Nga Sandbox Hotels in Other Areas
Some of the best rated SHA Extra Plus Hotels in Phang Nga:
Khaolak Laguna Resort - a 4.5 stars hotel at the best location on Khao Lak beach close to beachfront and a short walk to Khao Lak shopping center and nearby attractions of Phang-Nga Province. The Hotel is uniquely designed in Classic Oriental Style, in the embrace of Nature.
TreeHouse Villas - located on Koh Yao Noi, TreeHouse Villas is an adult-only resort boasting spacious air-conditioned villas surrounded by lush tropical forest, cliffs and private beach of Phang Nga.
Devasom Khao Lak Beach Resort & Villas - located directly on Khao Lak’s sunset beach sided by a natural lagoon, this is a resort found amid tropical garden and coconut groves. Offering luxurious guest rooms, pool suites and beachfront villas, each unit boasts breathtaking sea view and is decorated with ancient architecture of Southeast Asia.
Koh Yao Yai Village - The 4-star luxury hotel is nestled within a rainforest, steps from the tranquil shores of Koh Yao Yai Island. Providing direct access to a 400 m private beach and magnificent views of Phang Nga Bay and Phi Phi Islands, it also features a large infinity pool.
The Kalima Khao Lak - a new 5-star luxury hotel with design and architecture which reflects Sino Portuguese heritage. The property is a hidden gem and sits in a secluded area surrounded by mangrove forests, rubber plantations and is boarded by river estuaries.
How to transfer to Phang Nga?
Travelling from Phuket International Airport to Phang Nga is available only via approved routes and by SHA Plus-certified transfer services.
- Khao Lak can be reached by SHA Plus certified car transfer services from Phuket directly to the SHA Plus certified hotels.
- Koh Yao Noi or Koh Yao Yai can be reached from a specified marina/pier in a SHA Plus certified transportation establishment in Phuket. These are Ao Po Pier, Rassada Pier, Visit Panwa Pier, Cholong Bay Pier, Ao Po Grand Marina, Phuket Boat Lagoon Marina, Phuket Yacht Haven Marina and Roya Phuket Marina.
Update 18 January 2022! According to the latest announcement by Thai Embassy in Vienna, airport pick up must be included in hotel reservation but some of our readers report that they successfully used separately booked cheaper SHA+ airport transfer for Thailand Pass application.
The COVID-19 test will be made upon arrival at Phuket Airport. The tests should be booked and paid beforehand via PSAS System.
You must make a booking for a RT-PCR test with a local assigned hospital for testing.
List of Phang Nga COVID-19 Test Centers
Khao Lak Swab Centers
- Andaman Hub Medical Center Tel. 076 486 799
- Takua Thung Hospital Tel. 076 581 394
- Takua Pa Hospital
- Thai Muang Hospital
Koh Yao Yai Swab Centers
- Koh Yao Hospital Tel. 076 597 109
Koh Yao Noi Swab Center
- Phu-nai Hospital Health Centre Tel. 076 582 500
Phang Nga Swab Center
- Phang Nga Hospital
You need to wait for the result of the COVID-19 RT-PCR test in the hotel room in the respective destination only. If testing negative for COVID-19, you can go anywhere within the ‘Blue Zone Free Travel’ in Khao Lak and Koh Yao areas.
If the result of COVID-19 test is positive, then you will be immediately transferred and admitted to an MOU, hospital or a private hospital that is covered by your travel insurance for treatment.
Further Updates on Thailand Reopening
Keep in mind that during COVID-19 pandemics the rules and regulations are often changed, so we would recommend contacting your local Thai embassy before making any plans or reservations.
In the meantime, follow our Facebook page for the newest updates on traveling to Thailand.