The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has launched the 7+7 extension of the Phuket Sandbox program which is an ongoing project of reopening Thailand without quarantine for foreign tourists and travelers who have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
The so-called “7+7 Extension” scheme, which is an extension of the Phuket Sandbox, allows foreign tourists to visit other destinations in Surat Thani, Krabi and Phang Nga on the Andaman coast. After the stay of 7 nights in these areas, tourists will be allowed to travel to other parts of Thailand.
What is Phuket Sandbox 7+7 Extension?
"Phuket Sandbox 7+7 Extension" is the model that allows travelers who are fully vaccinated to enter Thailand without quarantine. The Phuket Sandbox extension program allows visitors to travel from Phuket to neighboring Krabi and Phang Nga provinces or islands in Surat Thani province.
The program was started on 16 August 2021 and should last until Thailand borders will be fully reopened.
Phuket Sandbox 7+7 Extension Destinations
Under the Phuket Sandbox 7+7 Extension model, travelers must stay in Phuket for at least 7 nights before being allowed to travel to other designated pilot areas for spending another 7 nights.
UPDATE! As the mandatory duration of Phuket Sandbox stay has been reduced to 7 days starting from 1 October 2021, you no longer need to stay 7 nights in Phuket before moving to extension areas and can travel there directly from Phuket Airport!
Vaccinated travelers will be allowed to visit one of the following three provinces after a week spent in the Phuket Sandbox:
- Surat Thani (Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao) - Samui Plus Sandbox
- Krabi (Koh Phi Phi, Koh Ngai, Railay) - Krabi Sandbox
- Phang-Nga (Khao Lak, Koh Yao Noi, Koh Yao Yai) - Phang Nga Sandbox
Tourists who have completed 7 nights in Krabi, Phang-Nga or Surat Thani will be allowed to continue their journey to other provinces of Thailand.
How to transfer to other destinations?
Travelling from Phuket to the selected areas in Krabi, Phang-Nga, or Surat Thai province is available only via approved routes and by approved modes of transport.
From Phuket to Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, or Koh Tao (Samui Plus Sandbox)
- Bangkok Airways’ direct domestic flight on the Phuket-Koh Samui route
From Phuket to Koh Phi Phi, Ko Ngai, or Railay in Krabi
- SHA Plus-certified boat and ferry services from approved piers - Ao Po Pier, Chalong Pier, Rassada Pier, and Wisit Panwa Pier.
From Phuket to Khao Lak in Phang-Nga
- SHA Plus-certified car transfer services from Phuket direct to the SHA Plus-certified hotels
From Phuket to Koh Yao Noi or Koh Yao Yai in Phang-Nga
- SHA Plus-certified boat and ferry services from approved piers
- Ao Po Pier and Ao Po Grand Marina- to Koh Yao Yai’s Chonglat Pier
- Ban Laem Yai Pier and to Koh Yao Noi’s Manoh Pier.
Sandbox 7+7 Extension Hotels
Despite the fact that there is no quarantine requirement under Sandbox program, arriving tourists are restricted to stay at accommodations that received SHA+ certification, which is issued by Thai government for safety and health measures standards that guarantees that more than 70% of all employees have completed vaccination.
You also need to stay at SHA Plus hotels for at least 7 nights. For 7 nights that can be spent in the related provinces you need to choose from the following SHA Plus certified hotels in the selected destination:
You can book the SHA Plus Sandbox Hotels via OTA (such as Booking.com, Agoda.com), travel agencies or direct booking to the SHA Plus hotels. Hotel Reservation teams will be required to enter their guests' bookings into the SHA Plus Booking Authenticator System (SHABA) which will generate an official confirmation number and QR code.
Phuket Sandbox 7+7 Extension Rules
Thai authorities put strict conditions on those who choose Thailand for their holidays during COVID-19. Several entry conditions of “Sandbox 7+7 Extension” are the same as of the Phuket Sandbox program. The general requirements for entering Thailand can be found below:
- Check if you are eligible and register for Certificate of Entry (COE). Proper type of Thai visa or eligibility to use Thailand visa exemption is also needed.
- Fully vaccinated against COVID-19 for no less than 14 days prior to departure with a vaccine that has been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) or Thai Authority.
- Obtain a valid Health insurance policy that covers medical expenses including treatment related to COVID-19 with a minimum of 50,000 USD throughout the period of your stay in Thailand. You can easily buy the special package of AXA Thailand insurance online to meet all these requirements.
- Obtain a confirmed and fully paid booking of stay at SHA Plus Hotels.
- Obtain proof of payment for RT-PCR COVID-19 Tests during the first 7 days of stay in Thailand.
- Obtain Air ticket to Phuket. If you are planning to stay there for less than 7 days, air ticket for an international flight from Phuket to another country will also be needed.
- Get COVID-19 free certificate (RT-PCR method) no more than 72 hours prior to the departure time. The negative result must be presented to the airline check-in counter.
- Travel from Phuket Airport to SHA Plus hotel by SHA Plus transportation arranged in advance.
- During the first 7 days, travelers must take 2 RT-PCR tests (first test upon arrival at the airport; second test on day 6-7).
- Stay in Krabi, Phang-Nga, or Surat Thani for no less than 7 days before travelling to other destinations in Thailand.
Eligible Countries for Phuket Sandbox 7+7 Extension
IMPORTANT UPDATE! Starting from 1 October 2021, Phuket Sandbox program can be used by vaccinated travelers from any country in the world.
Phuket Sandbox plan is available for travelers flying to Thailand from countries that will be regarded low risk or medium risk of SAR-CoV-2 virus. The list of eligible countries approved by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) as proposed by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports (MoTS) and TAT.
The number of required COVID-19 tests (RT-PCR method) during the stay at own expense as per the following requirements:
- The first test upon arrival and await the test results in the accommodation
- The second test on Day 6 or 7
- The third test on Day 12 or 13 (not needed for arrivals from 1 October 2021)
All the mandatory COVID-19 tests need to be pre-booked via PSAS System before arrival and proof of payment for RT-PCR tests must be submitted when applying for Certificate of Entry.
As in most cases you will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test result for boarding the plane when traveling back home from Phuket, you will need to make an additional COVID-19 test before departure. Generally hospitals in Phuket provide COVID-19 testing service and the package of COVID-19 Screening can be varied depending on the type of the test and where you get tested. The cost of an RT-PCR testing ranges from 2,500-4,000 THB per person and a COVID-19 rapid Antigen test ranges from 500-1,000 THB per person.
Bangkok Hospital Phuket, one of the leading hospitals on the island, is offering the package including COVID-19 RT-PCR Testing, Fit-To-Fly Certificate, Test reports and Consultant fees with results within just 24 hours (Next Day) for 3,500 THB. The package can be booked online with discount at 3,400 THB.
If after staying in Phuket you will be traveling around the country and will be flying back home from Bangkok, you will find this list of COVID-19 testing in Bangkok useful.
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.