Update 20 June 2022! Thailand entry rules will be updated from 1 July 2022. The requirement of Thailand Pass application and having COVID Insurance for 10,000 USD will be removed for travelers arriving in Thailand from 1 July 2022!


 

Thailand Sandbox Opens for Tourists: Travel Restrictions 2021

If you are wondering if it is possible to travel to Thailand in 2021 or what are the travel restrictions for tourists, in this article we will provide the main information for those who wish to enter Thailand without quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thailand resumed receiving tourists without quarantine in Phuket from July 1, in Koh Samui from July 15, and then is gradually opening other tourist destinations so it can be said that Thailand gets open for tourism. However, in order to enter Thailand without isolation, you must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and complete a series of steps with strict conditions that are currently applied for travelers.

Thailand is now open for travelers

As of now, Thailand has developed "Sandbox" programs - Phuket Sandbox, Samui SandboxPhang Nga SandboxKrabi Sandbox to abolish or minimize quarantine restrictions for vaccinated tourists from abroad. By using one of these Sandbox programs, travelers will be able to relax on the island without going through quarantine. However, if you want to continue your journey to other provinces of Thailand, you must first complete a 5-night stay in one of following programs.

1. Phuket Sandbox

The Phuket Sandbox program was launched on 1 July 2021. The famous tourist destination of Phuket was the first province to welcome tourists since Thailand's borders were closed over a year ago. Entry to the island without further quarantine is allowed for travelers who are vaccinated with one of vaccines that are approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Ministry of Health of Thailand.

Hotels for Phuket Sandbox

Travelers wishing to enter Thailand without quarantine via Phuket must stay in designated accommodation by spending at least 5 nights in SHA Extra Plus Hotels. This certification guarantees that 70% of all employees at the accommodation have completed vaccination.

Permitted movements within Phuket

During the stay in Phuket, tourists can freely move around the island and visit tourist sites.

Detailed information about the program can be found below:

Phuket Sandbox

 

2. Samui Sandbox

Following Phuket, starting 15 July 2021, the specific areas and routes on the three islands of Surat Thani province - Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao - became the second Thai tourist destination to reopen to vaccinated visitors from abroad.

The so called “Samui Sandbox” or "Samui Plus" model is a separate travel program from Phuket Sandbox with stricter protocols applied to tourists. Samui Plus Sandbox accepts fully vaccinated tourists coming from overseas and transferring flights at Suvarnabhumi Airport to Koh Samui or other approved domestic destinations or taking direct flights into Koh Samui.

Hotels for Samui Plus

Upon arriving at Samui Airport, tourists must stay at SHA Extra Plus accommodations on Koh Samui only. After getting a negative result of the first COVID-19 test, tourists are allowed move to other SHA Extra Plus hotels hotel room and can travel freely in Koh Samui, Koh Phangan or Koh Tao.

The list of certified hotels separated by tourist areas can be found below: 

Permitted movements within Koh Samui & nearby islands

According to the Samui Plus program, travelers will be limited in movement 

  • Days 0 (arrival day): travelers must remain in the hotel room while awaiting the result of the first RT-PCR test.
  • Days 1-5: If the result of the first RT-PCR test is negative, travelers may travel within Koh SamuiKoh Phangan and Koh Tao.
  • Tourists must travel between islands from the following piers only and it is recommended to check inter-island boat schedules prior to booking accommodations 
    • Koh Samui: Lom Phraya Na Phra Lan, Buri Rasa (hotel guests only) and Phu Yai Non
    • Koh Phangan: Thong Sala
    • Koh Tao: Ban Mae Hat (Sala Vibhavadi)
    • Boats to Mu Koh Ang Thong: Na Thon Municipal Pier

Detailed information about the program can be found below: 

Samui Sandbox

 

3. Krabi Sandbox

Starting from 16 Aug 2021, Thailand has continued to reopen more destinations for tourists in the provinces of Krabi under Krabi Sandbox or Krabi Even More Amazing programme (previously Phuket Sandbox 7+7 Extension) and ready to welcome tourists. Krabi Sandbox is allowing vaccinated travelers to travel in Krabi province for at least 5 nights.

Hotels for Krabi Sandbox

A list of Krabi Sandbox Hotels separated by popular tourist areas:

Permitted movements within Krabi

Travelling from the airport to hotels in Krabi is available only via approved routes and by SHA Plus-certified transfer services. At the moment, you need to pre-booked SHA Plus car transfer from the airport, followed by the pre-arranged SHA Plus boat transfer.

If testing negative for COVID-19 upon arrival, travellers can go anywhere within the ‘Blue Zone Free Travel’ in Krabi province.  

Detailed information about the program can be found below: 

Krabi Sandbox

 

4. Phang Nga Sandbox

Starting from 16 Aug 2021, the Phang Nga Sandbox or  Amazing Khao Lak-Koh Yao Sandbox programme (previously Phuket Sandbox 7+7 Extension) allows fully vaccinated visitors to stay in Phang-Nga province just north of Phuket for 5 nights.

Hotels for Phang Nga Sandbox

A list of Phang Nga Sandbox Hotels separated by popular tourist areas:

Permitted movements within 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.

If testing negative for COVID-19 upon arrival, travellers can go anywhere within the ‘Blue Zone Free Travel’.  

Detailed information about the program can be found below: 

Phang Nga Sandbox


Living in The Blue Zone Sandbox Program

Thailand is easing entry requirements for travelers and set to reopen the country to fully vaccinated travelers without having to undergo quarantine but travel restricted to within Blue Zone Sandbox area under "Living in The Blue Zone Sandbox" scheme from November 2021.

You can find more information here: Thailand Living in The Blue Zone Sandbox


Thailand's Reopening Requirements and Rules

Thai authorities put strict conditions on those who choose Thailand for their holidays during COVID-19. A big part of entry conditions under “Phuket Sandbox”, “Samui Plus Sandbox", "Krabi Sandbox", and "Phang Nga Sandbox" programs are the same.

The general requirements for entering Thailand under Sandbox program  can be found below:

  1. Check if you are eligible. A valid passport and proper type of Thai visa or eligibility to use Thailand visa exemption is also needed.
  2. Obtain a Thailand Pass in advance before departure to Thailand.
  3. Fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with a vaccine approved by Thai FDA/Thai Ministry of Public Health/ WHO no less than 14 days before departure. Travelers must show a Certificate of Vaccination issued by a government authority
  4. Children under the age of 18 travelling with their parents are eligible without proof of vaccination.
  5. Obtain a valid Health insurance policy that covers medical expenses with a minimum of 20,000 USD throughout the period of stay in Thailand. You can easily buy the special package of Thailand insurance online to meet all these requirements.

  1. Obtain a confirmed and fully paid booking of stay at approved hotels.
  2. Obtain proof of payment for RT-PCR COVID-19 Test during stay in Thailand.
  3. Reserve an International flight ticket to the destination. If you are planning to stay there for less than 5 days, air ticket for an international flight from Blue Zone area to another country will also be needed.
  4. 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. (not required from 1 April 2022)
  5. Travel from the airport to your first hotel by certified transportation arranged in advance.

COVID-19 Tests

During the 5 days of any Sandbox program, travelers must take 2 COVID-19 tests:

  • The first RT-PCR test upon arrival at the airport and await the test results in the accommodation
  • The second ATK test on Day 4 or 5 

All the mandatory COVID-19 tests need to be pre-booked before arrival and proof of payment for RT-PCR tests must be submitted when applying for Thailand Pass.

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 2,000-4,000 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.