Can I travel to Thailand?

Asia's Tech News Daily

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Earlier this month, on 11 October, Thailand was removed from the UK’s red list for travel.

Ten days later, Thailand’s Prime Minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, signed entry guidelines for the quarantine-free re-opening of Thailand from 1 November 2021 to approved countries – including the UK – with testing requirements in place.

Here’s what you need to know if you’re dreaming about lying in the sun on Thailand’s white sand beaches this winter. This includes the country’s current and post-1 November entry requirements, as well as what you’ll need to do before travelling back to England.

We’ve also outlined what you need to think about when it comes to travel insurance. As you’ll discover below, travel cover is an even more essential addition than normal to your suitcase in light of the new Thai rules.

What are the entry requirements for travel to Thailand?

Until 1 November 2021

A “Sandbox” programme currently allows fully-vaccinated travellers to avoid quarantine after arriving into Phuket, Surat Thani (Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan and Ko Tao), Phang-Nga (Khao Lak and Ko Yao), and Krabi (Ko Phi Phi, Ko Ngai and Railay Beach).

However, fully-vaccinated travellers must stay in one of these destinations for seven days before being able to move to other parts of Thailand.

To qualify for this scheme, you must have:

  • At least six months’ validity on your passport

  • Proof of Covid-19 vaccination

  • Proof of return air travel and accommodation for no less than seven nights in a SHA hotel (this is a hotel with enhanced safety protocols and where at least 70% of staff have been vaccinated)

  • PCR tests on arrival and day 6

  • Proof of a negative PCR result within 72 hours of departure

  • A Certificate of Entry – you can apply for that here. London’s Royal Thai Embassy, recommends allowing at least six days for the approval process

  • Proof of travel insurance with Covid-19 cover that covers costs of a minimum of US $100,000 for the duration of your stay in Thailand.

Those under 18 years of age, travelling with their parents or guardians, must have a negative RT-PCR test result issued no more than 72 hours before travelling as well.

On arrival, you will be subject to health screening, including a Covid-19 nasal swab (or saliva test for those under the age of six).

Find out more details here about the Sandbox programme.

Non-Sandbox destinations

If you travel to other parts of Thailand, you’ll have to quarantine at a State Quarantine or Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) facility on arrival. This is for:

  • Seven nights if you are fully vaccinated, with two PCR tests on days 0-1 and days 6-7

  • 10 nights if you are unvaccinated (or don’t qualify as fully vaccinated), with PCR tests on days 0-1 and days 8-9

When you arrive in Thailand, you must also:

  • Show proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure

  • Have travel insurance that includes Covid-19 cover

  • Have evidence of your flight bookings and quarantine booking in an official ASQ accommodation

  • Have downloaded the Thailand Plus tracking app.

From 1 November 2021

From this date, quarantine-free entry has been approved for travellers from the UK.

Travellers must show proof of a negative PCR result within 72 hours of departure and have a pre-arranged Covid-19 PCR test between day 0 and day 1.

On arrival, travellers must go directly to the approved airport transfer to a Covid-19 test centre or reserved accommodation. If this result is negative, you can go anywhere in Thailand.

To qualify for quarantine-free entry, travellers must have:

  • Been in the approved countries (including the UK) for 21 days or more

  • A Certificate of Entry

  • Proof of a negative PCR result within 72 hours of departure

  • A travel insurance policy including cover worth no less than US $50,000 for the potential treatment of Covid-19 and other medical expenses associated, including in-patient hospitalisation for the duration of your stay in Thailand

  • Proof of payment for no less than a one-night stay at approved quarantine facilities (this should cover accommodation, the required PCR test and an Antigen Test Kit)

  • Proof of vaccination

  • Undergone exit screening

  • Downloaded and installed the MorChana app and waited in your accommodation for your day 0-1 PCR test result. This should be available within the day.

If you experience Covid-19 symptoms, you must immediately do a test using the Antigen Test Kit you are given with your pre-paid accommodation.

If you don’t have symptoms, you must use this kit to self-test on day 6-7 and show your result to your hotel/accommodation, as well as recording it in the MorChana app.

Travellers under the age of 12, travelling with their parents or guardians, are exempt from the vaccination requirement, but must have proof of a negative PCR result issued no more than 72 hours before travelling.

What other entry requirements are there?

To enter Thailand, your passport must have at least six months’ validity from your date of entry into Thailand. British passport holders arriving by air or land can enter Thailand for up to 30 days without a visa (‘visa exemption’).

If you plan to stay any longer than this, you’ll need to apply for a ‘tourist visa’ (single entry for up to 60 days) or a ‘special tourist visa’ (90-270 days) or you will be subject to overstay penalties, at 500 baht a day (about £10), up to a maximum of 20,000 baht (about £400).

Immigration officials in Thailand may ask you for proof of onward travel and evidence of having adequate finances. Find out more here about Thailand’s entry requirements.

Once in Thailand

An emergency decree is currently in place in Thailand due to Covid-19. This means that you must not:

  • Enter high-risk areas

  • Hoard essential goods

  • Attend public gatherings

  • Propagate false information.

You must wear a mask in all indoor and outdoor public spaces in Thailand as well as in vehicles if you are with others. You may have to pay a fine if you don’t.

The Thai government also advises avoiding unnecessary travel and crowded places, and you should scan the MorChana tracking app where available.

Some provinces have restrictions on dining in restaurants, gathering in groups, curfews and closure of shops.

When talking about opening Thailand up to vaccinated travellers, Thailand’s Prime Minister also said that the consumption of alcoholic beverages in restaurants as well as the operation of entertainment venues under appropriate health precautions would be allowed from 1 December. Find out more about Covid-19 restrictions here. Tourism updates can be found here.

Your temperature is also likely to be taken as you enter hotels in Thailand, and you may be asked about your recent travel history.

Returning to the UK

The following applies to British travellers returning to London and other locations in England. The requirements for returning to the devolved nations of Scotland , Wales or Northern Ireland may differ so check for the most up-to-date advice.

As Thailand is no longer on the UK’s red list for travel, fully-vaccinated travellers will not need to quarantine on return. Before you travel to England, you must:

  • Book and pay for a day 2 COVID-19 test – to be taken after arrival in England

  • Complete a passenger locator form in the 48 hours before you arrive in England.

From 24 October 2021, fully-vaccinated passengers and most under 18s will be able to take a cheaper lateral flow test, on or before day 2 of their arrival in England. These can be booked from 22 October.

You can read more about the rules here.

Do I need travel insurance for a trip to Thailand?

As mentioned above, one requirement of entry to Thailand is to hold travel insurance with Covid-19 cover, including a minimum of US $100,000 in medical costs for the duration of your stay in Thailand. You should print out your insurance certificate, plus the pages of terms and conditions of Covid-19 coverage and medical benefits, in English.

It’s wise to take out comprehensive travel insurance as soon as you book any trip to give yourself peace of mind that you’re covered against a number of things that could go wrong on a getaway. These include lost or damaged possessions, unexpected cancellation and medical costs.

Government advice and travel insurance

For security reasons, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office currently advises against all but essential travel to the following places in Thailand:

  • Pattani

  • Yala

  • Narathiwat

  • Southern Songkhla province. This does not include areas north of and including the A43 road between Hat Yai and Sakom, and areas north-west of and including the train line which runs between Hat Yai and Pedang Besar.

If you travel to these places, your travel insurance is likely to be invalid unless you have taken out a specialist policy.

How do I find the best travel insurance policy for a trip to Thailand?

Before taking out travel insurance, it’s important to compare a number of different policies so you feel comfortable that the one you’ve bought is the right one for you at a competitive price.

Look carefully at what is covered regarding disruption caused by Covid-19 as well as financial limits for each element of the policy, your excess amount and any exclusions.

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