The world’s most-visited country is welcoming tourists again.
From November 1, there are no quarantine restrictions for fully vaccinated travellers arriving in Thailand from 63 countries.
Travellers who have received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine and are flying from the UAE, the UK, the US, China, Saudi Arabia, India and much of Europe can now visit Thailand’s idyllic beaches, ancient temples and tropical islands without restrictions under the country's new "test and go" scheme.
Immunised tourists from other countries can also visit Thailand, but can currently only fly to designated blue zones that are part of the country's Sandbox programme, which involves spending seven days in the destination they arrive in, before being able to travel elsewhere.
The announcement follows numerous failed attempts to reopen Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, to visitors.
Several regions across the country are already open to vaccinated tourists as part of its Sandbox programme, including Phuket and Ko Pha-ngan. Almost 60,000 tourists have visited the country since this scheme started, according to numbers from the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
Thailand's Covid-19-hit tourism industry, which welcomed nearly 40 million visitors in the year before the pandemic, is hoping that Monday's reopening spurs a return of international travellers.
If a trip filled with culture, idyllic beaches, island-hopping and an amazing culinary scene tempts you, here’s what you need to know before you go.
Who can travel to Thailand?
Travellers from 63 countries who have received a full dose of a Covid-19 vaccination can fly to Thailand without quarantine, from November 1. Find the full list of countries at the bottom of this article.
The final dose of a vaccine must have been taken at least 14 days before arrival. Children under 12 travelling with fully vaccinated parents or guardians are not required to present a vaccination certificate.
Holidaymakers from most other destinations can continue to fly to regions in Thailand that are open to tourists under the Sandbox initiative, including Trat, Chiang Mai and Krabi.
Travellers must stay at least seven nights in their Sandbox destination, but can travel onwards elsewhere after receiving a negative Covid-19 test result on the eighth day. Children under 18 travelling with fully vaccinated parents or guardians are not required to present a vaccination certificate when flying to a Sandbox destination. There are 17 of these destinations, designated as blue zones, on the list from November 1, and this is set to be extended again on Wednesday, December 1.
Non-vaccinated travellers can also travel to Thailand, but must quarantine in an approved hotel for 10 days on arrival.
What vaccines are recognised for travel to Thailand?
Authorities are recognising all of the major Covid-19 vaccinations in line with the latest guidelines of the Thai government.
This includes Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Covishield (Serum Institute of India), Johnson & Johnson, Sinovac, SK Bioscience-AstraZeneca, Moderna and Sinopharm.
What do I need to do before I fly to Thailand?
From November 1, travellers must apply for a Thailand Pass before travelling to Thailand. This will generate a QR code that will be required for entering the country.
To get the pass, visitors must provide proof of vaccination and an approved hotel booking for the first night in Thailand. Travellers also need to confirm they've booked an on-arrival PCR test.
In addition, tourists will also need to show a negative Covid-19 test result taken no more than 72 hours before travel and proof of health insurance covering a minimum of $50,000.
After receiving a negative test result from the on-arrival test, travellers flying to Thailand under the "test and go" scheme are free to travel throughout the country.
Which airlines are flying from the UAE to Thailand?
Etihad Airways and Emirates are both flying to Thailand from the UAE, with a journey time of about six hours.
You can fly from Abu Dhabi to Bangkok with Etihad in economy class from Dh1,800 ($490). The national airline of the UAE also flies to Phuket.
From Dubai, Emirates' fares to Phuket start from Dh1,985 in economy class and are slightly more expensive to the Thai capital. Thai Airways also operates from Bangkok to Dubai.
What restrictions are in place in Thailand?
Face masks are compulsory across the country and must be worn in indoor and outdoor public places and on public transport.
Provinces across Thailand are colour coded and each colour has its own level of restrictions. The categories range from blue, which has the least restrictions, to red, where many rules remain in place.
On October 31, the Tourism Authority of Thailand said that “Covid-19 curbs in most parts of the kingdom have been eased from November 1 to facilitate the wider country reopening to vaccinated visitors from around the world”.
In four popular tourist blue zones, namely Bangkok, Krabi, Phang-nga and Phuket, a ban on alcohol consumption in restaurants ended on November 1, and the kingdom’s night curfew was also scrapped. The same rules apply in yellow zones, namely Bueng Kan, Nakhon Phanom, Mukdahan and Sakon Nakhon.
All types of entertainment venues, including pubs, bars and karaoke venues across Thailand, remain closed, except in some Sandbox destinations.
The other 13 blue zones, which include Chiang Mai and Surat Thani, continue to follow rules set by each individual province and travellers should check with the local authorities in the destination they are going to to find out what restrictions are in place.
Is Covid-19 still prevalent in Thailand?
Thailand recorded 62,034 new cases of Covid-19 infections in the week before its reopening, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University.
The country has begun a mass vaccination drive with a target of inoculating 70 per cent of the local population by 2022. Johns Hopkins University reports that just over 42 per cent of the population are fully vaccinated so far. Vaccination rates are higher in the capital and in some Sandbox destinations.
When’s the best time to travel to Thailand?
The country is reopening ahead of one of the best times to visit Thailand.
From November to March, travellers can expect some of the best weather in Thailand as it's the end of the monsoon season, meaning lush landscapes and pleasant temperatures. If you go in November, you’ll get the cool, dry days without the crowds that December typically brings.
If you’re thinking of a Thai holiday in the new year, the good weather continues through to March when the warmer shoulder season begins. July to October brings Thailand’s monsoons back to the country, which can mean anything from an afternoon shower to major flooding, making this low season for visitors.
What are the 63 countries Thailand is allowing tourists to visit from?
- Czech Republic
- New Zealand
- Saudi Arabia
- Sri Lanka
- South Korea
- Hong Kong
- Taiwan, province of China