Unlocking the World

Traveling to Thailand during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

CNN StaffUpdated 26th November 2021
Up next
Editor's Note — Coronavirus cases are in flux across the globe. Health officials caution that staying home is the best way to stem transmission until you're fully vaccinated. Below is information on what to know if you still plan to travel, last updated on November 26, 2021.
(CNN) — If you're planning to travel to Thailand, here's what you'll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The basics

Thailand has recorded more than 20,000 deaths and over 2 million cases of Covid-19 as of November 26. The country is currently easing out of its worst wave since the start of the pandemic, with Covid-19 cases now declining. On average, around 7,000 Covid-19 cases are reported per day.
On November 1, Thailand began allowing vaccinated international travelers who have resided in one of 63 countries and territories for at least 21 days to enter without having to enter into a lengthy quarantine. (They do, however, need to stay in a government-approved hotel for one night while they await the results of their Covid-19 test.)
Approved countries and territories include Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, the UK, the US and Hong Kong.
The full list can be found on the Tourism Authority of Thailand website. Further details below.
Fully vaccinated travelers arriving by air from countries not on the list are eligible to enter through a "sandbox" scheme that requires them to stay in a government-approved hotel or resort in one of 17 "blue" destinations, including Phuket, Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Koh Samui, for seven nights before they will be allowed to travel freely in the country.
Travelers who have not been fully vaccinated are required to quarantine in an approved hotel for 10 days.

What's on offer

Picture-perfect islands. Golden beaches with swaying palms. Ornate temples and lush forests. Thailand has long been the go-to destination for those after a no-nonsense, easy-on-the-eyes tropical break.

Who can go

Holders of US, Canada, UK and Australia passports are among those not required to obtain a visa when entering Thailand for tourism purposes and will be permitted to stay in Thailand for a period not exceeding 45 days on each visit.
Tourists from countries not on the visa exemption list can apply for a Special Tourist Visa (STV), which allows for 90-day stays, and can be renewed twice. You must apply for an STV via the Thai consulate or embassy in your own country.

What are the entry restrictions?

All travelers need to apply for a "Thailand Pass" prior to their journey and are subject to two required Covid-19 tests: the first test upon arrival by an RT-PCR method, the second test on Day 6-7 with a self-testing Antigen Rapid Test.
Foreign tourists must provide proof of an insurance policy that covers treatment for Covid-19 up to the cost of $50,000. All travelers need to provide proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure.
From November 1, fully vaccinated travelers residing in one of the approved 63 countries/territories wishing to enter Thailand without quarantine restrictions must check into a Thailand Safety and Health Administration accredited (SHA+) hotel for one night to await the results of their Covid-19 test.
After that, they are free to travel in the country.
Visitors under the age of 12 who are traveling with their parents are exempt from the vaccination requirement.
Fully vaccinated travelers coming from a country not on the approved list can opt to enter via the "Sandbox" program, which includes 17 Blue Zone destinations.
The 17 destinations are Bangkok, Krabi, Chonburi (including Pattaya), Chiang Mai, Trat, Buriram, Prachuap Kiri Khan (including Hua Hin), Phang-nga, Petchaburi, Phuket, Ranong, Rayong, Loei, Samut Prakan, Surat Thani, Nong Khai and Udon Thani.

Visitors entering via the Sandbox program need to stay in a SHA+ hotel or resort for seven nights. At the end of this period they will be permitted to travel elsewhere in the country. Travelers under 18 and traveling with their parents as part of the Sandbox program are exempt from the vaccination requirement.
Unvaccinated travelers must quarantine at government-approved quarantine facilities or Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) facilities. This can include luxury hotels, some of which have developed quarantine packages.
A full list of participating hotels and resorts, along with package rates, can be found here: asq.locanation.com.

What's the Covid situation?

For months, Thailand reported few locally transmitted Covid-19 cases thanks to strict quarantine on arrival rules.
However, the country is now coming out of its third and worst wave of infections, which emerged from outbreak clusters in several Bangkok nightclubs in early April of 2021.
At the moment, cases are dropping following a lengthy lockdown period and the country is reporting around 7,000 new cases per day on average.
A nationwide vaccine program officially kicked off on June 7. Thailand aims to vaccinate 70% of the population by the end of 2021.
According to CNN's vaccine tracker, about 56% of the country's citizens have been fully vaccinated.

What can visitors expect?

Restrictions vary throughout the country, in line with a color-coded zoning system designed to reflect the Covid-19 situation in individual provinces.
A curfew in place in Bangkok and other areas was lifted on November 1.
A 10 p.m. curfew remains in place in seven "dark-red" provinces: Chanthaburi, Tak, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Narathiwat, Pattani, Songkhla and Yala.
Museums, art galleries, historical sites, ancient monuments, spas, cinemas, pools, tattoo studios and sporting facilities are open throughout the country but required to operate under strict public health measures and limit the number of visitors at 75% of normal capacity.
Restaurants in Bangkok have resumed normal operating hours, and are allowed to serve dine-in customers alcoholic beverages. The sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages remains prohibited in restaurants in the orange, red and dark-red zones.
As of October 13, 100 of Thailand's 155 National Parks are open to visitors.
Entertainment venues -- including bars and nightclubs -- throughout the country remain closed.
Interprovincial travel has been allowed to resume, including domestic flights to and from high-risk areas.
Masks are worn at all times in public, both indoors and out, while temperature checks are the norm. Those who do not wear masks face fines.

Useful links

Our latest coverage

Officials in Thailand have announced a reopening date for one of the country's most famous attractions. Maya Bay, a beautiful cove made famous by "The Beach" -- a 2000 film starring Leonardo DiCaprio -- will reopen to tourists on January 1, 2022 Read more about the reopening here.
Thailand has relaxed its quarantine restrictions and is reopening to vaccinated travelers arriving from several dozen countries and territories, providing a much-needed boost for the country's embattled tourism industry. More here.
The economic effects of Covid-19 on Chiang Mai in northern Thailand have been nothing short of devastating, with many travel-related businesses closing and thousands of people losing their jobs. CNN speaks with some of the affected business owners.
As Thailand continues to battle its third and worst Covid-19 wave since the start of the pandemic, the popular resort island of Phuket has reopened to vaccinated travelers without quarantine restrictions. With the pilot project well underway, several other tourism islands in the region are paying attention.
With international tourism sidelined for over a year, Phuket continues to struggle. Many of the island's beaches are deserted, while businesses remain closed. Read more about what it's like to visit now.
Most travelers who have backpacked through Asia have spent at least a few days on Bangkok's Khao San Road. We take a closer look at how the busy thoroughfare evolved from a rice market into the world's most famous travel hub.
Phuket is one of the world's best known beach resorts, and is also home to one of the world's best beaches for plane-spotting. Planning to head there? Be sure to check out Pru, Phuket's first and only Michelin-starred restaurant.
Meanwhile, resort towns within driving distance of Bangkok are taking advantage of locals' urge to travel. Among these is the seaside town of Hua Hin. Here's a look at how resorts there have adapted to the pandemic.