Unlocking the World

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

CNN StaffUpdated 24th January 2022
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 January 21, 2022.
(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 nearly 22,000 deaths and over 2.3 million cases of Covid-19 as of January 21, 2022.
On average, around 7,500 Covid-19 cases are reported per day.
On November 1, Thailand began allowing vaccinated international travelers from certain countries enter without having to enter into a lengthy quarantine. (They only needed to book a room in a government-approved hotel for one night while they await the results of their Covid-19 test.)
Thailand temporarily suspended its "Test and Go" program from December 22, 2021, citing the rising number of Omicron variant cases in the country.
On January 20, the country confirmed it would resume the program and begin accepting applications on February 1. Officials have added several new requirements including proof of prepayment for two separate nights of accommodation at government-approved hotels on Day 1 and Day 5.
According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, travelers can book two different hotels for the accommodation on Day 1 and Day 5. However, on both days they must stay within the room as they await the results of their mandatory RT-PCR tests.
Until then, fully vaccinated international travelers can travel to Thailand under the "Sandbox Program," meaning they need to stay for a minimum of seven days in one of the following destinations: Krabi, Phang-Na, Phuket, Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan or Ko Tao.
Travelers who have not been fully vaccinated are required to quarantine in an approved hotel for 10 days.
More information on the various entry programs can be found on the Tourism Authority of Thailand website.

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.
New applicants will be able to register for the previously mentioned "Test and Go" from February 1. Until then, they can only enter under the Alternative Quarantine (AQ) program or one of the Sandbox programs.
As part of the entry requirements, 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.
Visitors entering via the Sandbox program need to be fully vaccinated and must stay in "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.
Travelers entering via one of the Sandbox programs must have proof of a confirmed payment for at least a 7-day stay at an approved accommodation and proof of a confirmed payment for two RT-PCR tests, which can be reserved online at the www.thailandpsas.com.
Unvaccinated travelers must quarantine at government-approved quarantine facilities or Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) facilities for 10 days. 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 was easing out out of its third and worst wave of infections when the Omicron variant began to spread in January, leading to a swift increase in positive cases.
At the moment, the country is reporting around 7,500 new cases per day on average.
A nationwide vaccine program officially kicked off on June 7, 2021. According to CNN's vaccine tracker, about 65% 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.
Most major destinations are classified as "blue zones" and have had restrictions relaxed in recent weeks.
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 until 9 p.m..
However, all types of entertainment venues, including nightclubs, nationwide 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.