What you need to know about entering Thailand now
One of the most popular destinations in the world has reopened to tourists, but reaching the kingdom of smiles is still not easy.
Thailand is in no hurry to fully open up to visitors from overseas. Currently, after various discovery experiments, the kingdom welcomes fully vaccinated travellers from 63 approved countries to visit without quarantine through a program called Test and Go. Children under 12 years old travelling with their parents do not need vaccinations.
How Thailand lives without tourists
According to local Bangkok resident Tasar Taksinapan, who works in the tourism industry, 15 months without international tourism has given Thais the opportunity to travel more around their country themselves.
“I had the opportunity to visit temples in Thailand that I usually didn’t go to because they were overcrowded with tourists,” Taksinapan said.
“Right now, before international tourism is fully back, it’s the perfect time to visit Thailand, not too busy and very welcoming service in establishments that continue to operate even during the pandemic crisis,” he added.
What you need to enter Thailand
Under the Test and Go program, vaccinated travellers must take several steps before travelling to Thailand. They need to purchase an insurance policy that covers at least $ 50,000 for coronavirus treatment and must book an overnight package at a government-approved hotel that includes private transportation and a PCR test on arrival.
Warning: Please make sure your hotel room reservation includes transportation and testing. Some hotels and websites cheat Test and Go travellers, causing tourists arriving in Thailand to buy a new package or send them back home.
Travellers will need to upload their documents, including proof of vaccination and Thailand accommodation reservations, into the Thailand Pass system, which provides a QR code.
Marion Walsh Hedouin, a spokeswoman for Minor Hotels, which operates Anantara and Avani hotels in Thailand, said the Thailand Pass could be a problem for travellers who applied at the last minute. Due to the current surge in demand to enter Thailand, it may take seven days to obtain the code.
Prior to boarding, passengers must provide the airline with confirmation of a negative coronavirus test taken within 72 hours of departure. Upon arrival, they will present the QR code of the Thailand Pass, and then they will be taken by pre-arranged transport to the hotel for an on-site PCR test.
Visitors must then wait at the hotel for a negative result, and once confirmed, they can travel further. Tourists will also receive an antigen assay kit that will be used on the sixth or seventh day of the trip, and the result will need to be entered into the MorChana tracking app.
Foreigners who have not been fully vaccinated are not eligible for the Test and Go program. Instead, they must abide by the rules of the alternative quarantine program and remain in a pre-booked, government-approved hotel for 10 days of quarantine upon arrival.
What are the restrictions now in Thailand?
Tourists in Thailand are currently not asked to show their vaccination status at tourist sites and businesses, but there are some changes compared to visiting the kingdom before the pandemic.
“There are not many restrictions,” Taksinapan said. “About 80 per cent have already returned to normal.”
All residents and visitors to Thailand are required to wear a mask indoors and outdoors in public areas. Tourists are already paying attention to the violation of this rule, which entails a fine of about $ 600.
According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, entertainment venues such as bars and karaoke facilities remain closed. But most businesses and events in the country’s Blue Zone, such as Bangkok and Phuket, have reopened during regular hours: restaurants, markets, attractions, scuba diving, massage parlours and spas are all active venues and events.
“You can take a stroll through the city to catch a taxi, go to the museum and a restaurant to fly to Chiang Mai, if you want, – said Tasar Taksinapan – The only thing that may be different from, possibly, other countries right now that when you’re on the street Thailand, you must wear a mask. “
“As for the famous street food in the country, it continues to be, has not disappeared anywhere, and there may be even more of it now than before,” added Taksinapan.
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