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  • Writer's pictureWan Qing

3 Schemes, 1 Thailand

Remember Thailand’s 4 Phase Re-Opening Plan? Well, scrap that! The whole of Thailand has officially reopened to the whole world as of 1st November! The Tourism Authority of Thailand has introduced 3 schemes, with 2 being relatively new, to welcome back travellers after a long hiatus. These schemes mainly cater for tourists from low-risk countries who are vaccinated, vaccinated tourists from high-risk countries and unvaccinated tourists. Braving through wave after wave of infections, Thailand has emerged stronger with the aid of vaccines. The increased uptake of vaccines could be an explanation to the expedition of the 4 Phase Re-Opening plan. Currently, 44% of the Thai population is fully vaccinated with 16% partially vaccinated.

Test & Go (Vaccinated Travellers From Low-Risk Countries/Territories)

If you’re a fully vaccinated traveller from one of these 63 countries & territories, you can enter Thailand via the Test & Go Scheme - the most hassle-free way of travelling to Thailand. Travellers only have to pay for a PCR test kit, along with 1 night hotel accommodation of a verified TAT hotel. Here, TAT has listed down a step-by-step comprehensive guide on what to do pre-arrival, arrival and post-arrival. Travellers are free to visit anywhere in Thailand, but advised to adhere to local guidelines and measures. This may differ from provinces so remember to do your homework!

Sandbox (Vaccinated Travellers from High-Risk Countries)

While travel restrictions vary from country to country, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has also approved a backdoor way for countries that were not on the direct list. More commonly known as the Sandbox scheme, TAT is allowing travellers hailing from countries deemed as high-risk to enter Thailand via the Sandbox. Comprising 17 destinations, travellers have to stay in these destinations for at least a week before moving on to other parts of the country. The high vaccination rate in these areas plays a critical role in ensuring Thailand does not enter into its nth wave of infections after re-opening. Its main goal is to ease travellers back into Thailand’s tourism ecosystem without threatening or triggering a possible border closure.

Photo by Florian Wehde on Unsplash

Happy Quarantine Nationwide

This scheme welcomes 2 groups of tourists mainly

  1. Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated travellers

  2. Vaccinated travellers from high-risk countries who do not wish to travel to 17 Sandbox destinations

While the Sandbox is like a “soft-quarantine” where tourists can leave their hotel to explore the destination, the Happy Quarantine Scheme requires travellers to quarantine from 7 days (fully-vaccinated) to 10 - 14 days (depending on mode of travel). Travellers have to stay in a specified quarantine hotel and can only leave to explore Thailand after completing the entire quarantine duration and testing negative.

To Travel or Not?

With Thailand’s relatively stable vaccinated status, it would be safe to travel to Thailand especially if you’re travelling to major tourist destinations like Phuket where at least 85% of locals have been fully vaccinated. In fact, some of these places have also started administering booster shots to locals. Still not convinced? The festive months of November and December sees Thailand celebrating and hosting a number of festivals and events.

Photo by dogherine on Unsplash

On 19th November, Thailand will be celebrating Loi Krathong - the traditional “Festival of Lights” where locals gather near bodies of water to pray to the goddess of water. They would release floating candles onto the water and it is truly a sight to behold! If you’re interested, check out this page for the line-ups of festivals and events in November and December! What better way to kickstart your first travel/cultural experience in 2 years with Thailand!

With the introduction of these 3 schemes, it is clear that Thailand has finally reached the end of the tunnel. Post-vaccine travel has become a reality.


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