All you need to know if you are planning to travel to Thailand's sandbox destinations like Krabi, and Phuket — pre-arrival requirements, and requirements during the stay in Thailand.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has recently updated the travel requirements for travellers entering cities that are part of its sandbox, and extended sandbox destinations, effective today (1 March 2022).
As a reminder, the sandbox destinations are Krabi, Phang-Nga, Phuket, Surat Thani (Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, and Ko Tao), Chon Buri (Bang Lamung, Pattaya, Si Racha, Na Jomtien, and Bang Saray) and Trat (Ko Chang); while the sandbox extended destinations are Phuket, Phang-Nga, Krabi, and Surat Thani (Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, and Ko Tao).
This sandbox scheme is applicable to travellers who are fully vaccinated, Thais, and fully-vaccinated foreigners from all countries and territories, and to specific points of entry such as:
- By air at Phuket International Airport for Krabi, Phang-Nga, and Phuket;
- By air at Krabi International Airport for Krabi;
- By air at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, and transit on a sealed flight for Ko Samui or Phuket, and
- By air at Suvarnabhumi Airport, and travel by a prearranged vehicle on a sealed route to Bang Lamung, Pattaya, Si Racha, Na Jomtien, Bang Saray, Trat (Ko Chang).
With that, before entering Thailand's sandbox destinations, travellers are required to prepare the following documents:
1. A Thailand travel pass
2. A medical certificate with an RT-PCR lab result indicating that COVID-19 is not detected, and that was issued no more than 72 hours before travelling.
- Travellers aged below six, accompanied by parents with a negative RT-PCR test result within 72 hours before travelling, are not required to have a pre-arrival negative RT-PCR test result, and can take a saliva test when entering Thailand.
- For arrivals by water, everyone onboard the vessels must have a medical certificate with an RT-PCR lab result indicating that COVID-19 is not detected within the officially specified time frame. Anyone onboard with a history of COVID-19 infection within a period between 14-90 days must have a medical certificate of recovery.
3. An insurance policy with coverage no less than US$20,000. (Thais and foreign expatriates under Thailand’s national healthcare coverage are exempt from this requirement.)
- TAT recommends that travellers make sure to check the fine print of any COVID-19 insurance policy before purchasing. Ultimately, the policy should cover the cost of treatment and other medical expenses associated with being infected with COVID-19, including in-patient hospitalisation, hospital isolation, hotel isolation, or related quarantine. The insurance policy should also cover the whole duration that travellers are planning to stay in Thailand, plus at least 10 extra days as a precautionary measure in the event that the traveller’s second swab test result returns as positive.
4. A proof of prepayment for seven nights of accommodation at government-approved hotels within the eligible sandbox destinations.
5. A proof of prepayment for one RT-PCR test on day one, and one antigen self-test kit on days five to six.
- At Krabi, Phang-Nga and Phuket: Travellers can reserve, and prepay for the RT-PCR test here (THB2,100 per test);
- At Surat Thai (Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, and Ko Tao): Travellers can book, and prepay for the RT-PCR test when booking, and prepay for accommodation at government-approved hotels (THB2,200). The test on day one will be conducted at Samui International Airport.
- At sandbox extended destinations, as well as at Chon Buri (Bang Lamung, Pattaya, Si Racha, Si Chang, Na Jomtien, and Bang Saray), and Trat (Ko Chang): Travellers are to contact the hotels for more information.
6. A certificate of COVID-19 vaccination/recovery
- Travellers aged 18 and above must be fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine at least 14 days before travelling to Thailand;
- Travellers aged between 12 to 17 (unaccompanied) must be vaccinated with at least one dose of an approved vaccine. Those travelling with parents are exempt from this requirement;
- Travellers aged between six to 11, travelling with parents, are exempt from this requirement.
- For arrivals by water, everyone onboard must be fully vaccinated. This is except for travellers under 18 years of age, travelling with parents or guardians. An update on this will be provided by TAT as soon as the official information becomes available.
- Travellers with a history of COVID-19 infection who have recovered by medical treatment, and travellers who have received at least one dose of an approved vaccine post-infection must have a certificate of COVID-19 recovery.
"All travellers must undergo ‘exit screening’ at the point of departure, i.e., at the airline check-in counter and present the required documents to the person-in-charge to carry out the checks," the TAT further reminded.
On top of that, during the stay at Thailand's sandbox destinations, travellers are required to:
1. Undergo entry screening including body temperature check, and present the required documents to the immigration/health control officer to carry out the checks at the point of entry for arrivals on a direct flight to Thailand’s international airports, and for arrivals on a domestic connecting flight either at the first point of entry before boarding the transit flight, or at the final airport.
2. Proceed to the prearranged accommodation or medical facility to undergo the first RT-PCR test. The trip must be by a prearranged vehicle on a sealed route within a travelling time of no longer than five hours. Then, all travellers must wait for the test result within the hotel only. Travellers aged below six, travelling with parents, can take a saliva test.
- Travellers whose test result returns negative can enjoy travel activities within the sandbox areas throughout the seven days, but must return to their prearranged accommodation on a nightly basis. They are not allowed to stay overnight in any other places. In addition, they will be provided with one antigen self-test kit for a self-test on day five to six, and be required to report/record the result via the MorChana application, or another specified application.
- Travellers whose test result returns positive will be referred for appropriate medical treatment. The expenses must be covered by the required insurance, by own expense for foreign travellers, or by national healthcare coverage for Thais, and eligible foreign expatriates.
- Pending the conditions, travellers may be medically advised to receive treatment in either hospital, hotel isolation, or community isolation.
- While receiving the medical treatment, for at least 10 days, travellers must only remain in their accommodation. They should not leave their accommodation unless most necessary, and must notify the communicable disease control officer-in-charge.
- After having recovered from COVID-19, travellers will receive a medical certificate of recovery.
3. Stay at least the first seven days (nights) within the sandbox destinations, if planning to continue the journey to other destinations in Thailand. If not, travellers are required to leave Thailand. Travellers who intend to stay more than seven nights, and to continue their journey to other parts of Thailand, must undergo self-testing on days five to six. After receiving a negative test result, travellers can obtain a ‘release form’, and continue the journey.
4. Strictly follow the standard, good personal hygiene practices; such as wearing a mask in public, maintaining hand hygiene (washing with soap and water or using hand sanitiser), and keeping a physical distance of at least one metre from others.
- Travellers who experience COVID-like symptoms should get tested. If tested positive, travellers must receive the appropriate medical treatment.
5. All travellers must download and install the MorChana application, use it at all times for the COVID-19 precautionary measures, and record the test result on days five to six in the application.
Travellers can note that self-testing on days five to six will not be required if the traveller’s length of stay in the sandbox destinations is not more than five nights, or the traveller's scheduled international departure date out of Thailand is on day five or earlier.
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