Currently the travelling to Thailand is still a bit complicated procedure called as the "sandbox" project. However, the Tourism Authority of Thailand has given out information that in October-November they would slowly move back to normal entry-procedures to Thailand. We are following the situation closely and update you all as soon as we receive some official and confirmed details.
Phuket "Sandbox" tourism programme enables fully vaccinated international travellers to arrive and stay in Phuket for 2 weeks (or more). After the first week in Phuket travellers can also go to other areas in Krabi (Ko Phi Phi, Ko Ngai, or Railay), Phang-Nga (Khao Lak or Ko Yao), or Surat Thani (Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, or Ko Tao).
PLANNING A HOLIDAY TO PHUKET NOW? QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.
Preparing for Travel
Q: What do foreign travellers planning to visit under the Phuket Sandbox programme need to know/do before they travel?
A: They should make sure they have covered all the necessary requirements and have all the required documentation. This includes:
- A passport with at least 6 months validity
- Have been in countries/territories approved by Thailand’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) for 21 days or more. The list can be viewed below this paragraph
- Been fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved by Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) or the World Health Organisation (WHO).
- Have booked and purchased return air travel
- Have booked and paid for accommodation for no less than 14 nights that includes at least 7 nights in Phuket at a SHA Plus hotel
- Have booked and paid for RT-PCR tests that cover the whole duration of stay in Thailand via www.thailandpsas.com
- Have purchased medical insurance with COVID-19 treatment coverage of at least US$100,000.
Have tested negative for COVID-19 with a laboratory result no longer than 72 hours before travel.
Q: What airlines are operating direct flights to Phuket?
A: Currently, Cathay Pacific, HK Express, El Al Israel Airlines, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, and Thai Airways International (THAI) are operating direct international flights to Phuket. Most European Charter flights are starting in November 2021.
Please check flight schedules on the respective airlines’ websites.
Q: If I am travelling with a child under the age of 18, does he/she need to be fully vaccinated?
A: Travellers under 18 years of age are not required to be vaccinated if travelling with fully vaccinated parents or guardians, but must have a medical certificate with a negative Covid-19 test result no more than 72 hours before their travel date.
Applying for the Phuket Sandbox Programme
Q: How can I apply for the programme?
A: Providing you meet all the above points in the ‘Preparing for Travel’ section, you can go to https://coethailand.mfa.go.th/ to apply for a Certificate of Entry (COE).
Q: If I want to stay 7 nights in Phuket and another 7 nights in the extension area/s, do I need to apply for two COEs?
A: No. You only need to apply for one COE as long as you have all the required documentation.
Q: Will I be notified of the application result?
A: Yes, if you have provided a valid email when you register.
Q: Do I need to apply for a visa?
A: Yes, if required (depends on your nationality and length of stay).
Day of Travel
Q: Do I need to bring all the documentation that was required for the COE with me?
A: Yes, you need to print out all documentation, which must be in English.
Q: Will I have to undergo exit screening at my point of departure?
A: Yes. You also need to be able to present all the required documentation upon request during the flight check-in.
Please note that failing to comply with your respective airline’s guidelines can result in denied boarding.
Arrival in Phuket
Q: What is the procedure after disembarking from my flight?
A: Upon arrival at Phuket International Airport, all travellers are subject to health screening, including a COVID-19 test, and Immigration and Customs procedures. Children under 6 years of age will receive a COVID-19 saliva test.
Travellers must download and install an alert application, as well as set the application on at all times for the whole duration in Thailand.
Q: After I clear health control and Immigration, do I need to proceed directly to my hotel?
A: Yes. You will need to go straight to your hotel where you must wait for the test result.
Q: Can I stop enroute to the hotel for any reason?
A: No, this is not permitted.
Q: Can I take public transportation for the airport-hotel transfer?
A: No. The transfer is prearranged.
Q: How long will I have to wait for my test result?
A: The result will be available within the first day of your arrival.
During Your Stay (in Phuket)
Q: If I test negative, can I travel freely around Phuket?
A: Yes, you can go anywhere you want within Phuket, BUT you must strictly follow the DMHTTA precautions:
- D – Distancing
- M – Mask wearing
- H – Handwashing
- T – Temperature check
- T – Testing for COVID-19, and
- A – alert application.
Masks must be worn at all times in public areas and in any vehicle with two or more people.
Q: What tours and excursions, transportation, and restaurants should I use while in Phuket?
A: It is recommended that you use SHA Plus operators for tours and transportation and SHA Plus restaurants for dining although this is not compulsory.
Q: Why do I have to stay at a SHA Plus hotel or use a SHA Plus service?
A: It is for your added safety, as SHA Plus certification indicates hotels, restaurants, transportation providers, and tour services who meet the safety measures to control COVID-19, and also that at least 70% of their workforce has been fully vaccinated.
Q: Can my friend/family member who is already in Phuket join me at my hotel?
A: Yes, providing the guest follows all the rules stipulated for Thais and expats in Thailand.
Q: Must I stay the full 14 nights at 1 SHA Plus hotel in Phuket?
A: You can stay the 14 nights at the same hotel, or after staying the first 7 nights at 1 hotel, you can then move to another SHA Plus hotel/s for the rest of your stay. Whatever your choice, it must all be prepaid. A decision to move hotels cannot be made on the spot.
Q: Can I stay at a SHA Plus hotel in Phuket for less than 14 nights; for example, only 5 nights, and then leave Phuket for another country?
A: Yes, you can stay in Phuket less than 14 nights. However, you must leave Phuket immediately on an international flight to another country.
Q: Does this mean that, likewise, after 5 nights in Phuket, I can travel to other Thai destinations?
A: No, you cannot. You must leave Thailand immediately. If you want to visit other Thai destinations, you need to first complete a 14-night stay in Phuket.
Travelling to other provinces
Q: What is the procedure after I have finished my 7 nights in Phuket and am ready to continue onto my extension area?
A: You must obtain a ‘Transfer Form’ issued by your hotel in Phuket indicating that you have stayed in Phuket for 7 nights, which you will need to show together with the negative results of their 2 COVID-19 tests (conducted on Day 0 and Day 6-7 in Phuket).
Q: Where specifically can I stay in the extension areas?
A: The extension programme is based on approved areas, and it is these areas which you are welcome to visit. They are Ko Phi Phi, Ko Ngai and Railay in Krabi; Khao Lak and Ko Yao in Phang-Nga, and Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan and Ko Tao in Surat Thani.
Q: What is the arrangement for a transfer from Phuket to the extension area?
A: Your transfer to your extension area, by boat, car, or plane must be reserved in advance, and is available only via approved routes as follows:
- Krabi (Ko Phi Phi, Ko Ngai, or Railay) can be reached by SHA Plus-certified boat and ferry services from the approved piers – Ao Po Pier, Chalong Pier, Rassada Pier, and Wisit Panwa Pier.
- Phang-Nga (Khao Lak) can be reached by SHA Plus-certified car transfer services from Phuket direct to the SHA Plus-certified hotels.
- Phang-Nga (Ko Yao Noi or Ko Yao Yai) can be reached via SHA Plus-certified boat and ferry services from the approved piers – Ao Po Pier and Ao Po Grand Marina- to Ko Yao Yai’s Chonglat Pier and Ban Laem Yai Pier and to Ko Yao Noi’s Manoh Pier.
- Surat Thani (Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, or Ko Tao) can be reached via Bangkok Airways’ direct domestic flight on the Phuket-Ko Samui route.
Q: Can I stay in Phuket 7 nights, then stay in my extension area in Krabi for 4 nights, and then another extension areas in Phang-Nga, or Surat Thani for the remaining 3 nights?
A: No, this is not permitted. You must choose only one extension area to stay for 7 nights, which must be booked and paid for when you apply for the COE.
Q: Can I choose to stay in any areas in either Krabi, Phang-Nga, or Surat Thani?
A: No, this is not permitted. For your health and safety, you are welcome to spend another 7 nights in any of these approved extension areas: Ko Phi Phi, Ko Ngai, or Railay in Krabi; Khao Lak or Ko Yao in Phang-Nga, and Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, or Ko Tao in Surat Thani.
Q: Do I have to stay at a SHA Plus hotel in my extension area/s?
A: Yes. It is for your added safety, as the SHA Plus certification indicates a hotel meets the safety measures to control COVID-19, and also that at least 70% of its workforce has been fully vaccinated.
Q: Can I travel freely around my extension area during my extended 7-night stay?
A: You can go anywhere you want within the approved areas, which are:
- Ko Phi Phi, Ko Ngai and Railay in Krabi
- Khao Lak in Phang-Nga
- Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan and Ko Tao in Surat Thani.
Q: Can I rent a vehicle while in my extension area?
A: Yes, you can. Again, it is recommended that you use a SHA Plus rental car service although this is not compulsory.
Q: Can my friend/family member who is already in my extension area join me at my hotel?
A: Yes, they can. However, they must have also strictly followed the requirements for entering the respective provinces.
COVID-19 Testing Requirement
Q: Must COVID-19 test be pre-book and pre-paid?
A: All required testing must be pre-booked and prepaid through www.thailandpsas.com; the number of tests depends on the duration of your stay (3 tests are required during 2 weeks holiday).
Q: How many more tests must I do during my stay if I only stay in Phuket?
A: If your stay is less than 14 nights, you are required to take additional tests on Day 6-7 and/or on Day 12-13, depending on the duration of stay.
Q: Where can I get the Covid-19 test done?
A: Tests can be done in various swab centers:
Phuket Swab Centres
Maikhao: (North Phuket) Tel. 096-643-4572
Laguna: (Cherngtalay) 076-325-442
Patong: (Jungceylon) 093-574-0683
Kata: (Kata Centre) 081-693-6586
Phuket Town: (Central Floresta) 088-765-0363
Krabi Swab Centres
Ko Phi Phi Swab Centers: Phi Phi Hospital (Tel. 075-622-151) and Worldmed Clinic (Tel. 095-424-0444)
Ko Ngai Swab Centre: Thapwarin Resort (Tel. 075-815-555)
Railay Swab Center: Sunrise Tropical (Tel. 075-815-555) and SOS Railay Clinic (Tel.098-010-9993)
Phang-Nga Swab Centres
Na Tai: Takuathong Hospital (Tel. 076-581-394)
Thai Mueng – Nam Kem Beach: The Andaman Hub Medical Centre (Tel. 076-486-799)
Ko Yao Noi: Ko Yao Chaipat Hospital (Tel. 076-597-109)
Ko Yao Yai: Phru Nai Hospital Health Centre (Tel. 076-582-500)
Surat Thani Swab Centres
Ko Samui: Hospital Tel.077-913-200 ext.4010
Ko Pha-ngan: Hospital Tel.077-377-034 ext.1901-1902
Ko Tao: Hospital Tel.077-456-490 ext.210
Q: If I test positive, what will happen?
A: You will be sent to a healthcare facility for appropriate medical treatment, for which the expenses must be covered by the required insurance.
Please note that if you are travelling as a group, the rest of the group must also be transferred to an alternative quarantine (AQ) hotel for 14 nights, and they will be responsible for the AQ expenses.
Q: What should I do if I feel unwell, or suspect possible COVID-19 infection?
A: Any person experiencing COVID-19 symptoms must immediately get a test done. If the person is travelling in a group, every person in the group must undergo a test.
Domestic / International Departure
Please note that each destination in Thailand has entry requirements, and you should check on these beforehand, to make sure you meet them.
- For travelling from Phuket to other Thai destinations, you are required to show proof that you have completed a 14-night stay in Phuket together with the negative results of their 3 COVID-19 tests along with other required documentation per the guidelines and measures announced by the respective destinations.
- For travelling from the extension area to other Thai destinations, you are required to show proof that you have completed a 7-night stay in Phuket and another 7-night stay in the extension area together with the negative results of their 3 COVID-19 tests along with other required documentation per the guidelines and measures announced by the respective destinations.
Q: What about entry requirements of the country/territory I will fly to after my stay in Thailand?
A: It is your responsibility to make sure you meet the requirements of your specific international destination. Thailand is not responsible or able to assist on this matter.
Source of information: https://www.tatnews.org/
Kindly note the above information is subject to change without prior notice. Updated 24 AUG 2021.