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Sandbox Travel Updates | November 2021

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  • Sandbox Travel Updates | November 2021

    3 Options to travel to Thailand from November 01. 2021

    The Tourism Authority of Thailand has released a summary of the new plans to reopen Thailand to allow international tourists to travel on November 01. 2021 Thailand will reopen without quarantine for fully vaccinated people travelling from 63 approved countries, who will only have to take a Covid-19 test on arrival and wait in an approved ASQ Hotel one day for the results. Those who want to come to Thailand but didn’t make the list of approved countries below will now be able to enter with Thailand’s new and improved Sandbox program, with a week of soft quarantine in one of 17 approved provinces.

    And even those who are not fully vaccinated will be able to travel to Thailand with a quarantine period depending on how they arrive. Those who fly in will quarantine for 10 days while those who arrive by land will require a 2-week quarantine. Those who are vaccinated but want to arrive into one of the 60 provinces that are not approved for Sandboxing will need to quarantine for one week only.
    Brunei Darussalam
    Czech Republic
    Hong Kong
    New Zealand
    Russia (not officially)
    Saudi Arabia
    South Korea
    Sri Lanka
    • Travel to Thailand by air only.
    • Travelers must be in one of the countries above for at least 3 weeks before travelling to Thailand. An exception is made for people who leave Thailand and stay in an approved country less than 3 weeks before returning to Thailand.
    • Thailand Pass (Replacement of the Certificate of Entry) - Online Application
    • Medical Certificate | Negative RT-PCR Test within 72 hours of Travelling
      An exception is made for a Medical Certificate of Recovery showing a Covid-19 recovery within 3 months.
    • US $50,000 Insurance Policy
      That covers all Covid-19 expenses for the whole duration of travel in Thailand. Returning Thai citizens eligible for national health insurance are exempt.
    • Paid Hotel for 1 Night in a SHA Plus-Certified Hotel - or:
      Alternative Quarantine, Organisation Quarantine, or Alternative Hospital Quarantine - including the cost of RT-PCR Test and ATK.
    • Certificate of Vaccination. Options are:
      (1) Full vaccination approved by the Thai Ministry of Public Health or WHO at least 2 weeks before travel. (2) An approved vaccine allowing one dose at least 2 weeks before travel. (3) Travellers under 12 with negative RT-PCR test within 72 hours, travelling with a vaccinated guardian.
    • Screening Test
      Take an exit screening Covid-19 test before travelling to Thailand.
    • Be tested immediately on arrival, either at a test centre or accommodation.
    • Travel by approved airport transfer.
    • Stay in the approved accommodation until results are received.
    • Download and use the MorChana app.
    • Once negative test results are returned, travellers can go anywhere in Thailand.
    • Travellers will receive an ATK kit that was prepaid with the ASQ Hotel booking.
      • If you have any Covid-19 symptoms, you must take the ATK.
      • If not, the test should be taken on day 6-7, with results reported in the MorChana app and to hotel staff.
      • Travellers must self-monitor for 7 days and report any symptom to their hotel, who will notify local communicable disease control authorities.
    ... ..
    For those who want to travel to Thailand who aren’t coming from one of the 63 approved countries from above, Thailand’s Sandbox Program is expanding to 17 provinces, welcoming fully vaccinated travellers: For those who are not fully vaccinated, or who do not want to Sandbox in one of the 17 provinces, the Alternative Quarantine System allows people to still travel to Thailand:
    You can travel to:

    • Bangkok
    • Krabi
    • Phang Nga
    • Phuket
    • Buri Ram - only to:
      Muang District
    • Chon Buri - only to:
      Bang Lamung
      Si Racha
      Koh Si Chang
      Sattahip District
      Tambon Na Jomtient
      Tambon Bang Sarey
    • Chiang Mai – only to:
      Doi Tao
      Mae Rim
      Mae Taeng
    • Loei - only to:
      Chiang Khan District
    • Nong Khai - only to:
      Sri Chiang Mai
      Tha Bo
    • Phetchaburi - only to:
      Cha-am Municipality
    • Prachuap Khiri Khan - only to:
      Tambon Hua Hin
      Tambon Nong Kae
    • Ranong - only to:
      Koh Phayam
    • Rayong - only to:
      Koh Samet
    • Samut Prakan
      Suvarnabhumi Airport only
    • Surat Thani - only to:
      Koh Samui
      Koh Phangan
      Koh Tao
    • Trat - only to:
      Koh Chang
    • Udon Thani - only to:
      Ban Dung
      Na Yoong
      Nong Han
      Prachak Silapakhom
    • Vaccine
      Fully vaccinated travellers can travel to Thailand with the same rules as the Sandbox with a few simplifications:
    • PCR Test
      Instead of 2 RT-PCR tests, the second test on day 6-7 can now be done with an ATK at a designated test centre.
    • Covid-19 Insurance
      The travel health insurance requirement is reduced from US $100,000 to $50,000.
    • 05 Day Quarantine
      For fully vaccinated travellers with an approved vaccine.
      10 Day Quarantine
      For partially vaccinated or unvaccinated travellers arriving by air only.
      14 Day Quarantine
      For travellers arriving by land who are partially vaccinated or unvaccinated
    .. ..



  • #2
    Zone Restrictions: Alcohol, Curfew, Restaurant Dining, Schools, Gatherings ...

    Updated: November 12.2021

    So the CCSA has radically revised the colour-coded zone scheme for Thailand ahead of the reopening, reducing the dark red zone to just 7 remaining provinces, reinstating the yellow zone for provinces under observation but not restricted, and adding a tourist blue zone that is less connected to Covid-19 stats than it is to economic stats of how it can benefit the relaunching tourism sector. But what can and can’t you do in each category? What are the restrictions for each zone? Here’s a breakdown of a few key rules and restrictions by zone.

    DARK RED Tak, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala, Songkhla
    RED Chanthaburi, Kanchanaburi, Khon Kaen, Chon Buri, Chumphon, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Chachoengsao, Trang, Trat, Nakhon Pathom, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Sawan, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Prachinburi, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Phattalung, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Phetchaburi, Phetchabun, Ranong, Rayong, Ratchaburi, Lop Buri, Satun, Samut Prakan, Samut Songkhram, Samut Sakhon, Saraburi, Sa Kaeo, Suphan Buri, Surat Thani, Ang Thong, Udon Thani, Ubon Ratchathani
    ORANGE Kalasin, Kamphaeng Phet, Chai Nat, Chaiyaphum, Buriram, Phayao, Phrae, Maha Sarakham, Mae Hong Son, Yasothon, Roi Et, Lampang, Lamphun, Loei, Singburi, Sukhothai, Surin, Nong Khai, Nong Bua Lamphu, Uttaradit, Uthai Thani, Amnat Charoen, Sisaket
    YELLOW Nakhon Panon, Nan, Bueng Kan, Mukdahan, Sakhon Nakhon
    BLUE Bangkok, Krabi, Phang Nga, Phuket
    • Alcohol Purchase in Restaurants etc.. ?
      • DARK RED: No way!
      • RED: No.
      • ORANGE: No.
      • YELLOW: Like a Magic 8 Ball, signs point to yes. Most sources only mention blue zone, but the CCSA meeting hinted that low-risk yellow provinces may get booze restrictions lifted too.
      • BLUE: Yes, in restaurants only. Entertainment venues remain closed.
    • How abour Curfew ?
      • DARK RED: Reduced to 11 pm to 3 am.
      • RED: None.
      • ORANGE: None.
      • YELLOW: None.
      • BLUE: None.
    • Working from Home ?
      • DARK RED: At least 70% of government workers, while the private sector is encouraged to do higher.
      • RED: Flexible.
      • ORANGE: Flexible.
      • YELLOW: Flexible.
      • BLUE: Flexible, except Bangkok which requires at least 70% of the workforce to work from home.
    • Hosting Gatherings ?
      • DARK RED: Call a few friends – a maximum of 50 people are allowed.
      • RED: Make it a party – a maximum of 200 people allowed.
      • ORANGE: Promote it online! Up to 500 people can attend.
      • YELLOW: Hold a convention – 1,000 people max can come.
      • BLUE: Invite LaLisa to play! You can have as many people as you want, with no capacity limit.
    • Can Kids get back to School ?
      • DARK RED: You’ll need permission from local authorities. If they deem your area as having too much Covid-19, you’re stuck with the brats.
      • RED: Schools are allowed to reopen.
      • ORANGE: Schools are allowed to reopen.
      • YELLOW: Schools are allowed to reopen.
      • BLUE: Schools are allowed to reopen.
    • Restaurant Opening Hours ?
      • DARK RED: You can dine outside before 10:00 pm when food venues must close. Air-conditioned restaurants are allowed 50% capacity and eateries without aircon are allowed 75%.
      • RED: Watch the clock – Food venues must close at 11:00 pm, but there are no seating limits.
      • ORANGE: Yes, no time or seating restrictions in this zone.
      • YELLOW: Yes, no time or seating restrictions in this zone.
      • BLUE: Yes, no time or seating restrictions in this zone.


    • #3
      Opinion: Thailand is open for tourism again, sort of.....

      Quarantine-free arrival, except that you’ll still need to book at least 1 night of stay in an approved hotel or AQ (alternative quarantine). No bars are open (officially) and, in most parts of the country, most shops remain closed. In tourist-dependent places like Phuket, more than 90% of the formerly open shops remain closed. So how ‘open’ is Thailand as it approaches the magic November 01. 2021 deadline? It’s certainly more open than most other Asian countries at this time. At least there’s now a determination by the Thai government , rightly or wrongly, to ‘live with Covid’ and get the rusty tourist machinery churning again. But, for the tourists who used to be able to simply land in Thailand, visa free, or with a simple visa on arrival, those days are now in the rear view mirror.

      But those who are happy to jump through the much-reduced set of hoops, you’ll be visiting a new Thailand – the beaches and temples much to yourself, the waters clear, few queues and a population eager to welcome you back. In many ways, there’s never been a better time to visit Thailand. But there’s still a list of somewhat confusing restrictions and regulations if you want to travel back to the land of smiles at this time. If you want to re-enter Thailand, from November 1, mostly quarantine-free, you’ll need to be fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine. You’ll also need Covid insurance to the value of US$50,000 (it used to be US$100,000). There will initially be 17 provinces you will be able to travel to, although getting to those provinces, passing through higher-risk provinces, hasn’t been explained.

      Even blogger Richard Barrow is warning people from travelling to Thailand right now…

      “I would strongly advise people not to rush to come to Thailand. Transition periods are always messy.”
      But at least the curfews, currently running from 11:00 am – 3:00 am in dark red provinces, are set to be lifted on October 31. 2021 according to the Thai PM this week. And you’ll still need to wear a mask whilst in public at all times. One of the sticking points, for some tourists anyway, is the ban on serving alcohol and the lack of nightlife. Whilst some vanguards have been opening up anyway, running the gauntlet with the local constabulary, the official line has been to keep Thailand’s nightlife, including its more lurid red-light offerings, closed. But, even there, there’s a ray of hope with speculation that this ban will too be lifted on December 01. 2021

      The recent flurry of whittling away at Thailand’s Covid restrictions, and the almost daily announcements of new re-entry procedures, is a clear narrative that Thailand’s tourist industry can’t let another high season slip by with draconian border closures. The government’s trajectory is clear on this matter. Even so, there is a long, long journey back for 10s of thousands of businesses that have been shuttered, some for more than 18 months. Most of these businesses will never open again. But, in time, new operators will come forward and pry open the doors as the travellers start heading back to Thailand. None of this will happen immediately, maybe not for many years.

      And there’s an elephant in the room awaiting travellers. If you happen to test positive from your test upon arrival, it will be off to a Thai hospital or fired hospital, at your cost. That’s a lottery no visitors will want to win. So, will it be a dribble or a flood of new arrivals? Whilst many of the tourist tzars in Thailand have been enthusiastically talking up business, almost since the day the country closed the borders back in April 2020, many of the more realistic pundits are saying Thailand’s tourism recovery could take up to a decade, assuming there are no new black swan moments.
      • Thailand’s department of optimism, rainbows and unicorns, aka. TAT Tourism Authority of Thailand, have over-estimated and underdelivered on every single prediction they’ve made in the last 18 months.
      Seemingly indifferent to the world public health emergency presented by the coronavirus pandemic, they’ve been locking horns with health officials for the past year to try and get travellers back into the country. More tourists to Thailand means they get to keep their jobs. Eventually a compromise was met in the country’s most tourist-dependent economy, Phuket, and the Sandbox was born. It was launched on July 1, against the odds. Some 40,000 travellers took advantage of the Phuket Sandbox in its first 3 months, around half of those arrivals actual tourists.
      • Hailed a ‘success’ by the TAT and Thai government, the Phuket Sandbox has been of limited economic advantage to the southern island, outside of a few, select hotels and well-connected tour operators. Other sandboxes have appeared, including Samui and Phang Nga. They’ve also had limited success and performed way below the predicted numbers from the TAT.
      But, and this is an important ‘but’, the Sandbox experiment was the precursor to this November 1 phase of Thailand’s re-opening its borders to international travellers. It set standards and procedures which are now being rolled out for many more provinces, setting the stage for greater success as Thailand lurches towards the high season. For people wanting to get their Thai ‘fix’, the Land of Smiles is spearheading a reopening to tourism compared to Bali, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and other parts of Indonesia still in the early stages of their plans.

      From November 1, in Thailand, the paperwork trail has been drastically reduced, the cumbersome Certificate of Entry is bering replaced by a Digital Thailand Pass, airlines are announcing more flights direct into Phuket and Bangkok, and even unvaccinated tourists will be able to return, albeit with a 10 day quarantine. But the whole process is a huge advance on where Thailand was a year ago when everyone had to do a full 14-15 day quarantine on arrival.

      So how ‘open’ is Thailand? Not fully open but the door is opening wide, quickly.