When Can We Travel To Thailand In 2021?
LAST UPDATE: JULY 26, 2021
Disclaimer: This information is collated from official sources but general in nature. Entry requirements are subject to change at any time. Keep checking for the latest advice from your local government, embassy or consulate to confirm any visa or entry requirements before travel.
Things around the world are gradually returning to normal as the global vaccine rollout gains momentum. While there is no set date for the resumption of full international travel, we at INTRO are monitoring the situation closely. So, can we travel to Thailand in 2021? Read on for the latest updates.
AM I ALLOWED TO TRAVEL TO THAILAND?
It is possible to fly into Thailand right now, but general entry restrictions remain tight as the government wants to control risk from international arrivals. From July, fully vaccinated travellers will be able to travel to Thailand through Phuket and Koh Samui under eased restrictions thanks to the Phuket Sandbox and Samui Plus trials. Read on for details.
International travel to Thailand is permitted with prior approval. Currently, all travellers need to obtain a Certificate of Entry (CoE), a mandatory official document issued to those permitted to enter Thailand. A CoE can be issued by your local Thai embassy or through the Royal Thai Government's online platform.
Most nationalities including the UK, Europe, Australia, NZ, Canada, USD, Scandinavia and Brazil will usually receive a 30-day visa exemption on arrival for free. If you would like a longer tourist visa or are not eligible for the visa exemption, you can apply for a visa at your nearest Thai consulate prior to entering Thailand.
A new visa option for long term travellers is the Thailand Special Tourist Visa (STV) to enter. This long-term tourist visa allows nationals of all countries to stay for a minimum of 90 days, but can be renewed twice to allow a maximum stay of 9 months.
For additional details, as well as any exemptions, view the government source (Royal Thai Embassy)
NEGATIVE COVID RESULT
Travellers must present evidence of a negative PCR test issued no more than 72 hours before departure.
DO I NEED A VACCINE?
The current entry restrictions do not have mandatory Covid vaccine requirements. However, Thailand’s Prime Minister has announced plans to fully reopen the country to vaccinated foreign tourists by mid-October 2021. Basically, if you're fully vaxxed it'll definitely be easier for you to travel to Thailand when it opens. Read more.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand has confirmed a ‘Phuket Sandbox Programme’, where the island of Phuket will start welcoming fully vaccinated foreign tourists without the need to undergo mandatory quarantine from July 1st 2021. Under this program, visitors stay in Phuket for at least 14 days, after which they are free to travel in Thailand. One caveat is that tourists must come from a country in the approved 'low-medium risk' list and must have stayed there at least 21 days before departure. Find out more here.
As of July 15 2021, this quarantine-free programme for vaccinated tourists is extended to the islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao. Arrivals must stay at an approved Samui resort for 7 days before visiting neighbouring Koh Tao and Phangan. Find out more here.
PROOF OF INSURANCE
Travellers must present proof of medical insurance guaranteeing that the provider can cover a minimum of $100 000 USD (or local currency equivalent) for treatment during their stay.
Travellers entering Thailand must do a Covid test on arrival and quarantine at a state government-designated facility at their own expense. This requires evidence of booked state quarantine or alternative state quarantine (ASQ) for 14 days. Many hotels have created quarantine packages for this purpose.
Fully vaccinated travellers arriving in Phuket or Samui under the Sandbox Programme from July 2021 are exempt from a strict quarantine, but must have pre-booked accomodation for 14 days certified by the Amazing Thailand Safety & Health Administration (SHA).
All arrivals in Thailand must register with the ThailandPlus app to monitor virus spread.
RESTRICTIONS & OPEN TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
Tourist attractions such has museums and temples have begun reopening. National parks and beaches are open, but some have restrictions and curfews in place. Restaurants and bars are open. Masks must be worn in public spaces.
Each country has different restrictions for travellers arriving from abroad.
In official news from the UK Government, fully vaccinated UK residents arriving in England from 'amber' travel list countries will no longer have to quarantine from July 19 2021. The advice against travel to amber list countries (which at time of writing includes Thailand) has also been lifted, meaning that once Thailand allows easy entry for travellers we will be getting ready to run group tours again! Find out more about UK travel restrictions via this link.
For information relevant to your situation keep up to date with local government announcements.
Like many countries in South East Asia, Thailand is eager to reopen and restart the crucially important tourism economy. The ‘Phuket Sandbox Programme’ is expected to fine-tune things for planned country-wide reopening later this year. Part of the preparation includes having at least 70% of the local Thai population in Phuket vaccinated, and acceleration of country-wide vaccination rates.
Bottom line - Thailand is making serious moves to enable international travel for vaccinated tourists in October 2021.
NOTE: This information is of a general nature and restrictions are subject to change, so keep in touch with the latest official advice from your local government and Thai authorities.
WHEN WILL THAILAND FULLY REOPEN TO TOURISM?
Due to the groundbreaking work of scientists around the globe, the distribution of Covid vaccines has ramped up at incredible speed. Vaccines are allowing life to slowly return to normal, and Thailand’s Prime Minister has announced plans to fully reopen the country to vaccinated tourists by mid-October 2021 to restart the Thailand's huge tourism economy. This news, plus the UK Government announcement that says fully vaccinated UK travellers don't need to quarantine on return, has us incredibly excited about the prospect of running group tours in Thailand again soon.
We will update this article and our COVID page as official news breaks about when our Thailand group tours will recommence.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME OF YEAR TO TRAVEL TO THAILAND?
The great thing about Thailand is that the country experiences pretty amazing weather year-round. The cooler, dry season between November and April brings pleasant temperatures, sunny skies, and is usually regarded as the best time to go, but even in the rainy season (July - October) the downpours rarely last long and most activities are still on offer. The climate varies through the country, so while the islands go through tropical heatwaves it can be chilly up in Chiang Mai, so pack layers. Needless to say, when Thailand safely reopens for international travel we won't care what month it is - get us to the Land of Smiles ASAP.
WHY VISIT THAILAND?
Why visit Thailand? Why not! Thailand has long been the traveller’s gateway to South East Asia. Known for welcoming people, spice-laden cuisine, gorgeous landscapes and idyllic beaches, there are plenty of things to see and do in the Land of Smiles.
EXPLORE ANCIENT TEMPLES & VIBRANT CITIES
From Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Thailand is covered in cities where traditional culture and modernity clash. There are over 40 000 beautiful temples to explore, tuk-tuks to ride, markets to browse, and bars to drink at when travelling through Thailand.
IMMERSE YOURSELF IN MOTHER NATURE
Thailand's iconic limestone inlets and stunning beaches aren't limited to islands like Koh Samui and Koh Phi Phi. Hidden gems like Khao Sok National Park - a landscape of mountains and ancient rainforests - exist throughout the country, waiting for the intrepid traveller to find.
HIT THE BEACH
Of course, there's nothing wrong with Thailand's famous island beaches! Snorkel, sun-bake, sip a drink, there's fun in the sun for everyone. For more inspiration about things to do in the Phi Phi islands, check out our blog here.
INDULGE IN DELICIOUS CUISINE
We're probably biased, but Thai food might be the best in the world. Backpacking in Thailand is like being in noodle, curry, and stir fry heaven. The tastiest bites are found at street carts in exchange for loose change in your pocket. If you want to learn about the ingredients, culture, and pick up some practical tips along the way, sign up for a traditional cooking class and add a new dish to your repertoire. Read more about our top dishes to try in Thailand here!
GET AMONGST THE NIGHTLIFE
Bored of the dank pub down the road? In Thailand, you can drink at bars on the street, dance on the beach, and party in the pool. There are not many places in the world where you can dress in your brightest colours, order a cocktail bucket, and celebrate on the sand til' the sun comes up. The first Full Moon Party back in Koh Phangan will be a night to remember.
MEET RESCUE ELEPHANTS
If elephants aren't your favourite animal yet - they will be once you meet them. An integral part of Thailand's history and culture, these gentle giants are friendly, intelligent and adorable. Elephants should only ever be interacted with in an ethical context at a legitimate sanctuary, never ridden. The fight against animal cruelty in Thailand is ongoing, so it's important to do your research and make sure any elephant experience while travelling Thailand is socially responsible.
Although we can’t easily travel to Thailand just yet, things are looking positive for a planned reopening in October. Travel restrictions are easing and tourism will return with a surge in demand, so now is the time to get planning.
If travelling Thailand sounds like your kind of vibe, click through to check out our Thailand small group tours here! With expertly crafted itineraries, the guidance of a knowledgable group leader, full end-to-end support, and a new group of friends to make memories with, our trips are the ultimate way to discover a new country!
With flexible booking policies and complete support during this uncertain time, you can be confident booking with INTRO. Just imagine that first sip of an airport beer… aren’t you deserving of a holiday by now?