When Can We Travel To Thailand In 2021?
LAST UPDATE: MARCH 12, 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.
While many countries such as the UK and US are currently under lockdown, restrictions are gradually starting to ease as the vaccine rollout gains momentum. While there is no exact date for the resumption of international travel just yet, we at INTRO are monitoring the situation closely. So, can we travel to Thailand now?
Read on for the latest updates.
Currently, most governments are advising against all but essential international travel, including to Thailand. Thailand has managed the pandemic relatively well, as local authorities took a strong stance early on and the public followed advice about masks and social distancing. In most parts of the country the day-to-day situation feels relatively normal, and low case numbers mean it's a fairly safe place right now.
AM I ALLOWED TO TRAVEL TO THAILAND?
It is possible to fly into Thailand, but entry restrictions are tight as the government understandably doesn’t want new infections coming from overseas.
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.
Holders of passports on this list including USA, Canadian, UK, Australian passports are not required to obtain a visa when entering Thailand for tourism if staying for a short period not exceeding 45 days. A CoE and other documents listed below are still required. Passport holders from other countries, or those wishing to stay long-term must have either a:
- Tourist Visa (TR) - valid for single entry for tourism purposes only. Travellers on this visa are allowed to stay for 60 days, but an extension is possible for 30 days, with a maximum stay of 90 days total.
- Special Tourist Visa (STV) - this special long-term tourist visa allows nationals of all countries to stay up for 90 days, but can be renewed twice to allow a maximum stay of 9 months.
NEGATIVE COVID RESULT
Travellers must present a 'Fit to Fly' health certificate AND evidence of a negative covid test issued no more than 72 hours before departure.
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.
All entering Thailand must do a covid test on arrival and compulsory 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, but this will be reduced to 10 days* after April 1st 2021. Many hotels have created quarantine packages for this purpose.
*14 day quarantine will remain compulsory for anyone travelling from South Africa.
All arrivals in Thailand must register with the ThailandPlus app to monitor virus spread.
OPEN TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
Tourist attractions like 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 with limited hours.
Each country has different restrictions for travellers arriving from abroad.
Anyone arriving in the UK must quarantine for 10 days and take 2 COVID tests while in quarantine. Residents arriving in the UK from the red list of countries must quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days.
Australia has banned entry to everyone but residents, who must undergo mandatory quarantine for 14 days at a designated facility. They may be required to pay for costs of quarantine.
For information relevant to your situation, keep up to date with local government announcements.
Like many countries in South East Asia, Thailand is under pressure to reopen, but the government has a duty to ensure the health and safety of Thai citizens. Special visa schemes began in the hope of reviving Thailand's tourism economy, but given the difficulty for travellers to fulfil criteria it has had limited success. Only open borders will help Thailand's economy recover. If you’re in it for the long haul you can enter Thailand, but most travellers will wait for restrictions to ease.
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 will hopefully see a return to 'regular' life sooner rather than later, and it's speculated that countries such as Thailand will eventually ease restrictions so travellers may enter without quarantining in the next few months.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is developing a vaccine passport system that will allow travellers to store official certifications for tests and vaccines. This information can be used by governments requiring testing or vaccination proofs as condition of entry during and after the pandemic, so countries can confidently reopen borders without imposing quarantines. Find out more here.
We will update this article and our COVID page as official news breaks.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME OF YEAR 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 - we’re on our way.
WHY VISIT THAILAND?
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 in 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 bias, 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 pickup 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's 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, it is looking quite likely in the not too distant future. Travel restrictions are beginning to ease 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! Oh, and did we mention that all of the activities on our itineraries are included? You heard right - everything we mention is included in the tour - no extra payments required.
With flexible booking policies and complete support during this uncertain time, you can be confident booking with INTRO. Just imagine that first sip of airport beer… you deserve an adventure after all this.