Thailand is aggressively ramping up its plans for a full reopening of its leisure destinations to international travellers. In doing so, it is set to become the only country in South East Asia to truly embrace vaccinated travellers as part of the greater multi-year economic recovery journey.
Government Spokesperson Mr Thanakorn Wangboonkongchan said, “This October reopening will be launched alongside with the country’s newly adjusted ‘universal prevention’ guidelines against COVID-19, under which Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chon Buri, Phetchaburi, and Prachuap Khiri Khan are getting ready” welcoming vaccinated travellers for quarantine-free travel.
Bangkok’s reopening would be partial, however, starting with areas popular with visitors, Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn told Reuters, without elaborating.
Rules for Reopening of Bangkok & Chiang Mai
It is expected that the rules and protocols, such as multiple testing, social distancing, mask-wearing and digital tracking of movement, would be in place in these four cities, similar to the protocols implemented in Phuket, Koh Samui, Krabi and Phang-Nga.
It would be interesting to see how the government plans to curb the movement of travellers from within Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chon Buri, Phetchaburi, and Prachuap Khiri Khan to other parts of the country. It is one thing to virtually fence off islands like Phuket and Koh Samui; an arduous task to seal off porous cities in the mainland.
For quarantine free leisure travel to Bangkok, Hua Hin, Pattaya and Chiang Mai, it is expected that the government would provide strict itinerary specific approvals for at least the first seven days, enforced perhaps by the hotels and tour agents.
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Thailand’s Aggressive October Reopening For Leisure Travel
As per the Tourism Authority of Thailand, from mid-October, another 21 destinations up and down the country will reopen. These include Chiang Rai, Lamphun, Mae Hong Son, Nan, Phrae, and Sukhothai in the North; Bueng Kan, Nong Khai, Ubon Ratchathani, and Udon Thani in the Northeast; Kanchanaburi and Ratchaburi in the West; Chanthaburi, Rayong, and Trat in the East; Ayutthaya in the Central Region, and Nakhon Si Thammarat, Ranong, Satun, Songkhla, and Trang in the South.
Flights & Documentations To Thailand
All major airlines have started adding routes back to Thailand. Qatar and Emirates have taken the lead with daily flights and Thai Airways links up to most major cities worldwide. However, it is not the flight booking that the challenge – it’s the collection of documents that one needs to enter Thailand that puts one off making a plan to travel.
Apart from a valid passport, these are the list of documents that need to be ready before you show up at the airport:
- Certificate of Entry (COE)
- Valid visa in your passport
- Declaration Form
- Medical Certificate with a laboratory result indicating that COVID -19 is not detected. The COVID test must be by the RT-PCR method, taken and conducted within 72 hours before departure. Some airlines do not accept home kit tests, so please check specific requirements with the airlines you are travelling with.
- Buy & Print the COVID 19 travel insurance certificate and all pages of the terms and conditions on the COVID-19 coverage and medical benefits. You may be refused to board the flight if you cannot show that the insurance meets this requirement.
- Copy of confirmed ASQ Hotel booking
- Copy of confirmed flight reservation
- COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate
- T8 Health Form
- Download the “Thailand Plus” Application on your mobile phone
Despite the barrage of documentations, some inconsequential, Thailand continues to be an excellent destination for leisure travel. We recommend increasing the duration of stay in Thailand and perhaps incorporate a work-from-remote-destination month where your office can be a beachfront villa or a lodge situated on the edges of a national park. ◼
© This article was first published online in Sept 2021 – World Travel Magazine.