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Traveling to Thailand during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

CNN StaffUpdated 14th October 2021
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Editor's Note — Coronavirus cases are in flux across the globe. Health officials caution that staying home is the best way to stem transmission until you're fully vaccinated. Below is information on what to know if you still plan to travel, last updated on October 14.
(CNN) — If you're planning to travel to Thailand, here's what you'll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The basics

Thailand has recorded more than 17,500 deaths and over 1.7 million cases of Covid-19 as of October 14. The country is currently easing out of its worst wave since the start of the pandemic, with cases now declining.
On October 1, the government eased restrictions on incoming vaccinated international travelers. Vaccinated travelers flying into Bangkok must quarantine for seven days in an Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) facility. Travelers who have not been fully vaccinated, and who arrive in Thailand by air will be required to enter a 10-day quarantine.
On July 1 the island of Phuket reopened to vaccinated foreign visitors without quarantine requirements. On July 15, the country launched a similar program on the islands of Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao, dubbed "Samui Plus."
Fully vaccinated visitors from a handful of approved countries -- including Singapore, Germany, China, the United States of America and the United Kingdom -- will be able to bypass quarantine from November 1, with more nations being added to the list as of December 1.
Eligible visitors form these countries will need to show that they are Covid-free at the time of travel. They will have to show evidence of a negative PCR test taken in their home country before departing and then a second upon arrival in Thailand.

What's on offer

Picture-perfect islands. Golden beaches with swaying palms. Ornate temples and lush forests. Thailand has long been the go-to destination for those after a no-nonsense, easy-on-the-eyes tropical break.

Who can go

Holders of US, Canada, UK and Australia passports are among those not required to obtain a visa when entering Thailand for tourism purposes and will be permitted to stay in Thailand for a period not exceeding 45 days on each visit. However, they are still required to obtain the Certificate of Entry.
Tourists from countries not on the visa exemption list can apply for a Special Tourist Visa (STV), which allows for 90-day stays, and can be renewed twice. You must apply for an STV via the Thai consulate or embassy in your own country.
All travelers who have received a Certificate of Entry are required to download the ThailandPlus Application and register. Upon arrival in Thailand they will have to show a QR code that will be scanned by the Thai authorities.
Thailand has released an online step-by-step guide offering detailed information on entry procedures.

What are the restrictions?

All travelers must provide proof of an insurance policy that covers treatment for Covid-19 up to the cost of $100,000 and a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure.
Another PCR test must be taken on arrival, after which all travelers (with the exception of fully vaccinated travelers flying to Phuket or Koh Samui) must quarantine at government-approved quarantine facilities or Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) facilities. This can include luxury hotels, some of which have developed quarantine packages.
A full list of participating hotels and resorts, along with package rates, can be found here: asq.locanation.com.
As noted, on July 1, Phuket reopened to vaccinated travelers from low- and medium-risk destinations without quarantine restrictions.
As of October 1, visitors need to stay in a Thailand Safety and Health Administration accredited (SHA+) hotel on the island for 7 days before they are allowed to travel elsewhere in the country.
Phuket visitors need to apply for a Certificate of Entry. They will also need to provide proof of an insurance policy that covers treatment for Covid-19 up to the cost of $100,000, a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure and a certificate of vaccination against Covid-19 with an approved vaccine administered no less than 14 days before their travel date.
Currently, all travelers must arrive on direct international flights to Phuket only. Transiting through Bangkok is not permitted.
A full list of requirements for Phuket can be found on the Tourism Authority of Thailand's website and guidelines for the reopening can be found here.
On July 15, the country launched a similar program on the islands of Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao, dubbed "Samui Plus."
Fully vaccinated travelers are allowed to fly into Koh Samui. They need to stay in an approved hotel on the island and are not allowed to leave the property for the first three days. After seven days they are allowed to travel between the three islands.
At the end of seven days, they will be permitted to travel elsewhere in the country. Find out more on entry requirements and movement restrictions on the Tourism Authority of Thailand website.
The Thai government has announced plans to reopen Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chon Buri, Phetchaburi, and Prachuap Khiri Khan in November as part of the next phase of the country's reopening timeline.

What's the Covid situation?

For months, Thailand reported few locally transmitted Covid-19 cases thanks to strict quarantine on arrival rules.
However, the country is now easing out of its third and worst wave of infections, which emerged from outbreak clusters in several Bangkok nightclubs in early April.
At the moment, cases are dropping following a lengthy lockdown period and the country is reporting around 13,000 new cases per day on average.
A nationwide vaccine program officially kicked off on June 7. Thailand aims to vaccinate 70% of the population by the end of the year.
According to CNN's vaccine tracker, about 20% of the country's citizens have been fully vaccinated.

What can visitors expect?

Restrictions imposed on 13 high-risk provinces were further eased on October 1.
Museums, art galleries, historical sites, ancient monuments, spas, cinemas, pools, tattoo studios and sporting facilities have been permitted to reopen under strict public health measures and limit the number of visitors at 75% of normal capacity.
Affected areas are Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Chon Buri, Chachoengsao, Ayutthaya, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Pathum Thani, Nakhon Pathom, Narathiwat, Pattani, Songkhla and Yala.
A curfew is in place in these areas from 10 p.m.-4 a.m. Restaurants in these areas are open to in-person dining, however, they are not permitted to serve alcohol.
Interprovincial travel has been allowed to resume, including domestic flights to and from high-risk areas. Full updates available on the Tourism Authority of Thailand website.
Entertainment venues -- including bars and nightclubs -- throughout most of the country have been ordered to close.
Masks are worn at all times in public, both indoors and out, while temperature checks are the norm. Those who do not wear masks face fines.
Areas within driving distance of Bangkok have been able to benefit from domestic tourists prior to the latest restrictions, but other normally popular destinations such as Phuket and Koh Samui haven't been as fortunate.
Visitors to these destinations will find empty beaches and heavily discounted accommodation options.
In Phuket, many shops, restaurants and hotels in the southern beaches of Patong, Kata and Karon have closed due to the lack of tourists.

Useful links

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