Travelers the world over are keen to find out when and how they can travel to Thailand in 2021.
Unfortunately the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt travel, but where possible it is being facilitated with health and safety in mind.
In this guide you'll find out everything you need to know about the current Thailand Travel Restrictions and what you need to do to prepare for your trip.
Can I travel to Thailand now?
Yes, but travel is subject to restrictions.
Those arriving in Bangkok, regardless of nationality or vaccination status, will need to quarantine in an Alternative State Quarantine hotel (ASQ) for 14 days (15 nights). These hotels are accredited by the Ministry of Health.
There are now alternatives for mandatory ASQ hotel quarantine in the form of Golf Quarantine, Yacht Quarantine and Villa Quarantine. These alternative options are accredited by the Thai government and you must book with a company that is part of the scheme.
Both land and sea borders remain closed to foreign travelers.
The Phuket Sandbox Scheme
Alternatively, those who are vaccinated and want to avoid quarantine can fly directly into Phuket airport and stay under the Phuket Sandbox scheme.
To be eligible for the scheme, proof of vaccination must be provided via a certificate of vaccination or so-called “vaccine passport”.
You must stay in Phuket for 14 days and test negative for COVID-19 before being able to leave the island. Testing will also be conducted during your stay.
This mandatory period of stay will shortly be reduced to 7 days. There are no restrictions on travel around Phuket during your stay.
What are the Phuket Sandbox requirements?
- Certificate of vaccination completed at least 14 days and no more than 12 months before arrival in Thailand.
- COVID-19 Free Certificate (obtained via a test), within 72 hours before departure
- COE or Certificate of Entry
- SHA+ Hotel Booking Certificate*
- Prepaid RT-PCR COVID 19 test in Phuket
* The SHA scheme is designed to restore the confidence of domestic and international tourists following the COVID-19 crisis. Hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions, transport services and other facilities in Thailand are able to apply for SHA certification, but must strictly follow the COVID-19 control guidelines issued by the Ministry of Public Health.
The SHA Plus+ certification is awarded to hotels and businesses who not only meet the SHA standards, but also have at least 70% of their staff vaccinated against COVID-19.
The Samui Plus Sandbox Scheme
- Fully vaccinated adults from low and medium-risk countries
- Children travelling with vaccinated parents
What are the Samui Plus Requirements?
To travel to Koh Samui, you will require:
- Proof that you have been vaccinated against COVID-19
- A negative RT-PCR test result no more than 72 hours before departure
- Proof that you have spent the previous 21 days in a low or medium-risk country
- Confirmation of booking at a Samui Extra Plus (minimum 7 nights) hotel. Thereafter, you can stay at any SHA+ certified hotel on Koh Samui, Koh Phangan or Koh Tao
- A Certificate of Entry (COE) from your Thai Embassy or Consulate
- Approved Thai COVID tracking app installed on your smartphone
- COVID-19 health insurance with minimum coverage of USD 100,000 (see further info later on this page)
- RT-PCR test on arrival – for adults and children of 6 years or older
* Shorter stays are available for those departing on international flights.
COVID Testing Schedule
- Day 0: Wait in your hotel room for your PCR test result.
- Days 1 – 3: If your test is negative you are free to enjoy all the facilities in your resort.
- Days 4 – 7: You can leave the hotel to see local attractions. Adults and children aged 6 and above will undergo a 2nd PCR test on Day 7.
- Days 8 – 14: A negative second test enables you to travel freely and stay at any SHA+ certified hotel on Koh Samui, Koh Phangan or Koh Tao.
Adults and children aged 6 and above require a third PCR test on Day 13.
After 14 days, and a 3rd negative test on, you can travel to other provinces within Thailand, though regional restrictions may apply. Those departing internationally will need to adhere to any onward travel requirements.
Do I need a visa to enter Thailand?
Those from countries under the Visa Exemption List are not required to obtain a visa. Additionally, at this time The Thai Immigration Bureau will allow you to stay in Thailand for 45 days, instead of the usual 30 days (until September 2021).
Due to the COVID situation, you also have the option to extend your visa at any local immigration office in Thailand for 60 days, instead of the usual 30 days.
Please note that the 60-day Tourist Visa, 90-day Special Tourist Visa, Thai Elite Visa, and other Non-Immigrant visas are also available at your local Thai Embassy or Consulate. Holders of these visas are still required to have a valid certificate of entry (COE).
Certificate of Entry (COE)
Due to the COVID situation, every person traveling to Thailand requires a valid COE. The mandatory Certificate of Entry is an official document that confirms you meet the entry requirements set out by the Thai authorities.
To obtain your certificate you must create a profile and register at coethailand.mfa.go.th. You should submit your COE application at least 2 weeks days before your scheduled flight.
Please note that you cannot enter Thailand until you have received your Certificate of Entry.
COVID-19 PCR Test
The previous requirement of a fit-to-fly certificate is no longer required to travel to Thailand. However, you do need a RT-PCR test. This must be taken within 72 hours of your flight.
Thai nationals can choose to submit either a fit-to-fly certificate or a COVID-19 medical certificate.
Thailand COVID Insurance for Foreigners
Travel to Thailand requires a specific COVID insurance policy.
The COVID travel insurance certificate must be submitted to the Thai embassy or consulate when applying for your visa and Certificate of Entry. The insurance policy must cover 100,000 USD or more, and COVID-19 must be explicitly covered.
The insurance policy must cover your entire stay.
I have written a post with all the information you need to know about getting the correct insurance policy.
How do I book an ASQ or SHA hotel?
I have a complete ASQ guide that walks you through what to expect during quarantine: the rules you'll have to follow, what you should consider, and the best hotel recommendations.
Health Screening & Local Restrictions
All arrivals are subject to health screening. As standard this means a temperature check and a PCR test. Results will be provided within 24 hours and you will be notified at your hotel.
Testing will continue throughout the first 14 days of your stay (see the ASQ guide linked above for further details).
International arrivals are required to present a printed copy of a COVID-19 PCR test with a negative test result, a printed T8 Health Declaration form, which lists information regarding your current state of health and a list of places visited before arriving in Thailand, and a copy of your vaccination card – if applicable.
For inter-provincial travel, some airports such as Phuket and Samui now require a COVID test – PCR or a rapid test – upon arrival.
Local restrictions also apply, with some provinces requiring everyone to wear a face mask or covering in public places. Disobeying this rule will incur a fine of 20,000 Baht.
The cost of testing is paid by the traveler.
Color-Coded Provincial System
The restrictions placed upon each province (zone) are indicated by a color-code system.
The current system in place is as follows:
- Dark red zones for maximum and strict Covid control
- Red zones for maximum control
- Orange zones, classified as “controlled areas”
- Yellow zones for high surveillance
Keep an eye on the evolving situation and the zonal changes for the provinces to which you plan to travel.
Upon arrival you will also be required to download the ThailandPlus app. Indeed, you can do this before you travel.
You must then upload a recent (not more than one month old) profile photo before inputting your COE number and reference ID obtained from the Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate-General.
Once all data is verified as correct, the system will direct you to the ‘QR code’ page where you can begin using the application.
You will need to use the app as you move to different locations around the country.
Businesses throughout Thailand display QR codes that are required for check-in and check-out scanning. This includes all types of accommodation, restaurants, shopping centers, and tourism attractions.
In the event that you have been in close contact with any confirmed COVID-19 cases, you will be notified and offered recommendations via the app (source).
Can Thai nationals travel within Thailand?
As of 1st September 2021 domestic flights have resumed. The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) will allow airlines to operate domestic passenger flights out of “dark red” areas — the local classification for risk levels — with some restrictions in place.
Bangkok Airways, for example, will resume flights to three domestic points — Samui Chiang Mai, Phuket — from 1 September. Flights to Lampang will commence on 9 September, and Sukhothai the following week.
Air Asia will resume flights to 11 domestic points from 3rd September. Flying out of Don Mueang airport, Air Asia will operate flights to popular places such as Chiang Mai, Hat Yai, Udon Thani, and Phuket.
Note that passengers flying out of Bangkok must either be fully-vaccinated and have tested negative for the coronavirus prior to departure. Inbound domestic passengers will not be subject to the same regulations.
Please check with your flight operator on the conditions for flying before you travel, as these may vary between operators and destinations.
When will I be able to travel to other parts of Thailand?
The Tourism Authority of Thailand has released details of the Centre of Economic Situation Administration's (CESA) four-stage roadmap to reopen.
There are plans for six major tourist provinces to reopen. In addition to Phuket, the plan is for Krabi, Phang Nga, Surat Thani (Ko Samui), Chon Buri (Pattaya), and Chiang Mai to reopen for vaccinated travelers in the next 3 months.
Normal commercial passenger flights have been suspended until further notice, though chartered flights and repatriation flights are still available.
Restrictions are set to ease in September, 2021, with a plan to return to some sort of normality by the high season in November.
Travel requirements and restrictions may vary depending on your country of origin.
The best thing to do is start by checking the government website in your home country to see what travel restrictions are in place and how that affects your outbound and inbound travel.
Once you have identified that travel to Thailand is possible, you should contact your local Thai embassy or consulate and ask if there are any specific restrictions for travelers from your country.
At this point you can proceed with your booking and obtaining your visa (if required), COE, insurance policy and PCR test prior to flying, and your vaccine certificate, if applicable.
If you have any questions regarding Thailand's travel restrictions please leave them in the comments section below.
Last Updated on