The Thai Cabinet has agreed on the Phuket “Sandbox”, a foreign tourism reopening program, scheduled to start next month as a prelude to a tourism revival in Thailand’s 10 most popular tourist destinations, as proposed by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).
Here’s the initial information on the ‘Phuket Sandbox’ model to safely reopen Phuket to fully vaccinated international travelers from July 1, 2021.
At a glance
- Applicable for international travellers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no less than 14 days, but no later than 1 year before the travel date. They must also be from countries/regions with a low to medium risk of SAR-CoV-2 virus as announced and constantly updated by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH).
- Applicable for children under 6 years of age travelling with fully vaccinated parents or guardians.
- Applicable for children between 6 and 18 years of age travelling with fully vaccinated parents or guardians, but they are required to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival at their own expense.
- All vaccinated international arrivals must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with a vaccine registered with the MoPH or approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
- All arrivals are required to download and install the ThailandPlus application on their smartphones, and must keep the app on all the time, as they move to different locations around Phuket.
- All arrivals are required to stay in an accommodation establishment that is certified with the Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration (SHA) Plus certification for no less than 14 nights, and thereafter will be allowed to travel to visit other Thai destinations.
- All COVID-19 tests must follow the guidelines by the MoPH.
- Travellers are allowed to engage in any tourism activities but are advised to strictly follow the DMHTTA precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19: D – Distancing, M – Mask wearing, H – Handwashing, T – Temperature check, T – Testing for COVID-19, and A – contact tracing application (Thai Chana and Mor Chana).
Foreign Traveller Journey
In order to be eligible to enter in Thailand, vaccinated international travellers – and their children – need to have all of their advance arrangements in good order for arrival and entry. These include:
- A vaccine certificate to proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no less than 14 days, but no later than 1 year before the travel date with a vaccine registered with the MoPH or approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO);
- A valid visa;
- A Certificate of Entry (COE) issued by the Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate;
- A COVID-19 health insurance policy with a minimum coverage of US$100,000;
- A confirmation of booking for 14 nights in a SHA Plus-certified accommodation;
- A medical certificate with an RT-PCR laboratory result indicating that COVID-19 is not detected issued no more than 72 hours before departure;
- The duration of stay can be less than 14 nights, but travellers must leave Phuket on or before the permit to stay date.
- Undergo Immigration and Customs procedures, and a COVID-19 screening, including RT-PCR tests;
- Download the ThailandPlus application;
- Check-in at the pre-booked SHA Plus-certified accommodation establishment and stay there for no less than 14 nights.
- Undergo a COVID-19 test using an RT-PCR or a rapid antigen method on Day 5 of your arrival per the MoPH’s guidelines;
- Engage in tourism activities or enjoy services in SHA Plus-certified venues and businesses, under the DMHTTA precautions;
- For emergency in case of having respiratory or other related symptoms, please alert the staff at your accommodation or contact the nearest hospital;
- The operator/owner of the accommodation establishment is required to report the name list and status of all foreign guests to the provincial authority on a daily basis.
- For travelling from Phuket to other Thai destinations, vaccinated international travellers are required to show a vaccine certificate and a medical certificate that they have tested negative for COVID-19;
- For travelling from Phuket to other countries, travellers are advised to follow the guidelines and measures announced by the respective country of destination.
|Child Policy||Children under 6 years of age must travel only with their parents or guardians who have been vaccinated;|
In the case the parents or guardians are found to have COVID-19, the children are to be placed in isolation for 14 days.
|Countries||The Phuket Sandbox is applicable only for fully vaccinated international travellers from countries/regions with a low to medium risk of SAR-CoV-2 virus as announced and constantly updated by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH). *The list will be available soon. |
High-risk countries are not allowed entry at this stage.
|Visa & Certificate of Entry||Every traveller must obtain a Certificate of Entry (COE) at https://coethailand.mfa.go.th/. Check the website to see the required documents;|
Embassy/Consulate-General takes 3 working days to process the application;
Applicants can check the result of the application on the website.
|Insurance||International travellers must have an insurance covering treatment and medical expenses including those related to COVID-19 with a minimum coverage of US$100,000. The insurance must cover the total duration of stay in Thailand.|
|Vaccines||International travellers who have received the following vaccines are able to enter Phuket:|
– Thai FDA approved vaccines: AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, Sinovac Biotech, and Sinopharm.
Arrivals must be vaccinated more than 14 days to 1 year before entering Phuket.
Proof of vaccination must be submitted when applying for a COE.
|Airlines||Airlines that have announced direct flights to Phuket:|
– Singapore Airlines
– Qatar Airways
– Hongkong Airlines
– EVA Air
– Korean Air
– Cathay Pacific
Please check the flight schedule on the respective airline’s websites.
Please be aware that some airlines are unable to operate into your home country for your return.
|Before Arrival in Phuket||You must get an RT-PCR COVID-19 test within 72 hours before arrival in Phuket and submit proof to the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs when obtaining your COE.|
|At the Airport||You must download the Thailand Plus application.|
At Immigration, you are required to complete your arrival card, show your COE and passport.
|SHA & SHA Plus+||‘SHA’ is a certification for businesses who meet the basic standards of hygiene and health safety for their products and services in accordance with the nationwide measures to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). |
‘SHA Plus’ is a certification for companies/individuals who have received the SHA certificate AND 70% of the workforce has been vaccinated.
Here is the constantly updated list of SHA Plus businesses in Phuket.
|While in Phuket||You can go anywhere in Phuket, BUT you must strictly follow the DMHTTA precautions: D – Distancing, M – Mask wearing, H – Handwashing, T – Temperature check, T – Testing for COVID-19, and A – contact tracing application (Thai Chana and Mor Chana). |
Masks must be worn at all times in public areas and if there are two or more people in a vehicle.
A COVID-19 rapid test is required on Day 5.
Q. Can a 2nd guest who is already resident in Thailand join a guest who has arrived ‘internationally’ into a ‘SHA Plus’ hotel?
A. Yes, providing the guest follows all rules stipulated for Thais and expats in Thailand.
|Accommodation||It is mandatory that you book a ‘SHA Plus’ hotel for the first 14 nights in Phuket;|
Residing in a private residence is not allowed on the first 14 nights for COVID-19 control purposes;
Q. Must I book a consecutive stay in one place?
A. You can move between SHA Plus hotels during the 14 days.
Q. Booking must be prepaid? or if proof of the booking will suffice?
Q. Are there standardised cancellation and refund policies for ‘SHA Plus’ hotels for peace of mind agreed upon by all ‘SHA Plus’ hoteliers?
|COVID-19 Test||RT-PCR test.|
Every hospital in Phuket can provide an RT-PCR test;
The cost of an RT-PCR covid test ranges from 2,500-4,000 Baht per person.
You can get a rapid test from hospitals, clinics, and private labs in Phuket;
The cost of a rapid test ranges from 450-1,000 Baht per person.
COVID-19 testing is at the travellers’ own expense.
|Tours & Excursion||We recommend that you only book an excursion with ‘SHA Plus’ certified companies for your safety;|
*On the first 5 days, you are allowed to visit only the islands of Phuket, which are Ko Racha, Ko Naka, and Coral Island;
*Ko Phi Phi, Ko Yao, Ko Khai, and Phang Nga Bay are NOT a part of Phuket province. Therefore, you must get a rapid test on Day 5 before going to these places.
*Information under review.
|Restaurants||We recommend that you only use ‘SHA Plus’ certified restaurants for your safety, but you may dine-in at non-certified restaurants, too.|
|Taxi & Transportation||We recommend that you use only ‘SHA Plus’ certified taxis and transportation, but you may use non ‘SHA Plus’, too if you prefer. If there are more than 2 people in a vehicle, masks must be worn at all times. |
Q. Is there is an app or website to be able to book SHA+ transport services?
A. Information will be available soon.
Q. Is GRAB taxi SHA+?
A. Information will be available soon.
|Other Activities||Q. What’s open?|
A. Information will be available soon.
|COVID-19 Infected||If you experience any COVID-19 symptoms, you must immediately get a test.|
If you travel in a group, everybody in the group must undergo a test.
In case you are tested positive for COVID-19 in Thailand, you will be responsible for the medical expenses which must be covered by your insurance.
|Domestic Travel||After spending 14 nights in Phuket and you are tested negative for COVID-19, you are free to go anywhere in Thailand but you must follow each province’s restrictions.|
|International Travel||You must follow your home country’s entry requirements, and Thailand is not responsible or able to assist with such updates by individual countries.|