Thailand reopens popular island Phuket for vaccinated tourists with no quarantine needed

Only tourists from a list of approved countries, which includes Singapore, are allowed to enter Phuket.

Noreen Shazreen

Probably the coolest cat lady you’ll ever meet.

Published: 2 July 2021, 1:06 PM

Those who miss their getaways to Thailand’s popular resort island of Phuket can start planning their trips now. 

The Thai resort island of Phuket reopened its borders to international tourists on Thursday (Jul 1), after being closed for more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is the first province in Thailand to welcome international travellers as part of the Phuket Sandbox programme, after its borders were shut more than a year ago.

Thailand’s Minister of Tourism Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said that the Phuket Sandbox was essential to help the country’s economy recover after being severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

International travellers who wish to travel to Phuket as part of the Phuket Sandbox must come from countries approved by the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), per the guidelines of the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), as proposed by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports (MoTS) and TAT. 

They must have been in the respective countries for at least 21 days before travelling, unless they are Thai citizens or foreign expatriates returning from overseas.

Singapore is among the 67 countries or territories on the approved list. Other countries include Taiwan, Australia and the United Kingdom. 

It is also recommended that travellers avoid crowded places and at-risk areas at least 14 days prior to their trip.

To be eligible for the Phuket Sandbox, international tourists must present a certificate of entry to Thailand, a medical certificate with an RT-PCR lab result indicating that COVID-19 was not detected within 72 hours and a certificate of vaccination against COVID-19 no less than 14 days before their travel. 

The vaccine used must also be approved by Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health or the World Health Organization (WHO).

In addition, tourists must present an insurance policy that covers medical and treatment costs for COVID-19 while in Thailand, with a minimum of $135,000.

Tourists are not required to undergo quarantine upon arrival as long as they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no less than 14 days before their departure. 

COVID-19 testing is required only upon arrival and the results will be given to them in their hotel rooms. A test showing a negative result will allow them to travel freely within the province.

However, tourists staying in Phuket for less than seven days must take another COVID-19 test on the sixth or seventh day of arrival. Those who spend less than 14 nights in Phuket must present a confirmed ticket flight out of the country.

Meanwhile, tourists who wish to travel to other provinces in Thailand have to spend 14 nights at a certified hotel in Phuket and take three COVID-19 tests. 

The tests can be conducted at certified hotels or partner hospitals at tourists’ own expense. Those who test positive will be transferred to healthcare facilities for treatment.

The COVID-19 RT-PCR test ranges from $100 to $170 per person, which must be paid in advance through hotels.

Tourists also need to download apps such as ThailandPlus and MorChana during their stay for tracking purposes.

However, do note that travellers arriving in Singapore from Thailand will be required to complete a 14-day stay-home notice (SHN) at designated SHN facilities.

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