Thailand is officially open but before you get back to its glittering temples and tropical beaches you’ll need to get your hands on a Thailand Pass.
Fully vaccinated Australian passport holders can now travel to Thailand quarantine-free. Of course in a post-Covid world nothing is that simple.
We’ve broken down all of Thailand’s travel rules so that you can plan a well-deserved holiday.
Covid-19 in Thailand at a glance
Before you go it’s worth noting that Thailand is recording an average of 9,000 new cases a day. They are easing their way out of their worst wave since the start of the pandemic with cases now declining.
Just over 40 per cent of the population are fully vaccinated and around 60 per cent have got their first jab.
Who is allowed to travel there?
Thailand will welcome fully vaccinated international travellers. You must have received your second dose at least 14 days prior to travel to be considered fully vaccinated.
Thailand-approved vaccines include Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, CoronoaVac (Sinovac), Moderna, COVILO (Sinopharm), Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) and Sputnik V.
That part was straightforward enough, this is where the rules start to get a bit tricky, so pay close attention.
You need to have been in a ‘travel partner’ country for at least 21 days prior to enter without quarantine. There are 63 approved countries including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand and Singapore. See the full list here.
I have been to a country that’s not a Thailand travel partner, what now?
If you happen to have been to a country not on Thailand’s travel partner list, do not fear there is a way in, it’s just a little trickier.
Fully vaccinated travellers who are coming from non-listed countries can enter Thailand without quarantine under the Sandbox Program.
The Sandbox Program requires vaccinated travellers to stay in a government-approved hotel or resort that is in one of 17 ‘blue’ destinations. Blue destinations include Phuket, Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Koh Samui, see the full list here.
Under the Sandbox Program you will have to spend seven nights in an accredited SHA+ Hotel. You can travel within the sandbox area once your PCR Covid test returns a negative result. Once you complete the seven-day sandbox area stay you are then free to travel to any destination in Thailand.
Can my unvaccinated kids travel with me?
Well, it depends on how old your kids are and which scheme you’re entering Thailand through.
All chlidren 12 or over must prove they are fully vaccinated to enter Thailand quarantine-free. Anyone under 12 is exempt as long as they are travelling with a fully vaccinated guardian.
If you’re travelling via the Sandbox Program, only those over 18 have to prove they are fully vaccinated. Under 18s will not have to prove vaccination if they are with a fully vaccinated adult.
I’m not vaccinated can I go?
Good news, non-vaccinated or partially vaccinated travellers can still go to Thailand. The not-so-good news, you must undergo a mandatory 10 nights of quarantine in an accredited ASQ hotel. But, you can’t leave Australia without two doses of COVID-19 vaccine. So the answer is really no.
What flights are operating?
Thai Airways has already resumed flights between Sydney and Bangkok. From 17 November 2021 the airline will run four flights weekly. Flights to and from Melbourne are expected to resume in April 2022.
If you want to travel from Sydney to Phuket, Thai Airways will launch non-stop flights starting from 8 December 2021. The flights will operate three times a week on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Flights will depart Sydney at 9.30am and will arrive at the beach destination at 2.40pm just in time for cocktails.
From 12 January 2022, Jetstar will operate three return flights between Sydney and Phuket.
Qantas will resume flights between Sydney and Bangkok on 14 January 2022. The airline will operate five return flights a week by A330 aircraft.
What else do I have to do?
Apply for the Thailand Pass
Now that you know who can go and how you’re going to get to Thailand, it’s time to apply for your Thailand Pass.
The Thailand Pass is a QR-code system that will streamline all travel and health documentation and allow you to enter and travel around Thailand.
To successfully apply for the Thailand Pass you will need to upload documentation including your
- Vaccination Certificate
- Covid-19 Insurance (you will require a minimum coverage of US$50,000)
- SHA+/ASQ Hotel Booking
- Flight Booking
These things can take time so make sure you submit your application at least seven days before you intend to travel to Thailand.
If you don’t have a mobile phone Thai officials will accept a printed copy of the QR code, this is also a great plan B in case you have any technical difficulties or your phone dies.
Regardless of whether you are travelling through quarantine-free travel, the Sandbox Program or a 10-day quarantine, you will need to provide a clear RT-PCR Covid test within 72 hours before travel.
You do not need to upload these results to your Thai Pass but you will need to be able to provide them to officers at the airport otherwise you could be denied entry.
Your test result must be a hard print copy (not digital) and must be in Thai or English only.
Arriving in Thailand
You’re almost there, just a few more things till you can kick your feet up.
Present the Thailand Pass and proceed through regular airport Health Control and Immigration procedures
Undergo the RT-PCR Covid-19 test at a pre-arranged test centre. You will have to pay upfront for the test which can cost between 3500 THB and 6500 THB. That means you’ll need to budget up to AU$260 per test per person. Note that you will need to do this test again on Day 5 of your stay and again before you fly home to Australia.
Go straight to your hotel via a prearranged airport transfer.
While you wait for your results in the hotel, download the MorChana app. It’s Thailand’s contact tracing app, use it to check into venues and will analyse your risk of contracting Covid.
Enjoy your stay
The hard part is finally over, you’re free to explore Thailand’s rich culture. Don’t know where to start? Check out our free essential guide to Thailand.
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