From April, Thailand will introduce a city tax of 300 baht ($9/£7). While Thailand is largely closed to visitors, with the exception of those traveling under the Sandbox or quarantine programs, the charges will be applied to all international tourists, regardless of where they come from.
If you’re planning a trip to Thailand, learn what you need to know about the latest rules and travel options available to you.
Thailand entrance fee
Thailand’s city tax of 300 baht will be applied from April. The cost is included in the airfare of any international arrival. According to the Thai Ministry of Tourism, the revenue generated from the fee will be used to fund the sustainable management of Thailand’s tourism resources, in addition to providing accident insurance for tourists who cannot afford it.
“We’ve been through times when insurance didn’t cover tourists…which became our burden to take care of them,” the country’s tourism minister Yuthasak Supasorn told Reuters.
Thailand’s Entry Rules
Meanwhile, Thailand added three more destinations to its so-called Sandbox tourism program after officials announced the quarantine-free Test-and-Go program would be indefinitely suspended. The changes come as Thailand raises its COVID-19 warning from three to four as the rapidly spreading Omicron variant takes hold in the country.
Since January 11, vaccinated travelers are now allowed to visit three other destinations in Thailand in addition to Phuket under the Sandbox program, including Krabi and Phang-nga provinces, as well as Surat Thani Island (but only the resorts of Ko Samui, Ko Pha -ngan and Koh Tao).
According to the Bangkok Post, about 200,000 visitors had signed up to visit Thailand through the Test-and-Go and nationwide Sandbox programs, and about 110,000 of them had already arrived before both schemes were scaled back in December. The other 90,000 will still be allowed to travel to Thailand without quarantine. However, anyone newly applying to visit Thailand must do so through the Sandbox program in the four approved destinations or undergo mandatory hotel quarantine for about seven or ten days.
What is the Sandbox program?
The Sandbox program allows vaccinated foreign travelers from any country to visit Thailand via Phuket, Krabi, Phang-nga and the resorts of Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan and Ko Tao in Surat Thani. To be eligible for the program, travelers must have proof of vaccination, take a PCR test before traveling to Thailand, have COVID-19 insurance with a minimum of $50,000 (£36,600) coverage and apply for a Thailand Pass through the Thai Embassy. Travelers in the Sandbox program are required to stay at a SHA+ Hotel at their Sandbox destination (which is a government-approved hotel that meets stricter health and safety standards) and pay for seven nights in advance. If travelers stay at their destination for a minimum of seven days, they can travel freely in the rest of Thailand.
Travelers will not be confined to their hotel rooms, they will be free to move around their resort and visit beaches, restaurants and other amenities, but they will not be allowed to leave their Sandbox destination before completing their seven-day stay.
Alternative quarantine program
International visitors from any country will also be able to visit Thailand under the Alternative Quarantine Program from January 11, regardless of vaccination status. However, they must apply for a Thailand Pass and travelers over the age of six must pass a negative COVID-19 test prior to departure at least 72 hours prior to departure. They must also have an insurance policy that covers at least US$50,000 and pay for their quarantine accommodation before traveling to Thailand, as well as their PCR tests.
Travelers who have been fully vaccinated with an approved dose (or at least one dose for travelers under the age of 18) must undergo seven days of quarantine and two PCR tests. Travelers who are not fully vaccinated will be required to quarantine for 10 days and undergo three PCR tests. When the quarantine period is over, travelers will be able to travel freely in Thailand.
In November, the Thai government approved (almost) quarantine-free entry for tourists from 63 countries under the Test-and-Go program. That arrangement was interrupted on December 21 as Omicron cases rose, before being suspended indefinitely on January 7. their Thailand Pass QR code before Dec. 22 is still free to travel to Thailand with no end date, the tourism board said. The Test-and-Go plan requires fully vaccinated arrivals to have at least US$50,000 COVID-19 insurance coverage and proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test before departing for Thailand.
Tourists must also undergo a second COVID-19 test on arrival and must spend their first night in Thailand in quarantine in a government-approved ward awaiting their results (COVID-19 test results can take approximately 24 hours to process ). But once the result is negative, tourists will be able to travel and tour Thailand freely in the same way as any Thai citizen.
This article was first published on October 20, 2021 and updated on January 14, 2022