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UPDATED: Phuket Sandbox Guidelines – Reopening Thailand without Quarantine

Phuket is gearing up to welcome foreign tourists when the island reopens on July 1 using Phuket Sandbox. Phuket Sandbox is a no-quarantine reopening policy for fully vaccinated tourists. Tourists who can show that they had two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and tested negative 72 hours before their flight to Phuket can travel freely without quarantine.

June 6 UPDATE: Tourists required to stay in Phuket for 14 days before traveling on to other parts of the country.  A tourist can stay less than that but they will have to leave Phuket at the Phuket International Airport and fly back to where they came from.

The new 14-day guideline reflects the current quarantine time to Thailand from outside the country. The only difference is that the quarantine space won’t just be a hotel room, it’ll be a huge island, the largest island in Thailand about the size of Singapore with some 48kms from top to bottom to explore.

Another key change is that they’re going to allow people to fly into Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport and transit to Phuket. This will open a lot more options for flights into the country.

Phuket Sandbox guidelines for fully vaccinated foreign tourists beginning July 1 are as follows:

  • Vaccinated tourists from low- and moderate-risk countries.
  • Proof of vaccination at least 14 days before traveling to Thailand.
  • The tourist must present a vaccination certificate
  • A negative RT-PCR 72 hours before a tourist depart to Phuket
  • A direct flight to Phuket. View direct flight schedules here
  • Certificate Of Entry from a local Thai embassy which you can get at https://coethailand.mfa.go.th/ Visit the website to determine what are the necessary documents.
  • Health declaration form to be completed
  • A tourist required to stay in an SHA-approved hotel
  • Proof of personal funds to the value of 20,000 Baht
  • Travel insurance with at least US$100,000 Covid-19 coverage
  • For minors between ages 6 and 18, a rapid antigen test will be administered as soon as they arrive at Phuket International Airport
  • Children younger than 6 years old are not required a vaccination certificate and they won’t need to have a test when they get to the airport

Note: Tourists from non-visa-exempt countries may apply for a Special Tourist Visa (STV).

Important Reminders

  • You are only permitted to stay in SHA+ accredited hotels (there are 419 hotels).
  • A hotel reservation at an authorized hotel must be made at least 14 days in advance.
  • If your stay in Phuket is fewer than 14 days, you must fly out of Phuket to another country.
  • If you remain in Phuket for 14 days or more, you can go to any domestic destination in Thailand.

FAQs

Is there a direct flight to Phuket? 

Airlines that have confirmed direct flights to Phuket include the following:

Thai Airways
Qatar Airways
British Airways
Etihad Airways
Singapore Airlines
Etihad Airways
Cathy Pacific
El Al Airlines

View direct flight schedules here

What is SHA+?

SHA is a certification program for establishments that comply to basic hygiene and health safety standards for their services and products in compliance with the national measures to prevent the transmission of  COVID-19.

Will it be mandatory to stay exclusively at SHA+ hotels? Is it possible to remain at a friend’s house or in our own condo?

No, you are only permitted to stay in SHA+ accommodation for the first 14 days.

Other visitors would be permitted to see the tourist throughout his or her initial 14-night stay?

Yes, if the individual is completely vaccinated or if the person is traveling from Bangkok, the individual must adhere to the Phuket entrance rules for domestic travelers.

Is a guide required if one wishes to dine at a restaurant or a bar in the evening?

No, you are free to move around Phuket. If you wish to participate in other tourist activities, it is recommended that you schedule them through an accredited SHA+ tour operator.

Is it still necessary for visitors to apply for a Certificate of Entry?

Yes, anyone traveling to Thailand must still get a Certificate of Entry (or appropriate visa) from the Thai Embassy or Consulate. The application website will be updated to incorporate the Phuket SandBox model. This will become available over the next few weeks.

Is it necessary for tourists to stay at the same SHA+ hotel for the whole 14 days required upon arrival, or is it allowed to stay at multiple hotels?

Travelers may switch hotels if they wish, but the hotel must also be SHA+ accredited.

Can I dine in non-SHA+ accredited restaurants?

For your safety, we urge that you only dine at ‘SHA Plus’ certified restaurants, although you may dine at non-accredited restaurants as well.

Will the COVID tests be conducted in the hotel or hospital?

It will be conducted in your hotel.

How much are COVID-19 Rapid and RT-PCR tests? 

A COVID-19 rapid test costs between 450 and 1,000 Baht per individual. Testing costs are at the expense of the traveler. While RT-PCR test costs 2,500-4,000 Baht per individual.

What if I experienced COVID-19 symptoms?

If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, you must seek immediate medical attention. If traveling in a group, each member of the group must take the COVID-19 test.

If you are diagnosed with COVID-19 in Thailand, you will be accountable for all medical charges covered by your COVID-19 insurance.

Is GRAB taxi SHA+ accredited?

Details will be available anytime soon.

June 19 Update

The CCSA (Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration) has approved the idea to open the closed road to Koh Samui starting the 2nd week of July.

The idea includes the three islands of Koh Phangan, Koh Samui, and Koh Tao, and tourists need to stay their first day at an ASQ hotel for 3 days before continuing on a closed road to Koh Samui.

They must stay at Koh Samui from then on and visit the other two islands on the 8th to 14th day or remain where they are.

Source: C9 Hotel Works

 

Conclusion

Having Phuket the first province to remove quarantine for fully vaccinated foreign visitors is a welcome development for both foreign visitors and Thai residents who rely on tourism for a living. The tourism reintroduction is aimed at tourists from up to 28 countries worldwide and aims to generate an estimated 30 billion baht (or USD 955 million) in revenue from July to September 2021.

Source:  https://www.tatnews.org/2021/06/initial-information-phuket-sandbox/

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