Tasara Taksinapan, a Bangkok local who works in the tourism industry, said the 15 months without international tourism gave Thais the chance to own their country.
“I go to temples all over Thailand, which I don’t usually go to because they are crowded with tourists,” Taksinapan said.
With tourism not yet fully recovered, “it would be the best time to visit Thailand now, while everything is still fresh and not too busy,” he added.
Here’s what travelers need to know when planning a trip to Thailand.
You ask: Who can help me with international travel restrictions?
What do you need to enter Thailand
Through the Test and Go program, vaccinated travelers need to take several steps before traveling to Thailand. They need to purchase at least $50,000 in coronavirus treatment insurance and must book a one-night package at a government-approved hotel that includes private transportation and PCR testing on arrival.
“For example, Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok is one of them, so our clients can stay in the most luxurious and comfortable hotel while overcoming jet lag and waiting for the results,” said BookHuman.Travel consultant Desiree Overhage in an email.
Warning: Double check that room purchases include shipping and testing. Some hotels and websites deceived Test and Go travelers, resulting in tourists being forced to buy new packages or sent home.
Travelers must upload their documents, including proof of their vaccinations and accommodation, to the Thailand Pass system, which provides a QR code.
Marion Walsh Hedouin, spokesman for Minor Hotels, which operates Anantara and Avani hotels in Thailand, said the Thailand Pass could be a challenge for travelers who apply at the last minute. Due to the current surge in demand, it may take up to 7 days to get the code.
Before boarding, passengers must show the airline proof of a negative coronavirus test taken within 72 hours of departure. Upon arrival, they will present the Thailand Pass QR code and travel to the hotel via pre-arranged transportation for on-site PCR testing.
Tourists must then wait at the hotel for a negative result, and once cleared, they are free to leave. They will receive an antigen test kit to use on the sixth or seventh day of travel, with the results recorded in the MorChana tracking app.
Foreigners who are not fully vaccinated are not eligible for Test and Go. Instead, they must follow the rules of the alternative quarantine plan and stay in a pre-booked, government-approved hotel for a 10-day quarantine upon arrival, among other restrictions.
As with everything in a pandemic, restrictions are evolving. “By the time someone travels, whether it’s December or February, we expect things to change — hopefully for the better,” said Jeffrey M. Krevitt, a spokesman for Inside Travel Group, which operates InsideAsia Tours.
Guy Fieri and Sammy Hagar’s Travel Friendship
Knowledge about limitations
After arriving in Thailand, tourists will not be required to show their vaccination status at tourist attractions and businesses, but there are some changes from pre-pandemic visits.
“There are not too many restrictions,” Taxinapan said. “About 80 percent are back to normal.”
Everyone in Thailand is required to wear masks indoors and outdoors in public places. Tourists have already been brought to attention for breaking the rules, with fines of about $600.
Entertainment venues such as bars and karaoke rooms remain closed, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). But most businesses and activities in the country’s “blue zone” destinations, such as Bangkok and Phuket, have reopened as normal; restaurants, markets, theatres, scuba diving, massage facilities and spas are all operating.
“You can go out and walk around the city, take a taxi, go to museums and restaurants, take a trip to Chiang Mai,” Hedouin said. “The only thing that might be different now than in other countries is that when you’re outside, you have to wear a mask.”
As for the country’s famous street food, “it’s definitely here,” Taxinaphan said, “probably more than before.”
You ask: How do I find a coronavirus test abroad?
Where to get tested for coronavirus before returning home
Currently, anyone age 2 and older must be tested for the coronavirus before flying to the United States, regardless of their vaccination status. Vaccinated Americans have three days before their flight to be tested, and unvaccinated travelers must be tested within a day after their flight. People who have recovered from a covid-19 case within the past 90 days can provide instructions from a licensed healthcare provider.
Taxinaphan said travelers should have no problem finding a coronavirus test in Thailand. Rapid and PCR tests that meet U.S. testing requirements can be arranged at local hospitals for prices ranging from 1,500 baht (about $45) to 4,000 baht (about $120). Some hotels in the country are offering special packages that include coronavirus testing.
Alternatively, travelers can pre-pack an approved self-test, such as a BinaxNOW kit.