Connect with us


Samui and Phangan reopening: bars open, 5,000 baht Covid tests



PHOTO: Many bars are open ahead of Samui Plus reopening. (via Instagram)

Koh Samui and the surrounding islands of Koh Phangan and Koh Tao are preparing for their Samui Plus reopening beginning July 15. The rules for the reopening are more stringent, with 3 full days of quarantine required and then 4 days of being allowed to travel only on sealed routes to specific tourist destinations before finally being allowed to travel freely and to neighbouring islands after 1 week. In contrast, some of Koh Samui’s nightlife seems to be operating unaffected by Covid-19 restrictions and may draw Phuket Sandbox tourists longing for a drink and a night out.

While neighbouring Koh Phangan recently raided an unlicensed spa that locals complained was hosting parties and events in violation of Covid-19 restrictions, many bars and clubs in Koh Samui hotspots like Soi Mango in Chaweng and bars around Lamai and Bophut seem to be open and operating without any restrictions, indifferent to Covid-19 regulations.

On any given night, customers can be seen drinking and dancing without any masks or social distancing in popular clubs and small bars as well as “restaurants” masquerading as bars—no word on if this will change with the Samui Plus reopening.

In Phangan though, the director of government-run Koh Phangan Hospital recently announced they are tightening up testing restrictions in light of the Covid-19 surge and lockdowns in Bangkok and the south. Those who are unvaccinated and travelling from a dark red zone like Bangkok can no longer enter Phangan with a 500-baht rapid Covid-19 test. From yesterday, officials are only accepting RT-PCR test results, and the price for those tests are 5,000 baht each.

Many properties are struggling through the SHA certification process ahead of the Samui Plus reopening, and some are reporting problems qualifying for the Plus designation, in part because it requires all staff to be full vaccinated. Vaccines aren’t always readily available, and with a gap between the first and second shots, many people will not have finished the inoculation fully by July 15.

Still, vaccination drives seem to pop up frequently on the islands, with new dates every few days, some for Thai only and some open for foreigners, especially those working in the tourism sector.

Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao are eagerly poised for the reopening though and have a strong chance of success. The isolated islands have had very little Covid-19 throughout the pandemic, even in the dreaded third wave that hit Thailand exponentially harder. Officials will closely monitor the reopening and say they will close their Samui Plus scheme immediately should they uncover 20 or more Covid-19 cases that cannot be sourced through contact tracing.

Samui aims for 2,000 travellers in the first 30 days of reopening, with 41 SHA Plus certified and 22 ALQ hotels approved. The president of the Tourism Association of Koh Samui estimates 1 billion baht of tourist revenue this quarter and 3 billion baht more in the last quarter of 2021, if all goes well and Covid-19 stays under control on the islands. You can find more on the requirements here.



Get more from The Thaiger

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand35 mins ago

ฺThai boxer blackmails 20 women into sending nude pics

World50 mins ago

South Korea gives North Korea a warning

Visa1 hour ago

Philippines offers attractive alternative to Thailand’s 10 year LTR visa

Phuket2 hours ago

Thousands join Chinese ceremony at Phuket Vegetarian Festival

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 hours ago

Bang Sue’s Central Vaccination Centre officially closed

Thailand2 hours ago

Nuan the cat feline good about upcoming APEC meeting

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Weather3 hours ago

Bangkok area flood caused by 100 sandbags in drain

Thailand3 hours ago

VIDEO: Shooting range employees save man from suicide in northern Thailand

Crime3 hours ago

Gold necklace theft on Pattaya Beach Road

Phang Nga3 hours ago

Japanese man drowns near Phang Nga resort

Thailand4 hours ago

Foreigners anger Chiang Mai locals for kissing in temple

Transport4 hours ago

Korean Air resumes two routes to Thailand

Road deaths5 hours ago

16 year old driving BMW crashes, killing young graduate in northeast Thailand

Bangkok5 hours ago

Murdered woman buried in 7 bags under expressway

Tourism5 hours ago

Maya Bay reopens once again to the public

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11