This story was updated to include a clarification from a government spokesperson who said an incorrect date during a press briefing.
Entering Thailand will get a little easier, and a bit cheaper. The CCSA approved the use of rapid antigen tests to screen international arrivals for Covid-19 starting December 16. The ATK method will be replacing the RT-PCR test, meaning travellers won’t need to wait long before they are allowed to travel throughout Thailand. The measure will apply to travellers entering under the quarantine exemption scheme and “sandbox” scheme.
From 16 Dec, Test&Go arrivals (Exempt from Quarantine, vac from listed countries) required to do ATK test only, not RT-PCR as per previous requirement, then book transportation, no hotel stay.
To clarify for accuracy and confirm from today's brief—effective 16, not 1 December.
— Natapanu Bangkok (@NatapanuN) November 26, 2021
While the RT-PCR test is said to be more accurate, the results come back much slower and travellers entering the country have been required to book a night at an approved hotel while they wait for results to come back. Travellers can wait between 6 hours to a day. Results from the antigen test can come back in 15 minutes.
Deputy spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nopakun Natapanu, who gives the CCSA briefing in English, said travellers will need to take the antigen test at a hotel and will need to book approved transportation from the airport.
“You will not need to book the actual hotel room, because of course the ATK test gives out a faster result.”
The CCSA also approved to shorten the stay under the “sandbox” scheme to five days. Under the scheme, vaccinated travellers are allowed to roam freely in an approved district for the province instead of undergoing quarantine at a hotel. Officials also agreed to add Kanchanaburi, Nonthaburi, and Pathum Thani to the list of “blue” zones, which are approved to reopen under the “sandbox” scheme.