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Travelling to Thailand in 2022? Here’s all you need to know from March

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Thailand is regarded by travellers the world over as one of the best countries to visit for countless reasons… We need not remind you about the beaches, the bars, the Buddha… But there’s o-so-much more to the Land of Smiles.

With the pandemic entering year 3, many countries in Southeast Asia are changing their approach to the virus in an effort to reopening their borders for unrestricted international travel. Here in Thailand, many restrictions and rules regarding entry to the country remain, though they are gradually easing and the country is opening back up again.

There are disadvantages to landing in Thailand as an international visitor at this time, including the potential of a 10-day quarantine if you tested positive for Covid. Currently, travellers from any country who are fully vaccinated are allowed to visit Thailand without being quarantined, while the unvaccinated are required to undergo quarantine.

NOTE: Beginning March 1, Thailand’s revamped Test & Go travel scheme is open for new registration. Read all about it here…

First, the good news…
The good news is, when you arrive at the airport, you won’t have to worry about taxis. (No more wondering whether the metre is working properly or if the driver is driving in circles.)

Instead, a pre-arranged van will transport you directly to your SHA+ hotel, where you’ll take a PCR test. You’ll then have to wait overnight at the hotel for the results, which will be given the next morning (sorry, no early morning PCR test, followed by afternoon hotel check out). In case your hotel does not facilitate PCR testing, you’ll first be taken to a separate PCR testing site before arriving at your hotel.

What happens next depends on which entry scheme you’ve applied for. Currently, there are three re-entry programs for people to choose from; Sandbox, Test & Go and quarantine for unvaccinated travellers. Read on to find out more about them…

Thailand Pass: What’s that!?
Anyone who is going to visit must apply for Thailand Pass, this goes for both Thai nationals and foreigners.

Travellers must apply for the mandatory Thailand Pass at least 24 hours prior to their journey, although the Thai government strongly advises that they register and plan their trip at least seven days ahead of time, as the approval process may take three to seven days to complete.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises people to be wary of any scams that aim to charge you for registering for the Thailand Pass.

The announcement was made last month after the Covid-19 task group looked into complaints of people claiming to have paid registration fees in order to apply for the Thailand Pass.

The registration is free, and the official website is here.

Test & Go: What is it and what’s new?
At the time of writing this story, the Test & Go program had changed… again. Travellers who meet the new conditions will be allowed to enter Thailand starting March 7.

From March, the need to get a second pre-paid PCR test on Day 5 following your entry in Thailand is cancelled. But, it would be replaced by an antigen test, which you have to do yourself.

Before the change, the fifth day of testing an extra night at one of SHA+ accommodations is highly unpopular among travellers.

As for the mandatory ‘Covid’ insurance, it will be lowered from $50,000 to $20,000. You can read more about the updated version of Test & Go here.

The new rules go into effect on March 1, but the Thailand Pass website will not be changed until then.

Sandbox: What, where, why?
Apart from Phuket, vaccinated travellers can now visit three other popular Thai beach destinations – Krabi, Phang Nga, and Koh Samui – as part of the Sandbox tourism project, which lets international tourists enter Thailand without going through a tight and lengthy quarantine.

The CCSA confirmed that from February 1 onwards, the areas of Bang Lamung, Pattaya, Si Racha, Si Chang, and Sattahip will reopen (but only Na Jomtien and Bang Saray sub-districts). Koh Chang has also been open under the new Sandbox choices.

Phuket has earned almost 43 billion baht in revenue so far, with tourist numbers continually increasing. Phuket attracted 86,282 tourists, with approximately 70,000 bookings and an average stay of 8 days.

What if I test positive for Covid-19?
We don’t want you to catch Covid, but what if you do?

If you test positive for Covid-19 from using a rapid antigen test, or ATK, you must take an RT-PCR test to confirm if you have the virus. The Thai government only accepts positive RT-PCR tests as evidence of Covid-19 infection.

Anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 is required by Thailand’s emergency regulations to alert public health officials. Those who fail to report positive results could face a penalty of up to 20,000 baht.

Those infected with Covid-19 who refuse to be quarantined or treated face up to two years in prison and a 40,000 baht fine. Cases of severe symptoms will be admitted to a hospital, while others may be transferred to a field hospital or community isolation centre, where the government would pay for their stay and basic treatment.

The idea of being transferred to a field hospital or isolation centre in a foreign country might be terrifying for expats and travelers, but those who are asymptomatic or have minimal symptoms can be approved for home isolation, if you have a residence here.

Endemic coming soon?
Thailand’s health ministry plans to name Covid 19 an endemic virus within the next four months. Regardless of whether the World Health Organization agrees, officials are developing a strategy to transfer the country out of the pandemic stage.

Even as the infection rate on Phuket’s southern island rises, officials wish to declare Covid-19 endemic. Local officials would also wish to stop notifying new infections on a daily basis, instead, reporting those Covid cases with moderate to severe illnesses.

Achieving endemic would free up officials’ time to focus on improving the economy, said deputy governor.

Pass ‘Go,’ pay land entry fee
The bad news is that Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister have decided tourists will soon be required to pay a ‘land entry fee’ of 300 baht. The minister has not yet specified when the tax would be implemented, but it will most likely be included in the price of plane tickets to Thailand. The fee will supposedly be used to pay for insurance and emergency services, as well as tourism development, though wizened expat netizens serious doubt it…

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

If you are fully vaccinated and looking to travel to Thailand, you may enter by a 1 Day Test & Go Packages.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Travelling to Thailand in 2022? Here's all you need to know from March | News by Thaiger

 

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    Pete is a writer for The Thaiger, and he writes various topics from news, travel and property. His main focus is writing about Thai news, and what is happening in Thailand.

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