Changes To Thailand Visa Quarantine And Restrictions

The Thai authorities have announced a series of measures that affect travellers to the Land Of Smiles.

Main picture Koh Phang Nga, Thailand credit Thiago Palia on Unsplash

The changes come as Phuket aims to attract 1 million tourists in the next 6 months amid hopes that the Certificate of Entry (COE) process will be further simplified and that Russian tourists will start to return once commercial flights resumes.

Quarantine

The most significant change is that the quarantine period for the majority of travellers to Thailand has been reduced from 1st October.

All previous entry requirements are still in place including These include a valid visa or re-entry permit, a Certificate of Entry (COE) issued by the Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate, a COVID-19 health insurance policy, confirmation of Alternative Quarantine (AQ) hotel booking, and a medical certificate with a RT-PCR laboratory result indicating that COVID-19 is not detected issued no more than 72 hours before departure.

Interested vaccinated foreign tourists are recommended to enquire at the Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate in their home country for more details.

7-Day Quarantine

Travellers who have been fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved by Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) or the World Health Organisation (WHO) no less than 14 days before their travel date, will qualify for the reduced 7-day quarantine.

This includes travellers to the Phuket Sandbox and Samui plus schemes who now only have to stay in their arrival area for the first 7 days before they can more freely to other areas of Thailand.

Travellers must to present the vaccine certificate (either the original or a printed copy) at the point of entry into Thailand. and undergo two RT-PCR tests – first upon arrival on Day 0-1, and the second before finishing the quarantine period on Day 6-7.

10-Day Quarantine

Travellers arriving by air who have not been vaccinated, do not have an acceptable vaccine certificate, or are partially vaccinated will be required to enter a 10-day quarantine, and undergo two RT-PCR tests – first upon arrival on Day 0-1, and the second on Day 8-9.

14-Day Quarantine

Travellers arriving by land who have not been vaccinated, do not have an acceptable vaccine certificate, or are partially vaccinated will be required to enter a 14-day quarantine, and undergo two RT-PCR tests – first upon arrival on Day 0-1, and the second on Day 12-13.

Infographic from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)

Special Tourist Visa

The Special Tourist Visa (STV) scheme, launched in September last year, has been extended until 30th September 2022.

The STV is designed for long-stay travellers with trips between 90 and 270 days and is especially aimed at high-spending travellers rather than the backpacker market. Key targets include those travelling for investment or other business purposes, tourists and crew on foreign cruises and yachts as well as general tourists.

The Visa is an initial 90 days but can be extended by a further 90 days up to a maximum of two times.

Relaxed Restrictions

Also from 1st October restrictions will be relaxed in “dark-red” zones as follows:

  • Restaurants and eateries, including those inside shopping malls or similar venues, can now stay open until 21.00 Hrs. Seating for dine-in customers shall be limited at 50% for air-conditioned restaurants and at 75% for open-air ones. Live music performance is allowed with no more than five performers. Sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages remain prohibited.
  • Opening hours for convenience stores, fresh markets, and flea markets for food and consumer goods have also been extended for one hour longer or until 21.00 Hrs. All 24-hour shops must close nightly from 21.00-04.00 Hrs.
  • Public libraries and museums of all types, book houses, art galleries, historical sites, ancient monuments, learning centres, science centres for education, science parks, science and cultural centres, and art galleries can open under strict public health measures and limit the number of visitors at 75% of normal capacity.
  • Cinemas can open until 21.00 Hrs. Seating shall be limited at 50% under the distancing approach. During showtime, visitors must wear a mask at all times, while consumption of food and drinks is not allowed.
  • Opening hours for hair and beauty salons, as well as tattoo shops have also been extended to 21.00 Hrs. Tattoo shops’ customers must show proof that they are fully vaccinated or tested negative for COVID-19.
  • Health massage shops and health spa shops are allowed to resume operations for all massage services, from previously foot massage only. The duration of service shall be limited to a two-hour session per customer. The opening hours have also been extended to 21.00 Hrs. However, body wrap, sauna, and herbal steam services are still not allowed.
  • Public parks, sports fields, sports complexes, and outdoor swimming pools can extend the opening hours for one more hour until 21.00 Hrs. Meanwhile, air-conditioned fitness centres are allowed to resume operations up until 21.00 Hrs., except for the sauna and steam section.
  • The use of venues or sports fields for competitions must be approved by the Bangkok or Provincial Communicable Disease Control Committee and must be conducted under strict public health measures and limit the number of visitors at 25% of normal capacity. All visitors must show proof that they are fully vaccinated or tested negative for COVID-19.
  • Shopping malls, shopping centres, community malls, or similar establishments can also extend normal operations by one hour or until 21.00 Hrs., with limitations on the following venues and services:
  • Schools and tutorial centres can reopen under the permission of the Bangkok or Provincial Communicable Disease Control Committee.
  • Aesthetic clinics, medical clinics for beauty services, cosmetic clinics, manicure and pedicure shops, are allowed to accept customers with an advance appointment. Hair and beauty salons are allowed to accept customers with an advance appointment for a two-hour service per customer.
  • Health massage shops, health spa shops, tattoo shops, cinemas and fitness centres are allowed to open as per the above-mentioned guidelines.
  • Amusement parks, water parks, gaming centres, and banquet and meeting activities are to remain closed.
  • Theatres and playhouses can open for music performances, cultural shows, folk dances, or similar performance up until 21.00 Hrs., and limit the number of audiences to 50% of the normal capacity.
  • Educational institutions of all types, nurseries, and child development centres can reopen in accordance with the rules and regulations by the respective authorities.

Curfew

The night-time curfew in “dark-red” zones continues until at least 15th October but has been reduced to between 22:00 hrs and 04:00 hrs.

People Gatherings

People and organisations are still prohibited from arranging activities that may increase the risk of spread of Covid-19 but numbers in each zone have been increased as follows:

  • Dark-red zone: No gatherings of more than 25 people (from previously 5 people). 
  • Red zone: No gatherings of more than 50 people (from previously 20 people). 
  • Orange zone: No gatherings of more than 100 people (from previously 50 people).

Travel Between Zones

Travel between dark-red zone provinces and other areas is allowed but unnecessary travel should be avoided. Public transport is allowed to operate at 75% of the seating capacity and must apply social distancing measures.

Dark Red Zones Provinces

  • Central Region: Bangkok, Ang Thong, Ayutthaya, Kanchanaburi, Lop Buri, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Ratchaburi, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkhram, Saraburi, Sing Buri, and Suphan Buri;
  • Eastern Region: Chachoengsao, Chon Buri, Prachin Buri, and Rayong;
  • Northern Region: Phetchabun and Tak;
  • Northeastern Region: Nakhon Ratchasima,
  • Southern Region: Narathiwat, Pattani, Songkhla, and Yala.

Red Zone Provinces

  • Central Region: Chai Nat;
  • Eastern Region: Chanthaburi, Sa Kaeo, and Trat;
  • Northern Region: Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Kamphaeng Phet, Lampang, Lamphun, Nakhon Sawan, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Sukhothai, Uthai Thani, and Uttaradit;
  • Northeastern Region: Amnat Charoen, Buri Ram, Chaiyaphum, Kalasin, Khon Kaen, Loei, Maha Sarakham, Nong Bua Lam Phu, Nong Khai, Roi Et, Sakon Nakhon, Si Sa Ket, Surin, Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani, and Yasothon,
  • Southern Region: Chumphon, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung, Ranong, Satun, and Trang.

Orange zone Provinces

  • Northern Region: Mae Hong Son, Nan, Phayao, and Phrae;
  • Northeastern Region: Bueng Kan, Mukdahan, and Nakhon Phanom,
  • Southern Region: Krabi, Phang Nga, Phuket, and Surat Thani.

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