a rooftop bar with a city in the background
Banyan Tree Bangkok

For visitors from 46 countries, Thailand is about to make travel much easier. Again.

After countless changes and recommendations from tourism officials, From November 1st, the Prime Minister of Thailand has declared that visitors from at least 46 “low risk” countries will be able to enter without restriction, provided they’re fully vaccinated and agree to a grand total of two PCR tests. 

Here’s who will be able to enter under this new program from November 1st, and what to expect with testing and other restrictions. 

a landscaped garden with Doi Inthanon and a pond

November 1st Travel Reopening

Thailand has been “open” to visitors from most of the world, for much of the year. The word “open” was far from “easy” though. 

Visitors needed to fill out an endless number of forms and were restricted to certain islands, effectively completed “quarantine without quarantine” on these islands, in addition to a bevy of covid-19 tests and other caveats

But now, as speculated, Thailand is looking to quickly reemerge, with vaccinations speeding up and the economic woes of a beautiful country built on tourism begin to mount, without it.

On November 1st, Thailand will welcome visitors from the: United Kingdom, Singapore, Germany, China and the United States and about 41 other countries. The televised statement from the Thai Prime Minister said 10 countries, but the list has expanded to a miraculous 46 countries, including…

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Bahrain
  • Belgium
  • Bhutan
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Bulgaria
  • Cambodia
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • China
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Malaysia
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Singapore
  • Slovenia
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

The only catch? You must have remained in one of these 46 countries for the 21 days prior to your trip. Any travel outside would make you invalid for entry until the 21 day mark.

Tourists will simply need to be fully vaccinated and take a PCR test before departure and one after arrival. There’s also a need for health insurance totally $50,000.

a row of gold statues in a temple

December And January Expansion

From December 1st, the list will expand to a much broader audience, and on January 1st, it’s believed that virtually the entire world will be welcomed back, provided they’re fully vaccinated, and agree to a covid-19 RT-PCR test before departure, as well as one after arrival. 

In Singapore, early data showed 3,100 entries under the trialled “vaccinated traveler lane” aka VTL, of which a grand total of two people tested positive. 

Protocols To Visit Thailand From November 1st

Pesky forms such as the Certificate of Entry (COE) are expected to be dropped, and instead travelers will simply need to take a RT-PCR test before travel, regardless of their vaccination status. They’ll also need one more PCR test on arrival into Thailand and proof of medical coverage.

Unlike other reopening plans, this plan will allow visitors to enjoy truly quarantine free travel, without restrictions on when they can leave their initial city, or any other slightly off putting elements which could detract from the real experience.

With all that said, keep in mind that drinking and dining in Thailand remains very limited right now, and masks are still mostly worn indoors and out.

The Prime Minister noted that relaxed restrictions for visitors will be met with relaxing of local rules too. That should include allowing alcoholic beverages to be served in all restaurants from December 1st. For some visitors, that’s kinda “make or break”.

Wait And See?

This is now somewhere into the 20th or 30th iteration of reopening plans, but as a televised address from the Prime Minister, by far the most serious. The plans have since been further confirmed.

It’s expected that these plans will go ahead without a hitch.

The question is about visitor experience. With most bars closed, many people still wearing masks outdoors and a large dose of fear still overriding other things in the stunning country of Thailand, it might take a few more months before a “Thailand as you once knew it” experience could be attained.

For people who can’t wait to get back, it’s brilliant news. For people who have time, a wait and see approach for January or later might be wise.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. an opening Thailand is great and all but if required to wear masks in the hot climate, it would be a no-go for us

  2. As a resident of Thailand I ask you, what do you think you are coming to? Here are a few things to note. Masks mandatory the moment you leave your hotel room, even in outdoor locations. You are required to download a tracking app which will record your every movement. Your temperature will be taken before entering any but the smallest retail outlet, mall, restaurants etc. and you must check in with the app QR code. Bars are closed at all times but restaurants can serve alcohol with meals, but no alcohol to be consumed on beaches or other public places. There is a curfew in many provinces, currently 11pm – 3am. Most tourism businesses are closed & many have collapsed, not just the small ones, so you wont find as many places as pre Covid. The current health minister described foreign tourists as dirty, badly dressed and with poor personal hygiene and the government only wants upscale high spending visitors. Of course the ordinary person will welcome any visitor. I could go on but I think you get the picture.

  3. Please let me know whether quarantine free for UK to get into Bangkok has been confirmed from 1/11/21. We need to book flights urgently as my sister is seriously ill in hospital

  4. Another catch: Chartered flights
    “These no-quarantine measures apply to arrivals by chartered flights at Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Samui, U-Tapao and Buri Ram airports.”

    And for the condition that you’ll have to stay in your origin country for 21 days prior – how does this work with stops or layovers?

    Our flight from Oslo to Bangkok includes one night in Zurich – so I guess we’re out?

  5. The Government of my country, Spain, is doing a poor job in all things pandemic-related. But clearly we have so much to learn from Thailand as to how to keep tourists away and how to bring down the reputation of a country.

    Unrelated, but this reminds me of when The Economist forecast, around the year 2000, that by 2020 Thailand and a handful of other South-East Asian countries would have surpassed Spain in terms of per-capita income, social development, etc.

  6. When you say simply take a PCR on arrival. It’s not that simple. You need to do it via a SHA+ hotel which will pick you up from the airport. You then need to stay in your room until the result comes back. Annoyingly, they have not yet released the list of SHA+ hotels in BKK. Expect around 300 to be announced next week.

    Even with all this hassle I can’t wait to get back over Xmas and NY!

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