Thailand’s government cabinet for Covid-19 matters has officially approved proposals from tourism ministers to get international travelers flowing into the country again. It’s brilliant news, but even “official” government statements don’t always go to plan in this joyous Southeast Asian country.

The news sees promising options for travelers from all the far reaches of the globe being able to skip quarantine on arrival into the country, but not everywhere, and not immediately.

If Thailand is a “yes, please” for you, here’s how this lengthy proposal shakes out, and how it may change once again. If your time is limited: the good news starts in July.

Thailand Travel Reopening Plans

In a nutshell, Thailand is reopening international travel in phases and by region. The first “big” date to lookout for is July 1st, from which point vaccinated travelers coming to certain regions will be able to enter Thailand without quarantine and enjoy beach destinations right away.

For non vaccinated travelers, it’s going to be a long time coming, or a long quarantine in the interim. Thailand may not lift all restrictions for non-vaccinated travelers until the likes of 2022 and currently requires 10 days of supervised quarantine.

Thai Travel Quarantine Before July

On April 1st, 2021, Thailand cut the quarantine period for all travelers from 14 days down to 10 days. For vaccinated travelers, the period has been shortened further to 7 days in Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Pattaya or Chiang Mai. This has since been reversed and will remain 14 days until the July reopening.

This hinges on a vague “catch all” stating that to benefit from the shortened period, the traveler must not be coming from a country with ‘mutant strains’. That’s going to be an area to watch, however (un)enforceable it may prove.

Travel To Thailand From July 1st

For travel before July 1st, 2021 a quarantine period of either 7-10 days will still apply to all travelers. But from July 1st, fully vaccinated travelers will face no quarantine when coming directly into Thailand via Phuket. Yes, only Phuket.

Critically, it’s believed flights and passengers will need to enter these areas of Thailand immediately, rather than transit in Bangkok first. You must also stay in Phuket only for the first 14 days, before being able to transit to other parts of Thailand. It’s ok to have a shorter trip, like a 5 day trip, but you can’t visit other areas.

Thai Airways has arranged a variety of direct flights from Europe to Phuket in anticipation. Airlines such as Qatar Airways have ramped up service to regional cities such as Chiang Mai and Phuket in recent years, which could prove to be a huge win if Bangkok transit isn’t allowed in the interim.

Travel To Thailand From October 1st, 2021

It’s abundantly clear that Thailand plans to use Phuket as a test market. If things go well from July to October, the rest of this section should hold true. If it doesn’t, you can expect to tear up the playbook.

Much like quarantine restrictions will be dropped for fully vaccinated travelers entering Phuket from July 1st, Thailand plans to open quarantine free travel to other regions on October 1st, 2021. This brings so much more of the country into play.

In the October expanse, Krabi, Phang Nga, Pattaya and lovely Chiang Mai would also be included for arrival without quarantine. Thailand recently reaffirmed these plans. Bangkok remains noticeably absent from the quarantine free plans, but remains an option for those willing to endure some length of quarantine.

Restriction Free Travel To Thailand?

Maybe next year? Anucha Burapachaisri, a Thai Government spokesperson confirmed plans to drop all entry restrictions eventually, but gave early 2022 as a date with the earliest likelihood. Until then, you’ll need to be vaccinated.

Thailand, after a slow start, is in the midst of a fervent vaccination drive for areas which hope to welcome tourists. It’s believed that a goal for ‘herd immunity’ is in place for Phuket by July, which is central to the timing of quarantine free entry for vaccinated travelers. If things get delayed, it could push back, but it seems on trakc.

All things in wonderful and quirky Thailand can change, and we’ve seen that a handful of times already. Thailand started with 31 wacky steps for visitors to enter, then a pivot to Tinder dating to stoke tourism; and now seems to be finding its “center”. Hopefully, you’ll be able to find yours in Thailand later this year, without the hassles of holing up first.

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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17 Comments

  1. As I read the latest “plan,” assuming they vaccinate a sufficient number of Thai residents in Phuket (I have seen 70% and 80%), vaccinated tourists can go there with no quarantine after July 1, but must stay in Phuket for at least 7 days.
    So, for example, if I want to go to Chiang Mai in mid-July, I would have a choice of: (a) doing a 7-day quarantine in Chiang Mai at the start of my trip, or (b) going to Phuket first, staying there for at least 7 days without quarantine, and then going to Chiang Mai after the 7-day period has run.
    Am I reading this potential “end run” correctly?

    1. My understanding is this:
      1) If you’re doing ONLY Phuket, then you can leave anytime (no 7 days minimum)
      2) If you’re flying from Phuket to another Thai destination, then yes, 7 days minimum
      3) If you do Chiang Mai first, the 7 days quarantine is restricted to a hotel
      4) If you do Phuket first, the 7 days quarantine is within the entire island

  2. This is about as clear as mud ….. So if I go to Phuket and I am fully vaccinated I don’t have to do any time in quarantine,
    What if there are covid variants in the country I am flying from between booking and departure ????
    How long is the visa if I’m arriving from the UK is there an option for extending if so whats the maximum I can stay. Thanks for any help.

  3. Hi Ken,
    Yes if you go to Phuket after July 1st, you should have NO Quarantine, but as previously mentioned, Thailand have changed the rules several times since last October. If the variants change in the country you are flying FROM, then you should choose an airline which allows free changes because of Covid. The visa on arrival has been extended from 4 weeks to 6 weeks, because of Covid quarantine. You used to be able to extend that to another 28 days in Phuket giving you 8 or 10 weeks. But if you go to the Thai Consulate/Embassies in UK, they were issuing 2 month visas here. That would give you 3 months in Thailand. You need to check all these out, as they have changed a lot because of Covid. But you have over 2 months before the “No Quarantine” Phuket takes affect. If you are retired, you can obtain a “Retirement Visa” in Thailand giving you 1 year renewable. Good Luck.

  4. Hi James,

    I’am planning on entering Phuket July 2021. As you are aware Phuket is aiming to reopen to vaccinated tourists from July. I will be fully vaccinated for Covid at that point I understand a CoE will be still required. I will be travelling from UK and have two queries which I would appreciate your assistance with please.

    Will I still be required to stay at a ASQ hotel and if not then what is required for CoE regarding accommodation information?
    Will I have to take a direct flight to Phuket International or can I transit via Turkey, Dubai or Bangkok airports? I will have to disembark if transiting.

    I have tried contacting UK Royal Thai Embassy but unfortunately there is no response.

    Many thanks for your assistance.

    Tom

  5. Hi,
    thanks for this information, a bunch of my girlfriends and I are planning a girls trip and we would’ve had our first dose of the vaccine but not the second dose before our trio, does this mean we would be subject to quarantine? please reply
    thanks

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