Thailand is making it easier to visit, dropping a key hurdle to reaching the beautiful Southeast Asian kingdom, announcing new entry protocols from April 1st, 2022. From this date, passengers won’t be required to take a Covid-19 test prior to departure.
There’s just one very large and intimidating catch which may keep travelers spinning their globes for alternative destinations, with lower trip jeopardy. If you were going to test positive, you’d want to know before the trip, not after you arrive, right?
Thailand Changes Up Travel Restrictions
Thailand is dropping pre-departure testing from April 1st, 2022 and making the Test & Go and Sandbox programs easier to participate in.
The fact that there are three arrival programs, each with different travel requirements is inherently more complicated than most countries, but “this is Thailand” as they say.
A slew of visitor forms and mandatory hotel bookings certainly don’t help, but hey — it’s better than the 31 step process they started with, or the various odd iterations that followed.
Unfortunately, what’s not being dropped is post arrival testing. All visitors from April 1st onward will still be required to test negative on the day of arrival with a RT-PCR test and then again on day 5 with an antigen test.
This means someone could arrive into the country and immediately be quarantined.
It makes sense to drop post-arrival testing if someone tests negative prior to departure, but dropping a pre-departure requirement while keeping a post arrival requirement just creates more opportunity for people to unexpectedly test positive for Covid-19, even asymptomatically.
What Other Countries Are Doing
Requiring a Covid-19 test prior to international travel made a lot of sense during earlier stages of the pandemic, but cases are no longer the metric they once were, particularly for vaccinated people.
In response, many tourism centric countries have streamlined things to say that fully vaccinated visitors are under no obligation to test prior to departure or after arrival. If someone is unvaccinated, many countries allow proof of recovery from Covid-19 within a certain window, or a recent negative test to enter as well.
Most of Europe has dropped all testing requirements for fully vaccinated and boosted visitors and there’s strong indication that the US will follow suit on April 18th. Many of these countries have also dropped all Covid-19 related restrictions, from mandates for masks to social distancing.
Full Breakdown Of Thailand’s New Entry Protocols
The Tourism Authority of Thailand released its latest entry protocols for all arrivals from April 1st onward, at which point things will change. Arrivals before this time need to check current requirements.
Here’s what’s changing from April 1st, 2022 onward for arrivals into Thailand…
International arrivals under any of the current three entry schemes – TEST & GO, Sandbox, and Alternative Quarantine (AQ) – will be allowed to enter Thailand without the need to show proof of a negative RT-PCR test within 72 hours of travel.
Points of entry
Air, land, and water points of entry.
Number of approved airports increased from 7 to 8 – Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi, Phuket, Krabi, Samui, Chiang Mai, U-Tapao, and Hat Yai (new).
Land border checkpoints increased from 3 to 4 – Nong Khai, Udon Thani, Songkhla, and Satun (new)
Water points of entry increased from ports and piers in 2 to 3 provinces – Phuket, Chon Buri, and Surat Thani (new).
Types of vessels also increased from yachts to also cover ships of Thai government agencies, while Thai crew members on cargo ships will also be allowed to enter Thailand.
Two tests remain in place for the TEST & GO and Sandbox travellers: RT-PCR test upon arrival (Day 0) and an antigen self-test on Day 5.
Sandbox staying period
Reduced to 5 days from currently 7 days. After completing five days within the Sandbox destinations, travellers will be allowed to travel domestically within Thailand.
Quarantine reduced to 5 days and an RT-PCR test on Day 4-5.Tourism Authority Of Thailand
Thailand: Worth The Trip?
It’s wonderful to watch the world reopen as health situations improve. For the first time in two years, eager travelers have ample choice all over the world. With current protocols however, that may be bad news for Thailand.
People were willing to accept strict entry protocols when Thailand was one of a handful of open countries, but now that many countries allow fully vaccinated visitors to hop a flight without tests or any forms whatsoever, there’s a lot of admin here.
If you’ve been dying to visit Thailand, it’s open and easier to visit than it was. For those who don’t want to risk quarantine in a foreign country, the post arrival tests remain an imposing hurdle. Plus, with Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and other gems of Southeast Asia reopening, there’s choice in the region too.