boats in the water with a couple of boats

It’s not been all that obvious, but Thailand has technically been open to visitors for quite a while now. Not everywhere, and not without plenty of hassle though.

At one point, the reopening plan involved a 31 step process for visitors, but people figured losing weight would be easier than a visit to the country, which resulted in a changing of protocols and the formation of quarantine free “sandboxes”, on islands like Phuket.

Even with a reduced number of hoops to jump through and opportunities to avoid quarantine, travel to Thailand has been incredibly restrictive, with a barrage of forms and tests, even for fully vaccinated visitors, in addition to limits on what you can do.

The health situation in Thailand is now improving, but with more than 18 months since any meaningful international visitor numbers arrived, the economy is not.

In response, Thailand is once again accelerating plans to reopen, and this time, without much of the red tape which has dissuaded visitors, including the ‘Certificate of Entry’ forms.

a row of gold statues in a temple

Thailand’s Latest Reopening Plans

Only weeks ago, Thailand promised to reopen Bangkok and 9 other areas for travel without quarantine, starting October 1st. And only days after that announcement, a new announcement was issued stating that plans would be delayed until mid October.

As you might have guessed, only days after that, another announcement followed with plans to postpone wider reopening until November 1st. Talk about travel limbo!

For the month of October, the latest plans state that any quarantine period has been reduced to just 7 days, from 14, making it easier for families to reconnect – however far from ideal for any tourist visitors.

Not that any plans in the covid-19 era are set in stone, but government forces now seem to squarely support plans to reopen fully on November 1st without quarantine to all fully vaccinated travelers, with as little red tape as possible, in as many areas as possible.

Crucially, this should involve a far more streamlined paperwork process for all visitors to Thailand.

After a highly anticipated meeting today from the Thai CCSA, which is in control of inbound travel restrictions, the November 1st date for Bangkok and Krabi will officially press ahead.

A few areas which were expected to reopen on November 1st, will not, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

It’s also being reported that the Certificate Of Entry (COE), which is largely seen as one of the most hindering elements of the process to enter the country is currently on hold indefinitely. Most visitors hope — forever.

The notice appears on an official Embassy Of Thailand website, but various embassy websites still display conflicting information, or have not been updated for months, which does little to boost confidence in the application process.

Fortunately, the Thai Embassy in Washington DC seems to have the best information, but even then, it’s not entirely clear whether the scheme is officially going away, or just suspended.

** Announcement on new e-Visa Stickerless System **

Effective from 27 September 2021, the Royal Thai Embassy in Washington D.C. will start implementing new e-Visa service, “Stickerless e-Visa”. Please note that it is no longer required for applicant to submit his/her passport and original supporting documents via mail to the Royal Thai Embassy.

After the e-Visa application has been approved, a confirmation e-mail will be sent to applicants. It is kindly requested to print a copy of the confirmation e-mail to present to airline and Thai Immigration officials to carry out checks when traveling to Thailand.Royal Thai Embassy in Washington DC

The COE effectively makes all visitors fill out the same information an extra 3X, and involves sending far too many documents back and forth with embassy officials.

a landscaped garden with Doi Inthanon and a pond

Reducing Paperwork For Tourists

Thai tourism officials are now going public stating that these previous barriers led to disappointing visitor numbers, according to the Bangkok Post.

In the next two months, ahead of a wider reopening in November, and yet another phased reopening from the 1st of December, all efforts are being made to scrap redundant paperwork.

With hope, the situation will continue to evolve as it is, and proof of vaccination and perhaps a test or two will be all that’s needed for an enjoyable trip. A strict state of emergency will remain in place through November 30th, so anyone looking to get the most out of a trip may want to wait until later in the year, or next.

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. So what exactly can we do? Can we fly to BKK then drive to Udon Thani or do we have to stay in BKK for 7 days or spend all our holiday in BKK.

  2. While the bureaucracy and costs might be lessened the real issue for a visitor is what will they enjoy when they are here. As it stands there will be no bars open, no nightlife open, no restaurants allowed to serve alcohol with meals, very few tourism related businesses open because they are either bankrupt or do not trust the government to actually do what they say. There have been so many u-turns that no one knows what is happening even one day ahead and they cannot risk employing staff & be told of a change at the last minute. The government is actually incapable of implementing a sensible plan for the true reopening of tourism & anyone who books to come here risks having a miserable experience.

  3. I have a house in phuket i share with the girlfriend the house is in her name but ive been there 7 yrs now, im in uk and my retirement visa etc have all run out in april. How do i get back in to my house, im thinking about thai elite it seems to cut out the hassle ?

  4. I plan to travel in November ’21 on a UK passport as a tourist, double jabbed
    Can I still enter BKK on a visa on arrival (45 days)?
    I understand that a COE is/will not be necessary,have I got that right?
    Thank you

  5. My wife of 8 yrs lives in Phetchabun and I would like to return to her as my it is my home I live on a 1 yr visa which is due to re new Dec so I need to get back home am fully vaccinated and still have time left on my 1yr visa but my 90 day has run out what do I do now to get back in November

  6. Can anyone explain to me why Thailand (or any country), having made the decision to vaccinate and ‘live with Covid”, needs to also test fully vaccinated people arriving from overseas? Ensure that they have travel / health insurance, sure – but what is to be gained by testing already vaccinated people? To pick up a tiny fraction of them coming into the country with the virus? When you already have plenty of it circulating amongst the local population? It doesn’t make any sense.

    1. Like most countries, there’s just as much “being seen to do something”, as there is “doing things that actually move the needle”.

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