boats in the water near a cliff with Phi Phi Islands in the background

At this point, I almost feel bad reading back the tape that is the saga of Thailand’s tourism reopening. It’s kind of like reading a rap sheet for a multi time offender out loud.

One count of proposing 31 steps for visitors to jump through, 15 counts of confusing last minute restriction changes. The list goes on, and the many iterations of Thailand’s tourism proposals have not all been pretty.

Amid strong visitor competition from the recent reopening of other beloved Southeast Asian countries like neighboring Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Cambodia, Thailand is quickly changing its tourism tune. The country is now rapidly laying out a framework to drop travel restrictions entirely.

If there’s one thing to be sure of, it’s that no date with tourism in Thailand is a lock, but the step change is big.

As health situations continue to improve and desire for inbound tourism grows, a series of tentative dates has now been announced by Thai officials. These dates, in theory, would be the first for when travel to Thailand might feel “normal” again, a bit like the old days.

boats in the water with a group of boats

Thailand Unveils “Restriction Free Travel” Plan

Travel to Thailand is easier than it was, but by very few definitions could one call it “easy” right now. You still need test(s) and forms and a few other tick boxes to board a flight. Of course, it’s gorgeous, delicious and wonderful — so it can be totally worth it.

In hopes of salvaging a vital tourism season ahead, Thailand now hopes to end all travel restrictions by June 1st, 2022. Again, don’t hold your breath. According to the Bangkok Post, ministers are starting to sing a more logical tune, though.

“Thailand started like a rabbit, running quickly last year as we reopened to visitors. We cannot let the country fall behind as many nations are opening borders and have fewer restrictions than us,” 

Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, Thailand Minister of Sports & Tourism

It’s exciting to think that in just over two months time, travel to Thailand could be as simple as buying a plane ticket again. The newly devised entry protocols from the Thai Ministry of Tourism and Sports would be triggered in two phases, on the assumption of improving or stable Covid-19 statistics.

Phase 1: Arrival PCR Replaced By Antigen Test

In Phase 1 of the new arrival plans for Thailand, the mandatory RT-PCR for post arrival would be replaced by an antigen test kit from May 1st, 2022. This new date is subject to change as health situations are monitored.

For the time being, all other procedures, such as visas, Test & Go forms and ASQ forms would still be required.

Phase 2: All Arrival Protocols Dropped

From June 1st, 2022, Thailand hopes to drop all of the various iterations of their highly confusing current tourism protocols. No more added forms, and no tests.

Travel to the country, particularly for visa waiver visitors, would be as simple as it was before the pandemic upended the tourism world for more than two years.

Thailand recently ended its pre-departure testing requirement, but the move did little to alleviate confidence, knowing an arrival test would be waiting. If Thailand is able to drop all testing and end cumbersome forms and admin, it could be quite the winning combination.

a landscaped garden with Doi Inthanon and a pond

A Logical Path Ahead For Thailand

After a circuitous route to get there, Thailand’s approach to travel restrictions seems grounded in logic. If health situations continue to improve, Thailand will face strong competition not only from other Southeast Asian wonders, but the globe at large.

Demand for tourism to Thailand was massive in 2019, and if restrictions disappear, much as they have in Europe, it could be a great year to get back there. It’s really hard to beat Thailand as a foodie destination.

Soon, you may have your chance to visit, sans testing or forms.

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. Dear Thailand quit with the games and reopen the border people want to leave and visit Thailand again we will not play politics with our money we will simply go somewhere else like Maldives if you don’t want our money

    1. Yep we were in Thailand in January for a month, and was a nightmare with all the tests etc, especially having to test before you go home, the worry leading up to departure that one of us was going to test positive, love Thailand but will not be going back until all restrictions are lifted

    1. Only vaccinated tends to be the case, In the majority of articles these days. There is little transparency on where you stand unvaccinated. It’s as if it’s intentionally vague as per government websites.

  2. Don’t get excited yet. Remember Thailand is ruled by coup leaders who are control freaks as well as xenophobes, so despite the fact that visitors are a minuscule source of transmission foreigners are to be treated like lepers. Never forget the Health Minister called Caucasians dirty farangs which means dirty foreigners. So expect to be treated with suspicion even when they reluctantly have to lift their jack boots from the throats of the citizens.

  3. Hope the government in thialand see sence and end all ristrictions .So we all can have a stress free travel as before .

  4. Current system is ridiculous. My wife , daughter and myself are fly to phuket next week. They both have Thai pass but not me . Even though we done them all together.
    No support emails work all phone lines ring out ? Why have support service when no one cares anyway ?

  5. If they dont lift all travel covid restrictions also for unvaccinated people they cannot restart plenty with all the tourist like 2019!At least more than 30% of tourist come from the richest country in the world are unvaccinated people! So be smart like Mexico or Maldive or Caribbean or be silly is your choice😂👍

  6. When will you be able to fly to Thailand no tests. and recieve your 30 day visa, like it was before covid?

  7. I didn’t realize how badly I wanted to go back to Thailand until I read this article. I’m praying the government will stop the discrimination soon and let us back in to the “land of smiles.” I could really use the Thai “relax” laid back vibes again. Please drop the politics!

  8. Simply can’t wait. It will be truly magical to step off a plane in Thailand again…Feels like it’s getting closer!

    1. There are hardly any tourists in Thailand no matter what they claim. These tourists are treated like milking cows. The junta has no clue and has a weekly change of measures and silly press conferences which are scaremongering and covid updates other countries had months ago.
      When you still want to go to Thailand be prepared to experience the worst then after all it might not be that bad.

    2. I have twice visited Thailand since their lock-down and believe me it’s not the foreigner tourists who add anything to their covid problem.
      Regarding the restarting of the tourist industry goodness only knows when this will happen in reality.
      But there is a strange irony about what should be the land of smiles when you consider its actually become the land of masks.

  9. The Thai Authorities, has stepped over the Line, those racist Thai’s always banging on how anything bad that happens to Thailand is the fault of foreigners. All I can say is up yours, you bunch of ungrateful, greedy, slime balls. It’s about time you individuals learn’t how to treat foreign tourists with respect. I for one won’t be visiting disease infested Thailand, anytime soon.

  10. Due to delayed airline connections in Vienna with Austrian airlines last Monday which necessitated an overnight in Vienna therefore missing our connection to Koh Samui until the following day meant our 72 hour tests and out Thailand Pass would have expired before we got to Koh Samui. We therefore had to abandon our holiday in Vienna. Complete nightmare!

  11. I left Thailand back in 2013 with my Thai wife and our two children. We do not plan ever going back to live there other than to visit family. We had planed a visit for summer 2020 to see family and bring back the last of our things but could not go. Need to see it back the way it was so travel again is easy.

  12. The day I was due to fly in March 2020 get a text saying flight cancelled .my kids who live in Thailand with there mum couldn’t stop crying all I want and so do my children is that Thailand revert back to visa on arrival, is that too much to ask for.

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