Traveling to Thailand during Covid-19

This is How to Do it!

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Thailand travel Covid-19
Forget Covid! Thailand is open again for travel.

Thailand is open again for traveling despite the Covid-19. Yet, you have to do some extra paperwork to get in.

On this page you will find detailed information about Thailand’s travel restrictions and how to get in.

Do I Need a Visa to Travel to Thailand during the Pandemic?

No, you don’t.

Thailand closed its borders from leisure traveling until the fall of 2020, when it opened the country for limited travel. At that point everybody needed to get a visa, which caused extra costs and headaches.

Finally, in January 2021 Thailand relaxed its entry regulations, and now travelers from most countries can travel again to the kingdom without visa for 45 days. The extra 15 days for the previously visa-free 30 days is because everyone needs to spend the first 15 days in quarantine.

Yep, prepare to be confined in your hotel room for the first two weeks. Except if you opt for a golf quarantine, which means you can get out on the greens to play some rounds during the quarantine. Not bad, eh?

How to Get COE = Certificate of Entry

Don’t you miss Thailand? Worth a little effort with the paperwork, right? Photo: Kevin Bosc / Unsplash

Even if you no longer need a visa, you must still apply for a Certificate of Entry, or COE, to travel to Thailand. No exemptions to that. Luckily, it’s free and easily available online.

In the application tick the box Medium Term Visitor – Visa Exemption, if you are not applying for a visa.

To get the COE you need to have an insurance that covers you for Covid-19 treatments.

Travel insurance for COVID-19

To get to Thailand during the pandemic, you have to have a travel insurance that covers the cost of treating a coronavirus illness up to at least $ 100,000. For the proof you need a separate, English language certificate from your insurance company.

The certificate has to state the amount it covers, and that the area of insurance is worldwide including Thailand. Just “worldwide” is not enough. The insurance certificate must also specifically state that it also covers Covid-19.

If your own travel insurance doesn’t qualify, you can also get a Covid-19 insurance online from a Thai insurance firm.

Covid-19 test and Fit to Fly Certificate

To board the plane to Thailand, you need to show a negative Covid-19 test, and a Fit to Fly certificate. That means you need to visit the doctor twice. First to take the Covid-19 test, then again after you have gotten a negative result, so your doc can write you the Fit to Fly Certificate where he states that you don’t have Covid-19 or any other harmful illnesses.

You have to time these doctoral visits pretty neatly as the Covid-19 test should not be older than 72 hours when you board the plane.

Quarantine Hotels in Thailand

You have to book in advance your quarantine hotel for 15 days. The qualified places to stay are called ASQ Hotels which stated Alternative State Quarantine. They are alternative since the Thai nationals can also opt to stay in free quarantine facilities. Foreigners don’t have no other option but to pay for their quarantine facility.

ASQ Hotels are generally quite affordable. As for now the only hotel booking platform to book a quarantine package in Thailand is Agoda. Other option is to book the package through travel agents or directly from a hotel.

Thailand quarantine hotel packages include:

  • Airport transfer to the hotel
  • Accommodation for the time
  • Corona tests
  • Three meals per day (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
  • Nurse / doctor “counseling services”

Quarantine hotels follow a fairly strict discipline. The customers are not allowed access to the outside world during the quarantine, not even to the hotel swimming pool.  You are in the room 24 hours a day until you get the negative results from the first corona test in Thailand. It usually comes the second day of the quarantine. After that the guests are allowed to have short outdoor breaks in the hotel area.

What is the Golf Quarantine in Thailand?

From the end of January 2021, golfers will be able to do their quarantine as a golf quarantine, meaning they will be able to play golf during the quarantine period.

A few golf resorts have been approved for the quarantine program, meaning those living in them will be able to play golf during the quarantine period.

The improvement is staggering compared to the normal quarantine where you would have to stick throughout the quarantine period in your hotel room.

You can go golfing as soon as you have gotten a negative result from the first Covid test taken in Thailand. The test is taken as soon as you arrive, and the results usually come the next day .

What about Getting a Visa to Thailand during Covid-19?

Maya Bay Phi Phi
This is Ko Phi Phi’s famous Maya Beach before Covid. Now you can experience without the crowds. Photo: Humphrey Muleba / Unsplash

Considering the 15 days of quarantine rule you might want to stay in Thailand longer than 45 days. If you do, you have to apply for a visa.

There are two different kinds of visas available for tourists. The easier to get is the standard tourist visa which lets you stay for 60 days. For the standard visa all you have to do is to prove that you have 30 Euros per day in your account to spend in Thailand (1,800 Euros for a two-month visa). Or per family 60 Euros / day. This amount should appear to have been in your account at the end of the month for the last three months. The price of a visa is 40 Euros.

The other option is the special tourist visa (STV). STV is intended for long-term travel; with it you can stay Thailand for 90 days, and you can renew it twice. That means you can stay with STV wobbling 270 days in Thailand.

The bad news is, that applying for STV is rather complicated, even psychedelic experience. They process includes, among other things, a medical certificate certifying that the applicant has no elephant disease. Hello!

In addition, you have to prove you don’t have a criminal record, and book your accommodation in advance for the 90 days (15 days in a quarantine hotel and 75 days elsewhere thereafter). The price of the STV is 80 Euros.

Bring Enough Cash

One last thing! Upon arrival in Thailand, you have to carry on you a minimum of 20,000 Baht per person or 40,000 Baht per family.

When Can You Travel to Thailand without Quarantine?

This is a hard one. Probably no one has a definite answer to this question. But it will take some time. A long time.

In interviews, the Thai government has indicated that the quarantine order will remain in place until the majority of Thais have been vaccinated. Based on data from early 2021, it is believed that vaccination of Thais will take the bigger part of 2021.

So that probably leaves us to the late 2021 or early 2022 when you can enter Thailand without the quarantine.

Is it a Good Idea to Travel to Thailand During Covid-19?

Yes, definitely. In many ways, Thailand is now at its best. Nature has been able to recover during the lockdown, and the hotels offer good deals. You can stay in top-class hotels for the fraction of the price in normal times. Hotels, restaurants, golf courses and diving centers are open as normal.

Beaches are deserted in the once popular tourist hot spots. Even the beaches of Phuket are like in the morning of the world.

And Thailand’s hospitals are excellent if you happen to run to any health problems. Not that you are likely to stress about Covid-19 once you are in Thailand. The kingdom has managed the virus very well and there have been very few coronavirus infections.

When you travel to Thailand you also help Thailand’s the struggling hospitality industry with your contribution. It might not sound that much but it is very much appreciated. Just wait to see the smiles that await you in Thailand.

Best Places to Travel in Thailand during Covid-19?

Phuket Covid-19
Even the beaches in Phuket are deserted because of Covid-19. Photo: Vitaly Sacred / Unsplash

You can travel anywhere in Thailand as there are no restrictions. Small and less-known islands might be eerily quiet, though, and the ferry services might be limited.

Our recommendation would be to take advantage of the situation and enjoy now some of the most famous destinations without the crowds. Go and see how Phuket looks like without the tourists, dive in Koh Phi Phi, and marvel the fabulous sceneries of Krabi.

This is a time like no other and you won’t have another chance to experience these wonderful places without crowds of tourists.

This post is also available in: German

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