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Thailand will soon reopen… But it might not be exactly easy to cross the border.
There’s no question about it: Thailand is one of the most desirable tourist destinations in the world. Unfortunately, like much of Southeast Asia, it closed for many months thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, however, there’s a glimmer of hope as the country is preparing to reopen its borders once more. Of course, Thailand travel is going to look very different for a while. Here’s everything you need to know about Thailand reopening.
Disclaimer: the information in this article is correct as of 12 October 2020. Travel restrictions are subject to change and I’ll be doing my best to keep this post updated with accurate information. Remember to check government travel advice here.
Sadly, exact dates are unclear. The island of Phuket was originally set to receive tourists on 1 October. Unfortunately, the plans for Thailand to reopen were pushed back yet again. However, the government are keen to reopen soon since the country’s economy is dependent on tourism.
Thailand initially plans to reopen to long-term travelers only. You’ll have to stay in the country for a minimum of 30 days. You’ll be able to obtain a 90-day Special Tourist Visa (STV) and you can extend this twice. This means you could stay in the country for up to nine months. This could be a great option for digital nomads, as Thailand is one of the top countries where you can live a luxe life on a budget.
The STV should cost between 1,200-2,000 baht, or $38-$65.
For the time being, travelers will have to fly into Phuket. Only flights from certain ‘safe’ countries will be permitted during the early stages of reopening so that the Thai government has time to monitor the process without risking overwhelm.
Travelers entering Thailand must quarantine for 14 days. You’ll either be able to do this at a State Quarantine facility, such as a hospital or quarantine centre, or an Alternative State Quarantine, i.e. a government-approved hotel. A two-week quarantine at an ASQ facility costs between $900-$7,000. You’ll need to pass two PCR tests before leaving.
Thailand travel is no longer a spontaneous affair. In order to enter the country, you’ll need to present proof of accommodation bookings for the full length of your stay in the country.
You can leave Phuket and travel to other areas of Thailand after three weeks. However, you’ll once again need to test negative for COVID before doing so.
Honestly, entering Thailand seems like a lot of work for a short vacation – I’d hold off and try a country from this list of post-COVID destinations instead. However, if you’re a prospective digital nomad or expat who’s itching to start your new life, then all the jumping through hoops will probably be worth it.
Travel rules change fast during the pandemic and Thailand’s reopening has already been pushed back several times. I’ll be keeping this article updated so that it remains accurate.
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