Are you traveling to Thailand in 2022? Here’s everything you need to know from March

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Thailand is considered by travelers around the world as one of the best countries to visit for countless reasons… We don’t need to remind you of the beaches, the bars, the Buddha… But there is so much more to the land of smiles.

As the pandemic enters Year 3, many Southeast Asian countries are changing their approach to the virus in a bid to reopen their borders for unrestricted international travel. Here in Thailand, many restrictions and rules regarding entering the country remain, although they are gradually easing and the country is reopening.

There are downsides to landing in Thailand as an international visitor at this time, including the potential for a 10-day quarantine if you test positive for Covid. Currently, travelers from any country who are fully vaccinated are allowed to visit Thailand without being quarantined, while those not vaccinated must undergo quarantine.

NOTE: As of March 1, Thailand’s new Test & Go Travel Program is open for new registrations. Read all about it here…

First, the good news…
The good news is that when you arrive at the airport, you won’t have to worry about taxis. (No more wondering if the meter is working properly or the driver is spinning in circles.)

Instead, a pre-arranged van will transport you directly to your SHA+ hotel, where you will take a PCR test. You will then have to wait overnight at the hotel for the results, which will be given the following morning (sorry, no PCR test early in the morning, followed by a hotel check-out in the afternoon). If your hotel does not facilitate PCR testing, you will first be directed to a separate PCR testing site before arriving at your hotel.

What happens next depends on the entry program you have applied to. Currently, there are three reintegration programs people can choose from; Sandbox, Test & Go and quarantine for unvaccinated travellers. Read on to learn more about them…

Thailand Pass: What is it?
Anyone going to visit must apply for a Thailand Pass, this applies to Thai nationals and foreigners alike.

Travelers must apply for the mandatory Thailand Pass at least 24 hours before travel, although the Thai government strongly advises travelers to register and plan their trip at least seven days in advance, as the approval process can take three to seven days. .

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises people to be wary of any scams to charge you for registering for the Thailand Pass.

The announcement came last month after the Covid-19 task force reviewed complaints from people claiming to have paid entry fees to apply for the Thailand Pass.

Registration is free and the official website is here.

Test & Go: what is it and what’s new?
As of this writing, the Test & Go program has changed…again. Travelers who meet the new requirements will be allowed to enter Thailand from March 7.

From March, the requirement to obtain a second pre-paid PCR test on day 5 after entering Thailand is waived. But, it would be replaced by an antigen test, which you have to do yourself.

Before the change, the fifth day of testing an extra night in one of the SHA+ accommodations is very unpopular among travelers.

As for the compulsory ‘Covid’ insurance, it will be lowered from $50,000 to $20,000. You can read more about the updated version of Test & Go here.

The new rules come into effect on March 1, but the Thailand Pass website will not be changed until then.

Sandbox: What, where, why?
Besides Phuket, vaccinated travelers can now visit three other popular Thai beach destinations – Krabi, Phang Nga and Koh Samui – under the Sandbox Tourism Project, which allows international tourists to enter Thailand without going through a long and tight quarantine. .

The CCSA has confirmed that from February 1, Bang Lamung, Pattaya, Si Racha, Si Chang and Sattahip areas will reopen (but only Na Jomtien and Bang Saray sub-districts). Koh Chang was also opened under the new Sandbox choices.

Phuket has earned nearly 43 billion baht in revenue so far, with steadily increasing tourist numbers. Phuket attracted 86,282 tourists, with around 70,000 bookings and an average stay of 8 days.

What if I test positive for Covid-19?
We don’t want you to catch Covid, but what if you do?

If you test positive for Covid-19 using a rapid antigen test, or ATK, you should take an RT-PCR test to confirm if you have the virus. The Thai government only accepts positive RT-PCR tests as proof of Covid-19 infection.

Anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 is required by Thai emergency regulations to alert public health officials. Those who do not report positive results could be subject to a fine of up to 20,000 baht.

People infected with Covid-19 who refuse to be quarantined or treated face up to two years in prison and a fine of 40,000 baht. Cases with severe symptoms will be admitted to a hospital, while others may be transferred to a field hospital or community isolation center, where the government will pay for their basic stay and treatment.

The thought of being moved to a field hospital or isolation center in a foreign country can be terrifying for expats and travelers, but those who are asymptomatic or show minimal symptoms may be approved for isolation. at home, if you have a residence here.

Endemic soon?
Thailand’s Ministry of Health plans to name Covid 19 an endemic virus within the next four months. Whether the World Health Organization agrees or not, officials are developing a strategy to get the country out of the pandemic phase.

Even as the infection rate on the southern island of Phuket rises, authorities want to declare Covid-19 endemic. Local authorities would also like to stop reporting new infections daily, instead of reporting Covid cases with moderate to severe illness.

Reaching endemic would free up time for officials to focus on improving the economy, the deputy governor said.

Pass ‘Go’, pay field entrance fees
The bad news is that Thailand’s Minister of Tourism and Sports has decided that tourists will soon have to pay a “land entry fee” of 300 baht. The minister has not yet said when the tax will be implemented, but it will most likely be included in the price of plane tickets to Thailand. The fee will supposedly be used to pay for insurance and emergency services, as well as tourism development, though shrunken expat netizens seriously doubt that…

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