Thailand now has its own “Thailand Pass”.
It’s a free, web-based system designed to add efficiency to the document processing of inbound travellers entering Thailand.
The aim of is to help support the country’s “Ease of Travel” system after Thailand reopens and to expedite the process of filling out information and uploading travel documents.
All travellers, both Thai and foreigners are required to have a Thailand Pass. They also require travel insurance. According to thaiembassy.com (which is not the Thai Embassy in Pretoria, but a travel assistance company in Thailand), a common reason for applications being rejected is that some insurance policies are “not properly worded”.
The COVID-19 insurance policy must expressly state that it covers up to US$50 000 ( approximately R763 000) in medical expenses, including COVID-19 and it must cover the whole stay in Thailand. The system only accepts one attachment therefore it is important to have a one-page Certificate of Insurance with all the required information.
But nothing about the Pass changes the fact that travellers from only 63 countries are eligible to enter without quarantine. South Africa is not on that list nor is any other Southern African country.
So, South Africans and those from countries not listed among the 63 “green” countries, may still only enter Thailand under the “Thailand Sandbox Program”, also referred to by Thailand’s Tourism Authority as “Living in the Blue Zone”.
It is basically a seven-day quarantine where vaccinated travellers may not leave their resort, but after testing negative on day 6 or 7, they may tour the country at will.
“People who want to visit under this system are required to spend their first seven nights within one of the 17 Blue Zone Sandbox destinations – including, amongst others, Bangkok, Krabi, Phuket and Ko Samui. After testing negative for COVID upon arrival and for a second time six days later, travellers are free to tour the rest of the country while following COVID safety protocol. We look forward to welcoming South Africans as we head into the busy season,” says Chiravadee Khunsub, Director of TAT.
Lesley Simpson of LSC Communications, who represents the TAT in South Africa told Travel News that the recommended entry is either via Phuket or Bangkok, and Phuket the preferred one of the two, due to the logistics of getting the PCR test on arrival. “Phuket has a clinic at the airport so it’s easy. In Bangkok’s case, the Safety and Health Administration (SHA) registered hotel fetching the guests, will first take them to a clinic/hospital outside the airport and then back to the hotel to await the results. That’s why most agents are selling predominantly Phuket for now. It’s easier – the clients take the PCR test, then transfer with their SHA+ shuttle to the hotel for seven nights/eight days, and if not returning to South Africa after eight days, they are free to continue to Bangkok or any other 17 provinces.”
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