The Tourism Authority of Thailand has offered their FAQ list to help visitors under the Phuket Sandbox program enjoy their trip as much as possible, it’s a checklist of points covering before, during and after travel.
Preparing for Travel
Q: What do foreign travellers planning to visit under the Phuket Sandbox programme need to know/do before they travel?
A: They should make sure they have covered all the necessary requirements and have all the required documentation. This includes:
A passport with at least six months validity;
Have been in a Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) approved country for 21 days or more;
Been fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved by Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) or the World Health Organisation (WHO);
Have booked and purchased return air travel;
Have booked and paid for accommodation, and required RT-PCR test/s at a SHA Plus hotel;
Have purchased medical insurance with COVID-19 treatment coverage of at least US$100,000;
Have tested negative for COVID-19 no longer than 72 hours before travel.
Q: If I’m a Thai national or foreign resident of Thailand who is returning from overseas, do I need to have been in a CCSA-approved country for 21 days or more?
A: No, it is not necessary.
Q: What airlines are operating direct flights to Phuket?
A: Currently, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, El Al, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, and Thai Airways International (THAI) have announced direct flights to Phuket.
Please check flight schedules on the respective airlines’ websites.
For your return travel, please note that some airlines are unable to operate into your home country.
Q: If I am travelling with a child under the age of 18, does he/she need to be fully vaccinated?
A: Children under 18 are not required to be vaccinated if travelling with fully vaccinated parents or guardians, but must have tested negative for COVID-19 no longer than 72 hours before travel.
Applying for Phuket Sandbox Program
Q: How can I apply for the programme?
A: Providing you meet all the above points, you can go to https://coethailand.mfa.go.th/ to apply for a Certificate of Entry (COE).
Q: How long does the COE application take?
A: As long as you meet all the requirements, it takes 3 working days for Embassy/Consulate-General processing of the application.
Q: Will I be notified of the application result?
A: No. You will need to check the result at https://coethailand.mfa.go.th/.
Q: Do I need to apply for a visa?
A: Yes, if required.
Day of Travel
Q: Do I need to bring all the documentation that was required for the COE with me?
Q: If my test result that I used for the COE application is older than 72 hours, will I need to take another test?
Q: Will I have to undergo exit screening at my point of departure?
A: Yes. Please note that if your temperature exceeds the safe limit, you will be denied boarding.
Arrival in Phuket
Q: What is the procedure after disembarking from my flight?
A: Click to see the “7-Step Flow at Phuket International Airport” or “7 Steps 7 Countdown”.
Q: After I clear health control and Immigration, do I need to proceed directly to my hotel?
A: Yes. You will need to go straight to your hotel where you must wait for the test result.
Q: Can I stop enroute to the hotel for any reason?
A: No, this is not permitted.
Q: Can I take public transportation for the airport-hotel transfer?
A: No. The transfer is pre-arranged.
Q: How long will I have to wait for my test result?
A: The result will be available within the first day of your arrival.
Q: How do I count the days?
A: If you arrive during 00.01-18.00 Hrs., the day is Day 1. If you arrive during 18.01-00.00 Hrs, the day after is Day 1.
During Your Stay
Q: If I test positive, what will happen?
A: You will be sent to hospital for appropriate treatment, and will need to pay the expenses which should be covered in your insurance.
Q: If I test negative, can I travel freely around Phuket?
A: Yes, you can go anywhere you want within Phuket. BUT you must strictly follow the DMHTTA precautions: D – Distancing, M – Mask wearing, H – Handwashing, T – Temperature check, T – Testing for COVID-19, and A – alert application. Masks must be worn at all times in public areas and in any vehicle with two or more people.
Q: What tours and excursions, transportation, and restaurants should I use while in Phuket?
A: It is recommended that you use SHA Plus certified operators for tours and transportation and SHA Plus restaurants for dining although this is not compulsory. A choice of SHA Plus restaurants, transportation providers and tour agencies can be viewed here.
Q: Why do I have to stay at a SHA Plus hotel?
A: It is for your added safety, as SHA Plus certification indicates a hotel meets the safety measures to control COVID-19, and also that 70% of its workforce has been fully vaccinated. SHA Plus properties can be viewed here.
Q: Can my friend/family member who is already in Phuket join me at my hotel?
A: Yes, providing the guest follows all the rules stipulated for Thais and expats in Thailand.
Q: Must I stay the full 14 nights at one SHA Plus hotel?
A: You can stay the 14 nights at the same hotel, or after staying the first 7 nights at one hotel, you can then move to another SHA Plus hotel/s for the rest of your stay. Whatever your choice, it must all be prepaid. A decision to move hotels cannot be made on the spot.
Q: Can I stay at a SHA Plus hotel in Phuket for the first 7 nights, then move to another hotel in a nearby province; such as, Phang Nga or Krabi for the next 7 nights?
A: No, this is not permitted. You have to stay in Phuket for 14 nights first before you can travel to another destination in Thailand.
Q: Can I stay at a SHA Plus hotel in Phuket for less than 14 nights; for example, only 5 nights, and then leave Phuket for another country?
A: Yes, you can.
Q: Does this mean that, likewise, after 5 nights in Phuket, I can travel to other Thai destinations?
A: No, you cannot. You must leave Thailand immediately. If you want to visit other Thai destinations, you need to first complete a 14-night stay in Phuket.
Q: How many more tests must I do during my stay?
A: If your stay is less than 7 days, you must take one more test on Day 6-7.
If your stay is between 10 and 14 days, you must take more tests on Day 6-7 and Day 12-13.
If your stay is less than 5 days, you are not required to take an additional test.
Q: Where can I get an RT-PCR test done in Phuket?
A: Every hospital can provide an RT-PCR test. The cost ranges from 2,500-4,000 Baht per person, and is at your own expense.
Q: Must a test be prepaid?
A: All required testing must be booked and prepaid through your hotel; the number of tests depends on the duration of your stay.
Q: What should I do if I feel unwell, or suspect possible COVID-19 infection?
A: Any person experiencing COVID-19 symptoms must immediately get a test done. If the person is travelling in a group, every person in the group must undergo a test.
Q: What happens if I test positive?
A: In the case a traveller tests positive for COVID-19 in Thailand, he/she will be responsible for the medical expenses, which should be covered by the required insurance.
Q: I plan to visit one or more other destinations in Thailand after my Phuket visit. Will I face entry requirements at these other places?
A: Yes, of course. Each destination in Thailand has entry requirements and you should check on these beforehand, to make sure you meet them.
Q: What about entry requirements of the country/territory I will fly to after my stay in Thailand?
A: It is up to you to make sure you meet the requirements of your specific international destination. Thailand is not responsible or able to assist on this matter.
The TAT wishes all visitors an enjoyable, safe, and rewarding holiday in Thailand, during this exciting time in which we are able again to welcome travellers from around the world. Let us hope the revitalisation of Phuket and the nationwide tourism sector is achieved without any hurdles, as the Phuket Sandbox launch envisions.