Thailand Travel Restrictions for Phuket: What to Know Before Visiting

Thailand Travel Restrictions for Phuket: What to Know Before Visiting

Ready for your well-deserved Phuket vacation?

As of writing, leisure travel to Thailand is possible only with the Phuket Sandbox, which allows select foreign tourists to visit the country without quarantine. The only caveat here is that they must stay in Phuket for 7 to 14 nights, before they can visit other destinations. 

With Thailand open for tourism now, here’s what else you need to know when planning that trip to your first stop: Phuket. 

phuket travel

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Thailand travel overview

Vaccination status

16.22% of Thailand citizens have been fully vaccinated, as of 9 September 2021. As for Phuket vaccinations, 67.2% of its local residents are fully vaccinated, as of 31 August.  

Citizens and nationals allowed entry without quarantine

Vaccinated Thai nationals and vaccinated foreign travellers from these countries are allowed to enter Thailand without quarantine.

1. Albania
2. Andorra
3. Antigua & Barbuda
4. Australia
5. Austria
6. Azerbaijan
7. Bahrain
8. Barbados
9. Belgium
10. Bhutan
11. Brunei
12. Bulgaria
13. Cambodia
14. Canada
15. Chile
16. China
17. Croatia
18. Cyprus
19. Czech Republic
20. Denmark
21. Dominica
22. Estonia
23. Finland
24. France
25. Germany
26. Greece
27. Hong Kong
28. Hungary
29. Iceland
30. Ireland
31. Israel
32. Italy
33. Japan
34. Kuwait
35. Laos
36. Latvia
37. Lithuania
38. Luxembourg
39. Macao
40. Malta
41. Mauritius
42. Monaco
43. Morocco
44. Myanmar
45. Mongolia
46. Netherlands
47. New Zealand
48. Norway
49. Poland
50. Portugal
51. Qatar
52. Romania
53. Russia
54. San Marino
55. Serbia
56. Singapore
57. Slovakia
58. Slovenia
59. South Korea
60. Spain
61. Sweden
62. Switzerland
63. Taiwan
64. Turkey
65. United Arab Emirates
66. United Kingdom
67. United States of America
68. Vietnam
69. Uzbekistan
70. Ukraine

Unvaccinated children aged 17 years old and below are allowed, as long as they are travelling with vaccinated parents.

Travellers with quarantine requirements

The following are those who are required to undergo a mandatory quarantine at an accredited hotel in Phuket for 7 to 14 days:

  • Unvaccinated adult travellers
  • Travellers from un-listed countries (both vaccinated and unvaccinated) 

Pre-arrival required documents for travel to Phuket

All foreigners travelling to Phuket are required to prepare the following documents prior to their trip:

  • Proof of vaccination
    • Full vaccination at least 14 days prior to departure to Thailand, and not more than 12 months
    • Vaccine brands approved: AstraZeneca/Oxford, Johnson and Johnson/Janssen, Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, Sinopharm, and Sinovac
  • Negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test result
    • Taken no longer than 72 hours prior to departure
  • Approved Certificate of Entry
  • Approved visa
    • If this is applicable to your country
  • Passport with at least six months validity
  • Medical insurance with COVID-19 treatment coverage
    • Coverage of at least US$100,000
  • Pre-paid RT-PCR COVID-19 tests to be taken in Phuket
  • Stay at SHA+ Hotel in Phuket and approved Extension Areas
    • Accommodation must be no less than 14 nights, including at least seven nights in Phuket at an SHA Plus hotel. 
    • Travellers have the option to spend the remaining seven nights in any one of the approved Extension Areas.

Arrival

For all Phuket travel, foreign tourists must book a flight directly to Phuket International Airport only. As of now, transit via Bangkok is not allowed.

Thailand travel restrictions include downloading the ThailandPlus alert application on your mobile phone. You must have this app on at all times during your stay in Thailand.

Immigration

Upon arrival at Phuket International Airport, all travellers are subject to immigration procedures that inspect the required documents. They will also need to undergo a health screening, which includes a nasal swab RT-PCR test. Meanwhile, children under six years old will receive saliva RT-PCR testing

  • Once cleared in immigration and health control, all travellers must go straight to their hotel to await the RT-PCR test result. 
    • The result should be available within the first day of arrival.
  • Transfer from the airport to the hotel must be pre-arranged and stops en route to the hotel are strictly prohibited. 
thailand open for tourism

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During the stay

Once travellers test negative from the airport RT-PCR, they are free to travel around Phuket. They must follow these DMHTTA precautions

  • D = Distancing
  • M = Mask-wearing
    • At all times in public areas and in any vehicle with two or more people
  • H = Handwashing
  • T = Temperature check
  • T= Testing for COVID-19
  • A = Alerts for the ThailandPlus app

On tour packages, transportation, and restaurants

While it is not compulsory, it is highly recommended for travellers to choose SHA Plus tour operators and transportation services, and dine in at SHA Plus restaurants.

Click here for the full list. 

On renting vehicles

Travellers are allowed to rent a vehicle. While it is not compulsory, it is highly recommended to get an SHA Plus rental car service.

Phuket Sandbox restrictions

Under the Phuket Sandbox, foreign tourists are free to roam around the island during their stay —as they follow health and safety protocols. 

The following local establishments remain closed until further notice:

  • Pubs, bars, and other entertainment venues
  • Computer game shops and internet cafes 
  • Public swimming pools and martial arts centres

The following local establishments are open, but with limited capacity and shortened hours:

  • Restaurants and other food and beverage outlets
    • No serving of alcohol or consumption of alcohol on the premises 
  • Fresh markets and walking street markets 
  • Convenience stores 
    • Open only between 4am and 11pm
  • Parks, courtyards, sports fields, and other places for outdoor exercise
    • Open only until 9pm
  • Gyms, yoga studios, and other places for indoor exercise
    • Open only until 9pm
    • Those without air conditioning must have open space and good ventilation, with a limited number of customers 
phuket travel

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COVID-19 testing while at the Phuket Sandbox

All travellers are required to do additional RT-PCR tests during their Phuket vacation. The number depends on their stay:

  • If the stay is less than 14 nights: One additional test on Day 6-7 
  • If the stay is more than 14 nights: Two additional tests on Day 6-7 and Day 12-13

Once all test results are negative, travellers will be free to explore Thailand.

What if someone tests positive for COVID-19?

Those who test positive at the Phuket Sandbox will be sent to a healthcare facility for appropriate medical treatment. Expenses for this must be covered by the health insurance purchased prior to their trip.

For those travelling as a group with at least one member that tested positive, the rest of the group must also be transferred to an alternative quarantine (AQ) hotel for 14 nights. These travellers must also cover their own AQ expenses. 

What if someone feels unwell, or shows possible COVID-19 symptoms?

Those experiencing symptoms must get tested ASAP. If the person is travelling with a group, every person in the group must also undergo a test.

Phuket swab centres

Here is where you can get your RT-PCR tests done during your Phuket travel:

  • Maikhao (North Phuket) – 096-643-4572
  • Laguna (Cherngtalay) – 076-325-442
  • Patong (Jungceylon) – 093-574-0683
  • Kata (Kata Centre) – 081-693-6586
  • Phuket Town (Central Floresta) – 088-765-0363

Phuket Sandbox 7+7 Extension

The mandatory stay in Phuket for fully vaccinated foreign tourists used to be 14 nights. But with the ​​Phuket Sandbox 7+7 Extension program, they have the option to spend only seven nights in Phuket, then spend the remaining seven nights in one of the following extension areas:

  • Krabi Province: Ko Phi Phi, Ko Ngai, or Railay
  • Phang-Nga Province: Khao Lak or Ko Yao
  • Surat Thani Province: Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, or Ko Tao

Combining your extension areas for the Phuket Sandbox is not allowed.

While in the chosen extension area, visitors must spend the remaining seven nights at one SHA Plus hotel. This hotel must also be booked in advance when applying for your COE prior to your trip. 

thailand open for tourism

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Thailand travel restrictions outside Phuket

This covers all travel to Thailand destinations from Phuket

All travellers must show proof that they have completed their 7- or 14-night stay in Phuket by obtaining a Transfer Form from their hotel in Phuket. They must also provide all of their negative COVID-19 test results.

Note that Thailand travel restrictions and entry requirements vary for each destination.

Approved routes for extension areas

Booking for these transfers must be made in advance:

  • Going to Krabi (Ko Phi Phi, Ko Ngai, or Railay): SHA Plus boat and ferry services from Ao Po, Chalong, Rassada, and Wisit Panwa piers
  • Going to Phang-Nga (Khao Lak): SHA Plus car transfer services from Phuket direct to the SHA Plus hotels
  • Going to Phang-Nga (Ko Yao Yai): SHA Plus boat and ferry services from the approved piers (Ao Po and Ao Po Grand Marina) to two approved piers on Ko Yao Yai (Chonglat and Ban Laem Yai
  • Going to Phang-Nga (Ko Yao Noi): SHA Plus boat and ferry services from the approved piers (Ao Po and Ao Po Grand Marina) to the approved pier on Ko Yao Noi (Manoh)
  • Going to Surat Thani (Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, or Ko Tao): Phuket-Samui flight via Bangkok Airways’ special route

Return travel

Apart from these Thailand travel restrictions, it’s also important to know the entry requirements for when you return to your country of origin. Best to check with your respective airline and official tourism office for what documents you’ll need to bring during the return trip to your country of destination.


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About Author

Marcy Miniano
Marcy Miniano

A fast-talking caffeine-dependent wordsmith, Marcy has never been one to shy away from sharing a good story or two. If she’s not in a quiet coffee shop somewhere, she enjoys spending afternoons in a museum or art gallery — whether it’s around Metro Manila or a foreign city she’s visiting. She wishes to retire in a winter village someday, so she can fulfil her lifelong dream of wearing turtlenecks all year round and owning a pet penguin.

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