Many things changed in Thailand as of October 1. Let’s go through the list…
Tourist arrival visas granted extra 15 days
Visitors arriving as tourists have usually received either visa exemption or visa on arrival.
The visa exemption applied to residents of 64 countries which allowed them to stay in Thailand for 30 day, visa-free. From October 1 they automatically get 45 day stay, with the opportunity to extend that for another 30 days (for 1,900 baht at an immigration office in Thailand).
For visa on arrival, the term of their visa is automatically extended to 30 days, extendable for another 15 days on application whist they are in Thailand.
The new extended stay for the two types of tourist visa started on October 1 and will run until the end of March next year. Will it be extended beyond that? No one knows at the moment.
Countries that qualify for the visa exemption program…
From October 1 there is no more emergency decree as the former CCSA (Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration), Thailand’s Covid-19 taskforce since April 2020, winds down the health emergency in Thailand. The duties outlined by the emergency decree and CCSA are now being returned to the parliament and various departments, like the Public Health Department.
From a day-to-day point of view you won’t really notice any differences.
Masks off in schools
From October 1, all schools in Thailand won’t be legally required for their students and teachers to wear masks, or socially distance. In reality there are some schools that have been slowly relaxing these rules over recent months. And there may also be some schools that will continue to require masks to be worn in some situations.
Although masks are not required to be worn by people in Thailand in public areas any more, many locals still do and some public offices (including immigration offices) may still require people to wear a face mask.
Arrival in Thailand
Arrival in Thailand for everyone, foreigner or Thai, will no longer require proof of Covid vaccination or a negative PCR/ATK test taken in the 72 hours before travel.
Some airlines may still require face masks to be worn during the flight to Thailand but that will be an arbitrary decision by individual airlines and not required by Thai authorities as of October 1. For domestic travel most local airlines are not enforcing the wearing of masks during flights although we would recommend keeping one in your pocket during this time of transition in case you run into a situation where they are required.
Maya Bay has been re-opened
A bit more local, but Maya Bay on Koh Phi Phi Leh has been reopened after a two month closure in August and September. You can read more about that HERE.