From today, there is no more Thailand Pass necessary for entering Thaland. The online pre-travel registration was mostly unpopular and had a bad reputation for foreigners, and Thais, many who posted tales of woe and a poor experience with the online pre-travel application. Up to 10% of people applying either were refused travel or never had a reply, especially in the early days after the program was launched late in 2021.
After the launch of the Phuket Sandbox in July last year Thailand was seen as a regional leader in Asia during as nations started the re-opening phases in the second half of 2021. Then, with the arrival of the Omicron variant, Thailand had a slow response to the new Covid surge and an even slower reduction of restrictions for both inbound travellers and locals.
The Phuket Sandbox program allowed fully vaccinated people to arrive on the island of Phuket but with a long list of restrictions and, in its early phases, minimum of 7 days quarantine.
The Thailand Pass was launched, across Thailand, on November 1. From day one there were problems with people trying to upload the required information and then a cavalcade of scam ‘Thailand Pass’ websites which were charging people for services that didn’t exist. The actual Thailand Pass was free.
But from today, July 1, there is NO Thailand Pass, no compulsory US$10,000 insurance and NO face masks in open areas in Phuket (although they are still required on public transport, all domestic flights, public buildings, including airports and ‘crowded places’).
So Phuket, and Thailand, is now ‘almost’ fully open again to inbound travellers from anywhere in the world. But expensive flights, current problems with cancellations and delays in the US and European aviation industry, inflation and rising fuel costs are proving additional barriers to international travel, no matter what Thailand does at this time.
Fully vaccinated travellers can now arrive at Phuket International Airport with just their passport and a change of clothes. Passengers will be required to present their vaccination documents to immigration officials when they arrive, otherwise the arrival procedures are just the same as before. Depending on your passport, you may be granted either a visa fee waiver or an extension on your previous tourist visa stay (check on the Thai embassy website in your country).
For unvaccinated, or under-vaccinated travellers, you will be required to do a PCR test, or professionally-conducted ATK test, 72 hours before their departure to Thailand. Some airlines will also have their own travel restrictions in place at this time (check your airline’s requirements before you fly)
Travellers are no required to purchase the compulsory US$10,000 anymore as well.
To add to the good news the closing times of Phuket’s nightlife was extended last week to 2am.