Tourism in Thailand has officially returned. To facilitate the return of aspiring tourists, the country has launched the Test & Go and Sandbox programs, which allow vaccinated individuals from any country/territory to enter Thailand without having to quarantine.
Below is the breakdown of what you need to know about the Sandbox program, which is applied to a handful of the country’s most popular tourist destinations.
What exactly is the Sandbox program?
The Sandbox program was launched by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), in partnership with many popular tourist destinations, in hopes of reviving the country’s severely affected tourism industry. Through this scheme, vaccinated tourists are allowed to visit the destination without having to undergo quarantine.
The program initially began during mid 2021 at southern province Phuket. The pilot scheme in this highly renowned tourist attraction saw a gradual influx of international travelers back on the island, which established more confidence for the authorities to launch the Sandbox program in other destinations, such as Koh Samui.
As of now, Sandbox has been updated. Travelers are required to stay in an accommodation with a SHA+ (SHA Plus) certificate issued by the Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration, and to undergo two COVID-19 screening tests during their stay.
The following are the Sandbox destinations:
- Chon Buri (Bang Lamung, Pattaya, Si Racha, Si Chang, and Na Jomtien and Bang Saray in Sattahip)
- Surat Thani (Koh Samui, Koh Pha-ngan and Koh Tao)
- Trat (Koh Chang)
Who are eligible to travel to these destinations from abroad?
Well, everyone! Whether you’re a Thai citizen or an international tourist from ANY country/territory.
Do tourists need to be vaccinated?
The Sandbox program is eligible for tourists who have been vaccinated, based on the following details:
- Individuals ages 18 and older who have been fully vaccinated with an approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days before traveling to Thailand.
- Individuals ages 12 to 17 (and traveling unaccompanied by parents) who have received at least one dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine. Those traveling with their parents are exempt from this rule.
- Individuals ages 6 to 11 and traveling with parents don’t have to be vaccinated.
Where can I land for a holiday on the Sandbox program?
Sandboxers are required to travel by air and arrive at any of these destinations:
- Phuket International Airport for Krabi, Phang-Nga, and Phuket
- Krabi International Airport for Krabi
- Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, then transit on a sealed flight for Koh Samui or Phuket
- Suvarnabhumi Airport, then travel by a prearranged vehicle on a sealed route to Bang Lamung, Pattaya, Si Racha, Si Chang, and Sattahip (only Na Jomtien and Bang Saray) in Chon Buri, and Koh Chang in Trat.
What do I need to prepare before flying to these Sandbox destinations?
- A Thailand Pass, which can be granted via tp.consular.go.th
- A booking confirmation for at least seven days of stay at a SHA-certified hotel within the eligible Sandbox destination
- Those traveling to Krabi, Phang-Nga, or Phuket can book up to three different hotels (in any of these provinces) to stay within the first seven days.
- Those traveling to Koh Samui, Koh Pha-ngan, or Koh Tao can book up to three different hotels (in any of these islands) to stay within the first seven days—but they must stay in Koh Samui on the first night.
- Those traveling to Phuket and Phang-Nga, Phuket and Krabi, or Phuket and Koh Samui can book up to three different hotels (in any of these areas) to stay within the first seven days.
- An insurance policy with coverage no less than US$20,000 (formerly US$50,000)
- Confirmed payment for two RT-PCR tests
- A certificate of COVID-19 vaccination
- A certificate of COVID-19 recovery for those who have been infected
What do I have to do once I arrive in these destinations?
- Go through an “entry screening” for a body temperature check.
- Take the first RT-PCR test at a pre-booked facility or accommodation via a pre-booked vehicle on a sealed route.
- Wait in the hotel room until the test result arrives.
- If test comes out negative, the traveler is allowed to travel within the Sandbox destination for seven days, but hase to come back to the accommodation they booked, and take the second test on the fifth or sixth day.
- If test comes out positive, the traveler will be transferred to a facility for appropriate medical treatment, with expenses to be covered by insurance.
What can I do during my stay in the Sandbox program?
Basically anything a tourist expects to do when on holiday, as long as they test negative. But remember to take a second test on day 5 or 6 and come back for the night at the hotel(s) you have booked.
Download the MorChana application and turn it on at all times.
You are also kindly requested to follow preventive protocols when in public spaces, such as wearing a mask, washing hands and social distancing.
What happens after I have completed the seven-day requirement?
There are two cases here:
- If you only planned for a week-long vacation, you need to immediately leave Thailand for another country.
- If you plan to explore other destinations in Thailand and received a negative test result on day 7, you will get a release form that allows you to continue your trip elsewhere in the country.