We could all do with a sun-splashed adventure after the horror of the past year – and now it looks as though you might be able to hit up the night markets of Bangkok or the mountains of Chiang Mai actually quite soon. Thailand had already reopened its borders to foreigners with work permits, residency or family there. Now the country’s government has announced that travellers from more than 50 countries can enter without applying for a visa.
Under the ‘visa exemption’ scheme, travellers from the UK, USA, Australia, Canada and elsewhere will be able to stay for up to 45 days – as long as they self-isolate for ten days at an ‘alternative state quarantine’ hotel on arrival (seven days if you’ve been vaccinated).
If you’re from a country not on the list, or simply looking to stay longer, a ‘special tourist visa’ that lasts up to 90 days will also be available. This can be extended twice, to a maximum of just under nine months.
All travellers must provide a negative test result from within 72 hours of arrival, as well as evidence of medical and travel insurance that will cover Covid-19 for at least the length of your stay. Even if you don’t have to apply for a visa, you must apply for a certificate of entry and download the ThailandPlus app before arrival.
The country has also raised the prospect of allowing in all international visitors, from any country, so long as they have had the jab. The island of Phuket is on track to let in vaccinated tourists from July 1, and the rest of the country could well follow.
So if you’re looking for your fix of street food and tropical islands, Thailand could be back on the agenda – though, for the time being, you’ll have to be in it for the long haul. Here are seven reasons why Thailand should be on your 2021 travel list.
Remember, many countries are still warning against all non-essential travel and some are quarantining all overseas arrivals, including their own returning citizens. Check all the relevant restrictions before you think about travelling.