After a brief pause in reopening through January, Thailand will be fully reopening once again on February 1, 2022 through a Test & Go scheme.
Along with Singapore reopening Vaccinated Travel Lanes, South East Asia as a whole is beginning to open up, and could make for a very worthwhile trip in 2022.
Thailand Travel Restrictions
As of February 1, 2022, fully vaccinated tourists from any country can apply for a Test & Go Pass up to 60 days in advance of their trip.
How Can Canadians Enter Thailand?
All Canadians are allowed to enter Thailand by air, as long as they are fully vaccinated. As of October 2021, when departing Canada by air, travellers are required to present proof of vaccination.
Travellers must fulfill all of the following criteria prior to boarding for entry without quarantine:
- Present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken 72 hours prior to departure.
- Be fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to entry.
- Apply for Thailand Pass.
- Provide confirmation of sufficient COVID-19 insurance.
- Coverage must include medical treatment of up to US$50,000.
- Show confirmed payment at approved SHA++ accommodation establishments for the first and fifth nights.
- Most hotels will list their SHA++ status on their home page.
- The Day 1 prepayment must include accommodation, the RT-PCR test, and a prearranged transfer from the airport to the hotel.
- Download MorChana, a contact tracing app.
In addition to the Test & Go scheme for the entire country, Thailand also operates three separate “Sandbox” schemes for specific areas, which will continue to operate for travellers who are willing to remain in the area for a seven-day period upon entry.
Sandbox participants will have to prepay for two RT-PCR tests:
- Travellers to Krabi, Phang Nga, and Phuket can use the prepaid form on the Phuket Sandbox page, at a cost of 2,200 baht per test ($84).
- Travellers to Ko Samui, Ko Pha Ngan, and Ko Tao must be booked alongside their accommodation.
- Details for travellers to Chon Buri and Trat will be released soon.
Testing & Quarantine Upon Arrival
All travellers will have to complete two prepaid RT-PCR tests on Day 1 and Day 5.
For those entering via Test & Go and not under a Sandbox scheme, you will have to remain at your hotel to await results for the Day 1 and Day 5 RT-PCR results. After receiving the result for Day 1 and before taking the test for Day 5, you are not required to isolate and can freely move around the country.
Rules for Sandbox travellers differ based on which region you are entering. Travellers must spend the first seven days within the destination of their choosing.
Travellers to Krabi, Phang Nga, or Phuket can book two separate accommodations during the first seven days. On Day 1 and 5, travellers must remain in their accommodation and wait for their negative result.
Travellers to Surat Thani will have the first test conducted on arrival at Samui International Airport, while the second test will be performed at a designated hospital in Ko Samui, Ko Pha Ngan, or Ko Tao. They can book three separate accommodations in the first seven days; however, they must wait for the on-arrival test result before changing accommodations.
For travellers staying less than seven days, they must undergo the second RT-PCR test one day prior to their departure date to another country.
Should any of the two tests return a positive result, a mandatory self-paid 10-day quarantine will be required, and can be carried out either in government-approved facilities or Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) facilities.
Testing & Quarantine Upon Return
Travellers must complete a negative PCR test within 72 hours of boarding their flight back to Canada.
PCR tests do appear to be readily throughout Thailand, with all major hospitals offering testing.
There are also private third parties who arrange a test on your behalf, with prices falling in the US$90 ($115) range. I assume these tests will be cheaper if acquired directly from the lab; however, ease of access and your language skills may make a difference here.
Of course, it’s also worth inquiring with your hotel or resort directly to arrange testing, as they may offer more convenient options for taking the mandatory on-arrival and Day 8/9.
As of October 2021, Switch Health’s RT-LAMP Test Kit can be ordered prior to your trip and self-administered within 72 hours of your return flight to Canada. We’d recommend purchasing a Switch Health RT-LAMP Test Kit for the smoothest travel experience on your return journey.
Current Health Requirements in Thailand
Like most of Asia, health and safety requirements are abundant in Thailand, including mandatory masks in all public spaces, the beach, the pool, and inside vehicles.
Restrictions in Thailand are separated by colour-code regions, and all major destinations are in the least-restrictive “blue zone”.
This means attractions like museums, art galleries, spas, pools, are all open, subject to public health measures such as mask-wearing and have a 75% capacity limit imposed.
In Bangkok, restaurants have opened normally and can serve alcohol until 11pm. All entertainments venues, including nightclubs, remain closed throughout the country.
How to Get to Thailand
There’s no shortage of ways to travel to Thailand in greater comfort using your travel rewards points.
Using Aeroplan, flights from Canada will cost 85,000 Aeroplan points one-way in business class, regardless of your routing.
The most convenient one-stop options from Canada include Turkish Airlines, Etihad Airways, Swiss, or any combination of a European layover followed by a flight on Thai Airways.
If you’re interested in travelling in greater luxury flying First Class, consider the following routings:
- Etihad Airways 787 First Class via Abu Dhabi or Oman Air First Class via Muscat for 130,000 Aeroplan points one-way
- Emirates First Class via Dubai for 178,750 Emirates Skywards miles one-way
- Cathay Pacific First Class via Hong Kong for 70,000 Alaska miles one-way
- Japan Airlines First Class via Tokyo for 75,000 Alaska miles one-way
Certain Thai islands such as Koh Samui have very few options for direct flights. In these cases, travellers can simply book an award ticket to Bangkok, and then use either Etihad Guest miles or cash to book the Bangkok Airways flight separately.
After a brief pause due to the Omicron variant, Thailand’s Test & Go scheme will restart on Feburary 1, 2022, alongside the existing Sandbox schemes for certain regions. Make sure to read carefully as the rules differ slightly depending on which region you’re visiting.
Thailand does have very strict COVID-19 protocols on paper, such as a limitation on alcohol sales at restaurants. These are subject to change and varying degrees of enforcement, so be aware of all the current restrictions in place prior to arrival.
As always, you can refer to our Travel During COVID-19 Resource for Canadians for the most up-to-date information on travelling in the pandemic era.