Thailand is open for tourism in Phuket, plus 9 other islands from August 1
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  • Post published:31/07/2021
  • Post last modified:31/07/2021

Thailand is open to tourists from all countries but travelers must be vaccinated and provide a negative COVID-19 test.

Effective August 1, Phuket-Sandbox visitors will be allowed to visit other 9 Thai islands.

All non-Thai arrivals need to buy health insurance that covers COVID-19.

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Thailand Reopening – Latest Updates

July 29 – Phuket-Sandbox visitors can now “hop” to other 9 Thailand islands from August 1.

Thailand unveiled an “island hopping” tourism program, allowing Phuket-Sandbox visitors to “hop” to other 9 Thailand islands after staying in Phuket for 7 days. 

As of today, the islands included in the program are Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan, Koh Tao, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Ngai, Railay, Khao Lak, Koh Yao Yai, and Koh Yao Noi in Phangnga.

The move only applies to fully vaccinated visitors who received their last shot at least 14 days before entering Phuket. 


July 12 – Thailand to reopen Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao islands for fully vaccinated travelers on July 15

Only two weeks after Thailand reopened its resort island Phuket, the government has decided to go ahead with the reopening of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao islands under a similar but not equal scheme.

Unlike the Phuket Sandbox, in “the Samui Plus model” travelers must stay in an alternative local quarantine (ALQ) for the 7 days prior to arrival.

Restrictions are tough. To be granted entry, visitors must spend the last 21 days in an approved safe country, obtain a certificate of entry (COE), submit a negative COVID-19 test, purchase insurance that covers COVID-19 related expenses and be fully vaccinated. 

Check full requirements on our entry requirements section. 


July 1 – Thailand’s resort island Phuket reopened for fully vaccinated travelers on July 1

Thai authorities have reopened Phuket, one of their most famous resort islands, for fully vaccinated travelers who also come from low and medium-risk countries.

These visitors still need to present a negative COVID test but instead of spending 14 days in mandatory quarantine now they are allowed to roam the island as they please. 

The scheme known as “Phuket sandbox,” hopes to boost tourism, a sector that accounted for 20% of Thailand’s economy before the pandemic began.

If this reopening turns out to be as successful as expected, the government will consider opening the rest of the country in mid-October.

(Source: CNN)

June 18 – Thailand to reopen to fully vaccinated travelers in mid-October, says government.

Forget about Phuket and its countless entry restrictions. The entire country will reopen to fully vaccinated travelers from all over the world in mid-October, said Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chanocha at a press conference.

While Chanocha acknowledges that his bold decision can cause problems associated to COVID-19 outbreaks, he also said that the government needs to “take into consideration the economic needs of the people.”

Thailand will also go ahead with a pilot program that will allow fully vaccinated travelers to enter Phuket from July 1. It is expected that this initiative helps them to fine tune the total reopening in October. 

(Source: Nikkei Asia)

June 5 – Thailand is ready to reopen on July 1, with -possible- USD $1 hotel stays.

Thailand still plans to reopen its resort Island Phuket on July 1 when 70% of its population is vaccinated. This is intended to be a pilot scheme for the rest of promised reopenings. 

But that’s not all. A plan to offer $1 hotel stays has been submitted to the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports for approval.

The idea is to encourage visitors to choose Phuket as their next traveling destination. 

The TTG Asia believes that if this program works as expected it could be expanded to other cities in the country.

The government is reportedly considering it but it has not been approved yet. 

(Source: Reuters)

April 9 – Thailand reduces its quarantine period to 7 days

On April 3, the country welcomed the first 130 travelers eligible for a 7-day quarantine trial. These visitors arrived at Phuket International Airport, via a Thai Airways direct flight from Frankfurt, Germany. 

According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), reduced quarantines for 11 groups of currently allowed travelers were approved by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) on March 31. This is considered on the steps the country is taking to fully reopen to international visitors in July. 

Official information on how to be eligible has not been released. 

Is Thailand open for American tourists? 

Thailand is indeed open to all American business visa holders. For further information on requirements for U.S. citizens to enter the country, visitors should consult the Royal Thai Embassy’s website or go to the Thai embassy in Washington D.C.

COVID-19 situation in Thailand

COVID-19 cases in Thailand

As of July 29, the country has reported 561,030 and 4,562 deaths, making it one of the lowest death tolls in the world.

Entry requirements

Phuket, Thailand

As of today, in order to be granted access to the country travelers must,

  • Obtain a Special Tourist Visa
  • Purchase health insurance that covers COVID-19 treatment up until USD $100.000
  • Show proof of a negative PCR test result taken no longer than 72 hour prior to departure.
  • Undergo a 14-day quarantine at an approved-accommodation or at a luxury yacht (if visiting places different than Phuket, Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao islands)
  • Obtain a Certificate of Entry (COE)
  • Arrive from one of the countries approved by the CCSA where they should have stayed for more than 21 days.
  • Present proof of vaccination (only WHO-approved vaccines are valid) 

Notice that different conditions apply depending on travelers’ destination. Consult with the local government about the specific restrictions. 

Impact of COVID-19 in Thailand


While Thailand is a success story when it comes to battling the virus, its economy has greatly suffered due to the pandemic.

Prior to Covid-19, Bangkok was the world’s top tourist destination among cities. In April, all incoming flights were banned. With tourism halted, it is estimated that up to 60% of hospitality-related businesses would close by year-end.

The IMF estimated that the economy as a whole will shrink by about 8.5% and over 8 million Thais would lose their livelihood.

Why visit Thailand?


For those not into crowds, Thailand offers beautiful natural spaces. With 1,500 miles of coastline, there are beautiful beaches and great diving to be found here.

For those who come for its history and culture. There are ruins dating to the ancient Siamese kingdom, and over 40,000 temples to explore.

One main attraction is the nightlife in places like Bangkok, Phuket, and Pattaya, ranked as the best places for LGBTQ tourists. 

Be sure to check some luxury resorts for reopening deals!

Best Hotels in Phuket
Best Luxury Hotels Phuket
Best Luxury Hotels Bangkok

Thailand is a top tourist destination. The country offers so much, from a bustling nightlife to serene beaches and flavorful foods rich with spices.

Disclaimer: Travel restrictions and governmental regulations can change rapidly and the information below might be outdated within a few hours. Therefore, double-check all information with your embassy or on official websites. Traveling Lifestyle does not take any responsibility for your decision to travel.

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