The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has announced updates to its Phuket Sandbox programme – which was pivotal to the country’s tourism recovery – with the “Phuket Sandbox 7+7 Extension”. Receiving approval from the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) in Thailand, programme provides fully vaccinated travellers from the Middle East with opportunities to visit multiple Thai destinations without the need to quarantine.
Launched on 16 August, 2021, the programme reduces the mandatory stay in Phuket from 14 to 7 days for MENA travellers who received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Following the initial 7 days, another 7 days can be spent in select destinations, including Krabi (Ko Phi Phi, Ko Ngai, or Railay), Phang-Nga (Khao Lak or Ko Yao), or Surat Thani (Samui Plus – Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, or Ko Tao).
Chaiwat Tamthai, director of the TAT for Dubai and the Middle East said: “We are delighted that The Phuket Sandbox 7+7 Extension programme signifies the progress of Thailand’s plan to gradually reopen to fully vaccinated travellers from the region. The launch of the Phuket Sandbox from 1 July, Samui Plus from 15 July, and now Phuket Sandbox 7+7 Extension aim to inspire confidence and ensure the health and safety of visitors from the Middle East, as well as preparing more destinations for travellers to experience.”
The existing entry measures in place for the Phuket Sandbox programme remain unchanged for the 7+7 extension. Travellers planning to spend another 7 days in designated destinations must obtain a ‘Transfer Form’ issued by their hotel in Phuket indicating that they have stayed in Phuket for 7 nights, which they will need to present together with two negative COVID-19 test result – conducted on day 0 and day 6 in Phuket.
After completing the 7-night extension in Krabi, Phang-Nga and Surat Thani (Samui Plus), a COVID-19 test needs to be conducted on Day 12 to receive a ‘Release Form’ from the traveller’s hotel in order to continue their journey to other destinations in Thailand.
If the stay in Krabi, Phang-Nga or Surat Thani (Samui+) is less than 7 days, travellers must proceed directly to Phuket International Airport on the day of departure. At the port of entry back into Phuket, they will need to show a plane ticket or proof of their international travel from Phuket.
Travelling from Phuket to the selected areas in Krabi, Phang-Nga, or Surat Thai is available only via approved routes and modes of transport.
- Surat Thani (Samui Plus – Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, or Ko Tao) can be reached via Bangkok Airways’ direct domestic flight on the Phuket-Ko Samui route.
- Krabi (Ko Phi Phi, Ko Ngai, or Railay) can be reached by SHA Plus-certified boat and ferry services from approved piers.
- Phang-Nga (Khao Lak) can be reached by SHA Plus-certified car transfer services from Phuket direct to the SHA Plus-certified hotels.
- Phang-Nga (Ko Yao Noi or Ko Yao Yai) can be reached via SHA Plus-certified boat and ferry services from approved piers.
While in Thailand, travellers from the Middle East are urged to follow D-M-H-T-T-A precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19: D – Distancing, M – Mask wearing, H – Handwashing, T – Temperature check, T – Testing for COVID-19, and A – alert application.
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