Thai authorities are pleased with the international response to the Phuket Sandbox, with around 30 planes and 2.000 tourists landing at the International Phuket Airport in the first 5 days. The Tourist Authority of Thailand (TAT) estimates that a total 100.000 passengers will visit the Andaman Sea gem during July and August.
Meanwhile, the island is getting closer to its objective of a fully vaccinated population rate of 70%. According to the TAT website, as of July 5, the rate reached 67% and 84% had received at least 1 shot. The local airport management also reported that 33 additional airlines had requested flights to the tropical island. Current airlines operating international flights to Phuket include Thai Airways, Singapore Airline, Etihad, Emirates, Qatar Airways, and El Al.
The Phuket Sandbox smooth running has encouraged Thai authorities to extend it to Ko Samui, and christened the new scheme “Samui+”. The TAT said it would cover areas of Surat Thani, Ko Samui, and Ko Tao, and include a small 3-days hotel quarantine. It’s very similar to the procedures in place in Phuket, and we summarize it here for you:
- Have spent at least 21 days in an approved country before flying
- Have been fully immunized with a WHO sanctioned vaccine
- Have a return flight
- Have booked and paid for a stay in an authorized hotel, including the required PCR tests
- Have a Covid-19 medical insurance with a coverage of at least 100.000 US$
- Have proof of negative Covid test no older than 72 hours before boarding
- If the flight into Samui includes a stopover in Bangkok, the last leg must be operated by an approved airline.
- Have applied for a Certificate Of Entry online
Pretty normal stuff for the current situation, we would say. The Covid insurance policy will set you back around 100 US$ for 30 days, and most offer non-Covid related mishaps as well. As for the Phuket Sandbox, there are limitations for the first days of your trip in Samui, that will follow this timeline:
- First 3 days: stay within hotels limits
- Day 4 until 7: stay in Ko Samui only and take a PCR test
- Day 8 until 14: you can go to Ko Phangan and Ko Tao, and must take another test
- From day 15: you can go anywhere in Thailand
There are a few more regulations concerning accommodation and transport, so it’s imperative you read the TAT’s Samui+ FAQ before traveling!!! You will find there as well a list of approved hotels to stay in and countries you can travel from. But don’t be put off: if you choose your hotel wisely, a mere 3 days without going outside can be the perfect way to get pampered and forget about your jet lag. Then, there are plenty of things to do in Ko Samui before you can roam the whole of Thailand: read our post on the island, and let its wonders make you forget all about Covid, regulations, the world…