Depending on your definition of “open,” Thailand is now open to tourists from any country. Thailand appears to have abandoned previously announced plans that limited entry to travelers from certain countries and a required minimum stay of 90 days. Now tourists from any country, including my COVID-19 riddled country, the good old U.S. of A., can apply for special 60-day or 90-day visas.
The application process is complicated. Some of the requirements are:
- Complete an online application for the Visa and Certificate of Entry
- Upload the following information with the application
- Copy of passport
- Proof of Medical Insurance (Needs to cover at least $100,000).
- Proof of booking for an approved Alternative State Quarantine hotel for 15 nights
- Proof of roundtrip airline flights (has to be on approved flights)
- Copy of recent bank statements showing funds of at least $700 per person and $1500 per family.
These requirements are subject to change without notice. Contact your local Thai embassy for further info. This video provides an overview of some of the requirements.
A mandatory 14-day quarantine awaits on arrival. Thailand has designated specific Alternative State Hotels (ASQ) hotels that tourists can use for the quarantine period that translates to a stay of 15 nights. Currently there are 121 approved hotels in Bangkok and additional hotels can be booked in Burirum, Chonburi, Phuket, Prachiburi, Surat Thani, Mukdahad, Chiang Mai, and Phang Nga. Travelers arriving in Thailand at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi (BKK) and Don Mueang (DMK) Airports must stay in Bangkok for the quarantine period. Arriving at Phuket International (HKT) means quarantining in Phuket.
The current list of approved ASQ and ASL hotels is here.
As examples of what ASQ hotels offer for quarantining tourist, here is information about services at two hotels I’ve enjoyed staying at several times in Bangkok.
The Westin Grande is a 4.5 star Marriott hotel located in the prime Sukhumvit tourist district. It offers ASQ packages for 60,000, 90,000 or 140,000 baht (about $1,998, $2,997, or $4,662 at today’s exchange rate)
Hyatt Place hotel is a three-star hotel located in another popular tourist spot near the fashionable Phrom Phong shopping center on Sukhumvit Road. Rates range from 49,000 to 86,500 baht (about $1,631 to $2,879).
Would I Go?
Thailand is one of my favorite destinations, and I cancelled a trip this year due to the pandemic. Thailand has done amazingly well limiting the total number of cases of COVID-19 countrywide to less than 5,000 since the outbreak began. American tourists are definitely safer from the virus in Thailand than in the U.S. even after vaccines are available.
Now that Thailand is “open,” it is tempting to go. It would be nice to use refunds from my canceled flights for the airfare. The requirements for a minimum 60-day stay and the 15 night initial quarantine are likely personal deal breakers not to mention the complicated application process. The quarantine packages are good values except for being confined to the hotel. The cost of 60 nights in one country on one trip is more than I’d be willing to spend. Plus I would need a house sitter for my home.
By the time I’m eligible for a vaccine and can consider traveling, maybe these requirements will have changed. A 30-day stay with a quarantine of 10 days or less might do the trick. No quarantine with proof of vaccine and a negative test would be ideal. Under what conditions would you be willing to travel to the Land of Smiles?