Thailand Visitor Info

Phuket Sandbox FAQs (Updated)

A user-friendly checklist of points covering before, during, and after travel under the Sandbox programme.

The following information has been updated on 13 September, 2021.

Preparing for Travel

Q: What do foreign travellers planning to visit under the Phuket Sandbox programme need to know/do before they travel?

They should make sure they have covered all the necessary requirements and have all the required documentation. This includes:

•            A passport with at least 6 months validity.

•            Have been in countries/territories approved by Thailand’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) for 21 days or more.

•            Been fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved by Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) or the World Health Organisation (WHO). Those who have recovered from COVID-19 also need to be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before travel.

•            Have booked and purchased return air travel.

•            Have booked and paid for accommodation for no less than 14 nights that includes at least 7 nights in Phuket at a SHA Plus hotel.

•            Have booked and paid for RT-PCR tests that cover the whole duration of stay in Thailand via www.thailandpsas.com.

•            Have purchased medical insurance with COVID-19 treatment coverage of at least US$100,000. TAT recommends that travellers make sure to check the small print of any COVID-19 insurance policy before purchasing. Ultimately, the policy should cover the cost of treatment and other medical expenses associated with being infected with COVID-19, including in-patient hospitalisation. The policy should also cover the whole duration that travellers are planning to stay in Thailand.

•            Have tested negative for COVID-19 with a laboratory result by an RT-PCR method no longer than 72 hours before travel.

Q: What countries/territories am I allowed to travel to Thailand from?

A: Here’s the list.

70 Countries_Territories Where Travelers May Enter the Sandbox

Q: If I am a Thai national or foreign resident of Thailand who is returning from overseas, do I need to have been in a CCSA-approved country for 21 days or more?

A: No, it is not necessary to be in a CCSA-approved country for 21 days or more, as long as you are travelling from an approved country. However, in the last 21 days before your travel date to Thailand, you must not be travelling to or staying in country outside of the CCSA-approved list.

Q: What airlines are operating direct flights to Phuket?

A: Currently, Cathay Pacific, HK Express, El Al Israel Airlines, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, and Thai Airways International (THAI) are operating direct international flights to Phuket.

Please check flight schedules on the respective airlines’ websites.

Q: Can I travel to Phuket on an indirect international flight, transiting via a domestic flight at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport?

A: No. Currently, all travellers must travel on direct international flights to Phuket only. However, transiting via Bangkok maybe possible in the near future as Thailand gradually reopens more pilot destinations to fully vaccinated international travellers.

Q: If I am travelling with a child under the age of 18, does he/she need to be fully vaccinated?

A: Travellers under 18 years of age are not required to be vaccinated if travelling with fully vaccinated parents or guardians, but must have a medical certificate with a laboratory result by an RT-PCR method indicating that COVID-19 is not detected no more than 72 hours before their travel date.

Applying for the Phuket Sandbox programme

Q: How can I apply for the programme?

A: Providing that you meet all the above points in the ‘Preparing for Travel’ section, you can go to https://coethailand.mfa.go.th/ to apply for a Certificate of Entry (COE).

Q: Will I be notified of the application result?

A: Yes, if you have provided a valid email when you register.

Q: Do I need to apply for a visa?

A: Yes, if required.

Day of Travel

Q: Do I need to bring all the documentation that was required for the COE with me?

A: Yes, you need to print out all documentation, which must be in English.

Q: Will I have to undergo exit screening at my point of departure?

A: Yes. You also need to be able to present all the required documentation upon request during the flight check-in.

Please note that failing to comply with your respective airline’s guidelines can result in denied boarding.

Arrival in Phuket

Q: What is the procedure after disembarking from my flight?

A: Upon arrival at Phuket International Airport, all travellers are subject to health screening, including a COVID-19 nasal swab RT-PCR testing, and Immigration procedures. Children under 6 years of age will receive a COVID-19 saliva RT-PCR testing.

See the “7-Step Flow at Phuket International Airport” or “7 Steps 7 Countdown”.


Travellers must download and install an alert application, as well as set the application on at all times for the whole duration in Thailand.

Q: After I clear health control and Immigration, do I need to proceed directly to my hotel?

A: Yes. You will need to go straight to your hotel where you must wait for the test result.

Q: Can I stop enroute to the hotel for any reason?

A: No, this is not permitted.

Q: Can I take public transportation for the airport-hotel transfer?

A: No. The transfer is prearranged.

Q: How long will I have to wait for my test result?

A: The result will be available within the first day of your arrival.

Q: How do I count the days?

A: If you arrive during 00.01-18.00 Hrs., the day is Day 1. If you arrive during 18.01-00.00 Hrs., the day after is Day 1.

During Your Stay

Q: If I test negative, can I travel freely around Phuket?

A: Yes, you can go anywhere you want within Phuket, BUT you must strictly follow the DMHTTA precautions: D – Distancing, M – Mask wearing, H – Handwashing, T – Temperature check, T – Testing for COVID-19, and A – alert application.

Masks must be worn at all times in public areas and in any vehicle with two or more people.

Q: What tours and excursions, transportation, and restaurants should I use while in Phuket?

A: It is recommended that you use SHA Plus operators for tours and transportation and SHA Plus restaurants for dining although this is not compulsory.

A choice of SHA Plus restaurants, transportation providers and tour agencies can be viewed here.

Q: Can I rent a vehicle while in Phuket?

A: Yes, you can. Again, it is recommended that you use a SHA Plus rental car service although this is not compulsory.

Q: Why do I have to stay at a SHA Plus hotel or use a SHA Plus service?

A: It is for your added safety, as SHA Plus certification indicates hotels, restaurants, transportation providers, and tour services who meet the safety measures to control COVID-19, and also that at least 70% of their workforce has been fully vaccinated.

Q: Can my friend/family member who is already in Phuket join me at my hotel?

A: Yes, providing the guest follows all the rules stipulated for Thais and expats in Thailand.

Q: Must I stay the full 14 nights at 1 SHA Plus hotel in Phuket?

A: You can stay the 14 nights at the same hotel, or after staying the first 7 nights at 1 hotel, you can then move to another SHA Plus hotel/s for the rest of your stay. Whatever your choice, it must all be prepaid. A decision to move hotels cannot be made on the spot.

Q: Can I stay at a SHA Plus hotel in Phuket for less than 14 nights; for example, only 5 nights, and then leave Phuket for another country?

A: Yes. However, you must leave Phuket immediately on an international flight to another country.

Q: Does this mean that, likewise, after 5 nights in Phuket, I can travel to other Thai destinations?

A: No, this is not permitted. You must leave Thailand immediately. If you want to visit other Thai destinations, you need to first complete a 14-night stay in Phuket.

During Your Stay (Phuket Cruise Excursions & Shore Trips)

Q: Can I take cruise excursions and shore trips during my stay in Phuket?

A: Yes. But it is recommended that you use SHA Plus operators for cruise excursions or shore trips.

For your added health and safety, Phuket excursions by sea can be enjoyed by using SHA Plus boat and ferry services from the approved piers (Ao Po, Chalong, Rassada, and Wisit Panwa).

Meanwhile, Phuket cruising and yachting excursions can be enjoyed by using SHA Plus cruise and yacht services from the approved piers (Yacht Haven Marina, Ao Po Grand Marina, Phuket Boat Lagoon, Royal Phuket Marina, and Chalong Pier)

COVID-19 Testing

Q: Must a COVID-19 test be prepaid?

A: All required testing must be pre-booked and prepaid through www.thailandpsas.com; the number of tests depends on the duration of your stay.

Q: How many more tests must I do during my stay?

A: If your stay is less than 14 nights, you are required to take additional RT-PCR tests on Day 6-7 and/or on Day 12-13, depending on the duration of stay.

If your stay is more than 14 nights, you are required to take 2 more RT-PCR tests on Day 6-7 and Day 12-13.

As long as all 3 test results are negative, after a 14-night period in Phuket, you will be able to freely travel domestically within Thailand.

Q: Where can I get an RT-PCR test done?

A: Phuket Swab Centres

Maikhao (North Phuket) Tel. 096-643-4572

Laguna (Cherngtalay) 076-325-442

Patong (Jungceylon) 093-574-0683

Kata (Kata Centre) 081-693-6586

Phuket Town (Central Floresta) 088-765-0363

Q: If I test positive, what will happen?

A: You will be sent to a healthcare facility for appropriate medical treatment, for which the expenses must be covered by the required insurance.

Please note that if you are travelling as a group, the rest of the group must also be transferred to an alternative quarantine (AQ) hotel for 14 nights, and they will be responsible for the AQ expenses.

TAT recommends that travellers make sure to check the small print of any COVID-19 insurance policy before purchasing. Ultimately, the policy should cover the cost of treatment and other medical expenses associated with being infected with COVID-19, including in-patient hospitalisation. The policy should also cover the whole duration that travellers are planning to stay in Thailand.

Q: What should I do if I feel unwell, or suspect possible COVID-19 infection?

A: Any person experiencing COVID-19 symptoms must immediately get a test done. If the person is travelling in a group, every person in the group must undergo a test.

Health & Safety Precautions

Q: Can I spend my time freely during my stay under the ‘Sandbox’ programme?

A: Yes, you are free to enjoy your visit to the maximum, BUT you must strictly follow the DMHTTA precautions: D – Distancing, M – Mask wearing, H – Handwashing, T – Temperature check, T – Testing for COVID-19, and A – alert application. Masks must be worn at all times in public areas and in any vehicle with two or more people.

Q: What safety measures are in place to ensure my health and wellbeing during my time in Thailand?

A: The Royal Thai Government places the highest priority on the safety and well-being of every visitor to Thailand. And as the main government agency responsible for the promotion and marketing of Thailand as a preferred destination, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is working closely with all concern public and private organisations to ensure the utmost efforts to prevent any unfortunate incidents occurring on tourists and the local Thai people.

Domestic / International Departure

Q: I plan to visit one or more other destinations in Thailand after my Phuket visit. Will I face entry requirements at these other places?

A: You are required to show proof that you have completed a 14-night stay in Phuket together with the negative results of their 3 COVID-19 tests along with other required documentation per the guidelines and measures announced by the respective destinations.

Please note that each destination in Thailand has entry requirements, and you should check on these beforehand, to make sure you meet them.

Q: What about entry requirements of the country/territory I will fly to after my stay in Thailand?

A: It is your responsibility to make sure you meet the requirements of your specific international destination. Thailand is not responsible or able to assist on this matter.

We wish all visitors an enjoyable, safe, and rewarding holiday in Thailand during this exciting time in which we are able again to welcome travellers from around the world. Let us hope the revitalisation of Phuket, Krabi, Phang-Nga, Surat Thani, and the nationwide tourism sector is achieved without any hurdles, as the Phuket Sandbox from 1 July, Samui Plus from 15 July, and this Phuket Sandbox 7+7 Extension from 16 August progress.

Kindly note the information is subject to change without prior notice.

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The TAT International Public Relations Division works with traditional and online media channels to promote Thailand as a tourism destination for travellers worldwide.

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