As Thailand reopens its borders to vaccinated international tourists from 63 countries, including India, UAE, United Kingdom and Sri Lanka, the Thai authorities have eased Covid-19 curbs in most parts of the kingdom from November 1, 2021, to facilitate the wider country reopening. Fully vaccinated foreign visitors from these 63 countries will be allowed to enter the kingdom by air with no quarantine requirements. Travellers are welcome to choose from the 17 ‘blue zone’ destinations, up from currently four ‘sandbox’ destinations, for their first 7-night mandatory stay within the destination before being able to move on to other parts of Thailand.
Which are the 17 sandbox destinations?
The 17 blue zone sandbox destinations include:
- Chon Buri (Banglamung, Pattaya, Si Racha, Ko Si Chang, and Sattahip – Na Jomtien and Bang Sarey)
- Chiang Mai (Mueang, Doi Tao, Mae Rim, and Mae Taeng,)
- Trat (Ko Chang)
- Buri Ram (Mueang)
- Prachuap Khiri Khan (Hua Hin and Nong Kae)
- Phetchaburi (Cha-Am)
- Ranong (Ko Phayam)
- Rayong (Ko Samet)
- Loei (Chiang Khan)
- Samut Prakan (Suvarnabhumi Airport)
- Surat Thani (Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, and Ko Tao)
- Nong Khai (Mueang, Sangkhom, Si Chiang Mai, and Tha Bo)
- Udon Thani (Mueang, Ban Dung, Kumphawapi, Na Yung, Nong Han, and Prachaksinlapakhom).
The night-time curfew has been lifted from Bangkok from 23.00 hrs. on October 31, 2021. Also, from November 1, 2021, nearly all businesses and activities in the four blue zone provinces newly designated as pilot tourist destinations – Bangkok, Krabi, Phang-Nga and Phuket – will be able to resume “new normal” operations. These include all shopping venues, convenience stores, markets, cinemas and theatres, sports venues, hair salons and barbershops, massage and spa shops, beauty and aesthetic clinics, and tattoo shops. Restaurants and eateries have also been allowed to resume normal opening hours and will be able to serve dine-in customers alcoholic beverages. Meetings, events, and fairs are also allowed to operate normally with no limitation on the number of attendees. The Bureau of the Royal Household has also announced that the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, along with other royal palaces and locations would reopen from November 1, 2021. Other royal palaces and locations that will also reopen from today are:
- Bang Pa-In Palace in Ayutthaya
- Bhubing Palace in Chiang Mai
- Chang Hua Man Royal Project in Phetchaburi
- Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles in the Grand Palace complex in Bangkok
- Sala Chalermkrung Royal Theatre in Bangkok
The Arts of the Kingdom Museum in Ayutthaya will reopen on November 19, 2021.
What’s closed for now?
However, all types of entertainment venues, including pubs, bars, and karaoke shops nationwide are to remain closed. But the announcement from the Thai government states that these businesses may undertake preparation to be ready for reopening.
What to expect in yellow zones?
Similar relaxed measures for the blue zone provinces have also been extended to the newly-added yellow zone provinces (Nan, Bueng Kan, Nakhon Phanom, Mukdahan, and Sakhon Nakhon), with the exception for events and activities that must be organised with the number of attendees capped at below 1,000.
What’s in store for dark-red, red and orange zones?
Provinces in the red and orange zones have also seen the Covid-19 restrictions being relaxed further, with malls, markets, convenience stores, and cinemas being allowed to resume normal hours. Restaurants and eateries in the orange zone are also allowed to resume normal hours while those in the red and dark-red zones need to remain closed at 23.00 Hrs. and 22.00 Hrs., respectively. Sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages remain prohibited in the orange, red and dark-red zones. With the night-time curfew still in place in the dark-red zone provinces until November 15, businesses and activities are allowed to resume normal hours but no later than 22.00 Hrs. Meetings and events in the red and dark-red zones can be organised for less than 500 attendees. Meanwhile, provinces in the orange zone can arrange more engaging activities; such as, sports tournaments, food fairs, and the likes for no more than 1,000 attendees.