Thailand drops testing rules effective May 1; unvaccinated visitors have a choice

Apr 23, 2022

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This story has been updated with new information.

The process for travelers to enter Thailand will get a lot easier beginning May 1. The country is dropping PCR testing requirements for vaccinated visitors. On top of that, Thailand is giving unvaccinated visitors a choice: get tested before departure or quarantine upon arrival and then get tested.

This marks the latest in a series of restrictions Thailand has relaxed in recent months in hopes of encouraging more tourism.

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Tourists shuffle through the 'Test and Go' pre-quarantine area in Thailand airport
Tourists shuffle through the”Test and Go” area at Suvarnabhumi International Airport. (Photo by Matt Hunt/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images)

Currently, all visitors to Thailand must agree to undergo a PCR test upon arrival and quarantine.

Fully vaccinated travelers are expected to quarantine until receiving negative test results, at which point they can move freely around Thailand. Unvaccinated travelers, on the other hand, are subject to a five-day quarantine in a government-approved hotel, which must be booked before arrival.

All travelers, regardless of vaccination status, must then self-administer a rapid test on day five of being in the country and upload test results digitally via the MorChana app.

Related: COVID-19 updates: Thailand and Antigua/Barbuda loosen restrictions and CDC relaxes cruise guidelines

Although arrival testing and quarantine requirements remain in place, Thai officials lessened current entry protocols for travelers on April 1 by dropping a previously enforced predeparture testing requirement. This followed the country’s decision in February to ax a former seven-day quarantine requirement for tourists.

According to the announcement posted Friday on the website for the Thailand tourism organization, the government approved the latest changes which take effect at the start of May.

Vaccinated travelers essentially face no restrictions upon arrival. The new plan for these travelers allows them to avoid any sort of testing before departure and after landing and they can travel anywhere within Thailand.

For unvaccinated visitors, the plans call for a five-day quarantine, followed by a PCR test. However, unvaccinated visitors can also choose to upload proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure. With that predeparture negative test, these visitors will also be free to travel anywhere within Thailand without testing upon arrival.

One requirement that remains in place is that all travelers to Thailand must apply for a Thailand Pass online ahead of travel and purchase COVID-19 insurance that covers any pandemic-related medical expenses. Under the latest changes, this insurance must cover up to $10,000 in expenses effective May 1. Currently, the requirement is for up to $20,000.

Consult the Tourism Authority of Thailand for the most up-to-date information on necessary travel steps.

Read more: Thailand just resumed its quarantine waiver for vaccinated arrivals

Additional reporting by Sean Cudahy.

Featured photo of passengers waiting in the domestic departures hall at Don Mueang Airport (DMK) in Bangkok by Matt Hunt/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images.

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