UNLOCKING THE WORLD
( YEET) Editor's Note — Coronavirus cases remain high across the globe. Health officials caution that travel increases your chances of getting and spreading the virus.
Staying home is the best way to stem transmission. Below is information on what to know if you still plan to travel. If you're planning to travel to Thailand, here's what you'll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Thailand has recorded 80 deaths and over 24,000 cases of Covid-19 as of February 12.
All travelers need to obtain a Certificate of Entry in order to enter Thailand and are subject to a 14-day quarantine at a state-approved facility.
What's on offerPicture-perfect islands. Golden beaches with swaying palms. Ornate temples and lush forests. Thailand has long been the go-to destination for those after a no-nonsense, easy-on-the-eye tropical break.
Who can go
Holders of US, Canada, UK and Australia passports are among those not required to obtain a visa when entering Thailand for tourism purposes and will be permitted to stay in Thailand for a period not exceeding 45 days on each visit. However, they are still required to obtain the Certificate of Entry and quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
Tourists from countries not on the visa exemption list can apply for a Special Tourist Visa (STV) .
All travelers who have received a Certificate of Entry are required to download the ThailandPlus Application and register.
Upon arrival in Thailand they will have to show a QR code that will be scanned by the Thai authorities upon arrival.
What are the restrictions?Travelers entering under the "Tourist visa exemption scheme" can stay for up to 45 days. Meanwhile, the STV, introduced in October 2020, allows for 90-day stays, and can be renewed twice.
Having initially been offered to travelers from low-risk countries, it is now available to travelers from all countries worldwide.
You must apply for an STV via the Thai consulate or embassy in your own country, along with a Certificate of Entry.
Travelers must also provide proof of an insurance policy that covers treatment for Covid-19 up to the cost of $100,000 and a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure.
A PCR test must be taken on arrival, after which all travelers must quarantine for 14 days at government-approved quarantine facilities or Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) facilities. This can include luxury hotels, some of which have developed quarantine packages.
A full list of participating hotels and resorts, along with package rates, can be found here: asq.locanation.com.
What's the Covid situation?For months, Thailand reported few locally transmitted Covid-19 cases thanks to strict quarantine on arrival rules.
However, a spike in cases in December following an outbreak at a shrimp market in Samut Sakhon, a province southwest of Bangkok, has led the government to reintroduce various measures aimed at containing the virus.
These restrictions have since been eased in most areas as case numbers dropped -- with the exception of Samut Sakhon -- and interprovincial travel is permitted.
What can visitors expect?Masks are mandated at all times in public, both indoors and out, while temperature checks are the norm.
Because of the recent outbreak, several restrictions have been reimposed.
Bars in Bangkok remain closed, while restaurants have had their operating hours shortened and are forbidden from serving alcohol. Theme parks, museums and fitness centers are permitted to open.
Unlike Bangkok, bars and entertainment venues in Chiang Mai are open. Most beaches and national parks remain open, though some have imposed restrictions.
Areas within driving distance of Bangkok have been able to benefit from domestic tourists, but other normally popular destinations such as Phuket and Koh Samui haven't been as fortunate.
Visitors to these destinations will find empty beaches and heavily discounted accommodation options.
Our latest coverageMost travelers who have backpacked through Asia have spent at least a few days on Bangkok's Khao San Road.
We take a closer look at how the busy thoroughfare evolved from a rice market into the world's most famous travel hub.
Phuket is one of the world's best known beach resorts, and is also home to one of the world's best beaches for plane-spotting.
Planning to head there? Be sure to check out Pru, Phuket's first and only Michelin-starred restaurant.
Meanwhile, resort towns within driving distance of Bangkok are taking advantage of locals' urge to travel. Among these is the seaside town of Hua Hin.
Here's a look at how resorts there have adapted to the pandemic.