The face of travel has changed – here’s a sneak peek at what it looks like to travel to Thailand in 2022.
These days, a trip abroad takes a little more planning. From staying up to date on the local government guidelines to packing your masks, organising COVID tests and arranging the correct documentation – savvy 2022 travellers come prepared.
If you’re missing the beautiful beaches of Thailand and are wondering what your next trip could look like, we’ve got you covered. Our Melbourne-based Luxury Escapes insider, Karen, reveals all about her 2022 holiday from Melbourne to Khao Lak (flying into Phuket) – including some interesting post-pandemic bonuses you may not have considered.
It’s worth noting that conditions change rapidly, so the information relevant at the time may not be accurate at your time of travel. Always check with the relevant local authority (usually a government website) before planning your trip.
Travel to Thailand feels safe and enjoyable
“I felt safer in Thailand than in Australia at this time,” says Karen. “The Thai government have put their money into vaccinating the people of Phuket and our driver was triple-vaccinated.”
If you’re unsure about hopping on public transport during your time in Thailand, Karen recommends following her lead.
“My top tip would be to book a driver to pick you up from the airport. If they are good (ours was so professional and helpful) you could even use them throughout your time in the country. Travel is easy if you have all your documentation. We also hired motorbikes for sightseeing.”
Hotels are quieter (and more relaxing) than ever
Peak tourist season in Thailand would often mean crowded resorts, limited sunbed spots around the pool and begging for a reservation at that restaurant you’ve been dying to try. With travel starting up again, you could find your chosen hotel feels more relaxing than ever.
“We’d booked an eight-night package with Luxury Escapes at Pullman Khao Lak Resort,” explains Karen. “The hotel is absolutely lovely, very spacious with multiple pools. There is a pool facing the beach and the main beach bar/restaurant is there and has fantastic sunsets!
“We never had to spend time searching for a spot at the pool or queuing at the bar. The staff at the hotel had more time than ever to dedicate to their guests and went beyond their requirements. They were so attentive, and the manager was amazing.”
If you’re looking for an even more personal experience, you could consider booking a room with private pool or direct pool access to ensure you always have a private place to relax.
However, there are some things you may want to consider, as Karen explains: “It is important to note that at this time, hotels have only a 30% occupancy rate unless they are a COVID-approved hotel. Due to this, some facilities may not be available, so you need to check before booking.”
Thailand Pass and the Sandbox or Test & Go scheme make it easier than ever to travel
Fully vaccinated travellers from any country can apply for a Thailand Pass 60 days in advance of travel.
This means that fully vaccinated travellers with an approved Thailand Pass, participating in one of the below schemes, are exempt from quarantine, pending a negative PCR test result on day one and negative ATK rapid antigen test (RAT) on day five of travel.
If all of your destinations are in the Sandbox area, then apply for Thailand Pass under the Sandbox program. Guests must stay within Sandbox area for the first five days.
Phuket’s popular ‘no quarantine’ Sandbox program has been expanded from 1 February 2022 to include a raft of other destinations. This means that fully vaccinated foreign travellers can fly into these destinations quarantine free, but must spend at least the first seven nights within Sandbox destinations before travelling to other domestic destinations in Thailand.
To be able to have your Thailand Pass for the Sandbox Scheme granted, travellers need to provide proof of vaccination before travelling. They’ll need proof of payment for one RT-PCR test and conduct one ATK rapid antigen test (RAT) – which must be reported on the MorChana mobile app (Google Play and App Store) – travel insurance with a minimum medical coverage of US$20,000, and one night of prepaid accommodation at an SHA Extra Plus (SHA++) hotel in one of these destinations, along with a pre-arranged transfer from the airport to the hotel.
Expanded Sandbox destinations include Bang Lamung, Pattaya, Si Racha, Si Chang, and Sattahip – only Na Jomtien and Bang Saray – in Chon Buri, and Ko Chang in Trat, in addition to Krabi, Phang-Nga, Phuket and Ko Samui/Ko Pha-ngan/Ko Tao.
Please review arrival requirements here.
Test & Go
Covers all Thailand destinations. You must quarantine the first night to wait for your negative RT-PCR test, then you are free to go anywhere in Thailand.
All new Thailand Pass applications for the Test & Go scheme must submit proof of prepayment for one night of accommodation at SHA Extra Plus (SHA++), the expenses for one RT-PCR test on day one, and conduct one ATK rapid antigen test (RAT) on day five – which must be reported on the mobile app. Prepayment for day one must include accommodation (travellers must wait for negative PCR result within hotel room), a PCR test and a prearranged transfer from the airport to the hotel. Travellers must also have travel insurance with a minimum medical coverage of US$20,000.
Your home country and the airline you are travelling with may also have health, insurance and vaccination requirements in place. Please ensure you stay up to date with any requirements prior to your departure.
Keeping up to date on local requirements is key
When Karen flew to Phuket in early January 2022, she needed a PCR test within 48 hours of flying (with Singapore Airlines). On arrival, a Thailand Pass and international certificate proving full COVID vaccination were required. A subsequent PCR test before leaving Phuket airport followed, which needed to be booked and paid for in advance.
“The most important thing to do is keep an eye on any changes made by the government on their website,” advises Karen.
Karen’s tips for travelling in 2022
- Keep checking the government websites because requirements can change in other countries just like they do in Australia
- Airline requirements can be different, so be sure to keep checking those, too
- Prepare your documentation in advance and keep it together with your passport
- Book a driver or arrange a transfer via the hotel
If you’re ready to plan your first trip back to Thailand, check out our collection of escapes.