What is Phuket Sandbox Program?
Phuket has been open to international visitors since 1 July 2021 with the launch of the Phuket Sandbox program. Phuket Sandbox visitors are not required to quarantine and are allowed to travel freely around the island once they’ve received the results of their Covid-19 test done at the airport on arrival.
Looking for a way to visit Thailand without being stuck in a quarantine hotel? The Phuket Sandbox is the answer! Here’s an overview of how to apply to the Phuket Sandbox program and what to expect during your visit.
*Please note that we will do our best to keep this page up to date, but the following information is subject to change without notice*
Who is eligible to visit Phuket on the Sandbox program?
- Visitors, both Thai and non-Thai, who are fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved by the World Health Organisation or Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health. Travellers must have proof of vaccination issued by a government authority.
- Those under the age of 18 travelling with vaccinated parents or guardians are not required to be vaccinated, but they must have a medical certificate showing no Covid-19 was detected in a lab result of an RT-PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before travelling.
- Visitors must have stayed in a country/territory listed by the Thai Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) as a low or medium risk area for at least 21 days before arrival.
Before your arrival to Phuket – what you need to know
Visitors planning to travel to Phuket on the Sandbox program must ensure they have their documents, bookings, and health requirements in order, as follows:
- Passport with minimum 6 months validity.
- Return air travel booked and paid for.
- Accommodation for at least 14 nights booked and paid for, including at least 7 nights at a SHA Plus hotel in Phuket. More than 400 hotels in Phuket have SHA+ certification.
- Purchase of medical insurance with coverage for Covid-19 treatment of a minimum US$100,000.
- Booked and paid for RT-PCR tests in Thailand that cover requirements for your entire stay (www.thailandpsas.com).
- Visitors must apply for a Certificate of Entry (COE) at a Thai embassy in the country they’re located once they have all the above documents prepared.
- Negative results from an RT-PCR Covid-19 test taken no more than 72 hours before travelling.
Arriving in Phuket as a Sandbox visitor
Welcome to Phuket! Now that your plane has landed at Phuket International Airport, you’ll need to go through these steps.
- Pass through the Immigration and Department of Disease Control checkpoints.
- Go for an RT-PCR test at the airport, administered by local health authorities.
- Shortly after arrival, Sandbox visitors must install and use the Mor Chana tracking application. Failure to do so might result in difficulties in leaving Phuket to travel to other parts of Thailand after 14 days (or 7 days if going to Samui or other 7 + 7 extension areas).
- Travel from the airport to your SHA+ hotel using SHA+ certified transport.
- Wait in your hotel room until the results of your RT-PCR test are complete. If your tests are negative, then you’re free to travel as you please around Phuket. Results usually arrive within the same day of arrival.
- Visitors are required to get 2 more RT-PCR tests during their 14-day stay, which they booked and paid for in advance.
During your stay in Phuket – Sandbox restrictions and requirements
- Sandbox visitors may travel to other areas of Thailand after 14 days in Phuket. Visitors returning to their home country or travelling onward to another country may do so earlier than 14 days, provided they take an international flight out of Phuket.
- Visitors must stay at least 7 days in a SHA+ hotel in Phuket, then they are allowed to book another SHA+ Phuket hotel for the remaining 7 days if staying in Phuket. Or if they will travel to Koh Samui or other approved 7+7 extension destinations, they can book a SHA+ hotel in those areas.
- Phuket Covid-19 control regulations state that masks must be worn at all times in public areas and in any vehicle with two or more people.
- Visitors can expect to have their temperatures checked and be asked to check-in (using the app or writing their name on a form) when entering shopping malls, grocery stores, tourist attractions, gyms, restaurants, etc.
Important to note if infected or exposed to Covid-19!
- Phuket Sandbox travellers who test positive for Covid-19 during their stay are required to go to a hospital for treatment at their own expense, which should be covered by their Covid-19 insurance.
- If anyone is found to have been exposed to Covid-19, for example sitting near a person infected with the virus on the flight over, they will have to transfer to an ASQ hotel and remain in quarantine for 14 days.
Phuket and the 7+7 Extension Program – where else can you visit in Thailand?
In August, Thailand expanded the areas that international travellers could explore during their visit, in a program called the 7+7 Extension. Travellers applying for the Phuket Sandbox program can apply for the Extension on the same Certificate of Entry.
Here’s where you can visit after 7 days in Phuket:
- Koh Phi Phi or Railay Beach in Krabi province
- Koh Ngai in Trang province
- Khao Lak or the Koh Yao islands in Phang Nga province
- Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan or Koh Tao in Surat Thani province
Rules and requirements for each of these areas are slightly different so be sure to check official announcements by the tourism authorities for the latest information. Visitors must use preapproved transport to travel between Phuket and these areas, including Bangkok Airways for travel to Samui.
Phuket Sandbox visitors may visit any other areas of Thailand once they have completed their 14 days, with no further tests or tracking required. Note that you’ll be subject to follow any Covid-19 regulations at any area you visit across Thailand – strict controls may be in place in Bangkok and other “red zone” or “dark red zone” places, so be sure to check on current restrictions before you travel.
More about Phuket during COVID