All those who want to break out of the Covid-imposed restrictions and plan a trip to Thailand, here’s what they need to know and how to make the most of it during this pandemic.

Thailand, one of the top tourist destinations for Indians, opened its borders for travellers from February 1 provided they are fully vaccinated and ready to take RT-PCR tests. The country also relaxed its lengthy quarantine restrictions. Visiting Thailand does look a bit cumbersome owing to the amount of form-filling needed, so it is recommended to keep all the documents handy. The procedures are subject to modification and hence one should always keep the latest documents from the officials and airlines. For instance, scrapping the second RT-PCR test on Day 5 of arrival and replacing it with a self ATK test and reducing the insurance value to $20,000 is in the pipeline from the March 1.
Mandatory papers
Those who are fully vaccinated with Covaxin, Covishield (AstraZeneca), Sinopharm, Sputnik V or Pfizer, can book their RT-PCR tests – one before boarding from India and another on arrival in Thailand. If one stays over five nights, a second RT-PCR test is mandatory on Day 5. Also, one needs to have a CT value of 40 or above to be measured negative in Thailand as against a CT Value of 35 or above in India. A low CT value can land one in quarantine which in most cases the insurance may or may not cover. One can only stay at a hotel approved by the government till the Day 1 RT-PCR report comes out. The hotel will not accept any RT-PCR report from any other lab but the hospital it is linked with. Children under 18 years do not require a vaccination certificate if they are with their parents, but they must need to apply for a Thailand pass. A Thai Pass is mandatory to enter Thailand. One can get this pass with the latest ‘Test and Go’ programme, which allows fully vaccinated tourists from India to enter Thailand and travel with slight limitations and sanctions. The only essential criterion is to take a one-day quarantine with an RT-PCR test at a pre-booked hotel on Day 1 of arrival and another on Day 5.

kempinski sindhorn hotel, bangkok

Thai Pass
Although the website states that approval takes between three and seven days, Thailand Pass is generally delivered within three days and is free. The system accepts only jpegs, so it is recommended to keep those ready of confirmed return tickets, vaccination certificate, passport copy, and travel insurance (minimum value of $50,000USD including covid coverage). Confirmed reservation in a ‘SHA Extra+/AQ hotel on Day 1 (with airport pick-up) and Day 5, including one RT-PCR test and meals to be uploaded for the Thai pass. They can also check if they need to upload a medical certificate post covid recovery. It is recommended to upload the covid recovery report if the travellers have had Covid anywhere before 14 days and within 90 days of trip.

Saffron Cruise by Banyan tree

Visa
One can either go via the VFS route or apply for an e-visa. The visa-on-arrival is also an option. However, if a tourist has a week or 10 days, it’s best to get the visa sorted to save unnecessary time at the airport.
RT-PCR test before flight
A negative RT-PCR report with a QR code conducted within 72 hours before departure is mandatory. It is advisable to take the test 24 hours in advance and check your CT Value. A CT Value of less than 40 can land one in quarantine. And if it’s over 15 days and less than 90 days of Covid recovery, one can carry the report, doctor’s certificate of recovery and inform the nurse conducting the test on the entrance at Thailand hotel.
Delhi to Bangkok
People travelling from Delhi to Bangkok are required to carry copies (both hard and soft) of negative RT-PCR report, vaccination certificate, Thai Pass and health insurance. On arrival in Bangkok, officials examine the Thai Pass QR Code before permitting the travellers entry at the immigration. After collecting luggage, one should look out for hotel signpost and agent. The hotel representative will lead the tourists to a vehicle and they can check-in into their rooms only the RT-PCR test and cannot step out until the results come out. If the report is negative, the tourists can continue with their vacation plans anywhere in Thailand. And if the report is positive, depending on the CT Value the tourist will be shifted to either a hospital or a quarantine centre.

Somtam at Basil
Yu Sheng at pagoda

Departure
The fully vaccinated travellers do not need to undergo an RT-PCR test before boarding or on arrival. However, to ensure a hassle-free travel, one needs to fill a form on the Air Suvidha platform 48 hours before the return flight and upload a negative RT-PCR report. It is mandatory to mention the seat number, so it is advisable to check in before filling the form.
Present scenario
From thermal checks in hotel lobbies and insignificant human contact to cabin crew in PPE kits and interaction-tracing apps, Covid-19 has modified the compass of travel. However, now boundaries are gradually opening. Thailand is equally affected by the pandemic as any other country. Although many restaurants are not open until late evening and night markets and the usual buzz are missing, most popular food outlets are still open.
Shopping malls are operating in full swing and cabs and Tuk Tuks are also running normally. There’s no dearth of street food, cruises have started working too and one can also fly to island towns like Koh Samui and Phuket or the mountainous Chiang Mai for an extended vacation.