"Blue Zone Sandbox" is a one of the new schemes to welcome travelers to Thailand. The "Blue Zone", previously called "Sandbox", is a safe area for travelers. The Blue Zone Sandbox program is starting on 1 November 2021. Tourists from all countries who have completed COVID-19 vaccination can travel to one of Blue Zone provinces where they can stay within approved areas for the first 5 days and then can travel freely anywhere in Thailand.
Pre-travel testing is no longer required, and after completing 5 days within the Sandbox destinations, travellers will be allowed to travel domestically within Thailand.
- What is Blue Zone Sandbox?
- Overview for Blue Zone Sandbox program?
- Requirements for Blue Zone Sandbox applicants
- Steps for Blue Zone Sandbox applicants
- FAQs for Thailand’s Blue Zone Sandbox Scheme
What is Blue Zone Sandbox?
Overview for Blue Zone Sandbox program?
Below is the overview of the Blue Zone Sandbox Program so you have the basic understanding of this Thailand's entry scheme.
Who is eligible for Blue Zone Sandbox program?
The Blue Zone Sandbox plan is available for vaccinated travelers flying to Thailand from any country in the world.
- Thai citizens.
- Foreign travelers, including but not limited to diplomats, guests of the government, Thai work permit holders, students and their family, and patients seeking medical treatment.
- All countries/territories.
Points of entry
- By air at Phuket International Airport for Krabi, Phang-Nga, and Phuket.
- By air at Krabi International Airport for Krabi.
- By air at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, then transit on a sealed flight for Ko Samui, or Phuket.
- By air at Suvarnabhumi Airport, then travel by a prearranged vehicle on a sealed route to Bang Lamung, Pattaya, Si Racha, Si Chang, and Sattahip – only Na Jomtien and Bang Saray – in Chon Buri, and Ko Chang in Trat.
Blue Zone Sandbox Destinations
There are 17 Blue Zone Sandbox destinations that you could choose from, here are all of the locations:
- Chon Buri (Banglamung, Pattaya, Si Racha, Ko Si Chang, and Sattahip – Na Jomtien and Bang Sarey)
- Chiang Mai (Mueang, Doi Tao, Mae Rim, and Mae Taeng)
- Trat (Ko Chang)
- Buri Ram (Mueang)
- Prachuap Khiri Khan (Hua Hin and Nong Kae)
- Phetchaburi (Cha-Am)
- Ranong (Ko Phayam)
- Rayong (Ko Samet)
- Loei (Chiang Khan)
- Samut Prakan (Suvarnabhumi Airport)
- Surat Thani (Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, and Ko Tao)
- Nong Khai (Mueang, Sangkhom, Si Chiang Mai, and Tha Bo)
- Udon Thani (Mueang, Ban Dung, Kumphawapi, Na Yung, Nong Han, and Prachaksinlapakhom)
Requirements for Blue Zone Sandbox applicants
To successfully enter Thailand through Blue Zone Sandbox Program, here are the requirements to present to authorities before departure and upon arrival that a traveler should have:
Thailand Pass QR Code
You will need to obtain a QR Code that will be received upon approval after applying for a Thailand Pass. Provide all the necessary details and upload documents that are asked and wait for confirmation or approval for you to receive a QR Code which will be scanned upon arrival in Thailand.
Certificate of Vaccination
Proof showing that you are fully vaccinated will be needed.
The vaccine that is administered to you must be one of the vaccines approved by the Thai Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) or by the World Health Organization (WHO) which was administered to you at least 14 days before your intended travel date.
For children that are under the age of 18, they are not required to be vaccinated, as long as their parents or guardians are.
Travel Insurance or COVID-19 Insurance
You must purchase travel insurance or COVID-19 insurance with a minimum coverage of $20,000. It will cover all Covid-19-related incidences if ever you test positive from the tests.
You may get your COVID-19 Insurance here: https://u.axa.co.th/Sawasdee_Siamlegal
Payment Confirmation for SHA+ Hotel Reservation
You will have to book a SHA+ hotel for 5 days to be granted entry in Thailand. Your SHA+ hotel reservation shall include:
- RT-PCR COVID-19 Test
- Antigen Test Kit (ATK)
- Pre-arranged airport transfer
- Accommodation for at least 5 nights
Steps for Blue Zone Sandbox applicants
Here are the detailed steps for the applicants of Bluezone Sandbox Scheme including pre-arrival & on arrival requirements, and guidelines for domestic and/or international departure.
All travellers must have the following documents for entering Thailand:
- A Thailand Pass, which can be applied via https://tp.consular.go.th/.
- An insurance policy with coverage no less than US$20,000. Thais and foreign expatriates under Thailand’s national healthcare coverage are exempt from this requirement.
- Sonasia Holiday recommends that travellers make sure to check the small print of any COVID-19 insurance policy before purchasing. Ultimately, the policy should cover the cost of treatment and other medical expenses associated with being infected with COVID-19, including in-patient hospitalisation, hospital isolation, hotel isolation, or related quarantine. The insurance policy should also cover the whole duration that travellers are planning to stay in Thailand, plus at least 10 extra days as a precautionary measure in the event that the traveller’s second swab test result returns as positive.
- A proof of prepayment for 5 nights of accommodation at government-approved hotel/s; such as, SHA Extra Plus (SHA++) hotel, within the eligible Sandbox destinations.
- Travellers to Krabi, Phang-Nga, or Phuket can change accommodation 3 times within the first 5 days (can book 3 different hotels) within the province.
- Travellers to Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, and Ko Tao can change accommodation 3 times within the first 5 days (can book 3 different hotels). However, they must stay the first night on Ko Samui and must receive a negative result for their first RT-PCR test, before being able to change accommodation to other hotels on either Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, or Ko Tao. Or, they can choose to book 3 different hotels on Ko Samui alone.
- Travellers under the Sandbox Extension programme; such as, Phuket and Phang-Nga, Phuket and Krabi, or Phuket and Ko Samui, can change accommodation 3 times within the first 5 days (can book 3 different hotels) within the areas. However, travellers on the Andaman (Krabi, Phang-Nga, or Phuket) extension with Ko Samui, must extend their trip by air only.
- Travellers to Chon Buri (Bang Lamung, Pattaya, Si Racha, and Sattahip – only Na Jomtien and Bang Saray) and Trat (Ko Chang) can change accommodation 3 times (can book 3 different hotels) within the province/destination.
- A proof of prepayment for 1 RT-PCR test on Day 1 and 1 Antigen Self-Test Kit (self-ATK) on Day 5-6;
- Krabi, Phang-Nga and Phuket: Travellers can reserve and prepay for the RT-PCR test via www.thailandpsas.com (2,100 Baht/test).
- Surat Thai (Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, and Ko Tao): Travellers can book and prepay for the RT-PCR test when booking and prepaying for accommodation at SHA++ hotels (2,200 Baht/test). The test on Day 1 will be conducted at Samui International Airport.
- For travellers under the Sandbox Extension programme, as well as travellers to Chon Buri (Bang Lamung, Pattaya, Si Racha, Si Chang, and Sattahip – only Na Jomtien and Bang Saray) and Trat (Ko Chang), please contact your hotels for more information.
- A Certificate of COVID-19 Vaccination/Recovery
- Everyone 18 years of age and older must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 with an approved vaccine at least 14 days before travelling to Thailand.
- Travellers 12-17 years of age travelling to Thailand unaccompanied must get vaccinated with at least 1 dose of an approved vaccine. Those travelling with parents are exempt from this requirement.
- Travellers 6-11 years of age, travelling with parents, are exempt from this requirement.
- For arrivals by water, everyone on board must be fully vaccinated. This is except for travellers under 18 years of age, travelling with parents or guardians. *We will provide an update on this as soon as the official information becomes available.
- Travellers with a history of COVID-19 infection who have recovered by medical treatment and travellers who have received at least 1 dose of an approved vaccine after post-infection must have a certificate of COVID-19 recovery.
All travellers must undergo ‘exit screening’ at the point of departure, i.e., at the airline check-in counter and present the required documents to the person-in-charge to carry out the checks.
On-Arrival Requirements / During the Stay
- All travellers must undergo entry screening including body temperature check, and presenting the required documents to the Immigration/Health Control officer to carry out the checks at the point of entry for arrivals on a direct flight to Thailand’s international airports, and for arrivals on a domestic connecting flight either at the first point of entry before boarding the transit flight or at the final airport.
- Proceed to the prearranged accommodation or medical facility to undergo the first RT-PCR test. The trip must be by a prearranged vehicle on a sealed route within a travelling time of no longer than 5 hours. Then, all travellers must wait for the test result within the hotel only. Travellers under 6 years of age, travelling with parents, can have a saliva test.
- Travellers whose test result returns as NEGATIVE can enjoy travel activities within the Sandbox areas throughout the 5 days (nights), but must return to their prearranged accommodation on a nightly basis. They are not allowed to stay overnight in any other places. In addition, they will be provided with 1 Antigen Self-Test Kit for a self-test on Day 5-6 and be required to report/record the result via the MorChana application or another specified application.
- Travellers whose test result returns as POSITIVE will be referred for appropriate medical treatment in accordance with Thailand’s Communicable Diseases Act B.E. 2558 (2015). The expenses must be covered by the required insurance / own expense for foreign travellers, or national healthcare coverage for Thais and eligible foreign expatriates.
- Pending on their conditions, they may be medically advised to receive treatment in either hospital hotel isolation or community isolation.
- While receiving the medical treatment – at least 10 days, they must remain in their accommodation only. They should not leave their accommodation unless utmost necessary, and must notify the Communicable Disease Control officer in-charge.
- After having recovered from COVID-19, they will receive a medical certificate of recovery.
- Travellers must stay at least the first 5 days (nights) within the Sandbox destination/s if planning to continue the journey to other destinations in Thailand. If staying less than 5 days (nights), the traveller must leave Thailand to another country immediately.
- While in Thailand, travellers are advised to strictly follow standard, good personal hygiene practices; such as, wear a mask in public, maintain hand hygiene (washing with soap and water or using hand sanitiser), and keep physical distance of at least 1 metre from others.
- Travellers who experience COVID-like symptoms should get tested. If testing positive, they must get the appropriate medical treatment.
- All travellers must download and install the MorChana application, and set it on at all times for the COVID-19 precautionary measures and to record the result on Day 5-6 in the application.
- The self-ATK on Day 5-6 will not be required if the traveller’s length of stay in the Sandbox destination/s is up to 5 nights, or his/her scheduled international departure date out of Thailand is on Day 5 or before. For example, if the traveller plans to stay in Thailand for 4 days, then he/she does not have to undergo the self-ATK, but he/she must leave for another country immediately. However, the traveller may be required to take another test depending on the airline and the final international destination. For travellers who intend to stay 6 days (nights), they will be required to undergo the self-ATK on Day 5-6 although they are scheduled to leave for another country the next day.
- Travellers who intend to stay more than 5 nights and to continue their journey to other parts of Thailand must undergo the self-ATK on Day 5-6. After receiving a negative test result, travellers can obtain a ‘Release Form’ and continue their journey domestically.
Guidelines for Domestic/International Departure
For domestic departure, after having stayed the first 5 days in the above-mentioned eligible Sandbox destinations, travelers must obtain a ‘Release Form’ from their accommodation and from Day 6 are free to go anywhere in Thailand.
For international departure, it is the responsibility of travelers or their organisations to make sure that the travelers meet the requirements of their specific international destination regardless of the point of departure.
FAQs for Thailand’s Blue Zone Sandbox Scheme
What is the Thailand Pass and where do I get it?
Thailand Pass is a digital platform aimed at streamlining the entry process for Thailand. From 1 November 2021, Thailand Pass replaces the Certificate of Entry (CoE). Once registered in the new system, travelers will receive a Thailand Pass QR Code to display to the airline and to screening officers at the immigration checkpoint.
Here is everything about Thailand Pass
How long does it take to process Thailand Pass?
If you meet all the requirements, it should take between 3-5 working days to process your application, but travelers are advised to allow at least 7 working days.
Insurance and visas
Is Covid-19 insurance mandatory?
Yes. You need to have insurance for Covid-19 that covers medical costs up to a minimum of USD $20,000 for the entire duration of your stay in Thailand*. If you are travelling with children, they will also need to be covered by insurance.
Travelers should check the small print of any Covid-19 insurance policy before purchasing. The policy should cover:
- The cost of treatment and other medical expenses associated with testing positive for Covid-19 or being designated as a high-risk contact (including in-patient hospitalization, hospital isolation, hotel isolation, or related quarantine).
- The whole duration that travelers are planning to stay in Thailand plus at least 10 extra days as a precautionary measure in case the traveler’s second swab test result returns as positive.
There is some more information here from the Thai General Insurance Association**: https://covid19.tgia.org/
*Thais and foreign expatriates under Thailand’s national healthcare coverage are exempt from this requirement
**This link is for more information and not an endorsement by Fan Club Thailand or Tourism Thailand.
You may want to know what is happening on the ground if your Covid test result returns positive
Do I need a visa?
Thailand is famous for its easy visa system for those travelling to Thailand as a tourist and staying for less than 30 days, you do not require a visa. Instead, you can enter under the visa exemption scheme. If you wish to stay longer, you can apply for a Tourist Visa which will allow you to stay for up to 60 days plus a one-time extension of 30 days if required.
Here is our guide for Thailand Visa
Covid vaccinations and tests
Can it be any Covid vaccine and what proof do I need to show?
The vaccine must be approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Thai Food & Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA approved list includes AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Pfizer, Sinopharm, and Sinovac. Visitors need to be fully vaccinated with two shots of the vaccine (one shot for Johnson & Johnson). Vaccination shots need to have been given at least 14 days before boarding your flight to Thailand and no longer than one year before.
If I’ve not been vaccinated or only received one dose of the AstraZeneca jab, can I still travel to Thailand?
You can, but you will need to follow the current entry procedures and enter quarantine on arrival. You can only visit without quarantine if you have been fully vaccinated with both doses of the jab (or one shot for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine).
After I arrive in Thailand, how long will I have to wait before I get the first Covid-19 test result?
Results should be available within 8-12 hours.
Where will the first RT-PCR test take place and how much does it cost?
The first test will be carried out at the arrival airport, and you will need to book and pay for both your first test and second test in advance via the official website. The cost is 2,100 Baht per test
What apps do I need to download?
When you arrive in Thailand you will be asked to download the MorChana app as part of the Covid safety protocols:
What happens if I’m staying in Thailand less than 6 nights?
The self ATK test will not be required if your length of stay in a Sandbox destination is less than 6 nights or your international departure date out of Thailand is on Day 5 or before. If you are staying for 6 days (nights), you will be required to undergo self ATK test on Day 5-6.
Please note, you still need to follow the requirements of your airline and should check if another RT-PCR test is required for the international destination you are flying to.
Do I need a Covid test before flying back home?
This varies depending on your government’s policy. Check out with the local authorities where you live.
Children and young adults under 18
- Travellers 12-17 years of age travelling to Thailand unaccompanied must get vaccinated with at least 1 dose of an approved vaccine at least 14 days before travelling to Thailand. Those travelling with parents are exempt from this requirement.
- Travellers under 12 years of age, travelling with parents, are exempt from this requirement.
- For arrivals by water, everyone on board must be fully vaccinated. This is except for travellers under 18 years of age, travelling with parents or guardians.
Flights and hotels
Can I book my own flights and hotels, or do I have to use a travel agent?
You can book independently, but you need to make sure you comply with all the entry requirements.
What is SHA, SHA Plus and SHA Extra Plus?
SHA is an abbreviation of Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration (SHA). To be awarded SHA status, businesses must meet strict safety protocols. The SHA Plus (SHA+) certificate is only granted to businesses that meet all the safety protocols plus at least 70% of their staff have been vaccinated against Covid-19. SHA Extra Plus (SHA++) hotels are those that meet the Amazing Thailand SHA Plus standards and have also partnered up with certified hospitals for the RT-PCR test.
Where can I find a list of approved hotels?
The list of the SHA Extra Plus hotels is available here.
Do I have to stay at the hotel I booked?
Once you receive a negative test result you are free to travel around the area, but you must return to your prearranged SHA Extra Plus accommodation on a nightly basis.
Covid regulations for domestic travel in Thailand
As a tourist arriving in Thailand, once you’ve cleared the Blue Zone Sandbox you will be issued with a ‘release form’ which confirms you have completed the mandatory requirements. Keep this form with you when travelling domestically in Thailand. Apart from that additional piece of paperwork, the same travel rules for domestic travel will apply to you as they do for Thai travelers and those who live in Thailand.