PHUKET, Thailand — In just hours, Thailand will welcome back international visitors – as long as they are vaccinated – to its famous southern resort island of Phuket without having to be cooped up on arrival in a hotel room for a 14-day quarantine.
For a minimum of two weeks they will be free to roam the island, where preparations include having a major proportion of the local population inoculated for COVID-19.
The icing on the cake is that after that initial 14 days, visitors will be able to travel relatively freely elsewhere in Thailand — subject to the same restrictions as Thai travelers.
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The “Phuket Sandbox” program is open to visitors from 63 countries, including the U.S., and three territories rated by Thailand as low or medium risk for COVID-19. Requirements beyond nationality are more complicated and involve a fair amount of paperwork, in addition to being subject to changes.
Visas for stays of up to 30 days are not necessary for many nationalities. Airlines with direct flights to Phuket include Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, El Al and Singapore Airlines.