THAILAND SANDBOX PROGRAMS
Travel to Thailand is ON!
Thailand has approved a new program for fully vaccinated tourists visiting Thailand. Under the new program, effective from the October 1, 2021, eligible vaccinated travelers to travel to select destinations in Southern Thailand, quarantine-free for seven days, before travelling freely across the country.
The destinations open to travelers are: Phuket, Phang Nga (Khao Lak or Koh Yao), Krabi (Koh Phi Phi, Ko Ngai, or Railay), or Surat Thani (Samui Plus – Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, or Koh Tao).
Here are some of the details:
Travel for December 2021 and beyond is looking very likely. We expect certain key areas to be accessible by November/December, such as Phuket, Koh Samui, Krabi, Chiang Mai, and possibly Bangkok.
Smiling Albino Outlook: Expected accessibility for vaccinated travelers in mid Q4 2021.
The Early Arrival Privilege
Those who travel to Thailand via the sandboxes in Q4 and early Q1 are going to experience an incredible Thailand with a tiny fraction of the regular tourism. Landmarks will be quiet, restaurants won’t need reservations, beaches without crowds, communities will be peaceful and untouched, and the parks and nature are simply stunning. This is an experience not possible in the last 50 years. That’s worth the few extra hoops and documentation!
Back in July we hosted a group of US journalists who enjoyed a “sandbox adventure” with us, safely! Here are a couple of articles from their experience: Fodors, Travel + Leisure, InsideHook. Since then we have hosted several clients with the resounding feedback that this is an incredible time to explore Thailand. Yes, preparing documents in advance is required and PCR-COVID tests are required pre-departure and while on the ground but with the help of a local DMC (ahem, ahem!) navigating this process is hassle-free.
The Vietnamese government has announced their plans to reopen borders to foreign visitors from June 2022, with several provinces, including Kien Giang (Phu Quoc), Danang and Khanh Hoa (Nha Trang) implementing pilot phases as early as November 2021. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is working with the Ministry of Culture, Sports & Tourism to build the trial/pilot plan.
In this section, we share with you the latest information we have on the opening up of specific locations in Vietnam for both domestic and international travel. Plans are still being worked out and so there are still gaps and we will keep you updated as and when we receive additional information.
1 November, Phu Quoc Sandbox Trial: Europe, U.S.A, Northeast Asia, Australia, Middle East, Japan, Republic of Korea. Limited list of approved hotels and resorts.
21 November, Da Nang Sandbox Trial: Open to guests from Russia and Korea
Hoi An Reopening Phase 1: Europe, U.S.A, Northeast Asia, Australia, Middle East. Limited resorts & hotels approved and allowed to play golf and visit casinos and beaches. Max 3,000 visitors permitted per month to visit Hoi An town, the My Son Sanctuary, UNESCO heritage sites, Cham Island, Phu Ninh Lake, golf courses and amusement facilities in five-star resorts.
Nha Trang Reopening Phase II: The reopening will be focused on specific islands. We are waiting on news for the Ninh Van Bay peninsula resorts such as Six Senses, An Lam Retreats, L’Alya.
Hoi An Reopening Phase II: Max 10,000 – 50,000 visitors permitted per month. Able to visit more destinations and stay at three/four-star resorts.
This information is based on information received published and confirmed by the Vietnamese government. The information will continued to be updated as new information is received..
CAMBODIA / LAOS
At this time, Cambodia and Laos have not released specific reopening plans. We anticipate that these countries will follow the lead of Thailand, monitoring the country’s reopening success closely.
Smiling Albino Outlook: Expected accessibility for vaccinated travelers in Q1 2022.
Are other countries in Southeast Asia welcoming guests?
At this time, Smiling Albino’s other Southeast Asia destinations, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos are not yet allowing entry for ordinary international travelers.
Will Southeast Asia be open for December travel and beyond?
We’re expecting that Q4 2021 will see vaccinated travelers being welcomed in some destinations. Each country is currently working on plans to reopen as quickly and as safely as possible. This is a great reference for Southeast Asia situation status by country.
Whether you want to start planning, want to talk travel, or simply want to say hello, we’re here!