This is great news for residents here, as Malaysia had previously been excluded from the now-defunct ‘approved countries’ list.
Having partially opened to foreign tourists in July this year, Thailand’s Sandbox travel scheme has now removed the ‘approved countries’ list allowing ANY fully-vaccinated traveller to enter the Kingdom.
One of the main reasons for this latest development is due to the fact that Thailand’s tourism sector is not recovering fast enough from the drawn-out border closures put in place to contain the spread of Covid-19.
The Thai government has also reduced the mandatory quarantine period from 14 days to 7 days upon arrival at the original destination into the Kingdom. Upon completion of the 7-day quarantine period, tourists can then move on other destinations like Koh Samui, Koh Phang Ngan, Koh Tao, Khao Lak, Koh Yao, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Ngai, and Railay Beach.
MALAYSIAN RESIDENTS CAN NOW TRAVEL TO THAILAND
This is great news for Malaysia as it had previously been excluded from the now-defunct ‘approved countries’ list. Before the pandemic forced the world to its knees, Malaysia was actually Thailand’s second-largest tourism market with over four million Malaysians having visited in 2019 alone. With almost 90 percent of Malaysia’s adult population fully vaccinated, this is surely exciting news for many who are anxious to get their wanderlust on after having their wings clipped for too long.
In fact, people can already start planning, as Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob has recently announced that Malaysians may be allowed to travel for leisure by December, perhaps even earlier.
HOW SAFE IS IT THOUGH?
With many eager to jump on plane and head to their favourite islands, preservations still abound with the whole process of entering and leaving in good health to say the least. A big factor that dulls the exciting news is Thailand’s low vaccination and high infection rates that has the Kingdom placed on several no-go lists by other countries such as the U.S. and UK.
As it were, even with the new amendments allowing tourists in, British citizens will still need to undergo a mandatory quarantine once they return home, making trip planning rather complicated and undesirably lengthy post-holiday.
A crucial point to this whole development is that while the country is opening up, not many hotels are up and running at full optimisation yet that puts another cog the in wheel with bookings. There is also the case of PCR tests that are both mandatory and quite expensive that might deter travellers on a budget.
According to Thai authorities, major hotspots including Bangkok might possibly be reopened as soon as November, with 20 more locations to follow by December 2021 once vaccination rates increase.
Bearing in mind that Thailand’s daily new Covid-19 infections are reaching up to 11,000 cases, maybe planning a trip to the land of smiles can wait a little longer.
However, if you are planning to take advantage of the loosened restrictions, check out this TAT guide to get yourself properly prepared.
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