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TAT Sandbox release clarifies key conditions, mystifies others

TAT Sandbox release clarifies key conditions, mystifies others

PHUKET: An updated release by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has clarified several key aspects about the conditions of entry for vaccinated tourists under the ‘Phuket Tourism Sandbox’ scheme from July 1, but openly identified details yet to be confirmed for many critical aspects affecting tourists’ stays on the island.

By The Phuket News

Thursday 10 June 2021, 04:35PM

Image: TAT

Image: TAT

The release, updated late yesterday (June 9), noted that six airlines have announced direct flights to Phuket: THAI, Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Hongkong Airlines, EVA Air, Korean Air, Jinair, Cathay Pacific and KLM.

It also formally recognised that international travellers who have received the Thai FDA-approved vaccines AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, Sinovac Biotech and Sinopharm will be allowed to enter Phuket.

Arrivals must be vaccinated more than 14 days to one year before entering Phuket, and proof of vaccination must be submitted when applying for a COE, the release noted.

Children under 6 years of age must travel only with their parents or guardians who have been vaccinated. In the case the parents or guardians are found to have COVID-19, the children are to be placed in isolation for 14 days, the release added.

Regarding which countries tourists will be allowed to arrive from, the release noted that the Phuket Sandbox is applicable only for fully vaccinated international travellers from countries/regions with a low to medium risk of SAR-CoV-2 virus as announced and constantly updated by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH).

“The list will be available soon,” said the release.

“High-risk countries are not allowed entry at this stage,” it added.

Under the section “Visa & Certificate of Entry”, the TAT noted, “Every traveller must obtain a Certificate of Entry (COE) at  Check the website to see the required documents.”

“Embassy/Consulate-General takes 3 working days to process the application,” it said.

“International travellers must have insurance covering treatment and medical expenses including those related to COVID-19 with a minimum coverage of US$100,000. The insurance must cover the total duration of stay in Thailand,” the TAT confirmed.


For tourists arriving under the Sandbox model, it is mandatory to book a ‘SHA Plus’ hotel for the first 14 nights in Phuket.

“Residing in a private residence is not allowed on the first 14 nights for COVID-19 control purposes,” the TAT release confirmed.

However, there is no requirement that tourists must stay all 14 of their first days on the island at the one hotel, the TAT confirmed.

“You can move between SHA Plus hotels during the 14 days,” the release said.

However, bookings must be prepaid, it added..

Standardised cancellation and refund policies for ‘SHA Plus’ hotels are in place “for peace of mind agreed upon by all SHA Plus hoteliers”, the release noted.

However, oddly contradicting the current Phuket Provincial Government policy for no members outside a family attending the same residence for any gathering, including sharing meals, in posing its own question, “Can a 2nd guest who is already resident in Thailand join a guest who has arrived ‘internationally’ into a ‘SHA Plus’ hotel?”, the TAT said, “Yes, providing the guest follows all rules stipulated for Thais and expats in Thailand.”


The release updated yesterday pointed out, *On the first 5 days, you are allowed to visit only the islands of Phuket, which are Ko Racha, Ko Naka, and Coral Island.”

The TAT explained that Phi Phi Island, Koh Yao (meaning Koh Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi), Koh Khai, and Phang Nga Bay “are NOT a part of Phuket province”.

“Therefore, you must get a rapid test on Day 5 before going to these places,” said the release.

However, for travel to tourist locations near Phuket that are technically in other provinces, the release also noted “Information under review”.


The TAT noted that there is no way to confirm that any “public transport”, in Phuket meaning taxis, passenger vans and tuk-tuks, is currently COVID-safe.

“We recommend that you use only ‘SHA Plus’ certified taxis and transportation, but you may use non ‘SHA Plus’, too if you prefer. If there are more than 2 people in a vehicle, masks must be worn at all times,” said the release.

Posing the question, “Is there an app or website to be able to book SHA+ transport services?”, the TAT only noted, “Information will be available soon.”

Answering whether GRAB taxi is SHA+, the TAT also noted, “Information will be available soon.”

Under the section “Other Activities”, the TAT asked itself, “What’s open?”

To that the TAT also said, “Information will be available soon.”

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Kurt | 12 June 2021 - 14:06:14

The rules for Thai certificate of Entrance (CEO) are completely focused on foreign tourists. What about vaccinated foreigners who after a visit 'home country', being vaccinated, like to return home on Phuket? Many Thai embassies are ruling different in issue a CEO. And certainly not just taking 2-3 days for it. Sometimes it take weeks.

AlexRussia | 11 June 2021 - 20:07:02

dolphinspirit,   Pfizer not approved yet...

skorchio | 11 June 2021 - 10:36:23

Seriously? They expect people to book and come when all bars are closed, restaurants can't serve alcohol, and travellers need to stay in a Govt approved hotel for 14 days ? And travelers cannot visit the homes of friends? Home owners need to stay at a hotel? NO ONE is going to come under these conditions 

dolphinspirit | 11 June 2021 - 10:14:11

The Thai FDA has approved the Pfizer vaccine (Comirnaty) so I am not sure why it is not on the list in the article.

Kurt | 11 June 2021 - 10:03:02

What is actually the official status of TAT?  It looks like it has more power to dictate regimental than the Governor.

Kurt | 11 June 2021 - 09:59:36

In the formal recognition list of vaccines here I do miss Pfeizer.

DeKaaskopp | 11 June 2021 - 01:02:51

Huh? 6 Airlines ? WHy are there 10 airlines mentioned? And btw.,you can book Etihad too.Apart from this the whole thing becomes more and more total nonsense if one reads that pubs and bars have to remain closed.

haimdavid | 11 June 2021 - 00:50:58

why 14 days?
it's crazy!! 7 days it's ok... you have to change your decision.

Christy Sweet | 10 June 2021 - 22:45:35

Why is Phuket reopening in the middle of a pandemic when it is months away from having enough people  INOCULATED which is different than  merely vaccinated from SARS-Cov-2 and the five (known) variants?  

charles | 10 June 2021 - 21:36:58

don't worry information will be available soon 

Kazumi | 10 June 2021 - 20:28:23

There is no name for Pfizer vaccine.


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