Thailand

Last updated May 14, 2021

Today’s Status, Looking Towards Fall 2021 — Green

We’re happy to share that we have volunteers in this program for the current semester, and plan to send volunteers to this location for the Fall 2021 semester.

Because of some remaining visa and Covid restrictions, the semester may be a few weeks shorter, but still about 3 months. We encourage everyone to get the Covid vaccine, but for Thailand, not more than 3 months before their departure.

Check below to get more details on some key aspects that we’re watching (it’s stuff you’re going to want to know). Also, this info can change frequently, so check back often!

Getting There

Thailand increased the mandatory quarantine upon arrival back to 14 days, starting May 1, after a brief change that decreased the quarantine to 10 days (or shorter for those who have been vaccinated).

Toward the beginning of 2021, Thailand started processing the type of visas that ILP volunteers need. Because of Covid, the visa has a few restrictions that weren’t there prior to Covid, but still allow ILP to have a semester there.

A quarantine on arrival in a government approved hotel (at the traveler’s expense.)

The number of commercial flights is still pretty limited, but is opening up. You can now get some commercial flights from the US, where previously, only very limited flights were available through the consulate. As of March 31st,  2021, Thailand is no longer requiring travelers to fill out a Fit To Fly form.

Daily Life

Things are looking good for Thailand, and have been for months.  Thailand has been in the top 5 countries in the world on the Covid Recovery Index for some time.

As of May 13th, Thailand currently has 42.1 cases per 100,000 people, which is a slight increase from previous weeks. It’s the highest spike in cases since December. However, to put it in perspective, even though it is a spike in cases for Thailand it is still 2,000x lower than the US, where cases have been declining for months. Additionally, all citizens are eligible to receive the vaccine, as of mid-May. 

The Thailand healthcare system was ranked in the top three countries in Asia being prepared for a pandemic before it happened. In summer 2020, Thailand went over 100 days in a row with zero new cases. Additionally, Thailand is the world’s capital for medical tourism due to the combination of better quality at a low cost.

Schools will be opening for in-person classes on June 1, 2021 throughout Thailand, a couple weeks later than normal.

Most everything is open, just with capacity limits or reduced hours. There are some intermittent closures of some public venues such as cinemas, gyms, and some parks. It is important to note that there have also been some localized closures (like nightclubs closing in Bangkok after an outbreak).

We’re seeing stricter regulations in areas of higher traffic, which currently encompasses Bangkok.

Out & About

Part of Thailand’s success with keeping COVID-19 cases low is linked to precautions that locals have been following as an effort to slow the spread of the virus. While many businesses were closed for a time, we’re seeing that many have now reopened. There’s lots of good news about returning to the new normal.

There are also some other restrictions and policies to keep in mind. Thailand has issued health and safety standards for the public to follow that may sound familiar: standing at least 1 meter away from others, avoiding touching your face, wearing a mask in public places (indoors and outdoors), etc.

However, there are some standards that may be new to you like limiting conversation and speaking quietly when in public or especially on public transportation like buses or taxis. It’s encouraged that you don’t spend more than 1 hour with others (reducing your contact time), and that you reduce time in enclosed spaces.

For the most part, things are open, just with exceptions. For example, there are parameters in place for salons (like limiting appointments and keeping them under 60 minutes) and taxi drivers (who are recommended to take no more than three passengers at a time).

Beginning in May 2021, Thailand is instituting restrictions depending on the infection rate in each province. There are three color levels: dark red, red, and orange. Depending on the rating of the province, different regulations and restrictions are in place. For the most part, the country is in “red”, which is the middle level. In these provinces, masks are required, malls and stores are open until 9:00 PM, gatherings have to be under 50 people, restaurants are open with adjusted hours, or takeaway options. Regulations are slightly looser in Orange Provinces, and stricter in dark red provinces. 

Because Thailand is reopening to tourists, you’ll find that most of your favorite places, beaches, experiences, and more are all open, just with some parameters that fluctuate according to infection rates in that area.

While travel around Thailand is looking good, traveling to another country isn’t realistic right now. 

Remember how there’s currently a quarantine upon arrival in Thailand? If volunteers left the country they would need to quarantine after returning, not including quarantine time in the country they would be traveling to.

The good news is that Thailand has oh-so-much to do and there’s really no reason to leave for a vacation anyways. You have everything from cities, to jungles, to beaches (and more).  Most volunteers in the past have missed out on some amazing Thai vacation spots because they chose to jet over to other countries instead. But trust us, even if you spend all of your vacation time in Thailand, you still won’t see it all.

Okay, now what?  Should I still apply for Thailand?

Absolutely! As outlined above, things are great for a Summer 2021 semester (and future semesters), so we recommend getting a jump on your application ASAP! Or if you’re considering traveling in Fall 2021, or even Spring 2022 or Summer 2022, now is a great time to start your application for those semesters as well.

We are so excited for volunteers to be back in Thailand!

What is traveling and living in Thailand like right now?

For Thailand, things have slowly been opening back up both for domestic and international tourism. We’re seeing some of the same precautions you’d take at home (like wearing a mask and social distancing). Just like there is a risk to go out in Utah right now, there will be risks to traveling anywhere, including Thailand.