Last updated April 16, 2021
Today’s Status, Looking Towards Summer 2021 — Green
Things are looking good overall — Major tourist attractions started opening in June and Thailand has been on the top 10 on the World Covid Recovery Index. Because of some remaining visa and Covid restrictions, the semester may be a few weeks shorter, but still about 3 months. Thailand still has a quarantine but it will be shorter and eventually eliminated for people who have been vaccinated (see details below). 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!
Previously, all travelers were required to quarantine for 14 days in a government-approved hotel. Starting April 1, the quarantine period is 10 days, and even shorter for some vaccinated travelers that qualify. Those who have not been vaccinated (and arrive instead with a negative Covid test) will quarantine for 10 days. Starting July 1st, vaccinated travelers will be allowed to visit Phuket without a quarantine at all.
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 will still allow ILP to have a semester there.
A quarantine on arrival in a government approved hotel (at the traveler’s expense) is still currently required (the length is determined by your vaccination status).
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, Thailand is no longer requiring travelers to fill out a Fit To Fly form.
Things are looking good for Thailand, and have been for months. Thailand has fluctuated between ranking #1 or #2 in the world on the Covid Recovery Index for some time.
As of April 16th, Thailand currently has 15 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, the country has begun vaccinations, first focusing on priority groups like health care workers.
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.
After briefly hosting classes online, we’re excited to report that schools reopened in July 2020 for in-person classes.
Malls, grocery stores, public transportation, temples, and museums, and more are open! Almost all activities that were previously closed have gone back to the (new) normal, which is something we’re thrilled about. There have been some localized closures (like nightclubs closing in Bangkok after an outbreak) Where ILP volunteers live and teach, things are at the lightest level of restriction.s or no restrictions. Most everything is open, just with capacity limits or reduced hours (restaurants, massage parlors, gyms, schools, etc).
We’re seeing stricter regulations in areas of higher traffic, which currently encompasses many provinces in the central and southern region of the country.
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, 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).
In April 2021, 37 provinces have requirements for quarantine when traveling from certain places within Thailand. Major tourist/vacation destinations are not affected by this. However, most of the 37 provinces are requiring quarantine for anyone traveling from Bangkok, so for now a weekend trip to Bangkok may not be possible, but your vacation to Krabi, Phuket, Chiang Mai, and other popular places is not affected.
Because Thailand is reopening to tourists, you’ll find that most of your favorite places, beaches, experiences, and more are all open.
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 goods 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 looking good for a Summer 2021 semester (and future semester), 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.