As Thailand’s borders (finally) reopen to international travellers, the ‘Living in the Blue Zone Sandbox’ scheme is among our top picks for visitors looking to travel quarantine-free. Here’s why.
[Featured / Hero Image Credit: @jandercyke]
After much anticipation, Thailand is finally inching towards normalcy, with easing entry requirements as the country prepares to reopen for International travellers once more. As part of its move to welcome tourists back to the Land of Smiles (and great beaches), the Tourism Authority of Thailand has launched a new project, aptly titled Living in the Blue Zone Sandbox.
Under this new travel scheme — launched on December 16 — vaccinated travellers from all across the globe can fly into the Krabi-Phang Nga zone, and travel freely within the designated areas for a week of very loose quarantine, before continuing their adventures in the rest of Thailand. The Blue Zone Sandbox itself spans eight main provinces, as well as specific districts and islands within 18 other areas.
Not only does the Blue Zone Sandbox offer travellers a chance to stay safe and unwind upon arrival in Thailand, but also comes packed with a series of unique experiences specially designed to help visitors experience Thailand to its fullest. Below we round up a few reasons why Blue Zone Sandboxing is a pretty great idea.
You can travel quarantine- and worry-free.
For some of us, the idea of not quarantining can lead to mixed feelings. On the one hand, it’s exactly what we’ve been waiting for after months of self-isolation, and on the other, is it really all okay? Understanding such concerns, the TAT’s latest travel scheme puts safety at the forefront, with a series of clear and easy-to-understand guidelines that take you from your pre-arrival to the moment you land, and throughout your entire stay. Visitors are required to be vaccinated and tested within 72 hours before arriving, to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.
Not only that, but the Blue Zone Sandbox is also strategically split into several “zones”, allowing all visitors to have a good time while staying as safe as possible. Tourists entering from low-risk countries can travel freely without quarantine, while those who aren’t from low-risk countries are granted the same freedoms, limited to specified areas called “blue zones”. Even those who don’t quite meet the vaccination criteria are allowed entry, with the option of what’s referred to as an “alternative quarantine”, which can last from ten to fourteen days.
It’s an island hopper’s paradise.
Of course, if there’s one reason to pack your suitcases and fly over, it’s obviously the beaches. With breathtaking landscapes, the Krabi to Phang Nga stretch is dotted with some of Thailand’s most charming islands and pristine waters. From the tranquillity of Khao Lak to the iconic beaches of Koh Phi Phi, expect all the wonders of a far-flung paradise.
There’s also much to be said about the culture-meets-modernity that lies in store. Offering a seamless blend of tradition, culture, and nature, there’s plenty to see and do in the blue zone sandbox. Whether you’re there for the dreamy coral reefs, the adventurous water activities, or simply to kick-start your arrival in Thailand with a tropical getaway, there’s definitely much to get excited for.
There’s something to do for everyone. And we mean everyone.
Whether you’re visiting with your best friends, soulmate, or flying solo in good social-distancing fashion, there will definitely be something for you to enjoy. Avid foodies can relish in the vibrant flavours of authentic cuisine at the wide range of local restaurants, while fans of more laid-back itineraries can take liberty in enjoying the beachfront pleasures available at the many five-starred hotels in the area.
Of course, more adventurous travellers should definitely make time for the many nature-based activities, whether it’s bamboo rafting at Wang Kiang Ku, snorkelling at Lo Sama, or paying a much-needed trip to the Viking Cave in Krabi.
The application process is pretty straightforward.
Trust us, we get it — you want to travel, but the prospect of screening through all the official news sources, figuring out the requirements, and getting your necessary tests and documents together can feel a tad overwhelming. Not to mention the fact that you have to actually plan your trip.
Thankfully, the Tourism Authority of Thailand has designed this particular programme to be relatively straightforward, with a clear set of requirements and steps that travellers can easily follow for a smooth (and safe!) journey. To be eligible, all you need is proof of vaccination, an RT-PCR lab test indicating that you’re Covid-free, a travel insurance policy, confirmed pre-payment at one of the many approved hotels, and a ‘Thailand Pass’. Do note, however, that Thailand Pass is no longer accepting new applications for Test and Go and Sandbox measures, with the exception of those entering under Alternative Quarantine or Phuket Sandbox. However, if you’ve already registered for your pass, you can still enter Thailand under your registered scheme, and will be asked to take a second Covid-19 test at a government-designated facility, at no additional cost!
Simply show all the required documents at your point of departure, and you’re good to go! More information on eligibility and specific requirements can be found here.
You get to have fun while giving back to the local community.
Months of extended lockdown has taken a large toll on Thailand’s tourism sector, and now that we’re recouping a relative degree of normalcy, there’s no time like the present to offer our local industries some much-needed support. With the aim of spurring economic benefits to the local people, and helping local communities, a large part of the attractions included in the Blue Zone Sandbox scheme are involved in raising awareness of Thailand’s natural and cultural heritage.
From visiting the local villages at Baan Koh Klang via long-tail boat to learning traditional Batik painting, you too can play your part in making a positive contribution to conserving Thailand’s local traditions — while still having a fabulous time, of course.
To find out more about Living in the Blue Zone Sandbox, visit tatnews.org. Or for more travel inspiration, check out the hashtags #amazingthailand and #thailandreopening.
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Bangkok