July 23, 2021

FAQs - Phuket Sandbox, Samui Plus, Thailand Travel

The Phuket Sandbox is attracting tourists once again to the Island of Phuket and now Samui Plus program is another add on. Everyday on an average over 500 tourists are landing Phuket from eligible countries. However the Covid-19 situation in Thailand is resulting in many announcements that is leading to change in process and ground rules. Add to that many queries exist with regards to both Phuket Sandbox and Samui Plus programs. This live blog thread accumulates FAQs across travel forums and helps with required answers.

We strongly suggest you to join our Facebook Group where you can get live updates from fellow travellers and experts, if you are planning a trip to Phuket or Koh Samui - Click here to join our FB Group.


Q. What happens after you complete 14 days Sandbox stay and wish to travel onwards in Thailand ?

A. On completing 14 days of Sandbox, you are eligible for Sandbox completion certificate. This entitles you to travel elsewhere in Thailand. The certificate is given on obtaining negative PCR test reports on all the tests and completing the 14 nights of stay.

Children below 6, do not need to be tested and get the certificate if the parents are eligible for it.

Request the hotel to also get you the lab test report for your tests, the airlines might need it and it is good to keep it handy especially for international flights

Q. Coming to Phuket, what are some of the lively areas I can consider to stay?

A. If you like the buzz then off-course Patong is still the best choice. Patong is still attracting the maximum number of tourists and remains the No 1 choice. Other areas that look attractive with restaurant and tourist related conveniences around include the Laguna - Bangtao area where you can find restaurants and beach club and is more upmarket.

If you wish to have a more local flavour then off course Rawai beach area. If you are a seafood lover Rawai may suit you best with its beachfront seafood restaurants and bars. 

Finally if you are a heritage lover and a street food lover then no better place than the Old Phuket Town with its Sino-Portuguese architecture and the best street food on offer in whole of Phuket.

Q. How long does it take for the test results to be out for the Covid Test done on arrival in Phuket or Koh Samui?

A. We have news from several travellers that the results are usually out within 8 hrs. However in some cases it has taken even uptill 24 hours for the results to be out. We are guessing that the test results depend on the test load for that day. If there are more tests done on a particular day, there could be a delay compared with other days when load is less

Q. After completing 2 weeks of sandbox in Phuket and wish to go to Samui would I need a Covid Test again? Or would the vaccination certificate & sandbox completion paper with 3 tests should suffice? 

A. Yes this should be enough. However if you are travelling after a delay for more than 72 hours of your completion of Sandbox you may need a rapid antigen test under the current situation and if you are travelling by road.

Q. I am travelling by road from Phuket to Bangkok? What is the process?

A. Ensure this

Step 1 - Register on www.covid-19.in.th, fill details and get the QR Code

Step 2- Download and activate the Mor Cha Na app

Step 3- Get approval to travel from local city authorityThis is required for all interprovincial travel in Thailand

Q. Are all domestic flights from Phuket cancelled?

A. The 20 July 2021 announcement by the Government aims at reducing interprovincial movement in Thailand to curb the spread of current wave of Covid-19. Thirteen Deep Red Zones have been identified and domestic flights in these 13 Deep Red Zones have been banned until 2 Aug 2021.However the flights under Samui Plus plan still work and Bangkok Airways also has the flight between Phuket and Samui. 

Q. How Do I fill up COE for unvaccinated Children?

A. There is no defined process. Therefore you need to fill the vaccination details for either of parents, that includes, vaccine name and the date of the respective two shots. Thereafter upload the certificate of parent's vaccine along with the passport of the child, indicating identity and age. This should do it

Q. Is Phuket open for Indian travellers ? Is Koh Samui open for Indian travellers.

A. Thailand is right now not open for Indian travellers. Indian residents cannot apply for Phuket Sandbox or the Samui plus program as of now ( 23 July 2021). However the situation is being continuously evaluated and in the last revision some more countries were included. Keep a watch on this blog thread to know of any announcement in this regard.

Q. How long did it take for CoE to get approved?

A. People have reported getting approvals from 12 Hrs to as long as 6 days and more. The official communication is that COE may take 3 days to get approved if all documentation is in order. So please plan well and have time by your side and also be mindful of holidays and weekends.

Q. Do you still need to pay for the Covid Tests through the Sandbox Hotel or it can be booked on a government run link independently

A. Yes now the tests can now officially be booked on this portal - https://www.thailandpsas.com/

Q. Are there any pet-friendly SHA hotels in the sandbox?

A. Lots of pet-friendly hotels, try Boutique Resort Phuket, Babylon Pool Villas, Ibis Hotels, Coriacea, Pullman, and many more.

Q Are money exchange booths open in Phuket?

A. You should not face any problems as plenty of money exchange shops are open across Phuket.

Q. Do  resorts offer refundable rates? If the flight gets canceled or COE doesn't get approved do you lose everything?

A. Almost all resorts offer refundable rates and should your COE or Visa not get through or if you have to cancel the trip for other reasons, you are safe. In most cases you get 100% refund if your cancellation not within 5 days of your arrival.

Q. What is the minimum COVID Insurance required?

A. Your cover should be for enough to cover USD 100,000 medical expenses and it should specifically mention inclusion of Covid related medical expenses as well. Please ensure you have individual covers for all people travelling as in some cases family floater covers have been rejected.

Q. When do I need to download and activate the tracking application?

A. You should download the ‘Mor Chana’ mobile application as soon as possible upon your arrival at the Airport itself. ‘Mor Chana’ is an application that is easy to use as it enables you to track and trace where Thai residents, nationals and visitors alike in the case a Covid-19 case has been identified.

Q Which airlines offer direct flights to Phuket?

A Airlines that announced direct flights to Phuket are:

THAI Airways International, Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Hongkong Airlines, EVA Air, Korean Air, Jinair, Cathay Pacific, KLM (October 2021), Etihad Airlines, EI AI (Charter)

Please check airline flight schedules on their websites as this list might change. Please be aware that some airlines might not be able to operate in your home country when returning due to their current regulations.

Q. Which vaccines are accepted?

A. International and Thai Nationals travelers with the following vaccines approved by WHO and Thai FDA can enter Phuket with the final dose having been received no less than fourteen <14> days before departure to Phuket. AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, Sinovac Biotech, Sinopharm, Serum Institute of India (SII), Pfizer - Biotech, Heterologous Prime Boost

Q. Is everyone allowed to enter Phuket?

A. No, people from high-risk countries are not allowed entry.

Countries from where travelers may enter the Phuket Sandbox are -

Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbados, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Barbados, Belgium, Bhutan, Brunei, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Laos, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mauritius, Monaco, Morocco, Myanmar, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan

For Japan, only for travelers with business purposes

Q. Can we book the SHA-approved transportation to hotel upon arrival, or does this need to be done in advance?

A. Airport transfers need to be booked in advance under the Phuket Sandbox. The transfers should be booked by a SHA+ Tour Operator or SHA+ Hotel can do the same for you as well. This is to ensure you go from airport to the designated hotel only on arrival and wait for your test results indoors before you can freely move around.

Q. Do you need a Visa to visit Thailand ?

A. Visa is needed unless exempted under the Visa exemption scheme for certain nationality passport holders. 

More FAQs coming, for live access to FAQs and peer to peer help from fellow travellers join our FB GroupClick here to join our FB Group.