Tips & News

We Flew Into the Phuket Sandbox. This Is What’s It’s Like.

Travel+Leisure Southeast Asia was among the first to fly into Thailand without having to quarantine, thanks to the new Phuket Sandbox program. This exclusive video shows how you can, too.

Photo by Cedric Arnold

By Veronica Inveen

Aug 9, 2021

Since 2020, the only way to fly into Thailand, no matter your vaccination status or citizenship, had been by first submitting to a 15-day stay in an Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) hotel at your own expense. But as of July 1, Thailand’s largest and most famous island, Phuket, began welcoming vaccinated arrivals from overseas without quarantine via its new Sandbox program.

I was in one of the first groups of people to enter the country through the Sandbox program, after a trip back home to the United States, where I visited family and friends, and got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Upon my return to Thailand, rather than being stuck in a hotel room for two weeks, I went hiking, scooted around on a motorbike, ate delicious southern Thai food in the candy-colored historic townhouses in Phuket Town, indulged in fresh seafood, worked from home in countless beachfront cafes, and went surfing — a pastime whose popularity has exploded in Thailand while our borders have been closed.

This #islandlife freedom was a result of being fully vaccinated against Covid, testing negative on arrival at Phuket International Airport, and meeting the other requirements for entry. Check out the video of my experience below.

For all the Phuket Sandbox rules and links you need to get your Certificate of Entry for Thailand, see our article here.

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