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Interprovincial travel in Thailand amid COVID-19 controls

The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) is suspending 57 additional train services from 26 January, 2021, as part of the nationwide effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These include ordinary trains, local trains, and suburban trains in the North (13 routes), Northeast (18 routes), South (12 routes), and East (14 routes).

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This update includes the latest announcement from the State Railway of Thailand regarding the suspension of 57 additional train services from 26 January, 2021.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) would like to provide the latest update that while interprovincial travel in Thailand has not been prohibited, travellers may be required to undergo screening measures according to the specific COVID-19 control measures of each province (see: Summary of provincial COVID-19 control measures).

LAND TRAVEL

Train

The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) is suspending 57 additional train services from 26 January, 2021, as part of the nationwide effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These include ordinary trains, local trains, and suburban trains in the North (13 routes), Northeast (18 routes), South (12 routes), and East (14 routes).

Earlier this month, the SRT suspended train services on 42 routes, including 12 weekend tourist trains and 30 commercial trains (8 to the North, 12 to the Northeast, and 10 to the South until 28 February, 2021. It is offering refunds for individuals who have train reservations from 6 to 31 January, 2021.

According to the SRT, it is still operating train services on all routes. For more information, call the SRT Hotline 1690 (24/7) or Facebook: pr.railway.

Mass Transit Systems

The Airport Rail Link, BTS SkyTrain, and MRT Subway are operating as per normal.

Bus

Bus companies are offering ticket postponement options.

Transport Company Limited – Postponing tickets can be done on the company’s website busticket.in.th by logging in and changing the travel date, or in person at ticket booths. Any trip can be postponed free of change 1 time within 30 days of the date of travel but must be done 4 hours before the scheduled departure.

Nakhonchai Air ticket – Nakhonchai Air tickets can be postponed at www.nakhonchaiair.com; go to the NCA Booking page. Customers will receive a new ticket without a specified travel date that is valid for 1 year after the postponement of the original ticket.

Sombat Tour – For travel scheduled from 26 December, 2020, to 31 January, 2021, ticket holders can request a refund subject to a 10% fee, via sombattour.com

Siam First – Trip can be postponed within 3 months of the date on the original ticket and must be done 5 hours before departure subject to a 10% fee. Cancellation of travel must be done before the date of travel, subject to a 5% fee, or on the date of travel at a 10% fee. For more details, call +66 (0) 2954 3601-1 or go to siamfirst.co.th.

Thai Route – Visit the company website www.thairoute.com, and go to the top menu bar and click ‘Manage booking’. Fill in the request in accordance with the regulations of the respective operating bus companies.

DOMESTIC AIR TRAVEL

Most airlines are operating as usual with the exception of some reduced frequencies and suspension of service, but are offering flexible rescheduling options. Meanwhile, U-Tapao International Airport suspends flights until 31 January, 2021.

Thai Air Asia – Passengers who booked flights from 1 November, 2020, to 31 March, 2021, for travel before 31 March, 2021, are able to rebook travel before 30 June, 2021, with unlimited changes and free of charge. Flight changes must be made at least 48 hours before the original schedule. For more information, go to www.airasia.com.

Bangkok Airways – The airline recently announced flight reductions, route suspensions, route launch delays, temporary closure of ticketing offices, and closure of all passenger lounges (see: Bangkok Airways announces temporary changes in January-February 2021). Passengers who booked flights between 30 December, 2020, to 31 January, 2021, are able to rebook free of charge. Flight changes must be made 24 hours before the original scheduled departure. For more information call the Bangkok Airways Customer Service Centre on 1771 or call +66 (0) 2270 6699 from 08.00-20.00 Hrs., or go to www.bangkokair.com.

Nok Air – For travel until 31 March, 2021, passengers can change the date free of charge, but it must be done at least 24 hours before the original itinerary and the new travel date must be before 30 June, 2021. For more information call the Nok Air Customer Service Centre on 1318 or go to www.nokair.com.

Thai Lion Air – From 13 January, 2021, the airline is operating direct flights from Don Mueang International Airport to 13 Thai cities: Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phitsanulok, Udon Thani, Khon Kaen, Ubon Ratchathani, Surat Thani, Phuket, Krabi, Trang, Hat Yai, Nakhon Si Thammarat, and Hat Yai – Udon Thani. Flights scheduled until 15 February, 2021, can be changed three times for travel before 31 May, 2021, free of charge. Except for the blackout dates of 26-28 February and 10-16 April, 2021. For more information, call +66 (0) 2529 9999 or go to www.lionairthai.com.

Thai Smile Airways – Passengers holding Thai Smile Airways tickets for travel before 28 February, 2021, can change the date on the same route free of charge. This must be done before 28 February, 2021. For more information, call the Thai Smile Customer Service Centre on 1181 or +66 (0) 2118 8888, or go to www.thaismileair.com.

Thai Vietjet Airlines – All domestic tickets booked and paid for before 1 January, 2021, for travel between 5-31 January, 2021, can be changed one time on the original route free of charge. Flights must be changed at least 3 hours before the original departure, and passengers must travel before 31 March, 2021. For more information, call +66 (0) 2089 1909, add LINE ID @Thaivietjet, email [email protected], or go to www.vietjetair.com.

WATER TRAVEL

Royal Passenger Liner has announced temporary suspension of the Pattaya-Hua Hin Ferry services until further notice. royalferrygroup.com

Raja Ferry Port has announced rescheduling of ferry services on the Don Sak-Samui and Don Sak-Phangan routes. From 10 January, 2021, there will be services during 05.00-18.00 Hrs., with suspension of some ferries. More details at Facebook m.me/rajaferryport, add LINE ID @rajaferryport, or go to www.rajaferryport.com

Seatran Ferry has adjusted the timetable on the Don Sak – Samui (Nathon) route. From 11 January, 2021, there will be services every hour from 05.00-18.00 Hrs., with some scheduled departures suspended during Monday-Thursday (09.00 Hrs., 13.00 Hrs., and 19.00 Hrs.); Friday-Saturday (19.00 Hrs.) and Sunday (09.00 Hrs. and 19:00 Hrs.). More details at Facebook page, Seatran Ferry, or add LINE ID @seatranferry, or call centre 1381.

Seatran Discovery has announced a temporary suspension of ferry services to all islands in the Gulf of Thailand including Ko Samui, Ko Phangan and Ko Tao from 11 January, 2021, until further notice. However, the company continues to operate its hourly car ferry service from Don Sak to Ko Samui (Nathon) as per usual.

Phuket – All ports remain open for ferry services to the islands in the Andaman Sea, including Ko Phi Phi, Ko Khai, Phang Nga Bay, and Ko Racha. However, some ferry companies have announced a reduction of the service frequencies. These ports include Asia Marina Phuket, Boat Lagoon, Rassada Pier, Royal Phuket Marina, Ao Po Pier, Yacht Haven Marina, Bang Rong Pier, Sea Angel Pier, and Jian Wanich Pier.

Krabi – Khlong Jirad Pier remains open for a daily ferry service to the Krabi-Ko Phi Phi route.

TAT is constantly providing updates on the tourism-related COVID-19 situation in Thailand at the TAT Newsroom (www.tatnews.org).

For additional information and assistance relating to Thailand’s tourism, contact the TAT Contact Centre 1672 or Tourist Police 1155.

The post Status of interprovincial travel in Thailand amid COVID-19 controls as of 25 January 2021 appeared first on TAT Newsroom.

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After 18 months of travel restrictions, a number of countries in South-east Asia have begun opening their borders to foreign visitors to stoke recovery in their respective tourism industries.

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Thailand to lift quarantine for vaccinated visitors from low-risk countries from November

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Thailand to lift quarantine for vaccinated visitors from low-risk countries from November

Bangkok, 12 October, 2021

Thai Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha in a nationally televised broadcast last night announced that Thailand planned to allow fully vaccinated foreign visitors to enter Thailand by air with no quarantine requirements from 1 November.

In the initial phase, Thailand will allow fully vaccinated travellers from at least 10 low-risk countries, including China, Germany, Singapore, the UK and USA. The list will be expanded from 1 December, and further enhanced to a very extensive list from 1 January.

Under the plan, fully vaccinated foreign visitors from the approved countries will need to show that they are COVID-free at their time of travel with an RT-PCR test undertaken before they leave their home country, and do a test in Thailand, after which they will be free to move around Thailand in the same way that any Thai citizen can do, the Prime Minister said.

Visitors from countries not on the list, will, of course, still be much welcomed, but with quarantine and other requirements.

In addition, the Prime Minister said consumption of alcoholic beverages in restaurants as well as the operation of entertainment venues under appropriate health precautions would be allowed from 1 December.

Below is the full speech by the Prime Minister.

National Address of the Prime Minister of Thailand

“THAILAND WILL WELCOME QUARANTINE-FREE VISITORS”

Monday 11 October, 2021

My fellow citizens, brothers and sisters:

In the last one-and-half years, we have lived with some of the greatest peacetime challenges our country has ever faced in its history, brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, and one that has left nobody untouched and no country in the world undamaged.

It has been one of the most painful experiences in my life, too: to make decisions that balance the saving of lives with the saving of livelihoods – a choice that is not always clearly separate, and where we may save lives, but commit those lives to the unbearable pain of trying to survive with little or no income; or where we may save livelihoods but commit one’s family, friends and neighbours to loss of life and the loss of their breadwinner.

In facing this terrible choice, it was my decision that we could not allow a slow, wait-and-see approach to confronting the pandemic and let it claim the lives of so many of our countrymen and women, as we, ultimately, saw happen in so many other countries.

As a result, I acted decisively on the advice of many of our outstanding public health experts to make our country one of the first in the world to move quickly with lockdowns and tight regulations.

With the collaboration of all sectors of society, and with everyone joining hands to face this crisis together, we have been among the most successful countries in the world in saving lives. 

But it has come at very great sacrifices of lost livelihoods, lost savings, and destroyed businesses – what we have all given up so that our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, friends and neighbours may live for today.

The threat of a large scale, lethal spread of the virus in Thailand is now diminishing, even though the risk of resurgence is always there, and even though there are still serious constraints on our hospital and medical staff capacities. 

The time has come for us to ready ourselves to face the coronavirus and live with it as with other endemic infections and diseases, much as we have learnt to live with other diseases with treatments and vaccinations.

Today, I would like to announce the first small but important step in decisively beginning the process of trying to restore our livelihoods.

During the last weeks some of Thailand’s most important tourist source countries have begun to ease their travel restrictions on their citizens – countries like the UK, that now allow convenient travel to our country, as well as countries like Singapore and Australia that have started to ease travel restrictions on their citizens visiting other countries.

With these developments, we must act quickly but still cautiously, and not miss the opportunity to entice some of the year-end and New Year holiday season travellers during the next few months to support the many millions of people who earn a living from our tourism, travel and entertainment sectors as well as the many other related sectors.

I have, therefore, instructed the CCSA and the Ministry of Public Health to urgently consider within this week to allow, as of 1 November, international visitors to enter Thailand without any requirement for quarantine if they are fully vaccinated and arrive by air from low-risk countries.

All that visitors will need do is to show that they are COVID-free at their time of travel with an RT-PCR test undertaken before they leave their home country, and do a test in Thailand, after which they will be free to move around Thailand in the same way that any Thai citizen can do.

Initially, we will begin with at least 10 countries on our low-risk, no-quarantine list, including the United Kingdom, Singapore, Germany, China, and the United States of America, and enlarge that list by 1 December, and, by 1 January move to a very extensive list.

Visitors from countries not on the list, will, of course, still be much welcomed, but with quarantine and other requirements.

By 1 December, we will also consider allowing the consumption of alcoholic beverages in restaurants as well as the operation of entertainment venues under appropriate health precautions to support the revitalisation of the tourism and leisure sectors, especially as we approach the New Year period.

I know this decision comes with some risk.  It is almost certain that we will see a temporary rise in serious cases as we relax these restrictions.  We will have to track the situation very carefully, and see how to contain and live with that situation because I do not think that the many millions who depend on the income generated by the travel, leisure, and entertainment sector can possibly afford the devastating blow of a second lost new year holiday period. 

But if, in the months ahead, we see an unexpected emergence of a highly dangerous new variant of the virus, then, of course, we must also act accordingly and proportionately when we see the threat.  We know that this virus has surprised the world several times, and we must be ready for it to do so again. 

In mid-June of this year, I had set a 120-day goal for quarantine-free entry into Thailand and to accelerate our vaccinations.

I would like to take this opportunity to recognise the extraordinary achievements of our public health workers, other officials and all citizens for their response to my appeal in June.

After we adopted the 120-day goal, extraordinary efforts were made to increase our supply of vaccines and compete with many other countries to get deliveries.  And they were very successful.  Our vaccine deliveries jumped threefold, from around 4 million doses in May to almost 12 million in July… then to almost 14 million in August, and will now run at over 20 million a month until the end of the year, totalling over 170 million doses, far ahead of the goals I had set.

Similarly, our public health staff worked tirelessly to accelerate vaccinations to support our 120-day goal, and the public gave great cooperation to register for vaccinations despite the inconveniences that may have been caused in scheduling.  As a result, our daily vaccinations, which were running at around 80,000 doses a day in May, shot up immediately.  One month after our goal-setting, our public health team tripled the number of shots being administering a day, and they kept increasing that number until Thailand rose to be among the fastest ten countries in the world for administering shots!  Currently, they have frequently been administering more than 700,000 shots a day, and sometimes even exceeding one million shots a day.

Shortly after my address to the nation in mid-June setting our goal for quarantine-free entry into Thailand in 120 days, the world was struck by the highly infectious Delta variant.  Worldwide cases spiked up and peaked in August, just as they did in Thailand, and few thought that it would be possible to achieve any quarantine-free entry into Thailand this year.

The fact that we can begin quarantine-free entry in November, and despite many countries still trying to contain Delta variant infections with restrictions on the travel of their citizens is a great tribute to the unity of purpose and determined response to my appeal by the public health services, by many other government departments, by the private sector, and by the cooperation given by citizens in all matters.

Our nation has performed an extraordinary feat in the last months that we can all be very proud about everyone’s enormous contributions to those achievements.  These achievements, coupled with the gradual relaxation of other countries’ travel restrictions, now enables us to begin the process of quarantine-free entry into Thailand.

Thank you.

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