Phuket travel guide: everything you need to know when the Thai island reopens

One of Thailand’s most visited destinations is expected to welcome tourists again.

From July 1, there will be no restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers arriving in Phuket. The region has new travel rules that are different from the rest of Thailand, where international tourism remains closed.

Vaccinated travelers wishing to explore beyond Phuket have the option of spending 14 days in the island region, and then they will be allowed to visit other destinations across the country.

If a vacation to this Thai island paradise is tempting, here’s what you need to know before you go.

Who can travel to Phuket?

Travelers who have received a full dose of the Covid-19 vaccination can travel to Phuket from Thursday, July 1 from most destinations around the world. The final dose of a vaccine must have been taken at least 14 days before arrival.

Phuket is the largest island in Thailand and is ready to welcome foreign tourists again. Courtesy Travel Consultants

Travelers from countries deemed red by Thai authorities cannot travel to Phuket, even if they are fully vaccinated. At the moment this includes India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal, but the list will be updated based on the coronavirus situation in each country.

Unvaccinated travelers from non-red zone countries can still travel to Phuket, but must stay at another local quarantine hotel for 14 days upon arrival. A list of these hotels can be found here.

Is Thailand open to tourists?

Old Phuket Town.  Courtesy Unsplash / Thae Jirapon

Old Phuket Town. Thae Jirapon / Unsplash

Phuket has different travel requirements from the rest of Thailand, and the majority of the country is not yet open to foreign tourists.

The ban on international flights to the country has been extended until at least Saturday, July 31, and travel is limited to specific groups, mostly Thai citizens, students or people seeking medical treatment. Only after spending 14 days in Phuket will international travelers be allowed to visit other parts of the country for tourism purposes.

What vaccines are recognized for traveling to Phuket?

Authorities recognize all major Covid-19 vaccinations in accordance with the latest Thai government guidelines.

This includes Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Covishield (Serum Institute of India), Johnson & Johnson, Sinovac, SK Bioscience-AstraZeneca, Moderna and Sinopharm.

What should I do before flying to Phuket?

Travelers must complete and submit an entry certificate form. The process for this can be found here.

Face masks are mandatory in Thailand and social distancing rules must be observed at all times.  Reuters

Face masks are mandatory in Thailand and social distancing rules must be observed at all times. Reuters

PCR testing is mandatory prior to travel and should not be taken more than 72 hours prior to departure for Phuket. Children between the ages of 6 and 17 can have a rapid antigen test upon arrival at Phuket airport instead of having a PCR test. It costs over $ 40. Children under 6 do not need to be tested.

Tourists should also download the ThailandPlus app from Google Play or Apple Store and register their details there.

Finally, Covid-19 travel insurance with coverage of at least $ 100,000 is required, as policies offered by airlines are not accepted.

Which Airlines fly from United Arab Emirates to Phuket?

Etihad Airways and Emirates have announced the resumption of flights to Phuket from next month.

Emirates and Etihad will resume direct flights from the United Arab Emirates to Phuket from July.  Getty

Emirates and Etihad will resume direct flights from the United Arab Emirates to Phuket from July. Getty

The UAE’s national carrier will resume direct flights to one of Thailand’s most popular vacation destinations on Thursday, July 1. With a flight time of six and a half hours, Etihad offers round-trip fares of 1,795 Dh ($ 488).

From Dubai, Emirates will restart a four-week flight service to the resort island from Friday, July 2, with fares starting at Dh 1,995.

What restrictions are in place in Phuket?

Banyan Tree Phuket.  Courtesy Banyan Tree

Banyan Tree Phuket

Travelers arriving in Phuket will need to take another PCR test on days six and 12. While visiting the island, tourists should follow all rules in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19, this includes social distancing and wearing of masks in all public areas.

Thailand currently has more than 199,200 active cases of Covid-19 infections, according to data from John Hopkins University. Thailand has launched a mass vaccination campaign with the goal of vaccinating 70% of the population by 2022. So far, John Hopkins University reports that 2.4% of the population is fully vaccinated.

What to see and do on vacation in Phuket?

The Phuket Big Buddha is one of the most visited attractions on the island.  Courtesy Unsplash / Miltiadis Fragkidis

The Phuket Big Buddha is one of the most visited attractions on the island. Miltiadis Fragkidis / Unsplash

Thailand’s largest and arguably most famous island, Phuket has all the ingredients for the perfect vacation. Only an hour by plane from Bangkok, it is good to visit at any time, thanks to sunshine all year round and not too strong monsoons.

From the blue waters of the Andaman Sea to endless sandy beaches, excellent diving and fantastic Thai cuisine, it’s easy to see why travelers flock to this island paradise from all over the world.

Visit Old Phuket Town to see unspoiled shrines, temples and mansions, savor delicious street food at the Sunday Walking Street Market, and don’t miss the Phuket Big Buddha, one of the most recognized landmarks. of the island and a great place to drink 360 ° view of the island.

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