Fully Vaccinated Travellers Can Travel To Phuket Now
That darn pandemic may have dampened international travel plans for many of us around the world, but things do seem to be looking up as more and more are getting vaccinated. As being vaccinated lowers risks of getting Covid-19 – or at least the effects won’t be as bad, many countries are opening their borders to fully vaccinated visitors. Tourism can be a major source of income for a nation, and we all know how badly we need to rebound from this current economy. This includes the nation of Thailand, where tourism dollars amount to about 9% to 17% of the country’s Gross Domestice Product (GDP). Other than other tourist favourites like Bangkok and Chiang Mai, the island of Phuket is also one of the most popular destinations in Thailand. Thus, after ensuring almost 80% of the island’s residents have been fully vaccinated, the island reopens on 1 July 2021. If you, too, have been fully vaccinated, then you can definitely travel to Phuket now under the Phuket Sandbox programme.
The Phuket Sandbox Initiative
Fully vaccinated travellers are now welcomed to Phuket shores starting from 1 July 2021, without needing to quarantine. This limited re-opening is expected to help recover the country’s tourism industry that was highly affected by the pandemic. It is called a sandbox as it focuses on the island rather than opening the whole country. Should it work well, this may make way for opportunities to open other famous provinces to tourists. However, certain conditions apply to ensure safety and prevention, as per below:-
Who Can Travel To Phuket Now
- Tourists must come from low to medium-risk countries (according to a list released on June 16, low-risk countries include Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Qatar, and Norway. Meanwhile, China, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Turkey, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, the U.K., Ireland, Denmark, Finland, and the U.S. are in the medium-risk category.)
- Unvaccinated children under 6 years old travelling with vaccinated parents
- Unvaccinated children between 6 years old and 18 years old may also travel to Phuket, but a Rapid Antigen Test will be required to be administered on arrival.
Conditions For Unvaccinated Adults To Travel To Phuket
Unvaccinated adult travellers can still travel to Phuket but will be required to undergo mandatory quarantine at any Alternative Local Quarantine (ALQ) hotels in Phuket for 14 days. But would it be worth it, though? We’d advise just waiting until you’re fully vaccinated first and have allowed for the waiting period after your final dose to further ensure your safety.
Additional Requirements For Travel To Phuket
- ThailandPlus Alert mobile app must be installed before and throughout the trip
- Vaccine Certificate/proof of vaccination
- Certificate of Entry (COE) issued by Thai Embassy/Consulate
- Registered and under Covid-19 Insurance
- Registered for Covid tests to be conducted in medical centres in Phuket
- Must be staying in a SHA+ (Thailand’s Safety and Health Administration) compliant hotel in Phuket for the first 14 nights
For the full details on what specific documentation is needed when you travel to Phuket, check out this guide from the Tourism Authority of Thailand newsroom on the Phuket Sandbox programme.
All geared up for your next adventure? Let’s get to the fun part!
Where To Stay In Phuket
If you’re wondering which SHA+ compliant hotel to spend your vacation in Phuket at, here are 3 recommended Phuket hotels you might want to check into, along with activity ideas on what to do there.
Centara Grand Beach Resort, Karon
In conjunction with Phuket’s reopening, the Centara Grand Beach Resort is offering a “Stay 3 Pay 2” promotional package. The campaign duration for booking is from 1 June until 31 August 2021, for stays from 1 July until 20 December 2021.
Ranging from affordable rates of USD60++ (approximately THB1,924) for deluxe rooms to USD1000++ (THB32,000) for luxury villas, there’s a room for any occassion: work-from-hotel, family vacations, or a private getaway. With a variety of activities and entertainment provided here, including an expansive water park, relaxing spa treatments and tantalising cuisines at their five-star restaurants, there’s never a dull moment wasted here.
Meanwhile, the nearby Karon Beach provides many avenues for enjoyable sea activities. A little tip? Book your accommodations during November and December to fully appreciate the weather. Now would be the best opportunity to book that date for Centara Hotel Stay 3 Pay 2 Quarantine-Free Packages.
Angsana Laguna Phuket, Thalang
You might think this is an image of Disneyland, but it’s not. Situated in a parkland between two lagoons, this majestic resort is located along the Andaman Sea coast, 10km away from Wat Phra Thong temple and 21km from the Sirinat National Park. Despite the pandemic affecting the tourism industry worldwide, Angsana Laguna Phuket is still considered as one of TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice 2021.
Apart from its expansive design, Angsana Laguna Phuket boasts an eco-system offering hospitality, dining, leisure, and medical services all within its grounds. Visits to Laguna Phuket are comparable to visits to cities.
However, despite the resources it must be using, eco-warriors can stay here guilt-free, as Angsana Laguna Phuket is the recipient of the EarthCheck Silver Certification Status (continuously since 2015), a certification of sustainable tourism. The certification takes into account how the resort incorporates the use of energy; emissions; water, waste and paper use; chemical and pesticide use; and community involvement. You’ll know for certain your money is being put to good use.
While you can book a room a la carte, Laguna Phuket offers an extensive list of activities that can be organised by the resort, among them:
- Visiting Promthep Cape
- Cooking Classes
- Cycling (weekly guided bike tours provided)
- Horseback Riding
- Romantic Destination Dining (for couples)
- Visiting Phang Nga Bay (inclusive of James Bond Island and Koh Panyee Fishing Village)
- Visiting Phuket Heritage
Like Centara, Laguna Phuket is also providing special offers in terms of hotel credits. Using the “Best Available Rate” booking benefit, you can receive about TBH500 hotel credits per day booked, which can be redeemed for food, beverages, and spa. This offer is available until 31 December 2022.
Aleenta Phuket-Phang Nga Resort & Spa, Phang Nga
Last, but not least, on this list is the Aleenta Resort and Spa. While Centara Hotels and Laguna Phuket are prominent chains, Aleenta can be considered a hidden gem. This “Thailand’s Best Small Green Resort” is also located near the Andaman Sea, only 25 minutes away from Phuket International Airport. It is also a short distance from Phang-Nga Bay, Blue Canyon Golf Course, and the Khao Lak coast.
While you’re here, don’t worry about missing out on the fun as that will never happen! Aleenta provides resort-organised activities (aside from their main niche, weddings and honeymoons), divided into 3 categories:
- Phang Nga Bay and James Bond Island tour
- Samet Nangshe Viewpoint
- White Water Rafting Tour
- Private Natai Beach experience
- Waterfall picnic
- Cooking class (plus a visit to the local Thai market)
- Monkey Mountain and Tham Suwan Kuha Temple Tour
- Island Cycling Tour
- Wellness and Spa
- Yoga, pilates, and Muay Thai classes
- Introduction to Thai Boxing
- Breathing Recovery and Immunity Boosting programme ( a collaboration with Ayurah Wellness and Thonburi Thung Song Hospital to help customers adapt to the post-pandemic lifestyle)
Participating in the Phuket Sandbox programme, Aleenta offers a “Sandbox in Phang-Nga” promotion that covers:
- Accommodation in either a Grand Deluxe Pool Villa, Beachfront Pool Suite, 2-Bedroom Ocean View Residence, 3-Bedroom Beachfront Villa, or 4-Bedroom Beachfront Villas. Rates start from THB79,000 nett (about USD2,463) for 7 nights for a single person, in a Grand Deluxe Pool Villa.
- Covid-19 Tests (1 – 2 times as required)
- Daily Breakfast & Half-Board (Lunch or Dinner)
- Pampering Spa Treatments or Adventure Tour
- Round Trip Airport Transfer
- (optional) Book for 14 nights, pay for 10 nights
Additionally, their second offer related to the programme is the “Sandbox Extension Phang Nga, Bangkok, Hua Hin – Pranburi”, in which, after the 14 days stay in Phuket, tourists are offered low rates to stay at their other chains in Thailand, such as Akyra Thonglor in Bangkok. Do take a look at both offers here: Aleenta’s Phuket Sandbox Offers.
What To Do In Phuket?
A holiday wouldn’t be complete without experiencing life there after settling in. While the activities arranged by hotels and resorts are enjoyable in their own rights, it doesn’t hurt to expand the experience further and do a tour of your own. Here are some Phuket activities to try.
Have Fun On Karon Beach
Head to Karon Beach for enjoyable sea activities such as:
- Sea kayaking
- Banana boat rides
- Waterskiing and wakeboarding
- Jet-ski and parasailing
Aside from that, if you’re lucky, you’ll get to see sea turtles laying their eggs at night (and these sightings is why Karon beach tops the list among the beaches in Phuket). Do take note of the best time to travel there in your plans, as it would be less enjoyable if you’re caught up during the monsoon season, which is around mid-May to October.
Explore Phuket’s Heritage at Old Phuket Town
Travelling to Phuket without visiting the culturally rich old town is like coming to Kuala Lumpur without visiting the Petronas Twin Towers. With a multitude of Phuket Heritage tours, feast your eyes on the Chinese and Sino-Portuguese architecture on Thalang Road, remnants and influence of its history as a major trading port. Walk on to see various art galleries and visit the colourful Downtown Fresh Market to enjoy some of Thailand’s fresh tropical fruits.
To get the most of the experience, plan for a visit to Phuket Old Town during Sundays so that you get the chance to visit the Sunday Walking Street Market, famously known as Lard Yai, to get the best deals on local snacks, art pieces, and souvenirs.
Support Ethical Animal Treatment by Visiting the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary
The Phuket Elephant Sanctuary is one of several ethical elephant sanctuaries in Thailand, where it’s a safe haven and retirement home for rescued elephants. Even during the pandemic, the sanctuary had adhered to safety precautions, becoming one of the first tour companies to receive the 2020 Safety & Health Administration Certificate by the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
Here, you can enjoy a stroll through the canopy walkway, opt to volunteer, or participates in programmes where you can feed and walk with the elephants (at a safe distance).
However, if you’re expecting a bathing session with the elephants, you will be sorely disappointed. Such activities have been found to actually be stressful to these gentle giants, and thus not available here. You’ll be glad to know that all of the programmes provided at the sanctuary are non-intrusive in nature. This allows visitors to fully enjoy observing these pachyderms in their natural environment.
With a flexible booking and cancellation policy, you can book a visit to the sanctuary for open dates with a 30% deposit before 31 December 2022. Well, now that you can travel to Phuket, you won’t need to wait that long! For further information and reservation, visit the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary (PES) website.
See The Light at Promthep Cape
Laem Promthep, also known as Promthep Cape (also known as Brahma’s Cape), is a must-visit in Phuket, especially during sunset. This landmark is reachable from Nai Harn Beach and approximately 2km away from Rawai Beach. Around the vicinity, you will see a mini museum and colourful shrines. Kanchanaphisek Lighthouse is also one of the interesting landmarks in Promthep Cape. They say that you can see the light from the lighthouse from as far as 39km away. At the top of the lighthouse, you can witness the most beautiful 360-degree view of the cape.
An interesting tidbit from Phuket101 mentions that Promthep’s iconic sugar palm trees are often used to decorate the car plates in Thailand.
Great! What’s The Best Way To Travel To Phuket?
First thing’s first: no transit flights, all flights must be direct trips from abroad. Next, do check up on which airlines have approval to fly to Phuket. Among those that fly directly to Phuket daily are:
- British Airways
- Cathay Airways
- Qatar Airways
- Thai Airways
- Singapore Airlines
And a fun fact: If you’re staying more than 14 days in Phuket, with all things fine and dandy, you can then travel domestically to other regions in Thailand after the 14 days.
And When Should I Travel To Phuket?
If you’re staying in the hotels on Karon Beach, there are very few waves during the high season (November–April), resulting in crystal-clear waters. However, the beach experiences dangerous swells and riptides in the southwest monsoon season (May–October). Hence, the best time to enjoy the beach would be from November to April. All in all, if you plan to walk around the old town and viewpoints, avoiding the monsoon season would also be the best step. With all said, it’s time to take out that luggage bag and start packing!
Liana is your non-descript Muslim Malaysian girl who lurks in the shadow as a wannabe ninja. When she’s done overcoming her anxiety and finally orders that ‘teh o’, you’ll find her scribbling furiously in her notebook about her observation of sights and sounds, burning them into written memories in case of amnesia.