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How to holiday quarantine-free in Koh Samui

Hanging around on Koh Phangan; the island has been included in the SAMUI+ reopening scheme.

Koh Samui and the neighbouring islands of Koh Phangan and Kao Tao have now reopened quarantine-free to international holidaymakers under the SAMUI+ tourism scheme. It’s hoped the scheme will kick-start the islands’ devastated hospitality industry.

SAMUI+ has been rolled out with collaboration between the government and private sectors, including Thailand Association of Tourism, Thailand Hotels Association and Tourism Association of Koh Samui. An official launch ceremony was held earlier this week at Banana FanSea Resort on Chaweng Beach.

However, entrance is not restriction-free and the scheme is being run in a similar vein to the Phuket Sandbox programme.

Travellers must arrive from an approved country and they must have been in that country for 21 days prior to departure. They will also need a Certificate of Entry, a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure, adults must be fully vaccinated, under 18s must travel with fully vaccinated parents or guardians and have a negative PCR test, and all arrivals must have insurance with Covid-19 cover of at least US$100,000.

Travel must take place via Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport for transfer to Bangkok Airways flights to Koh Samui. Airlines and SHA+ approved hotels must be pre-booked and pre-paid, as well as pre-payment made for three further PCR tests to be taken during the stay.

If holidaymakers test negative on arrival, they can check-in at their resort or hotel and are free use all hotel facilities. A further negative test on day seven means they can travel around Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao; and a final negative test on day 12 or 13 means they are able travel around the country. However, as mainland Thailand battles a third wave of Covid-19, there are certain domestic travel restrictions in place.

In an update to the Phuket Sandbox programme, the Thai government has announced this week that from August 1, holidaymakers will be able to leave Phuket after seven rather than 14 days and will be able to travel on to Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Ngai and Railay Bay, and Khao Lak, Koh Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi as part of a wider Andaman Sandbox programme.

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