The 31 Strange Steps Thailand Wants Visitors To Go Through As It Re-Opens

There are many things about Thailand that look strange to outsiders but to locals are simply ‘very Thai’. And while there’s increasing pushback against the monarchy (despite lese majeste laws) and against a military junta that last year had to clarify they wouldn’t actually execute tourists for taking selfies at the Phuket airport there’s still much acceptance of things as they are, without reason or justification.

It may even seem perfectly normal that as Thailand looks at how they can re-open to tourism amidst the global pandemic that putting potential visitors through a 31 step process that involves prepaying a 90 day hotel stay can seem perfectly normal. (HT: God Save the Points)

In the draft proposal Thailand is considering, there are (4) different agencies involved in the process of approving a visit to the country: the Immigration Bureau, Foreign Ministry, Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration and Tourism Ministry.

  • Everyone must have at least $100,000 in health insurance
  • And a negative Covid-19 PCR test within 72 hours of arrival
  • Prepay both a 14 day quarantine and a 90 day hotel stay
  • Travel only by charter or private flight

Even with a “fit-to-fly certificate” and a health certificate, along with health screening on arrival, tourists would be required to quarantine for 14 days – after which they must wear a wristband or activate a tracing app before heading to their hotel.

That’s a lot to go through even for 90 days, but visas are extendable out to 270 days. Without tourism in Thailand, though, the monkeys are running amok.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. Hard pass. The market will solve this one, fortunately. Vietnam, take notice, and prepare your hotels and beaches. Oh, and bank accounts. [Replace Vietnam with any sensible SE Asian nation that understands what an opportunity they were just handed by the Thai].

  2. To enhance the requirements further, Thailand should require all visitors to prostrate themselves for an extended length of time before King Vajiralongkorn (and pay a large fee for the privilege, unless one is bringing along a potential consort).

  3. I have been working on a medical tourism visa for three months but they have decided US citizens are not allowed due to high covid. I suspect the same will be true of this program.

  4. This will exclude 99% of Americans since most cannot comprehend a 2 step process.
    Although since less than 45% of Americans have passports, that also reduces the pool of travelers.

  5. Good luck Thailand. For the few people who will come to the kingdom it will not help Thailands tourism. Only a vaccine for covid 19 will help ease fears of disease and begin to slowly recover the tourist industry without these restrictions…by the way Thailand does not want dirty falang in country.

  6. Every SE Asian country is like this though…Cambodia even makes you prepay a deposit for your possible funeral and cremation if you want to visit!

  7. RIP Thailand Tourism
    Good luck getting yourself out of this
    I feel sorry for the millions of Thais’s who will struggle when there’s no work
    Is the Thai goverment helping them? I doubt it
    If everyone who travels there has a negative Covid, why do you need to quarentine and why ask people to go for so long and pay upfront?
    This is killing the one industry that so may people rely on to live on in Thailand and this stupid goverment doesn’t care…until there’s a vacine, I think we all need to live with Covid and get back to normal

  8. Thailand continues to push towards its preferred status: province of China. It is rapidly becoming one of the creepiest countries on earth. The nutcase Generals don’t help.

  9. What a bunch of crap, had stay in my home since march, took a covid test in July came up negative schedule some denta,l im disappointed about the post about the medical very disappointing news, had my plans all worked out in February to leave in March of 2020 then the shit hit the fan, thanks to our American President for caring so much about the american citizens now we are just fucked

  10. What if i was going to stay with my Girlfriend after the 14 day’s .. Or would i have to book a hotel for 90 days!!

  11. The proposals they have put forward are more likely to scare people off rather than encourage them. With all these restrictions they will be lucky to fill two of the big hotels in either resort. I’m afraid the Thai government needs to get real the many thousands of Thai people who sell nearly everything and anything to try and scrape by are being helped by the mainly foreign restauranteurs giving many hundreds of people free food but this cannot go on forever if the restrictions they are putting forward are not made one hell of a lot easier. Coronavirus is going to be about for a lot longer we have to work with it it’s no good the government burying it’s head in sand it’s still going to be there.

  12. Its not a good not encouraging the ppl of thailand by putting up so many conditions fr visitors.i think its very sad that after such a long period of struggle ppl hv to still wait fr good times.God bless..

  13. Old saying, don’t go where you’re not welcome. Anyone traveling to Asia should avoid Cambodia and Thailand. Two puppets of the CCP. Thailand thinks it needs higher class tourist but they fail to see their lower classed country. This place is finished. It will never compete with the the higher class destinations because it’s a global toilet in comparison.

  14. Yes good luck Thailand! Not only are you greedy but day dreaming as well if you honestly believe this is the solution! Not even millionaires would want to spend that amount of money to have to go to quarantine for 14 days. You are making a fool out of yourself!

  15. I have a partner of 6 years so has many uk and other contries the whole world has covid all the workers small bars hotels airport workers show can they live the thai government are being unfair to there people and there country why?but really thinking of letting Chinese in. Were the virus has come from rather bizzar. And really it’s a glorified cold kills

    more vunarable people yes maybe but all them workers. It’s not going to help just letting megga rich in there not going in small hotels eating street food helping little bars out so you this are not helping your country at all

  16. I can’t get any information to help my case. I don’t stay in a hotel or condo. I live with my girlfriend at her families home. Have done for over 3 years now. At first we believed if the been book holder provided me with a copy & a letter of explanation that this would suffice. Now it looks like only hotel using guests are welcome !!! Udon Thani is hardly the hub for 4/5 star hotels.

  17. Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia should get ready and open up completely with no stupid test at the entrance. Welcome all the tourists and take an example from Mexico, Cancún is booming.
    Thailand is officially dead.

  18. It seems that some special powers are working to bring down Thai economy at its worst possible. Such powers are keen to kill the low income people who depend on tourism. These people are not afraid of Covid; but from the hunger and living in miserable economical conditions.
    This is however high time for Thailand to lift all sorts of ban on tourism, otherwise it can loose its place in tourism industry because the tourist may find other places for excursions.

  19. Charter or private jet? Should stay 90 days? What kind of customers they are screening? Lol I am awaiting to see if the land of smile will be crowded.. The one who issue has a lot of time and a good sence of humour

  20. Yeah I’s time to get used to this’s no more deadlier than flu in the winter.countries can’t afford to be locked down.this is how wars start.

  21. Thailand as many strange rules.a lot of people are turned off by these rules.from my experience many people are looking at holidaying or living in other asian countrys.its as if they dont want foreign people there evan though they need the tourists to visit

  22. OK.” How many tourist’s will go to THAILAND with such strange requirements.” Please say when THAILAND is ready to accept TOURIST.’ More over most countries have not open their BORDERS.!

  23. Just the 31 steps and an initial lay out of around B400,000 will be sure to encourage about 31 tourists to visit. Trouble is that they are obsessed with paperwork, bureaucracy and appoint too many petty officials and committees, all of whom feel that they need to make their influence felt. The result is usually something clumsy, unwieldy, unnecessarily complicated, constipated and therefore doomed to failure before it has even got off the ground.

  24. I have been going to Thailand for the past 3 years. I will have a Covid 19 test before I go. The idea of Quarantine is ridiculous. What is the point in having a Covid 19 test in the first place if I have to Quarantine The cost of a Covid 19 test in Ireland is the equivalent of 5,555 Thai Baht

  25. This is another no go visa proposal. How long does this Gov need to COME UP with an ATTRACTIVE VISA?
    It’s high time for a visa that make SENSE… Open the borders NOW or the Thai economy will collapse before 2020 is over

  26. The “14 day” alternative state quarantine (ASQ), is actually 16 days, 15 nights. Each and every participating hotel. Lèse-majesté laws prevent me from saying much more.

  27. I love Thailand and have been going for years but this process is too cumbersome I will go elsewhere

  28. This is absolutely insane
    For me it’s impossible to meet your conditions

    Are usually come for maximum one week for the last 30 years 3 or 4 times each year
    You’re losing a valuable Person to visit your country This year

  29. A bunch of clowns in the govt. Who in their right mind will pay for 90 Days upfront? If they relax the rules make it 60 days it will be better no hassle for exiting and re-ntering or doing visa runs. These guys would rather have their own people die rather then help their own economy. Philippines is even worse. Total Morons.

  30. This is what happens when rice farmers become Generals and then Politicians. They just look East for their personal Tea Money.

  31. You have to be kidding I think a vaccine will be ready by the time it takes to get a visa so most likely no one will go it’s too much and then the cost of flights if u can get one and pay up front for accommodation what happens if u have to cancel ??? or flights get cancelled. It sounds a bit over the top.

  32. I have been living in Thailand since 2007. Came out for operation and got locked down in UK.

  33. The World has gone / Crazy over this corona19 Cold flu ..I go to Bangkok 2 Year and For 1 month and Stay with my Girlfriend in our condo we have .
    They need to open up the country lots off people no work no money to Even Buy Food .

    Even in my Home Country Australia . The government stop
    EVERYTHING Crazy .its all Planned

  34. Forget about quarantine,visas ect , who’s going to visit on charter/private planes! Not many,ok got to start somewhere yes but this does nothing for the majority of Thais,I’m afraid this will go on through 2021 even if a rushed vaccine is found and I bet a low take up with people worried about side /long term affects of a rushed vaccine,personally if this virus came from a lab in China,They have the vaccine,you don’t invent a virus without having an antibody to counteract,Good Health everyone

  35. Goodbye Thailand…I also was a regular traveller for 2 weeks 3 times per year.I will take my holidays elsewhere without any problem whatsoever.Thailands demands are ludicrous & unacceptable & unless a vaccine appears any time soon it’s goodbye Thailand

  36. This is stupid government of thai not thinking about there people who are living on tourism no one will come to Thai land for holiday trips because middle class family will not have sufficient funds to stay ar Thailand

  37. While onorous, I gotta laugh at William- gonna take his business to Vietnam instead? Ha Ha Ha…
    I’m working for a Vietnamese company, and I can’t get a business visa to meet my boss- it’s closed… I think you will find the same for virtually any other country in Southeast Asia…

    I do feel bad for Thailand, though- my friends there report all the independent hotels are shut, and have the stores are shuttered. They are being hit hard.

    Markj- keep pushing on your visa- I think Medical Tourism will be one of the first things to reopen. Another friend said that Bumrungrad is completely dark- I’m sure they’d be happy to set up some kind of quarantine for you there, if you are having a significant procedure done…

  38. Brain dead generals are rapidly killing Thailand. I’m here for 35 years and I weep every day seeing all the small businesses die.

    I haven’t heard one person here respect the current leaders.

    This is that people will come on these terms is ludicrous.

  39. Well I have a ticket booked again for december, initially it was for march of this yr.Staying for 1 mth at my home with girlfriend but, if it’s a min of 90 days I wont be going as I am still working so, another lot of income lost for the Thai people

  40. I have a fiance in Thailand and good friends there.
    These rules a ridiculous, I agree with if you’ve had a covid-19 test before you leave you own country why should you spend your hard earned money in a government facility, if you do get I’ll, you have your own health insurance.
    I’ve been going for 20 years, it seems Thailand will be struggling for the next 20 years if the government doest listen.
    Sort yourself out then you might get more respect and tourism back.
    How can you say you will target this and that country to get your tourism back it’s rubbish they will only come if they want, you can’t force them.GET REAL.
    No other country has these sort of crazy rules.just you.
    I’ve spent a lot of money in Thailand and that has paid a lot of Thais wages.
    As the Thai people say (UP TO YOU)) just listen.

  41. They are Planned trip for November dropped. Why The fewccommercial flights available 60% Higher than last year. But wouldnt count anyway. Has to be charter or privaye jet. No charyer flights available.
    Problem 2 oir annual travel insurance jumped from £187 to £450 (no claims last 2 years) AND NO covid related cover. either. Cancelled policy as well as Thailand trip. probobaly will never visit Thailand again
    Thai authoritirs are on a different planet. They need to face up to fact mass tourism to Thailand is finished. They need to concentrate on probidvng new jobs to the thousands of laid off people in the dead tourist industry

  42. Millions of Thai people zero income, no support from government they promise tourist industry everything , talk big buisiness arriving, ZERO WILL ARRIVE, no rich want to stay 90 days in a country???? 90% of tourists will blacklist Thailand, can holiday so much choice other countries with ease, no quarantine, why ask for 72hr test then test on arrival and quarantine????? No sense….

  43. I go every single year, respect the country, the lovely people and the wonderful culture. I spent £2000 all total. Looks like another country will get my hard earned money when the world eventually starts to re-open.

  44. We have visited Thailand every year for 15 years . Left last March after three weeks stay with no chance of returning in the foreseeable future. We are not rich so can’t afford to pay for Thailand’s crazy ideas. So sorry for all the people who rely on tourism. There has to be a better way.

  45. Thailand not want the millions of holiday makers back….thats very good…..Vietnam Cambodia….open your borders …Thailand not want us….we can spend our £1000s….of pounds in your country….stay in your hotels…i have just realised how racists the Thai government and rulers are…..i won’t come back too Thailand….my money can spend in any country…

  46. My fiancee and her family use to own several stores throught Bangkok, Phuket and Pattaya. The Phuket and Pattaya stores are all closed. Her brother had 10 stores in Bangkok and closed 5 of them. Her sister had 3 in Bangkok and now only has the one. My fiancee’s two daughters are working one of her old stores and she closed the other two stores.
    The story is that the tourist areas are in really bad shape right now. Some Thai’s are doing a little bit of traveling, but not enough to keep those businesses afloat. Thai’s who have money are holding onto money because right now the future doesn’t look good. Crime has increased as well as the cost for goods to the consumer in malls and larger department/grocery stores.
    The government’s conditions for tourists to visit Thailand is only good for 5% of the people who would normally go to Thailand. The other 95% don’t stay longer than 30 days. And that 5%, who more than likely are retirees, won’t pre-pay hotel stays at one location. Many are going to want to travel around Thailand. Then there are all the other conditions that the government wants people to qualify for before even being considered for a visa will be issued. Tourism to Thailand is done. It’s goose is cooked. My fiancee and me are just waiting for her to get her interview at the embassy so she can get out of there.

  47. The people who think Vietnam is suddenly going to throw their borders open to foreign tourists just to make some money really know nothing about Vietnam.

Comments are closed.