Thailand Pass Insurance
Planning a trip to Thailand?
Whether you are off to explore the big city of Bangkok or want to enjoy some relaxing time on the beach in Phuket, you are probably wondering about entry requirements for Australians. In November 2021, the Thailand government introduced something called the ‘Thailand Pass’ or ‘Thai Pass’. This was part of the country’s staged re-opening to the world after Covid-19 border restrictions began to lift. Visitors planning to travel to Thailand were required to obtain a Thailand Pass before their trip. However, as of July 1, 2022 the requirement to obtain the Thailand Pass to visit Thailand was officially removed.
What is Thailand Pass?
During its time in operation, the Thailand Pass required visitors to the country to obtain pre-approval for entry by providing several documents in an online application. All travellers arriving in Thailand by air were required to register for a Thailand Pass at least seven days prior to their travel. As part of the Thailand Pass application, visitors to Thailand were required to prove they had a minimum of US$50,000 in health insurance cover for their trip.
Visitors were also required to provide passport information, proof of Covid-19 vaccination and reservation details for a hotel that was participating in the quarantine scheme. In addition, visitors were required to take a PCR test for Covid-19 within 72 hours of travel to Thailand and provide documentation of that upon arrival to the country.
Why was Thailand Pass introduced?
The Thailand Pass was introduced as part of the country’s staged re-opening to the world after long-running Covid-19 related border restrictions. It allowed visitors to come back to Thailand if they met certain requirements as Thailand attempted to keep its Covid-19 case numbers low during the pandemic but re-open to tourists at the same time. Tourism is a major and important market for Thailand which the country was keen to see roaring again.
Estimates suggest that revenue from tourism accounted for as much as 20 per cent of Thailand’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2019, with almost 40 million foreign tourists visiting that year.
Do you still need Thailand Pass to enter Thailand?
No. On July 1, 2022, Thailand fully reopened to foreign travellers and dropped the requirement to apply for a Thailand Pass. Visitors to Thailand also no longer need to provide proof of Covid-19 vaccination or return a negative Covid-19 test prior to travel.
Do Australians need a visa to enter Thailand?
Australian tourists who are travelling to Thailand and are arriving in the country through one of its international airports are eligible to receive a visa exemption. This means you do not need to apply for a visa in advance of your travel. The visa exemption period has traditionally been for stays of up to 30 days, but was temporarily increased to 45 days for travel between October 1, 2022 and March 31, 2023. Australia is one of more than 50 countries eligible for a visa exemption, with the program not applying to all passport holders worldwide. To obtain a visa exemption, you must be visiting Thailand strictly for tourism purposes, hold a passport that is valid for at least six months, hold a ticket for transport that is departing Thailand within 30 or 45 days and provide proof of funds to support your stay if required. If you are planning to visit Thailand for longer than the visa exemption period or for reasons other than tourism, you will need to apply for a visa in advance of your travel.
Do you still need travel insurance to enter Thailand?
Yes, a comprehensive international travel insurance policy is essential for travel to any overseas destination, including Thailand. While travel insurance is no longer an entry requirement given the removal of the Thailand Pass program, the Australian Government highly recommends all travellers take out travel insurance prior to a trip to Thailand.
A good comprehensive travel insurance can cover you for overseas medical expenses including emergency dental, trip cancellation, lost, stolen or delayed luggage and personal effects, travel delays and missed connections, personal liability and much more. This can provide you with peace of mind that if something does go wrong on your trip to Thailand – you’re covered. Always check the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) of any Thailand travel insurance policy you are considering to ensure it meets your needs and that you are aware of what the policy includes and excludes. You can’t afford to leave home without travel insurance.
Which travel insurance is best for Thailand?
The best travel insurance for Thailand is the one that is best for you. When it comes to international travel insurance, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ policy. Each policy contains different inclusions and exclusions and each have different restrictions, including some age restrictions and length of trip limits. Carefully consider your own circumstances and plans for your trip to Thailand and look at the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) of each policy you are considering to make an informed choice on which travel insurance policy best suits you.
What vaccinations do I need before travel to Thailand?
While visitors to Thailand are no longer required to show proof of vaccination for Covid-19 under the Thailand Pass program, it is recommended you are up to date with some other routine vaccinations before heading to Thailand. These include: Measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), Diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, Varicella (chickenpox), Poliomyelitis (polio) and flu (influenza). Depending on your individual travel plans within Thailand, your doctor may also recommend you have vaccinations for Hepatitis B, Japanese encephalitis, Malaria or Rabies.
Talk to your doctor before at least four weeks before your planned departure to Thailand to see what you may need.
Can you get malaria in Thailand?
There is no risk of malaria in most of the popular tourist areas of Thailand, including Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Pattaya. However, if you are travelling to rural areas – including to areas near the borders of Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos – you could be at risk of the mosquito-borne disease. If you have travel to these areas in your plans, talk to your doctor before your trip. They may recommend you take anti-malarial medication. Regardless of if you are prescribed the medication or not, protect yourself with insect repellent and wear clothing that covers your arms and legs if you are visiting rural parts of Thailand.