The clear blue, tropical waters of southern Thailand are once again accessible. This is due to the “Sandbox” program that once again allows fully vaccinated travelers. Upon arrival in Thailand, you must stay in one of the 4 “Sandbox” destinations (Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi or Surat Thani (Samui + Pha-ngan + Tao)) for 7 days and also have two negative PCR tests within that period to lay off. After that, you can travel to other provinces in Thailand as free as a bird.
But which province should you choose now? A difficult choice, because all four provinces are perfectly positioned for an ultimate stay under the tropical sun. However, each province has its own strengths… Below is a foretaste!
The largest island, surrounded by the Andaman Sea and with more than 20 beautiful beaches? That’s Phuket. Most beaches are located on the west coast in coves dominated by green mountains. Patong, Kata, Karon, Surin and Kamala are among the most popular beaches, while Bang Tao, Layan, Nai Han and Rawai are more peaceful. But in addition to the sea, Phuket also has a wide range of amazing experiences, delicious cuisine, dream spas, and luxury resorts. Nature and animal lovers will also enjoy themselves here. They can visit an elephant sanctuary and aquarium, as well as plantations and mangrove forests. In the center of the island, you will find ‘Phuket Town’, one of the most beautiful areas of the country with many monuments and shops. Phuket is nicknamed the ‘Pearl of the Andaman Sea’ for a reason.
More northerly than Phuket lies the province of Phang Nga which offers a wide variety of breathtaking nature. For example, on the west coast, there are many pearly white beaches such as Khao Lak, Bang Niang, and Tai Muang. Just off the coast, the islands of Surin and Similan offer wonderful diving spots for underwater enthusiasts. In the heart of the province, the Sangnah River meanders through a jungle that looks like the Amazon’s little brother. This mysterious place can be visited by kayak. In the south of the province, Phang Nga Bay extends over 400 km². With a large number of islets protruding above the waves and covered with dense vegetation (such as the famous James Bond Island), it crowns itself as one of the most beautiful bays in Asia.
The province of Krabi is located east of Phuket and is rich in impressive natural treasures. The white sand beach of Ao Nang attracts visitors from all over the world. The beaches of Railey and Phra Nang are nestled beneath dramatic cliffs and form an idyllic landscape. Tub Kaek Beach stretches out to the horizon at low tide and, with its rock formations, offers an enchanting skyline at sunset. In Krabi Bay, you can visit legendary islands such as Phi Phi (from the movie ‘The Beach’ with Leonardo Di Caprio), Hong, and Ngai. On the mainland, the lush forests hide crystal clear rivers and waterfalls, including one natural thermal spring with wonderfully warm water. In the center of the city, there is a night market every weekend where you can enjoy shopping and strolling around. Can it be a little more active? Then climb to the tiger cave temple where the 1,237 steps reward you with an extraordinary panorama.
Surat Thani Province is located on the east coast of the country and is the gateway to the Gulf of Thailand. Here, the “Sandbox” is limited to three islands: Samui, Pha-ngan, and Tao. Samui also has a dozen of sandy beaches such as Chaweng, Bo Phut, and Ton Takian that sparkle in the shade of coconut trees. The so-called “Coconut Island” is still home to some authentic, local Thai communities that live in a traditional way. A little further on your beach on the island of Pha-ngan, better known for the full moon parties and the still pristine beaches. To the north is Tao Island, a beautiful small island famous for its extraordinary marine life. Divers will spot manta rays, sea turtles, and impressive whale sharks. When you choose this “Sandbox” you can also take an excursion to the maritime national park of Mu Ko Ang Thong. There you will visit some of the 52 islands where you can swim, snorkel, discover lagoons and take beautiful pictures. You end with a delicious fish dish in an authentic fishing village.
PRACTICAL TO KNOW!:
– You need to register 7-10 days before departure for a “Thailand Pass-Sandbox”
– You can stay in 2 different hotels (in the same province) during the 7 night period?
– If you want to go to Bangkok or other provinces in Thailand, you have to wait for the return of the “Test & Go” program, whose registration system will be available again on February 1, 2022
– For other questions you can call the Tourism Authority of Thailand (Paris) +33153534700