Are you planning a trip to Koh Samui? Do you yearn for the laid-back island life of Koh Samui? Do you want to rediscover gorgeous beaches, lush tropical vegetation, and amazing underwater life? The wait is over — it’s time to get back on the road!
Following the success of the Phuket Sandbox program, The Thai government and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) have introduced a similar project called the Samui Plus Sandbox program on July 15th, 2021. Just like Phuket Sandbox, Samui Plus Sandbox also allows fully vaccinated overseas travelers to visit Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao under certain conditions.
Thanks for the program, the picturesque island that has been closed to international visitors for almost a year now is ready to welcome you back with open arms. Enjoy relaxing days dozing in a hammock, sunset walks along white-sand beaches, and feasting on tantalizing treats and world-class cuisine on a Koh Samui vacation.
Now let’s check out what are the Samui Plus Sandbox travel requirements.
What is a Samui Plus Sandbox?
Similar to the “Phuket Sandbox” concept, the Samui Plus Sandbox (also known as Samui Sealed Route) is a new model of traveling to Samui that allows fully vaccinated international passengers to enter Thailand without having to go through the quarantine process. Koh Samui, along with Koh Phangan and Koh Tao, has been designated as a specific route or tourist destination. The program began on July 15, 2021, and has been revised since October 1, 2021. If they want to go elsewhere in the country, vaccinated tourists must remain at least 7 nights on the islands.
Samui Plus Sandbox Travel Requirements
When you come to Koh Samui under the no-quarantine program Samui Plus Sandbox, you must adhere to a set of rules.
- Travelers will be restricted in their movements on the islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao. The following are the rules that the Surat Thani Province Disease Control Committee approved on September 30, 2021.
- Fully-vaccinated travelers aged 18 and up for at least 14 days before their departure date and can show their vaccination certificate. Depending on the brand, most vaccines require two jabs to be considered fully vaccinated. Do note that the Thailand government only approved certain vaccines, make sure that your vaccine is on the list. Check out here for more information.
- Children under the age of 18 who are traveling with their parents or guardians must have a medical certificate stating negative COVID-19 using an RT-PRC method no more than 72 hours before their departure date.
- To be eligible for the Samui Plus Sandbox program, you need to stay in Koh Samui for at least 7 nights before moving on to other cities in Thailand. If you’re visiting the island for less than seven days, you’ll need to travel out of Koh Samui to an international location or return home.
- Samui Plus Sandbox program is open to both Thais and foreigners
- Your Koh Samui accommodations must be SHA+ certified. Check out some of the best SHA+ villas we recommend below.
7-Day Itinerary in Koh Samui
When you arrive at the Samui airport, please download the “Samui Health Pass” and “Mor Chana” applications created to track and trace travelers in Koh Samui. After that, the first Covid-19 test will take place at Samui Airport or another location chosen by the Koh Samui Command Center. Once you are finished with the test, you will then be transported from the airport to your SHA+ certified accommodation that has been prepaid. Travelers must remain in their accommodation rooms until the first RT-PCR test yields a negative result.
Day 1 – 7
Travelers are allowed to leave the hotel room after receiving a negative result from the first COVID-19 test and travel freely in Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, or Koh Tao while staying at SHA+ accommodations.
On Day 6 or 7, travelers must take the second COVID-19 test (Day 6 test is recommended for Koh Phangan or Koh Tao).
If the second COVID-19 test is negative, you will be given a release document and will be free to travel wherever in Thailand.
Note: The tests must be scheduled and paid for in advance through the PSAS System.
Documentations Needed for Samui Plus Sandbox
- International travelers, like everyone else traveling to Thailand during the COVID-19 outbreak, must apply for a Certificate of Entry (COE). Click here to start your application.
- Valid passport and visa. Make sure that your passport is valid at least 6 months before your departure date. You may also need to check if you are eligible for visa exemption if you are traveling in Thailand for less than 30 days. A tourist visa is needed if you are traveling for more than 30 days. Please consult your local Thailand embassy before your departure date.
- Travelers entering Thailand via the Samui Plus Sandbox must present a COVID-19 vaccine certificate approved by the Thai Ministry of Health authority. When applying for a COE, proof of vaccination is also required.
- A health insurance policy that covers COVID-19-related therapy and covers at least 50,000 USD.
- Proof of a 7-night SHA+ paid accommodation reservation in Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, or Koh Tao.
- Proof of paid COVID-19 tests on the islands on Day 0* and Day 6 (or 7) of your stay.
- Travelers arriving from outside of Thailand must book PCR testing in advance and provide proof of payment to obtain a Certificate of Entry. Adults must do two PCR tests (totaling 5,200 THB) while children must take one PCR test (2,600 THB).
- Proof of paid flight ticket directly to Koh Samui airport or via transit in Bangkok using strictly approved airlines and schedules. Check out for detailed information available below.
- To access Koh Samui under the Samui Plus program, travelers must submit a COVID-19 negative result test 72 hours before departure date, a vaccination certificate, and take another set of COVID-19 tests when arriving at the airport in Thailand.
Recommended SHA+ Villas in Koh Samui
As mentioned above, to meet your Samui Plus Sandbox travel requirements you must include a paid booking at SHA+ certified accommodations. And our team in Thailand has collected exclusive and luxurious SHA+ villas for your recommendations. Please note that travelers can only change SHA+ accommodations three times on each of the three islands (Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao).
Frangipani Pool Villa is a three-bedroom private vacation villa on the Thai island of Koh Samui. It provides guests with a beautiful and modern accommodation only a short distance from the beach. Guests will have a lovely time at the villa as they explore the tropical surroundings of the property and relax in the plush living rooms that offer access to the villa’s private pool. Frangipani Pool Villa offers guests security and seclusion as well as quick beach access, making it a fantastic place to vacation with family and friends.
Villa Champak overlooks the breathtaking vista of Koh Pha Ngan and is conveniently located on the shores of Mae Nam beach. The five-bedroom holiday villa offers beach access with unobstructed views of the ocean stretching out to the horizon. Evenings at the villa are marked by a spectacular sunset, providing a fascinating experience in which you can enjoy the calm surroundings while taking your time to truly appreciate nature’s abundance. The villa is a great blend of contemporary and old-world culture, with high-quality services and classic architecture.
Moving Around Between the Islands
Travelers under the Samui Plus Sandbox program can only travel between the three islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao from the docks listed below:
- Koh Samui: Lom Phraya No Phra Lan. Buri Rosa (hotel guests only) and Phu Yai Non
- Koh Phangan: Thong Sala
- Koh Tao: Ban Mae Hat (Sala Vibhavadi)
- Boats to Mu Ko Ang Thong: Na Thon Municipal Pier
Tip: Make sure that you look up the inter-island ferry schedules before making a reservation.
Flights to the Sandbox on Koh Samui
Passengers planning a trip to Koh Samui should check with airlines directly for the most up-to-date flight schedules and travel regulations.
To meet the Samui Plus Sandbox travel requirements, you must fly directly to Koh Samui airport. Another alternative is to fly to Bangkok and connect with one of the approved sealed flights listed below. If you are purchasing a flight to Samui with transit in Bangkok, it has to be at the same booking. Please note that separate flight reservations are not permitted.
Special flights are available for international transit/transfer passengers with an inbound/outbound connection to/from Bangkok (only when booked in conjunction with international flights):
Bangkok Airways Flights: PG5125 and PG5171.
Visiting Other Parts of Thailand
After you have finished your 7-night stay in Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao area, you are free to travel to the other parts of Thailand such as Phuket, Bangkok, and other 17 Blue Zone Sandbox cities.
However, travelers are requested to always follow instructions and get updated about the latest news from the Thailand government and Ministry of Health to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Travelers also should closely observe the DMHTTA precautions: D – Distancing, M – Mask wearing, H – Handwashing, T – Temperature check, T – Testing for COVID-19, and A – Alert application.