I am amazed that people are still asking if it’s ok to travel to Thailand this month or next month, but people are, so here’s my take on the current situation. Note that this was written on 16 March 2020, so if you’re reading it at a later date things may have changed.
Given that many countries around the world have banned most flights in and out of their countries, I don’t see why anyone would want to risk traveling anywhere at this time, unless absolutely essential. Even though we travel extensively ourselves, we’ve still put all our travel on hold. That also includes domestic travel within Thailand.
Even if you’re not worried about the actual virus there are still plenty of other reasons why I’d advise against traveling to Thailand (and elsewhere) right now.
The situation is constantly changing
Even though most things are open in Thailand right now, new restrictions are being introduced on an almost daily basis. Even if most things are open when you arrive, many bars, restaurants, stores and other venues could close down at short notice. If that happened it might not be much of a holiday,
You may not be able to enter the country
Many foreigners have been denied entry in the last few days because they didn’t have medical certificates. Make sure you know the requirements before boarding your plane. You will likely have to pay extra for a flight home if you’re denied entry. See the section at the end of this post on where to find this information.
You may have difficulty getting back home
So you may arrive and everything may be fine, but what if flights aren’t available for your return journey? What will you do then? Do you have enough money for an extended stay, and will you qualify for a visa extension? Only a couple of days ago, France closed down it’s ski resorts with only a few hours notice, which left tens of thousands scrambling to find a way home.
You may end up in quarantine
With the situation quickly changing for visitors from different countries, you may find yourself in quarantine either in Thailand or when you return home. If you’re quarantined in Thailand you’ll have to pay for all the related expenses yourself. If you’re a family, this could easily add up to quick a large amount of money.
You may end up with huge medical bills
If you don’t have travel insurance that covers you for Covid-19 treatment you will have to pay for any treatment yourself. If you end up in hospital, it could get very expensive. An ICU bed might cost you around $700-800 or may PER DAY. Do you have enough money to pay for a few weeks in ICU? You might think you won’t need that if you’re fairly young, but many younger people in Italy are severely ill in hospital.
You might help spread the virus
What if you are already infected but don’t know? You could end up spreading the virus to Thailand. Or maybe you’ll pick it up there and then infect someone back in home country. If you infect a vulnerable person they could end up dying. Do you want that on your conscience? That in itself is enough to stop us from traveling.
The Current Situation
In the last two days, confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Thailand are up almost 80% from 82 to 147. If it keeps climbing at that rate there will be thousands affected soon. Do you really want to arrive in Thailand amid such a crisis?
It’s been announced today that the Songkran holiday is likely to be canceled. That means that not just the celebrations are canceled but the public holiday as well. It was also announced that schools, universities, bars, theaters and other venues are also likely to be closed within the next few days. This is subject to a cabinet meeting tomorrow.
Buriram province is in partial lockdown. Expect more situations like this. See https://www.thaipbsworld.com/buri-ram-partially-locks-down-the-province-to-stem-covid-19-spread/.
My guess is that other closures will follow and there may also be restrictions on domestic travel eventually.
Where To Get Further Information
For Thailand, the Ministry of Public Health has up to date information at https://ddc.moph.go.th/viralpneumonia/eng/index.php. This includes how you’ll be affected when you arrive in the country. Some will need to do 14 days quarantine, while others will need medical certificates before being allowed entry. There are also health forms to fill in and an app to download so that teh government can keep track of you.
If you’re on Twitter, I’d suggest following Richard Barrow. He’s the go to person for English language updates on the current situation, as well as other useful news from around Thailand. See https://twitter.com/RichardBarrow