Thailand Limits Domestic Travel As COVID-19 Cases Surge

Travel within Thailand is getting more complicated.

With COVID-19 cases rising in many parts of the country, Thailand is suspending most domestic flights, making it even more complicated to move about the southeast Asian nation, a favorite for digital nomads.

This includes a ban on domestic flights to and from Bangkok, the Thai capital. International flights will still be permitted to land in Bangkok and other airports, as will emergency flights and flights related to special "sandbox" travel programs.

As part of its Phuket Sandbox travel program, Thailand is allowing fully vaccinated travelers to enter from countries deemed low risk. Travelers still need to test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of their departure and take another test upon arrival the airport in Phuket.

Domestic routes that aren't being suspended will operate at 50% of capacity, the Bangkok Post reports.

A traveller arrives at the check-in area of Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok on June 30, 2021, amid an ongoing downturn in international tourism in Thailand due to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.
ROMEO GACAD/AFP via Getty Images

The Thai government is also shutting down overnight shopping in areas of the country where COVID-19 is surging. The restrictions, which apply to more than a half-dozen Thai provinces, are the toughest the country has seen in more than a year. Thailand is battling what Reuters calls its "most severe outbreak" so far.

The country currently has more than 131,000 active COVID-19 cases-19, according to data from the Thai embassy in Washington, D.C. More than half of all COVID-19 cases in Thailand are being reported in and around Bangkok, the embassy said.

Since the pandemic began, Thailand has reported nearly 440,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 3,600 deaths, according to the latest available data from the World Health Organization.

According to the Associated Press, just over 11 million people — the equivalent of 16% of the Thai population — have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Meena Thiruvengadam is a Travel + Leisure contributor who has visited 50 countries on six continents and 47 U.S. states. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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