Thailand, Sri Lanka Ease Covid-19 Testing Rules for Travelers

Both countries have simplified their entry requirements as border restrictions gradually come down across South and Southeast Asia.

Sunrise over the isthmus on Koh Phi Phi Don, Thailand. (Photo: Evan Krause/Unsplash)


Fully vaccinated travelers entering the kingdom via the quarantine-free Test & Go program are no longer required to take a PCR test on day five; instead, a self-administered rapid antigen test will be enough, with visitors asked to record the result on the MorChana contact tracing app. Applying for a Thailand Pass is also getting easier as the country has significantly lowered the minimum insurance coverage needed for Covid-19 treatment to US$20,000, down from the previous benchmark of US$50,000.

A negative PCR test result issued no more than 72 hours before travel is still a must, alongside proof of vaccination. Tourists younger than 18 years old do not need to carry a vaccination certificate if they visit Thailand with a legal guardian or parent. Another prerequisite for entry is a letter from one’s chosen accommodation confirming payment for a one-night stay, a one-way airport transfer, and the mandatory PCR test on day one, which will be carried out shortly after checking in at a government-approved SHA+ or Alternative State Quarantine hotel.

A train crosses the Nine Arches Bridge near Ella, Sri Lanka. (Photo: Hendrik Cornelissen/Unsplash)

Sri Lanka

Thanks to new guidelines from the health ministry that came into effect today (March 1), Sri Lanka has dropped the pre-departure testing requirement for all fully inoculated international arrivals. Those aged 18 and below who have received at least one dose of a recognized jab at least two weeks before the trip will be considered fully vaccinated and exempt from testing ahead of the flight. This development comes five months after the country scrapped on-arrival PCR tests at Bandaranaike International Airport.

While quarantine-free entry is guaranteed for the double- or triple-vaccinated, holidaymakers should take note of a recently introduced requirement for an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) tourist visa: visitors must buy Covid-19 insurance coverage online at Priced at just US$12, the insurance is valid for one month and covers up to S$50,000 for medical costs including hospitalization. All Sri Lanka–bound travelers will also need to fill out an online health declaration form before boarding.

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