Southern border reopens

Southern border reopens

Motorists queue as the Sadao immigration checkpoint in Songkhla province reopens on Friday. (Photo: Assawin Pakkawan)
Motorists queue as the Sadao immigration checkpoint in Songkhla province reopens on Friday. (Photo: Assawin Pakkawan)

The Sadao immigration checkpoint on the border with Malaysia reopened to travellers on Friday, with 107 Malaysians registering for entry under the Thailand Pass system.

There was also some confusion, with intending travellers turned away after failing to register. 

The checkpoint in Songkhla province, the primary land crossing with Malaysia, finally came alive again two years after it was closed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Sadao crossing opened at 5am and there was a steady trickle of tourists from Malaysia.  A total of 107 tourists registered for entry under the Thailand Pass system.

Travellers were required to show passports, Covid-19 vaccination documents and proof of reservation and payment for SHA extra plus hotels before undergoing an RT-PCR test, with the result expected to take four to six hours.

Some would-be travellers were disappointed as they were refused entry. They did not register with the Thailand Pass system and thought only passports were required at the checkpoint.

Those who test positive for the coronavirus will receive treatment, officials said. Those who test negative will travel under the Test& Go scheme but must strictly abide by health measures, including wearing a face mask and frequent washing of their hands.

Sadao is a tourist town on the border with Kedah State in Malaysia. Seven of the 25 hotels in the town have received SHA extra plus certification.

Most visitors entering through checkpoint on Friday have families in Thailand or have a business here. 

Sadao district chief Surin Suriyawong said the reopening went smoothly, although some had problems with their travel documents and registration because they were unaware of the requirements. Some were turned back to Malaysia, he said.

Soldiers and police were on duty to assist customs officials if required. 

Ratchata Samranchalarak, head of the Songkhla tourism and sports office, said the southern province was keyed up and ready to welcome tourists once again. A coordination centre had been set up to help visitors.

He said Covid-19 travel requirements under the Test &Go scheme had been eased and foreign tourists could enter the country using the Thailand Pass system.

Checkpoints in other provinces along the southern border were also due to reopen from April 1.

A Malaysian tourist presents documents at the Sadao immigration checkpoint. (Photo: Assawin Pakkawan)

Malaysian tourists wait in the shade at theTest & Go tents. (Photo: Assawin Pakkawan)

(Photo: Assawin Pakkawan)

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