First off, Thailand's international borders (as of writing this article) are not actually closed as many expats will confirm. To elaborate, people who have been abroad with wishes to return to the country must have an explicit reason for their re-entry; these reasons range from having a residence, business, family members, etc. in Thailand. Furthermore, returning to the country involves a long elaborate process with the Thai embassy, a waiting process, and in cases where the person involved does not possess a Thai passport, it is not guaranteed that they will be granted permission to enter the country (that is not to say that a Thai passport will always guarantee re-entry either).
Once you have boarded your plane back to the land of smiles, you must undergo a two-week quarantine period. Unlike other places in the world, the Thai government remains quite strict about quarantine due to recent incidents. The person in question is allocated a short-term place of residence whether this be a hostel, hotel, or military base somewhere relatively close to Bangkok. While you are able to pay for certain, more comfortable options for your quarantine (and a hefty sum at that!), the place you are allocated to is usually very manageable, often being 3-4 star hotels in neighboring districts such as Pattaya, with 3 meals a day and the option to purchase snacks throughout the day.
So what is going to change? Well, as of date, the current policies still stand and will likely continue to be consistent coming this Christmas. Therefore, if you or your loved one is intending to return to Thailand, make sure proper preparations are made as well as slotting an extra two weeks for quarantine period. However, the Thai government has announced plans in the year 2021 to relax their border policies in order to support tourism interests in the country. They already took a half-step towards this by introducing the ASEAN bubble where certain countries surrounding Thailand will soon be able enter the country without as much hassle. However, as the virus continues to plague the rest of the world, Thailand’s stance towards this is still evolving as they consider the risk factors to certain Southeast Asian countries that still have a high infection count.
While this certainly is a complicated issue, rest assured that in the summer of the next year, the government’s more relaxed stance towards border policies and their pursuit of supporting the tourism industry should mean those abroad hopefully won't have to wait too long until being able to return to Thailand quickly and safely.
Photo credit: Skytrax (skytraxratings.com)