Canadians can now fly non-stop to Thailand without restrictions

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Breaking a decade-long outage, a vital route between North America and one of Asia’s busiest hubs has finally been restored. At the beginning of this winter, Canadians will be able to fly non-stop to Thailand from Air Canada’s base in Vancouveravoiding long, unnecessary stays in other countries.

In addition, they are exempt from any health restrictions when flying.

Young woman traveler in straw hat seen from behind admiring natural rock formations in lagoon in Thailand, Southeast Asia

For more than two years, Canadian citizens lived under duress as Ottawa resorted to the most draconian measures to stop the spread of Covid, including banning the unvaccinated from flying. Elsewhere, many countries, particularly in Asia, have also closed their doors to them in a never-ending cycle of restrictions that have halted international tourism.

Fortunately the dark days of the pandemic are behind usand now that normalcy has returned, travel demand in Asia is at an all-time high:

Vancouver to Bangkok in less than 16 hours

Aerial view of Wat Phra Keaw Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand during sunset, Southeast Asia

After ten years since the original service was discontinued, direct flights between North America and Bangkok, the capital of Thailand and one of the world’s leading tourist destinations, are operating again, but this time no US mega-hubs benefited. Instead, Vancouver International (YVR) in Canada was chosen as a starting point.

On December 1st, at exactly 11:00 PM PST, Air Canada Flight AC65 departed on a 15:55 minute journey to Bangkok (BKK), arriving at its destination on December 3rd at 5:55 AM local time. He marked the inaugural operation between Canada and Thailand and the beginning of a new era in connectivity between North America and Southeast Asia.

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Aerial view of modern skyscrapers at night in Bangkok, Thailand, Southeast Asia

On the seasonal route, flights will depart four times a week between December 2022 and April 17, 2023 with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Further details can be found below:

Outbound

  • He’s leaving YVR at 11pm local time
  • lands in BKK at 17:55 local time (2 calendar days later)
  • Flight duration: 15h.55min
  • Frequency: Su | M | x | We | x | Fri | x
Tailplane of an Air Canada aircraft

Return

  • He’s leaving BKK at 8:30am local time
  • lands back to YVR at 6:35am local time
  • Flight duration: 1:05 p.m
  • Frequency: Su | x | T | We | x | Fri | x

One-way fares start from CAN $1427 one way in economy, going up to C$5,663 for a lie-flat seat in business class. At the Dec. 1 debut, Air Canada’s senior vice president of network planning and revenue management, Mark Gallardo, was quoted as saying they were “extremely pleased” to launch their first direct service to Southeast Asia.

Thailand open for tourism and business as usual

Maya Bay beach Thailand with boats in the ocean

Thailand’s national carrier, Thai Airways, previously operated Los Angeles-Bangkok flights, although these have been discontinued since 2012. The fact that North Americans – particularly Canadians – are once again enjoying direct connections to the region is a remarkable achievement in itself. : throughout most of 2020 and 2021, Thailand remained isolated from the outside world.

As it tried to prevent Covid variants from being brought into the national territory, the Asian giant began requiring tourists to apply for an entry permit under a number of quarantine programs, commonly referred to as “sandboxes”. They were imposed at all of Thailand’s main entry points, such as Bangkok and Phuket.

A woman in an infinity pool overlooking Phuket, Thailand

Thailand’s border regime suddenly became one of the strictest in the world. Under the defunct rules, Canadians had to pay in advance for their mandatory quarantine, present a negative pre-flight test and remain in isolation at a designated hotel for a full week in the province of arrival before being allowed to travel to other parts of the country.

In late September, however, the Thai authorities conceded Covid is no longer a threat to public health and removed all entry curbs, sending shockwaves throughout Southeast and East Asia where similar border procedures were maintained. Following in Thailand’s footsteps, Japan reopened a few weeks later, as did Cambodia.

Aerial view of downtown Bangkok, Silom, Thailand, Southeast Asia

Flying to Bangkok from Vancouver, Canadians are no longer subject to health screenings or any of the old hard-to-fulfill requirements:

  • No vaccination certificates are required to enter Thailand
  • No pre-departure testing regardless of immunization status
  • There are no post-arrival testing mandates in place
  • Quarantine programs have been discontinued
  • Masks stopped being mandatory back in June

Canadians can stay in Thailand for up to 60 days as tourists

Canadian passport and luggage

Despite the relaxed atmosphere, Canadians still need to ensure they comply with Thai immigration rules. Although they do not need a pre-departure visa to board their flight to Bangkok, they are reminded visits to Thailand cannot exceed 60 daysalthough immigration officials usually give Canadian passport holders a 30-day entry stamp at the airport.

Those wishing to extend their visit should apply for a 30-day extension at a local immigration office in Bangkok or other provinces where available. Canadian residents who are not Canadian citizens must confirm in advance that they are eligible for visa-free travel to Thailand. More information about Thailand visas can be found here.

Warning for passengers: Don’t forget travel insurance for your next trip!

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