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COVID-19: Thailand to re-open quarantine-free . . . again

COVID-19: Thailand to re-open quarantine-free . . . again

From 1 February, if you are a double vaccinated international traveller, you will be able to visit Thailand under its ‘Test & Go’ entry program. You will however need to submit yourself to 2 COVID tests, one on arrival and another on your 5th day in the kingdom.

With tourism representing 20% of the countries GDP, Thailand has tried a number of schemes to allow international tourists to enter the country over the last 2 years of the pandemic. The previous scheme was shut down in late December 2021, caused by spikes in the infection rate due to the omicron variant. The loss of 40 million tourists spending about US$60 billion has not been good for the living standards of Thailand.

Current infection rates in Thailand seem to have stabilised around the 8,000/day mark, which is well down from 25,000 a day at the peak of the Delta outbreak back in August 2021.

a group of tall spires

Test & Go Travel Pass

This renewed scheme is part of the governments’ attempts to balance the pandemic with economic necessity. Under the new, more strict scheme citizens from any country can register for the Travel Pass system.

The scheme allows fully vaccinated travellers from around the world to apply for a TEST & GO Thailand Pass up to 60 days in advance with confirmed payments for accommodation on Day 1 and Day 5, two RT-PCR tests, and a prearranged airport transfer on Day 1.

Applicants will also need:

  • proof of prepayment for 2 separate nights of accommodation at government-approved hotel/s, such as, SHA Extra Plus (SHA++), AQ, OQ, or AHQ on Day 1 and Day 5
  • receipts for 2 RT-PCR tests on Day 1 and Day 5. The prepayment for Day 1 must include an accommodation, a test and a prearranged transfer from the airport to the hotel.

You can book accommodation at 2 different hotels on Day 1 and Day 5, but you must isolate yourself in your room until the RT-PCR test result is received.

a roof of a building

Sandbox scheme

This scheme allows you to spend the first 7 days of your trip to Thailand in a designated number of places without actual quarantine. To quote the TAT News website:

‘This means fully vaccinated travellers from overseas who are planning to travel to Thailand under the Sandbox programme can choose to undergo their first 7 days in either Krabi, Phang-Na, Phuket, Surat Thani (Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, and Ko Tao), Chon Buri (Bang Lamung, Pattaya, Si Racha, Si Chang, and Sattahip – only Na Jomtien and Bang Saray), and Trat (Ko Chang).’

Under the scheme, there are a restricted number of entry points, designated destinations to spend your first 7 days, and you need to have applied for a Thailand Pass, available here at the Thai Consulate website. You’ll also need a negative PCR test within 72 hours of entry, health insurance, confirmed accommodation and payment of 2 PCR tests and evidence of your vaccinations.

You can find full details here.

a group of people in a temple

2PAXfly Takeout

This is another timely reminder to wear your seatbelt when seated. Holding you close to your seat will protect you from the sort of injuries sustained on this flight, when unsecured passengers flew to the ceiling of the aircraft, and then came crashing down once the ‘drop’ ceased.

The hope will be that this is an anomaly – a ‘freak accident’ in casual parlance. If it is a systemic error either mechanical or electronic, then this is a larger concern for the airlines that fly Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft. Let’s hope it isn’t. If it is, it will pile on the woes to Boeing’s existing stack.

It’s a bit complicated, but no more so than travel anywhere at the moment. Personally, I would be getting my travel agent to sort out stuff, making sure I had all the documentation.

Gosh, I yearn for Thailand, the Peninsula Bangkok, Chaing Mai, Phuket, Thai food, Thai hospitality, street food, everything Thai.

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