Latest Update – Travelling to Thailand has become all the more easy now. The compulsory Covid-19 tests for vaccinated travellers have been scrapped now. One doesn’t need to carry a RTPCR report nor get tested in Thailand on arrival. This is good news, right? One only needs to show proof of vaccination and health insurance coverage of at least $10,000.
I travelled to Thailand in the last week of March 2022 (23-30) and then the rules had just begun to easen up. Read to know about my experience.
If you are planning to travel to Thailand, you have come to the right place. I am just back from an 8 days long, truly memorable, awe-inspiring, and superbly enjoyable junket of Bangkok, Phuket, and Khao Lak. As I sit down to blog about it, I am smiling ear to ear. The joy of traveling to an international location after a gap of two years remains unexplainable. When International travel resumed, every travel enthusiast beamed with joy. All my friends wanted to jump on a plane and head off far for their much-needed vacations. I couldn’t wait to pack my bags, get my passport stamped at the immigration, and be free to do what I love doing. Thailand came to my rescue. They have been relaxing the restrictions since February, gradually. Also, when I set out to look for information on Google, Thailand seemed prepared to handle tourists with their SHA plus hotels and “TEST and GO’ scheme. Also looking at their stats of fully vaccinated people, it looked safe. My past experiences in Thailand have been amazing. Thai people are known to be extremely warm and welcoming and thus, I always look up to the ‘Land of Smiles’ as a very dependable and friendly destination. So, when it came to picking a country for my ‘new normal’ International travel debut, I was keen on Thailand.
Old Thailand Trips- Rayong and Chanthaburi
I was impressed with what I saw in Thailand. It was good to see that there were no compromises on the safety part. Everyone had their masks on in the public areas. I hardly saw any defaulters. Every small and big place was equipped with temperature check machines and, sanitizing boxes. The country is efficiently prepared.
MY PREPARATIONS FOR THAILAND TRAVEL : HOW DID I BEGIN?
Let me be very honest. I had my share of anxiety and apprehensions before applying for a Thailand pass but once my documents were sorted, I was relaxed. It may look tedious in the beginning but it’s not complicated. My journey from Delhi airport to Bangkok and beyond turned into a cakewalk. Also, with the pre-departure RTPCR test and quarantine requirements scrapped now, things are becoming easier by the week. I had to carry an RT PCR report which is not a mandate anymore. Also, I opted for a visa-on-arrival. If you do not want to carry documents, travel with a visa in hand. All Indian passport holders can apply for a Thailand visa online before the trip. On my return, I did not have to get tested. All that I had to do was fill Air Suvidha form before my flight. Just google it before you go. ‘AIR SUVIDHA FORM’ – one of the easiest forms. It will take 5 minutes to fill but you must remember to complete it. If in case you forget to fill in beforehand, there is no reason to worry. The staff of your carrier flight will make you do it at the check-in counter. They will not give the boarding pass until you fill it. Therefore, you must keep it handy.
Very Important Points!
- Before travelling, you must be fully vaccinated else you will have to quarantine. A vaccination certificate is very-very important. It would be best if you could put your passport number on the certificate before downloading it. All the WHO-approved vaccines are recognized – AstraZeneca or Covishield, Pfizer–BioNTech, Sinopharm, Sputnik V, and Covaxin.
- Travel insurance is very important for travels. Now, it’s all the more important that it covers your expenses in case of Covid related symptoms or hospitalization.
- You are required to book an SHA or SHA plus hotel (hotel certified by the government) for the first day which will automatically take care of your RTPCR test.
- You got to get tested on the first day and after five days (self-test) if you are staying for more than 5 days. It’s not complicated at all.
- Post the negative report, you are a free soul. You may continue with your regular holiday.
- In case, the result comes positive, there is no need to panic. These government approved SHA plus hotels have tied up with hospitals and as per the severity of your case, you will be admitted or asked to stay in a hotel to quarantine. A second test will be conducted on day 5.
WHAT IS A THAILAND PASS?
Currently, this is the ticket to Thailand. It is a document/pass which gives you the green signal that you can enter Thailand. Before going for the visa, one must fulfill all the requirements of a Thai Pass. Certain testing and quarantine schemes were made by the Thai government to allow fully vaccinated tourists to enter Thailand and gradually these programs have evolved. Thai pass accept new applications by giving three options – Test and Go, Sandbox, and Quarantine entry programs.Initially, Sand box programme was conceptualised. Now ‘Test and Go’ has become more preferred one. The third option is ‘Alternative Quarantine’ for those travellers who are not fully vaccinated. The below information will dissipate all your worries about Thailand Pass.
- It is free of charge.
- It is an online process.
- It collects both travel and health information.
- The purpose is to make the process of traveling to and inside Thailand easier.
- The approval may take one or more days, thus it is best to apply for the Thailand Pass at least 7 working days ahead of your flight date.
- For booking hotels use the list of approved SHA+/AQ hotels in Bangkok
- For Thailand Pass, you simply have to Register at the Thailand Pass web portal and fill in personal details and upload some documents.
- You will receive you approval on email.
Here is the Instructional Video for Thailand Pass Application.
WHY SHA PLUS HOTELS?
SHA+/AQ hotels are no different. They are same hotels but they fulfill certain prerequisites with respect to health and safety and have been approved by the Thai Government. On the first day, you need to book a SHA+/AQ hotel for the RTPCR and quarantine. Once you get your negative report, you are free to go and book other hotels.
- They are Covid safe with 70-100% of staff vaccinated.
- These hotels have regulated testing processes in place.
- They have partnered with a hospital or medical facility in the case a visitor tests positive for Covid on arrival.
- Their staff is trained to deal with emergencies.
- They will arrange for your test on the first day as well as also provide a self-test kit which has to be used on the 5th day.
On the 5th day, don’t forget to self-test yourself, for your own safety and upload the result in the Morchana App. Its better to download the Morchana app on the first day when you land in Thailand.
I TRAVELLED FROM DELHI TO BANGKOK WITH THAI AIRWAYS
Below are the documents that I carried along.
- Thai Pass with QR Code
- Negative RT-PCR test report (NOT REQUIRED ANYMORE)
- Confirmed flight tickets (To and Fro)
- Vaccination certificate
- Health insurance
- All hotel reservations for the entire stay in Thailand
- Domestic flight bookings to and from Phuket
- $300 + 2000 Baht for Visa on arrival (2000 Baht is the fees and $300 to show that I had a 10,000 Baht equivalent in case the visa officer as for it.)
- A few passport size photographs for a visa, as per standard requirement
On-Arrival Visa is never an issue in Thailand if you have all your bookings intact. If you wish to expedite the process, stand in the express visa queue. They charge 200 Baht more than the regular queue.
HERE IS A SNEEK PEEK INTO MY THAILAND ITINERARY
We have discussed enough of the documents, now let us skip to the better part. Let us talk about the white powdery beaches, laid-back resorts, party nights, beautiful Thai temples, street art, island hopping, sun-basking, Thai green curry, mango, and sticky rice, Bangkok shopping, and more. Trust me, once you will be done with the whole process of booking the accommodation, uploading the documents, and getting tested, you will undergo an experience of exhilaration. This feeling is the best and the closest to normalcy.
- Day 1 – Check-in in Sindhorn Midtown Hotel Bangkok. Got tested. Quarantined for the day. After my report came negative, I went to Asiatique for shopping and dinner.
- Day 2 – Took a flight to Phuket. We visited Blue Tree Phuket for some water activities and lunch. Departed to Khao Lak. On the way, checked out Garang Artisan Icecreams. Did Kayaking through the banyan forest in Takua Pa District (Little Amazon). Checked-in JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort & Spa.
- Day 3 – Morning walk at the private beach of JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort & Spa. In the first half of the day, went secret beach hiking with the Ban Tha Din Daeng community and in the evening took an adventurous ride to the James Bond Island.
- Day 4 – Departed for Phuket but not before taking a stop at the famed viewpoint Samet Nashe. The afternoon was about some adventure activities with a zipline experience at Hanuman World. The day ended with the beautiful show of Phuket Fantasea and dinner. Stayed at Novotel Phuket vintage park hotel.
- Day 5 – Visited the famed Wat Chalong temple in the morning. And then took a walk around the Old Phuket Town. Also visited the Aquaria Phuket and Trickeye Museum in the late afternoon. In Phuket, do check out Zimplex Mixology Laboratory. And don’t miss the shopping at the Old Phuket Sunday Market.
On DAY 5, its important to use an ATK to self test yourself and upload the result on the Morchana App. It was easy-peasy.
- Day 6 – Took an afternoon flight to Bangkok. Reached the capital by evening. Did a walking tour to check out the street art, followed by a Thai dinner at Thipsamai Pad Thai Pratoopee. Checked in Sindhorn Midtown once again.
- Day 7 – Visited the most beautiful temple, Wat Pho and also expereinced Thai massage in the oldest massage school of Bangkok. This is inside the temple. Was missing Indian food and checked out Charcoal Tandoor Grill & Mixology. Did some shopping in the evening.
- Day 8 – Spent a few hours shopping before boarding my flight to Delhi. Had a safe return.
I hope this itinerary helps you to plan you trip and pick your favorite activities. I had a phenomenal time in Phuket and Khao Lak. And Bangkok is always a favorite. Also, I have started using my GO PRO, the one I had won in the blogging contest. Keep following for more on Thailand. Reach out to me if you need any help in planning your trip to Thailand.
My Canal Adventure On Long-tail Boat In Bangkok
Koh Chang is blue, green and beautiful
Authentic Lanna (Thai) Dining and Dance experience at Chiang Mai