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Thailand Pass review and Thailand travel for the vaccinated

There are many questions like “when will Thailand reopen to tourists without quarantine?” as countries around the world start to open up. Surely, because of Omicron and its development, the answer to this question might change over time. We have just travelled into Thailand from Singapore under a Test and Go arrangement with Thailand Pass. Here is a review of the process. Disclaimer, Test and Go is currently on hold due to Omicron variant concern. 

Overview of Thailand travel vaccinations

Thailand has different schemes for tourists who wish to visit depending on where they are flying from, vaccination status and where they are flying into Thailand. 

  1. Test and Go
  2. Sandbox
  3. Quarantine

As a tourist, you will need to choose which scheme you fall under and then apply for a Thailand Pass from there. 

Thailand Pass application process

All tourists who wish to visit Thailand will need to apply for and obtain Thailand Pass before they can enter Thailand. The time required for the process varies, but in general it is between 5-7 working days. 

However, we heard from some of our friends of varying nationalities that they have different kinds of experience. The fastest one that we know so far is of our Singaporean friend going to Phuket on a Sandbox scheme and it took her only a few minutes to get the Thailand Pass. Personally, our process took 5 working days for the Test and Go scheme in Bangkok. 

Some others have said their Thailand Pass application process take as long as 1 week+ so start your application process early.

Test and Go travel arrangement review

Before flying into Thailand

Make sure you have all your documents hard-copy ready before you go to the airport in your home country. Just to be safe, make sure all documents you submitted for your Thailand Pass application are with you.

We flew from Singapore Changi airport to Suvarnabhumi and we needed to produce the Thailand Pass and PCR test result during check-in. 

At Thailand's airport: Thailand Pass & document check

Once you get off the plane, you need to queue to get your Thailand Pass and its related documents checked. The line might look long but the process is quite efficient and the line moves fast.

Pro tip: Make sure you have insurance coverage with the amount covered stated explicitly on the insurance certificate. Also, ensure that the insurance certificate states explicitly that Covid-19 related medical expenses are covered. 

thailand pass_document check
thailand pass_check desk

After you pass this stage, you just need to head to the immigration as usual and produce all the documents to the officer. If you have the documents ready, the process will be very smooth. 

Once you have your luggage with you and you head out from the custom section, look for your hotel staff. The scene looked very much like a travel fair with hotel logos adorning the desk and its display board.

They will pick you up and they will carry a big board of the hotel name so it should be easy to spot them. Then they will escort you to the designated car waiting for you outside the building.

thailand pass_hotel pick up
thailand pass_test and go hotel

PCR test before arriving at hotel

From my personal experience, the PCR test for the Test and Go program took place outside the hotel. Before the driver brought me to the hotel, he brought me to the affiliated hospital’s PCR drive-through station to take the test. The process was very quick and there were two tests: using sample from the nose and sample from the throat.

After the test was done, we went to the hotel and the hospital informed the hotel with the test result. In my experience, it took almost 24 hours for the result to be out, but this may vary across individuals.

thailand pass_PCR drive through
Thailand pass_PCR test

How Test and Go scheme (with Thailand Pass) help vaccinated travelers enter Thailand?

Travelers with complete vaccinations can enjoy a convenient process through Test and Go. The waiting process for Thailand Pass approval was a bit daunting as it was our first time doing it (not sure what might go wrong during the process).

Also, make sure you give enough time between your flight and Thailand Pass application start dates, so that you can catch your flight with Thailand Pass in hand. 

The Test and Go scheme is now on hold due to Omicron variant. However, there is a possibility that it might resume again in the future. Therefore keep a lookout for the resumption of this scheme in the future if you are interested! 

Check out our other posts about Thailand: 

Thailand Safety Police Featured

Thailand safety for traveling and living in 2021/2022

Thailand safety examination and safety tips for living / traveling

As coronavirus situation starts to improve, many are now looking forward to traveling, doing vocation/workation or work remotely far from home again. We know that big metropolitan cities in Asia like Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore are among the safest in the world. In comparison, big cities in Thailand are also quite safe but not at the same level as those cities. 

Thailand can be safe to travel and be considered comfortable for living. However, you will still need to be mindful of the possible safety and health risks. 

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Thailand safety level

As a Thai national, I see news about homicide and murder almost on a daily basis and this sounds scary. However, if we take a look at statistics – Thailand is considerably safe from a serious crime perspective.

According to the United Nations data, Thailand has been seeing a declining number of homicides each year. The latest number, which is as of 2017, shows Thailand’s level of homicide per 100,000 population was 3x lower than the global level.

Thailand safety intentional homicide trend

Let’s corroborate the earlier finding further. We looked into the data provided by the National Statistics Office of Thailand (NSO). In a year, Thailand (a country with 70 million population) reports 2 thousands murder cases and 15 thousands assault case.

According to the NSO, the majority of crimes are small crimes related to theft/snatching (~40 thousands) and cheating/fraud/misappropriation (~20 thousands).

Thailand safety risks

Thefts and scams are the most common types of crime. While these post relatively lower risk to your safety while in Thailand, understanding them does not just make you feel safe but it would also help you to avoid headaches and annoyance down the road.

Theft, snatching and robbery

Local people often perceive foreigners and tourists as wealthy. While dressing down and storing your valuables in a safebox helps – you should always be mindful of your belongings. For example, it is not a great idea to place your phone or wallet on the table while dining on the street side. Wearing branded goods or expensive jewelry is not advisable when you walk along the small streets or taking public transport. Thailand is safe for tourists and foreigners as long as you minimize the possibility of attracting crime to yourselves.

Cheating, fraud and misappropriation

Foreigners or travelers should also watch out for price scams. The most common price scams are the taxi fare and retail shopping price scams.

We do not advise foreigners (especially first time travelers) to take public buses in Thailand because of frequent breakdowns and also language barrier issues, so remaining options are taxis and BTS/MRT (public sky and underground trains). Speaking of BTS/MRT, it is very convenient to use and fairly safe. BTS and MRT reaches have become expansive but they may still not cover the places that you need to go to. In this situation, you’ll need to take a taxi. 

Unfortunately, many operators have “tourist prices” which are extremely inflated. Tourists who are not familiar with unit economics in Thailand could easily fall prey into this. To avoid getting scammed, you can do research on the pricing benchmark before you come to Thailand. Another tip is to use an app like Grab (Uber equivalent) that provides you with standardized pricing. 

One more pro-tip for you so that you can avoid getting ripped off when you first land in Thailand is to use the official taxi channel and instruct the drivers to use standard meter or (as mentioned before) just use Grab car! 

Health safety in Thailand

We know Thailand for its bountiful resources – this means plenty of fresh air, water, flourishing agriculture & aquaculture and globally renowned food recipes. However, to ensure your health safety during your travel or stay in Thailand, there are a few things that you should look out for.

Water safety in Thailand

In some countries, you might have the privilege of safe, drinkable tap water. However, we want to warn you upfront that it is not advisable to directly drink tap water in Thailand. Water bottles are absolutely safe for drinking – however if you are staying for an extended period of time in Thailand and want to reduce expenditure by drinking tap water – you should at least run tap water through a filter or a purifier before drinking.

Air safety in Thailand

Like many developing countries, Thailand suffers from air pollution especially in a big city like Bangkok. Back in early 2020 (before Covid-19), a lot of Bangkok residents were wearing face masks to safeguard their health against air pollution.

In 2021, UNESCAP issued a report stating that air pollution is mostly escalated by agriculture and forest fires which often occur during a dry season like winter. Keep a lookout on the PM10 level, which measures the air pollution typically caused by agriculture, construction and smoke. Another metric that people normally monitor is the level of PM2.5. This is tiny atmospheric particulate matter mostly produced by vehicles, refineries and other heavy industries. 

If you go to places like Phuket or Koh Samui, you should not worry too much about air safety. However, if you are going to places like Bangkok, we recommend you to look up the Thailand air quality index ahead of your trip.

Food safety in Thailand

Thai food is yummy! most people will agree to this! Moreover, food ingredients in Thailand are fresh and safe for consumption. However, to ensure your safety when travelling to Thailand, there are several things you should watch out for.

The first one is food cleanliness, especially if you are out for some street food. Secondly, food spiciness – you don’t want to get a stomachache in the middle of your trip after you eat something that’s too spicy than what you can handle! Lastly, be mindful of the ingredients and herbs used and whether you have allergy to them. For instance, Pad Thai traditionally uses peanuts topping, so please be aware if you have peanut allergy! You don’t want to end up in a hospital during your holiday.

Terrorism in Thailand

Back to a serious topic like terrorism. Terrorism is quite rare in Thailand, however there are 3 provinces in the southern Thailand that you might consider avoiding if you have a big safety concern. There is an on-going separatist insurgency in 3 provinces on the southern border of Thailand, namely Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat. We have to mention that locals in those 3 provinces are still leading normal daily lives  and tourisms are still happening with frequent visits among Thais and Malaysians (pre-Covid).

Thailand Coronavirus situation

This is an important section during the Coronavirus pandemic. At the time of this blog update, countries in South and Southeast Asia had been hit hard by the Delta variant, and this includes Thailand.

Source: World Health Organization (WHO), updated on 17 September 2021

Any travelers should note that Thailand is facing yet another wave of outbreak after the Thai New Year holiday (Songkran) in April 2021.

If you are looking to travel to Thailand in 2021 during Coronavirus pandemic, we also have other posts relating to Thailand travel restrictions and quarantine procedures.

So is Thailand safe for traveling or living?

The short answer is yes – Thailand is safe, as long as you are aware of the potential health or crime risks. It is advisable that you understand them and take preventive measures before your travel. 

One more pro tip from us is to carefully consider where you plan to stay or visit – a good community gives you a head start from a safety standpoint. Apart from that, be sensible – do not wander around alone at night, always watch your belongings and be on the lookout for potential price scams – and you will be safe to travel and stay in Thailand.

Other useful posts about Thailand:

Thailand Coronavirus monk

Thailand coronavirus update and the road back to tourism

Thailand coronavirus update, vaccination progress and the return of open tourism

Thailand is one of most popular travel destinations in the world and December usually is a popular month. Coronavirus reduced Thailand tourist numbers in December 2020 to 6,000+. For your comparison, the number was 4 million in December 2019 – according to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.

Get an updated Thailand coronavirus situation and assess when might be the safest time to visit Thailand through our post!

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Thailand coronavirus update (as of 17th September)

Thailand is now going through the third, and its biggest coronavirus wave in the country. As of 17th of September, the country has recorded a total of 1 million+ confirmed cases and 10,000+ deaths (up-to-date number here).

The government has put in place strict measures like mask requirement, dine-in restrictions, and closure of entertainment venues. This wave is hitting all major cities like Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket. While the overall situation is starting to look better, anyone visiting Thailand or in Thailand should still take precaution. 

Thailand safety for both visitors and residents at this point of time very much depends on getting coronavirus situation under control. The pandemic is putting a lot of stress on healthcare system (read more about other safety-related information here).

The 2nd wave, which happened in late December until February, took about two months to get under control.

Thailand coronavirus vaccination progress

Thailand, a country of ~70 million people, has accumulated ~42 million doses of coronavirus vaccines to date. There are ~28 million population who have taken the 1st shot and ~13 million who have completed 2 shots according to official figures.

Vaccines available in Thailand are mostly Sinovac and AstraZeneca. The government initially prioritized medical staff, front-line workers, elderly (60 years old and above), and people with chronic conditions. Thailand was off to a very slow start in terms of vaccination. However, due to rapid vaccination in recent months, the government is aiming to have over 70% of its population vaccinated by the end of 2021, ahead of its reopening plan. 

Thailand coronavirus vaccination

Travel restrictions

Thailand has put in place travel restrictions for all arrivals which include obtaining permission, quarantine, insurance, among other things. Our post contains more details on Thailand travel restrictions here.

Thailand welcomes both unvaccinated and vaccinated foreign travelers. Vaccinated travelers now only enjoy shorter quarantine but the country is aiming to exempt vaccinated travelers from quarantine in the future. However, the government has temporarily increased the quarantine period for all travelers to 14 days due to a Coronavirus wave.

Thailand travel vaccination passport for tourists

The Tourism Authority of Thailand has announced a three-stage plan to reopen the country. This plan aims to cater to vaccinated tourists. 

The first stage of the process involves reducing the quarantine period for vaccinated tourists to 7 nights. However, this is already off-track due to the current Thailand coronavirus situation. 

Thailand is targeting Stage 2 to launch by Q3 (July to September), which will involve lifting the quarantine requirement for vaccinated tourists. However, travelers will still need to observe other travel restrictions. These travel restrictions include getting approval, buy the insurance, and procure a coronavirus test result (read more on our travel restriction post). Upon arrival, travelers will need to take another coronavirus test and they will be restricted to stay in Phuket for 7 days. After 7 days, they will be allowed to go anywhere in Thailand.

Stage 2 is well underway now, and the country is working towards Stage 3.

Stage 3, which should launch by Q4 (October to December), will replicate the Phuket model in Stage 2 to five other destinations like Krabi, Phang Nga, Surat Thani (Ko Samui), Chon Buri (Pattaya), and Chiang Mai. Bangkok is said to join the country’s reopening plan in mid October.

Which coronavirus vaccines are recognized by Thailand?

Official announcement states that the following Coronavirus vaccines are recognized by Thailand:

  • ARS-CoV-2 Vaccine (CoronaVac) by Sinovac (2 doses needed); 
  • AZD1222 by AstraZeneca/Oxford (2 doses needed); AZD1222 by SK BIOSCIENCE – AstraZeneca/Oxford (2 doses needed); 
  • BNT162b2/CORMIRNATY – Tozinameran (INN) by Pfizer/BioNTech (2 doses needed); 
  • Covishield (ChAdOx1_nCoV19) by the Serum Institute of India (2 doses needed); 
  • Ad26.COV2.S by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson (1 dose needed), and
  • mRNA-1273 by Moderna (2 doses needed) 

Should you travel to Thailand right now?

It is possible to travel to Thailand right now, but this is not recommended for your own safety due to the 3rd coronavirus wave. If you want to travel for leisure and you have been vaccinated – it might be best to wait until Q3 to enjoy the benefit of a Thailand travel vaccination passport.

Other materials for Thailand travel preparation:

Thailand travel restriction Featured

Thailand travel restriction during Coronavirus pandemic

Understand the latest of Thailand travel restriction measures during Coronavirus pandemic

Despite the Coronavirus situation, Thailand still welcomes visitors who want to enter the country. But obviously, travelling there will not be as easy as before. You will need to prepare a checklist for entry approval, Coronavirus swab test, yada yada.. before you travel. And upon arrival, you certainly will need to undergo quarantine instead of heading straight to your destination, unlike how it was in the pre-Coronavirus era. Here you will find summary of Thailand travel restriction, tips for travelers entering Thailand and the latest update on travel arrangement for vaccinated travelers.
Updated review using Thailand Pass as of December 2021 can be found here.

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Thailand travel restriction during Coronavirus pandemic for foreign visitors

Thailand allows foreign visitors to come both for leisure and business purposes during the Coronavirus period as long as you have the relevant visa and satisfied all of the country’s restrictions. 

There are certainly restrictions in place when you come to visit Thailand. The best place to check what travel restrictions you need to adhere to is the Thai embassy website from your place of departure. The website will include the most updated information about restrictions for travelers from that country. For instance, if you are in London, you can check the website of Thai Embassy in London for official travel information.

Before you travel to Thailand, there are several things in your checklist that you need to prepare:

  1. Passport and the right visa for your stay
  2. Medical certificate with a lab test result showing that Covid-19 is not detected, using RT-PCR test, issued 72 hours or less before departure
  3. Certificate of Entry (COE)
  4. Medical insurance 
  5. Booking of alternative state quarantine (ASQ) on arrival date

What to expect at the airport? travel document check, health declaration, and transportation from the hotel waiting for you. Thailand country reopening initiative reduced quarantine period to 7 to 10 days depending on whether you are vaccinated. However, the quarantine period is now back to 14 days due to the latest Coronavirus wave.

Preparing for visa, certificate of entry, quarantine in Thailand and what-not

Visa and starting your COE application

Thailand has just extended tourist visa for some countries that are eligible for visa exemption from 30 to 45 days. Once you confirm that you have the right visa for your travel into Thailand, start your COE process. The process should take less than 30 minutes, but it may take 2-3 days for you get preliminary approval. Pro tip: DO NOT book and upload any supporting documents such as flight or hotel booking until you receive this preliminary approval. You can start your COE process here.

Official video for the COE registration process.

Book flight, Alternative State Quarantine hotel, and medical insurance

After getting the COE approval email, you can proceed to book a flight, ASQ, and medical insurance. You can check the Thai embassy website for your country/city for available flights. For ASQ, you can book your quarantine hotel in Thailand via travel aggregator like Agoda or directly via the hotel website. Agoda is a great place to compare prices if you do not have any place in mind yet, or you can also use this sheet that has info compiled by a government agency. You will also need to purchase medical insurance with a minimum coverage of US$100,000 covering Covid-19 treatment in Thailand. You can check out and purchase medical insurance online via the Thai General Insurance Association here

Get printable version of your approved COE

Now, you can upload confirmation documents for flight, ASQ and insurance to the COE portal to obtain a printable version of the final COE which you will need during your travel. It would be a good idea to ensure that any details on your COE are aligned to your actual travel date, flight/ASQ booking. If you change your travel date or time, re-visit COE portal again – however when our flight was canceled, we had to go to the Thai embassy to do the info update (which took less than 30 minutes).

Thailand travel restriction COE sample

Book Coronavirus test

After you are done preparing for the COE, you should book the Coronavirus RT-PCR test. You will need to take this test no longer than 72 hours before departure.

Other useful tips: 

  • Get all the documents ready before your travel to Thailand. Also, print this T8 form so that you can fill it in and present it to the officer upon arrival
  • Download AOT Airport application, Thailand Plus application before flying
  • Some airlines may have their own special document requirement at check-in, be sure to check with your airline beforehand

Travel restriction and quarantine in Thailand

Officers at the airport will check the above-mentioned documents upon your arrival. The ASQ hotel will arrange transportation for you so keep an eye out after collecting your luggage and come out at the arrival hall. You will be restricted from making a stop or detour and will be escorted directly to your booked ASQ venue. You will need to take a Coronavirus test upon arrival and during your quarantine period. The regulation will not allow you to leave your room during the quarantine, however some hotel may set aside an on-premise relaxation area for you so do check with your hotel. After completing the quarantine, you will get an official quarantine/coronavirus test certificate and you will be good to go!

If you are curious about what’s Thailand quarantine experience is like, feel free to check our Thailand quarantine review.

Arrangement for vaccinated traveler / vaccinated passport

Vaccine passport has been a hot topic among travelers, however we may need to wait for some time before we can travel using this. Right now vaccination will only help to reduce your quarantine period when traveling to Thailand. There is a road map to removing quarantine requirement for vaccinated travelers in October 2021, however this is subject to change. 

Our verdict on Thailand travel restriction

Thailand travel restriction during coronavirus time may be confusing to many people. So many documents and approval to prepare for, and such requirement can change anytime depending on the decision by the government. Based on our own experience, this gets easier with a guide or a checklist hence we hope you find this piece of content useful. Lastly, with quarantine requirement in Thailand (and potentially in your own country on the way back), a longer trip to Thailand would be more worthwhile.

If you are planning on staying in Thailand for an extended period, check out other resources below:

Thailand quarantine ASQ room

Thailand quarantine experience during Coronavirus

Thailand quarantine: a review of my travel during Coronavirus in 2021

As Coronavirus situation improved earlier this year, I decided to fly back home from Hong Kong. It has been more than 12 months since I last flew. Many things have changed including fewer flights, travel restrictions and quarantine requirement. I will be sharing my Thailand quarantine experience for anyone who is looking to fly to Thailand during Coronavirus pandemic.

Updated review using Thailand Pass as of December 2021 can be found here.

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Traveling to Thailand during Coronavirus pandemic

I am a Thai national, but Thailand is still welcoming foreign travelers so flying there is possible. However, be sure to check Thailand travel restrictions and special requirements before you make any decision.

Foreign travelers will need to obtain an approval, take Coronavirus test, purchase medical insurance, and undergo quarantine in Thailand.

The Hong Kong International Airport was barely recognizable as the airport was really empty. This was a rare sight even during very early morning or late at night before Coronavirus outbreak.

Upon arrival at the Suvarnabhumi airport, all travelers will need to go through a document checking and health declaration process. The whole airport was divided into sections where officers would come, process and tag travelers. For example, I was tagged as a Thai national who had opted for Alternative State Quarantine or ASQ in short. ASQ is a self-booked hotel quarantine and is the only option available for foreign visitors. The whole process was controlled and done in small groups to ensure social distancing. Immigration and luggage collection process was mostly normal, and it took about 60 minutes from landing for me to finally get out to the arrival hall. I was later approached and escorted directly to the quarantine site by hotel staffs.

Process at the Suvarnabhumi international airport and hotel arranged private transportation to the quarantine site.

Thailand quarantine experience at an alternative state quarantine hotel

Alternative state quarantine hotels are hotels that, in partnership with local hospitals officially operate as quarantine sites. These hotels can be found via websites like Agoda and Locanation. I have personally used Locanation to do research as it offered extra details such as deposit amount and hospital partnership.

Locanation screenshot Apr21

Locanation offers detailed information as well as many useful filters.

I chose Courtyard by Marriot Bangkok as my ASQ hotel mostly because I had stayed with Marriot before.

The 14-day Thailand quarantine experience started off with a swab test for Coronavirus. The quarantine duration has since been reduced to 7 to 10days!

The check-in process came after the test and it followed a strict social distancing measure. No visitor of any kind was allowed through the quarantine.

The quarantine room

I was provided with a 35 sqm. room, which I considered spacious having just flown in from Hong Kong.

Some other spacious alternatives include ASQ service apartments. You can find rooms as large as 60 sqm. (some with balcony) at a similar price tag.  Staying at a hotel however, gave some peace of mind on service quality since I will be stuck there for 14 days.

My quarantine room came with hand gel, face masks, a thermometer and dish washing detergent/sponge outside of standard equipment. Yoga mat and weight equipment were also offered as add-ons for anyone who are looking to do exercise.

Thailand quarantine ASQ room

Food and beverage during quarantine in Thailand

Thailand quarantine experience was special due to (delicious) food and beverage selection. Daily meal included breakfast, lunch and dinner. Every meal was made up of an appetizer/salad, a main dish,
a desert and a cup/can of juice and soda. You have about 3-4 Thai/international options to choose from in each meal, one of which would be vegetarian.

Food quantity was generous, not quite comparable to the U.S. portion size but would still be filling for most guests. You can also make special requests to the hotel during order submission. Some of my personal requests were:

  • Soda replacement with a cup of coffee
  • Food to be served hot
  • Meal replacement with a bowl of salad
  • Extra seasoning

Courtyard staffs were kind enough to accommodate all of my requests.

The food was great and the room had ample supply of water bottles, tea bags and instant coffee. You can also choose to pay extra to have a Nespresso machine. You are, however not allowed to order food from outside so no GrabEat (UberEat equivalent).

What to do if anything is missing? you can order food from the dinning menu or ask the hotel to make a run to convenient stores.

Thailand quarantine food

Meals were served with plastic utensils until the result of the first swab test came out.

Daily quarantine routine

Every day fell roughly into a similar routine during my stay at Thailand ASQ. I kept myself busy with work, but outside of work hour the room came equipped with a smart TV (with Netflix available. The hotel can also lend a HDMI cable for laptop connection (for free), Playstation 4 was also available but at a fee.

I had to submit meal order (once per day) via Google form and measure /submit temperature reading (twice per day) via a mobile app.

Guests were not allowed outside of the room in general. However, I got to step out of the room briefly during the 2nd and 3rd Coronavirus tests. Guests were invited to take turn at relaxation area after their 2nd test came back negative (their rooms will be cleaned in the meantime).


The verdict on ASQ quarantine in Thailand

Thailand quarantine using ASQ was extremely comfortable, but it also came at a monetary cost. Thailand has shortened the quarantine period from 14 days to 7-10 days, however this is not being implemented right now due to an on-going third wave of Coronavirus.

If you are looking to travel to Thailand during Coronavirus pandemic, make sure to do your research about your quarantine site and prepare yourself accordingly (for example bring your caffeine fix, your favorite books, sauce/seasoning from your home country, laundry powder etc.). Apart from Coronavirus quarantine measure, feel free to check our other posts about Thailand safety tips.

Other useful posts about Thailand: