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.
- Test and Go
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.
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.
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.
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!
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