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 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.
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.
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: