HOW IS IT TO TRAVEL TO THAILAND DURING THE CORONA PANDEMIC?
This is a review about a trip that I made to Thailand during the Covid-19 pandemic while the ASQ (Alternative State Quarantine) requirement was still in place. The state quarantine is mandatory for all visitors, including Thai citizens. (Thai citizens are also offered a “free” quarantine stay at a state operated facility such as a small hotel or a military camp). There are strict requirements for foreigners who seek to enter Thailand during the pandemic. These requirements include visa, Certificate of Entry, special insurance covering at least USD 100,000, negative Covid-19 test result 72h before arrival and a Fit-to-Fly certificate. Further information is available on the websites of the Royal Thai Embassies around the world.
The ASQ Hotel packages always include 15 nights accommodation (16 days), 3 meals per day, a 24/7 nurse on duty, 2-3 mandatory Covid-19 tests, and airport pick-up transportation. After the stay, guests are issued a completion of quarantine certificate and are allowed to travel freely within Thailand. Guests must also use a tracking app called Thailand Plus.
Pre-flight: Documents are thoroughly checked at the departure gate at the respective airline (only a handful of airlines are authorized to bring passengers to Thailand).
Post-flight: passengers are gathered in small groups and are guided to various check-points where temperature and documents etc are checked. Finally Immigration, as always, and then passengers leave the airport from designated area where the hotel staff pick up the guests and take them to their chosen ASQ facility.
I stayed at the Silver Palm Hotel which is a medium priced, 3-star hotel located near Rama 9 Road. As I had already pre-paid the hotel, check-in was smooth and fast. Blood-pressure and fever were checked and I was offered a breakfast before I was escorted to my room. I booked a Deluxe room and I was lucky to have a beautiful view of the pool and the garden. There was a big balcony where I spent most of my day from early morning to sunset. The room was spacious, there was plenty of water available, a microwave oven and a fever thermometer. Fever checking was required twice per day. All communications with the hotel took place via the LINE application. I sent photos of my temperature results every day to the nurse and ordered my food and booked my garden time, all with the LINE app. Garden time was allowed after 5 days after the first Covid test took place and for people with a negative result.
The food was nothing to write home about. The choice was very limited, sometimes with only 1 or 2 offerings. The food was usually delivered more cold than warm and the taste was ok but not more than that. I pimped it up with seasonings that I brought with me. The staff also offered to buy items from a nearby 7/11 mini-mart and would add 20% to the local price. Other deliveries were only allowed by family members.
The hotel staff which I met were extremely friendly and helpful. As I did not want to spend a lot of money I was happy with the service of the hotel. Check-out on the last day was possible from 6am and was completed swiftly and my departure certificate was ready.
There are many choices of ASQ hotels in Bangkok, Pattaya and shortly in Phuket as well. I would recommend everyone to bring plenty of snacks, good books, an HDMI cable to connect your devices to the TV and books, Netflix etc.. to keep you busy. A balcony was essential for me and I was very happy to have it.
Check-in and medical station:
Garden and Pool:
The Silver Palm: