Update 29 April 2022: Pre-departure PCR as well as “Test and Go” PCR tests are no longer required, and there are no more VTL flights into Singapore. You may refer to the latest travel advisories: https://www.singaporeair.com/en_UK/sg/travel-info/covid-19/.
It has been exactly 2 years since I was last in Thailand and now I finally got my chance to be back. I half expected the entire travel process to be inconvenient and troublesome, but it turned out to be much easier than I thought. Here is my first hand experience of how to travel to Bangkok in 2022 (details as of 05 March 2022).
First of all, to enter Thailand, you need to apply for a Thai pass. (https://tp.consular.go.th/)
For your Thai pass to be approved, these are what you need:
- Air ticket (I got my ticket from Singapore Airlines for $291. Remember to select the VTL flight when you return from Thailand back to Singapore because not all flights are VTL flights.) [There are no more VTL flights into Singapore from 1 April 2022.]
- Travel Insurance that includes covid medical coverage of at least USD$20,000. If you want a anyhow policy just for the sake of applying for the Thai pass, AXA Thailand (https://www.axa.co.th/en/axa-sawasdee-thailand-travel-insurance) is one of the cheapest and meets the travel requirements. However if you would like a comprehensive travel insurance policy that covers you extensively, feel free to drop me a text and I will provide you a free no obligation quote for your trip.
- Test and Go Day 1 hotel package. Almost all hotels provide airport pick up service and also your compulsory post-arrival PCR test. My hotel of choice is Salil Hotel Sukhumvit 57. You can book with them via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and they will send you the payment link and hotel confirmation. I personally feel it is a good hotel for your first day because you can’t head out until your PCR results are out, which may take the entire day. (My PCR results were out at 11.30pm even though I arrived early at 9am.) Hotel staff will send you the 3 standard meals, but should you choose to order any food delivery, the hotel staff will also help to send food to your door. The room has a fridge and microwave and bowls and plates and utensils and also a separate basin for you to wash your used crockery, so you don’t have to use the same tap that you wash your face from.
- Vaccination certificate, which you need to notarise and crop out the QR codes for submission. (https://www.notarise.gov.sg/)
So with all these documents, you can proceed to submit your application on the Thai pass website. Approval is supposedly within 7 working days but I got mine approved within 2 working days. The Thai pass itself is a page with a big QR code.
I printed everything out and trust me it pays to do so, because it is so much more convenient. You will need to take these documents out numerous times.
[Pre-departure PCR test is no longer required as of 1 April 2022] For my pre-departure PCR, I got mine done at Swab Station (https://www.swabstation.sg/). They have different locations all over Singapore and costs only $98. You need to enter your passport number during booking and also bring along your passport when you head down for your PCR test. This needs to be done within 72 hours before your flight.
Come the actual day for your flight, for your pre-departure check-in at the airport, the counter staff will go through all your documents including your PCR result and your Test & Go hotel booking confirmation. This is the first of numerous times that you need to take your documents out.
During your flight, you will be given the standard Thailand arrival card as well as a covid declaration slip. They are quite straightforward to fill in. You can keep them together with your printed documents.
Upon arrival at Suvarnabhumi Airport, as soon as you disembark from the aircraft, you will see a long stretch of chairs. Let’s just call this the “Thai pass queue.” Here you have to once again hand over all the documents and they will scan the big QR code. This is before you step into the immigration hall, so once you are done here, you can then proceed to the actual immigration arrival queue to get your passport stamped. I was asked to provide my proof of accommodation after the Day 1 Test and Go, (i.e. where you will be staying for the rest of your trip) so you need to provide an actual address. I just showed my hotel bookings from Agoda (Yes, I printed these out too).
After immigration, you will see the baggage carousel. There is a small DTAC booth here so you can purchase your SIM card if you wish to do so, but otherwise just collect your baggage and walk past the customs to head out to the arrival pickup area. There will be a lot of different booths for all the different hotels. Everyone who has just arrived will also be looking and waiting for their Test and Go hotel pick up, so it can get quite crowded and messy here, so just find your hotel’s booth and the staff will show you to your transport.
Arriving at the hotel, checking-in requires you to once again produce all your documents. I saw the hotel concierge staff sanitizing my luggages. I am not sure if they do it at every hotel. Different hotels might have different processes, but at Salil, after I have checked-in at the lobby, there was a nurse to do my post-arrival PCR test at the hotel lobby itself. They will then send your swab test sample to the hospital/clinic. In the meantime, you will be sent to your hotel room and stay inside until your PCR test results are out. You can still order Grab food and in Bangkok I am quite certain that you will be spoilt for choice. Another reason why I highly recommend Salil is because if you order street food from Grab, most of the time the restaurant will send it to you in a plastic bag tied with a rubber band, so in Salil, at least you have proper crockery to eat them with.
I was hoping that my PCR results would be out earlier but unfortunately it was only at 11.30pm that I was notified via a phone call to my hotel room that my results were negative. From this point, I was free to roam anywhere.
Entry to malls in Bangkok is quite similar to Singapore, there is a QR code for you to check-in and also a temperature scanner. The only difference is that there is nobody sitting there to make sure you scan, so it is the norm that most people just walk right through.
Dining out, some restaurants require you to produce proof of vaccination or a negative PCR/ART test result, so you can just screenshot and show from your phone, or you can also produce the hardcopy which you have printed out. While most bars operate as usual, they require you to purchase and perform an ART test prior to entry.
I hope this helps. Happy travels!