As the saying goes, that escalated quickly: Less than 24 hours after the Thai Government opened the option to apply for an entry certificate to participate in the Phuket Sandbox there is already more back paddling and shifting of goal posts – yet again.
People have reported they already had their COE’s denied, the application is unable to processed for those who had the J&J Janssen vaccine that is one dose only (the application requires a two dose vaccine)and new restrictions have already been implemented.
There is now a new rule of prepaid PCR tests being required without any clear explanation of how to actually obtain such a prepaid service, how to pay for it and where to get the receipt.
Check out my article from yesterday when the COE Application launched at 12:00pm Thai Time but in the end it was apparently another half baked rush job with the left hand not knowing what the right hand does.
The issue in particular is with newly updated rules that the Royal Thai Embassy in Israel has already published on their website:
All while others have not updated their sites yet and plainly denied the application. Here is what the London embassy says:
The embassy in Washington DC has not published any updates but people discussing the matter on The Thaiger ( minute mark 11:20 of the video) and Richard Barrow claim they were told by the DC Embassy the the prepaid tests are required.
My best guess and recommendation is to inquire with the hotel you’re intending to book about the price for the three tests and ask if they can take payment as well as provide a receipt.
The official TAT News website has no such requirement on their most recent website update. However they posted this on Facebook:
You’d think details would have been finally been firm when opening official government channels for application. Truly unbelievable!
At least the issue with the Johnson&Johnson Janssen vaccine appears to have been fixed for entry now as the second field for vaccination nr 2 is now blocked when selecting this option:
This still doesn’t mean the application won’t be denied by the paper pushers as people have reported on various forums and social media.
At least the scheme finally became law and was published in the Royal Gazette this evening, literally last second.
🔴BREAKING: Details about the #PhuketSandbox have just been published in the Royal Gazette. It’s now official and Phuket can reopen on 1st July to fully vaccinated international travellers who don’t need to do quarantine #Thailand pic.twitter.com/x8lfEu9rGj
— Thai News Reports (@ThaiNewsReports) June 29, 2021
The main rules are:
- All Tourists must have an active tracking system on them at all times.
- Tourists must go straight to hotel in a special arranged vehicle.
- Tourists aren’t allowed to leave the hotel until the arrival test results are published.
- Guests must report to “handler” at the hotel each day.
- Staying overnight elsewhere than the registered hotel is not permitted.
With all the costs, uncertainty and hoops involved those who wish to return to Thailand might actually better continue to look at the regular ASQ in Bangkok. It certainly provides a higher level of confidence in planning and booking a nice balcony room / suite isn’t bad to spend two weeks at.
I feel somewhat compelled to actually book either one of these two options just for the experience and to have some material to report about the disaster the entire process is going to be. Will think about it in the coming weeks as I’m currently considering a trip to the U.S. and Europe.
It appears the comedy show around the Phuket Sandbox continues with ever shifting goal posts and about 24 hours to go until July 1, 2021.
The lack of guidance and inter-agency communication is astonishing. This is yet another blow for anyone willingly going through this scheme in order to go to Thailand and most importantly who would be willingly baited into undergoing all these prepaid requirements just to “be thaied” in the end and told to pound the sand, all pun intended!?