Last week I entered Thailand under the Test&Go scheme which was available for applicants through December 22nd and the arrival experience couldn’t have been better.
My arrival was facilitated in combination with a SHA+ booking package at the Grand Hyatt Bangkok and their testing part at MedPark Hospital and everything was extremely well organized.
Unfortunately, the follow-up for the now required second PCR proves itself to be an epic disaster as none of the hospitals on the government-provided list has appointments available to facilitate the “free” PCR test prescribed by the Thai Ministry of Health.
I was one of the last applicants lucky enough to get their applications in on December 22, 2021 when Thailand announced the shutdown of this system. I still had all the required documents from my last Phuket Sandbox entry so not much more was required other than a new SHA+ hotel reservation.
The package wasn’t available online anymore but I called the Grand Hyatt Bangkok and they were able to book it manually:
This package price is rather reasonable as it includes the airport transfer and a PCR test. Keep in mind even under regular circumstances with current rates one night is ~ 3000 Baht all in. A PCR Test in Bangkok is usually ~ 2000-3500 Baht depending on where you book it. Then the transfer with the S-Class (private transportation is mandatory). Pricing is actually cheap if you think of it.
I don’t recommend booking transportation options together with other, unrelated individuals in the same car. If one of them ends up testing positive you’re off to the gulag as well as a “close contact”. Always and under any circumstances BOOK YOUR OWN CAR!
The timeline was extremely efficient:
- Landed at 11:30pm (35 min early) / At the Gate 11:40pm
- Off the plane as first passenger (seated first row in Business)
- Nobody in the arrival area, walked all the to the front of the document check
- Airport staff filled in some forms, scanned Thailand Pass QR code
- Arrived at the Immigration booth 11:57pm
- Baggage arrived at 12:15am
- Hotel representative at the arrivals area waited with a hotel registration form and the driver
- In the car at 12:20am
- First stop was MedPark Hospital for PCR Testing, specimen was taken in a parking area at 01:00 am
- Arrived at the hotel at 1:15am, went straight to the suite (upgraded as Hyatt Globalist)
- Negative Test result arrived by email at 2:35am after which the hotel printed a copy and delivered the room keys to the room (under the door, I was already asleep at the time)
The S Class the Grand Hyatt sent was properly modified with shields, presumingly to protect the driver:
Waiting area at MedPark hospital for drive-through services:
PCR Test Result arrived by email:
Following this, you’re basically free to go. However, there is the second PCR Test you’re required to take as per the order of the health department:
The QR Code on the form leads to this google drive document listing all the hospitals that are supposed to provide the service.
This is where the fun starts. I contacted the first five hospitals near my residence in Bangkok, all of which including the Bangkok Hospital just said “we don’t have appointments”.
Not surprisingly, Bangkok Hospital has ample availability for people who want to pay for a PCR test. Then why even get on this list? Did the government demand it or just to make them look better? Just another typical Thai scam.
I ended up emailing the hotel which requested me to forward the result to them that even getting an appointment is a complete disaster.
The concierge eventually figured out that the Piyavate Hospital (Nr. 16 on the list) provides appointments online. Not sure what to think of this hospital (no experience with it) but for now it’s a lot more professional than Bangkok Hospital which despite being on the list refuses to take appointments outright.
Thank you for very much for your email.
Please kindly be informed that Piyavate Hospital ( No 16 in enclosed file attach ) also partner of the second round RT-PCR test. The reservation require 2days in advance by copy link as follows: https://bit.ly/3FyT6u8
I made an appointment for Tuesday and will lay somewhat low until then. Not in the mood to catch something and test positive if I can somehow avoid it.
I’m very happy with the way everything worked on the day of arrival from the time I left the aircraft to receiving the test results a few hours later. It was a good decision to book a proper hotel with decent transportation and testing options. Quite frankly, if you book a cheap dodgy hotel with obscure hospital partners I can very well see the test result come back positive in Thailand considering the amount of insurance money involved for a two-week quarantine. I have no such concerns with upscale hotels such as the Hyatt and its partner MedPark where the test is conducted.
Still up in the air how the follow-up test at Piyavate Hospital will go. Of course, I could always pay for my own test at an approved clinic hospital such as MedConsult that I’ve now used a few times in the past but I’m really not in the mood to pay a few thousand Baht when it’s not entirely necessary. The Thai government imposed this second test on us after the fact and advertised it would be free, let them pay for it. I’m already quite miffed that hospitals on that list such as Bangkok Hospital are already playing games again so they don’t have to accept this voucher for which they probably get paid close to nothing by the Health Department.