This past Tuesday, I entered Thailand for the second time since the pandemic began in 2020. I tend to enter or transit in Thailand often during the “usual” times, a half dozen to a dozen times a year.
Back in September 1st 2021, I entered through the Phuket Sandbox that required you to spend two weeks on the island before entering other parts of the country, and I documented the process.
Although entering Thailand is likely to change soon, I decided to explain the situation at the Suvarnabhumi this week and the drive-through Covid-test.
Thailand Pass Application Process:
I flew on a Finnair flight to Bangkok, and this was my first check-in at the refreshed Terminal 2. The check-in agent only had a look at the Thailand Pass PDF but, to my surprise, didn’t scan the QR code.
The flight was longer than usual because Finnair, like many other airlines, avoids Belarusian, Ukrainian, and Russian airspace.
Not sure how they always manage to assign the furthest arrival gate even when the airport is practically empty?
There were no people anywhere.
I assume that these chairs are for people to sit down when several flights arrive simultaneously, and there is a line.
There were two lines of checkpoints open and no other passengers around.
Here you need to present the documents, and the person checks that your papers are ready.
There was a thermal scan after the document check.
The first immigration area was closed.
Empty here as well.
This area is usually overflowing with passengers that need to fill out some additional forms when entering Thailand.
I had chatted with Sebastian while on the flight, and we were both curious if the Fast Track Lane had reopened.
And it was. You need to have a business or first class boarding pass to enter.
You meet the hotel representatives after you exit the customs. The location of these stands has already changed since my arrival.
I had arranged the Test & Go package with Le Meridien hotel and went to the desk.
The arrivals area on a Tuesday afternoon was quite orderly, but I can see that this can get busy if several flights arrive at the same time.
You need to arrange a car through the hotel, and it appears that they are using the AOT cars.
Drive Through Test
The BNH hospital on the Soi Convent is close to the Le Meridien, and the drive-through test was arranged to take place here.
I was handed the RAT kit that I need to use to do a follow-up test on day 5/6 and report the result through an app.
The nurse took both nasal and throat swabs.
You need to download the MorChana app to your phone and then register using the QR code from the Thailand Pass. It pulls up your status, and first, it is yellow and medium risk.
BNH told me that it would take 4 to 6 hours to get the result, and the hotel said that it takes 6 to 10. I got the result in five hours.
The total time from landing to a hotel suite with all the above steps took only 90 minutes.
The arrival process and entry application process in April 2022 was much smoother than in September 2021 but that shouldn’t come as a surprise. The airport was extremely quiet, and more employees were present than passengers.
I have said it previously that you should do a predeparture PCR-RT test if you haven’t recently had Covid-19 because you may otherwise end up spending 10 nights at a hospital upon arrival to the country (if positive).
I was supposed to return to Thailand in January and had everything ready. I did two predeparture PCR-RT tests, one was required, and both came back positive. It was better I could isolate myself in Finland than be confined to a small hotel room in Thailand.
This is probably my last arrival in Thailand which required this much paperwork and on arrival tests. I would expect Thailand Pass and at least the PCR-RT test to be scrapped soon.