Thailand was one of the first countries in Asia that started to allow tourists to enter back in July 2021 with plenty of red tape that has been gradually lessened.
I entered Thailand for the third time on Friday, and it was close to as smooth as silk when it came to prearrival and on arrival requirements.
Due to flight cancellations and a lack of connectivity between South Korea and Bali, my next destination, I decided to drop Seoul and return to Thailand for a week.
My Entry Experience In September 2021 – Phuket Sandbox:
My Failed Trip In January 2022
I had applied, approved, and had a ticket to enter Thailand in January but ended up getting asymptomatic covid found on the pre-departure tests (two).
This was much better than having a covid positive test in Thailand back then, which would have resulted in me spending significant time in a hospitel (hotel reserved for covid positive visitors).
My Subsequent Entry In April – Thailand Pass:
Thailand Pass Application May 2022
May 13, 2022 Arrival Experience:
I flew from Phu Quoc via Ho Chi Minh City on Vietnam Airlines. The Vietnam Airlines agent in PQC asked for my vaccination proof (not required to enter Thailand), and I told her that and showed them my Thailand Pass. I believe that she was confused and took an image of the QR code.
I stopped by the check-in desk in Ho Chi Minh City to switch my seat from 3K to 1A, and the agent asked for my Thailand Pass again and had trouble scanning the code on her phone but eventually got the updated boarding pass.
The airport was quiet, and the only step left from covid-measurements was the Thailand Pass QR code check.
They scan the code and ensure that the name matches your passport. They then stamp the arrival card that you need to hand in at the immigration.
I was soon through the Fast Track immigration and waited for the checked luggage.
As there was no longer a need for the on-arrival test booked through a hotel and the requirement of using a hotel car, I just ordered a Grab (a better choice than a cab but slightly more expensive).
The entry to Thailand was straightforward this time, and I would expect that the Thailand Pass is soon discontinued, too, as will be the case with the Mor Chana tracking app that previously had to be downloaded to your smartphone (officially gone on June 1 but nobody cares about it anymore).
Vietnam is completely back to prepandemic arrival requirements as of yesterday (read more here). Some nationals need to apply for an electronic visa or visa-on-arrival, but there are no covid-related test or vaccination requirements.
It seems that Southeast Asian nations are readying up for the high season that begins late fall and runs through the first quarter of 2023.