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Thread: Preparing to Return to Thailand - by Richard Barrow

  1. #1
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    Preparing to Return to Thailand - by Richard Barrow

    Finally, tourists, and expats returning home, are starting to arrive. I've talked to two individuals who have returned in the last 2 days who both said their trips, barring all the documentation requirements, went smoothly. This is also consistent with what our own Reporter on the Streets vnman has said in recent posts.

    I always like listening to what Richard Barrow has to say and thought this fairly recent article he posted in his Newsletter may be helpful to some who are planning to make the journey:

    Preparing to Return to Thailand
    by Richard Barrow

    "Compared to flying to the UK, my return trip to Thailand was nerve-racking. Very nerve-racking. But like I said many times, it is not a good idea to fly to Thailand during this transition period between the Certificate of Entry (COE) and the new Thailand Pass. My original advice was to wait at least two weeks. In fact, if you are not in a rush, I would advise to wait until December or January as the Thailand Pass system is still buggy. In addition, there could be an update on 15th November and on 1st December that will ease some entry rules. For example, the TAT is pushing to drop the requirement for the pre-flight RT-PCR test. This is because in some countries, it is difficult or even impossible to get this test done. They also want the RT-PCR test on arrival to Thailand to be changed to the cheaper and faster lateral flow test like they already do in the UK. If this happens, then it will be a literal “Test and Go” at the airport and no need to wait at a hotel. But I cannot see that change happening before December. Maybe in January.

    Last week I originally applied for the Certificate of Entry as I didn’t think there would be time for me to apply for the Thailand Pass. The system was being launched on the 1st of November and I was flying back on the 3rd of November. The COE was relatively easy to do though it was done in two parts. After the initial pre-approval, I then had to upload plane tickets and hotel booking. Which I did straight away. The next day, I then received the Certificate of Entry. Total time was three days. I then decided to apply for the Thailand Pass just for the experience to see if it was easier to apply, and easier to enter Thailand compared to people arriving with CEO. I also wanted to see if they would accept my social security digital card as the rule to allow this was changed the day after I had applied for my Certificate of Entry. As you probably know already, the process to apply for the Thailand Pass was far from smooth.

    The Thailand Pass was due to go online at 9:00am which was 2:00am in the UK. I set the alarm to wake myself up. At first, I thought it wouldn’t take too long. After all, I had all the documents ready on my iPad. The only thing I had to do differently was to do screenshots of the PDF files as the system only accepts JPG images. (By the way, they will update this soon to allow to upload PDF files). The other problem is that you can only upload one file. So, if the PDF has multiple pages, then you need to do a photo collage.
    For the Thailand Pass I needed to upload these five documents:

    1. The photo page in my passport
    2. My medical insurance
    3. My vaccination certificate
    4. The QR code for my vaccine certificate
    5. My hotel booking (including RT-PCR testing)

    I also had to enter personal details like passport number and date of birth and the date of arrival in Thailand. Unlike for the COE, I didn’t need to upload my visa or my flight ticket. On the last page I clicked submit and….. Nothing. It came up with a server error. Like other people, I tried multiple times before giving up. The next day I took the advice of some people and entered four spaces after my passport number and straight away I got the “success message”. Around 13 hours after this, I received an “automatic email” from the consular department in Bangkok saying my registration had been received and the results would be sent to me within seven working days. I was due to fly to Thailand the following day.

    Twelve hours after the receiving the automatic email, I then got another email with my QR Code. Great news for me and other expats as that also meant that they had accepted my social security digital card (the link for applying for the digital card is below). Then a minute later I received another QR Code and then eight emails saying my application had been rejected due to duplicate registration. I panicked at first as I thought that they had rescinded my original QR Code. But I scanned that on my smartphone and it went to a website that said it was verified.

    The email clearly said that I only needed to present these three things on check-in and on landing in Thailand:
    1. Passport with visa (if required)
    2. Thailand Pass QR Code (on mobile device or printed copy)
    3. Medical certificate with a laboratory result indicating that COVID-19 is not detected through RT-PCR test (issued within 72 hours before departure).

    Not everyone’s experience with the Thailand Pass registration system was the same. Some had no problem from the start. Some got their QR Code straight away. Some, like myself got it within 1-3 days. Others were panicking that it wouldn’t come and wondered if they should cancel their flights. For most people I don’t think it was the best of experiences. The main problem is that you cannot check on your registration status. And when you get an email back that says something was not correct, you must then apply again from the start. So that would potentially mean another seven days. I have already heard stories of people missing flights or just giving up. But the problem is, you cannot apply for the Thailand Pass unless you pre-book the accommodation and your insurance. It is such a gamble at the moment. Who would risk it?

    Going back to my story, we headed to the airport early to check-in in case of delays. Like in Bangkok, the airline must check that you have all your documents before you fly. The people I was travelling with had COE. I had Thailand Pass. I really thought that my check-in would be simple as I only needed to show three things. It wasn’t so. Although this was now the 3rd of November, they hadn’t seen a Thailand Pass before. They knew it was coming but they didn’t know what to do with the QR Code. So, they asked me for print outs of all my documents. I gave them the negative Covid-19 test that I had just done and told them that the rest is on the QR Code. But they didn’t have a QR Code reader. I said you can use your phone, but she didn’t have an app.

    Luckily, I had print outs of everything already. But my problem came with the insurance. She wanted to see the insurance policy where it said I have Covid-19 insurance coverage up to $50,000. All I had was my social security digital card. I showed it to her, but she wasn’t happy. I told her that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wouldn’t have issued me a Thailand Pass if they hadn’t accepted my social security. After a while, she found a colleague that had a QR reader on his phone and he scanned my QR Code. This then went to the website which said I was verified. She still wasn’t convinced but finally let me go. Hopefully, people who fly out in the coming days and weeks will have an easier time at check-in. But all was good in the end.

    End of article.


  2. 3 Users gave Like to post:

    arsenal (November 22nd, 2021), Moggy (November 22nd, 2021), Oliver2 (November 22nd, 2021)

  3. #2
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    Re: Preparing to Return to Thailand - by Richard Barrow

    Quote Originally Posted by Dodger View Post
    Finally, tourists, and expats returning home, are starting to arrive. I've talked to two individuals who have returned in the last 2 days who both said their trips, barring all the documentation requirements, went smoothly. This is also consistent with what our own Reporter on the Streets vnman has said in recent posts.

    I always like listening to what Richard Barrow has to say and thought this fairly recent article he posted in his Newsletter may be helpful to some who are planning to make the journey:

    Preparing to Return to Thailand
    by Richard Barrow

    "Compared to flying to the UK, my return trip to Thailand was nerve-racking. Very nerve-racking. But like I said many times, it is not a good idea to fly to Thailand during this transition period between the Certificate of Entry (COE) and the new Thailand Pass. My original advice was to wait at least two weeks. In fact, if you are not in a rush, I would advise to wait until December or January as the Thailand Pass system is still buggy. In addition, there could be an update on 15th November and on 1st December that will ease some entry rules. For example, the TAT is pushing to drop the requirement for the pre-flight RT-PCR test. This is because in some countries, it is difficult or even impossible to get this test done. They also want the RT-PCR test on arrival to Thailand to be changed to the cheaper and faster lateral flow test like they already do in the UK. If this happens, then it will be a literal “Test and Go” at the airport and no need to wait at a hotel. But I cannot see that change happening before December. Maybe in January . . .

    . . . Luckily, I had print outs of everything already. But my problem came with the insurance. She wanted to see the insurance policy where it said I have Covid-19 insurance coverage up to $50,000. All I had was my social security digital card. I showed it to her, but she wasn’t happy. I told her that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wouldn’t have issued me a Thailand Pass if they hadn’t accepted my social security. After a while, she found a colleague that had a QR reader on his phone and he scanned my QR Code. This then went to the website which said I was verified. She still wasn’t convinced but finally let me go. Hopefully, people who fly out in the coming days and weeks will have an easier time at check-in. But all was good in the end.

    End of article.
    GREAT write-up....For me it is all too much...I will have to wait until maybe this TH pass is done away with, I am not going to pay for an airline ticket in advance to apply for the Pass....I think just giving the flight schedule one intends to make,,,get approved,,,buy the ticket...also as you say paying in advance for the hotel and insurance and NOT knowing IF you will get approval is another problem....Hopefully in coming months this might be done away with or reduced, do you think?? Again nice article...
    Last edited by Jellybean; November 22nd, 2021 at 21:34. Reason: Long quote shortened

  4. #3
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    Re: Preparing to Return to Thailand - by Richard Barrow

    I'm sorry to drone on about this issue, but some of us cannot wait indefinitely for a return; we haven't that amount of time for travel left. Accordingly, I am struggling to prepare myself for a March departure, despite all the obstacles placed in my way by the Thai Government.

    And yes, I've bought a flight, a stay an ASQ hotel (remarkably, costing £120) and our hotel booking, though I can cancel the flight at a loss and the Agoda ASQ booking with a full reimbursement.

    The Pass still presents problems regarding insurance. Should I use my existing (and generous) one which includes but doesn't mention Covid, or buy a Covid-specific one which may fall foul of the government because it won't include other medical insurance? At least I've plenty of time to work this out. And I'm hoping that the quarantine night will have gone by March and replaced by an airport test.

    Also on my mind is the depressing state of Pattaya itself. We don't use the bars much but we shall miss the vibrancy of the Jomtien Complex if they aren't open. We don't want to be the Matt Lucas "only gays in the village." UK readers will know what I mean.

    Finally, the continuing prevalence of the virus- including possibly on the plane and taxis, something which could result in quarantine for even those unaffected- and in shops, hotels , remains a concern.

    Looking forward to a trip- and its recollection long after- are important aspects of going to Thailand. This time it's hard to be positive. Nevertheless, as Bobby Seale said, "seize the time"; it is not impossible that this time next year, things could be even worse. And I'll be one year older.

  5. 9 Users gave Like to post:

    billyhouston (November 23rd, 2021), ChrisY (November 23rd, 2021), daydreamer (November 23rd, 2021), dinagam (November 22nd, 2021), francois (November 22nd, 2021), Jellybean (November 22nd, 2021), Kenny (November 22nd, 2021), Lotusleaf (November 23rd, 2021), vnman (November 22nd, 2021)

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    Re: Preparing to Return to Thailand - by Richard Barrow

    Providing you keep your expectations low you should be fine.
    "In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king"

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    Re: Preparing to Return to Thailand - by Richard Barrow

    Quote Originally Posted by Oliver2 View Post
    I'm sorry to drone on about this issue, but some of us cannot wait indefinitely for a return; we haven't that amount of time for travel left. Accordingly, I am struggling to prepare myself for a March departure, despite all the obstacles placed in my way by the Thai Government.

    And yes, I've bought a flight, a stay an ASQ hotel (remarkably, costing £120) and our hotel booking, though I can cancel the flight at a loss and the Agoda ASQ booking with a full reimbursement.

    The Pass still presents problems regarding insurance. Should I use my existing (and generous) one which includes but doesn't mention Covid, or buy a Covid-specific one which may fall foul of the government because it won't include other medical insurance? At least I've plenty of time to work this out. And I'm hoping that the quarantine night will have gone by March and replaced by an airport test.

    Also on my mind is the depressing state of Pattaya itself. We don't use the bars much but we shall miss the vibrancy of the Jomtien Complex if they aren't open. We don't want to be the Matt Lucas "only gays in the village." UK readers will know what I mean.

    Finally, the continuing prevalence of the virus- including possibly on the plane and taxis, something which could result in quarantine for even those unaffected- and in shops, hotels , remains a concern.

    Looking forward to a trip- and its recollection long after- are important aspects of going to Thailand. This time it's hard to be positive. Nevertheless, as Bobby Seale said, "seize the time"; it is not impossible that this time next year, things could be even worse. And I'll be one year older.
    It is a very difficult subject but I for one am glad I didn't take the advice of Richard Barrow. The circumstances of each and every one of us are so different that it is impossible to make suggestions that would fit everyone. There are pros and cons and some neutralize each other. For example, when it comes to insurance. You could endlessly worry about it, or just get an extra coverage which would surely be accepted by the Thai standards. That extra money you pay will surely be saved on many other things such as accommodation and flights. Most hotels have a 2 + 2 at the moment and some planes are nearly empty which also keeps tickets cheap.

    In my case, Thailand was not something I wanted to plan long in advance. As an example, the plane ticket for my December holiday in Colombia cost around1300 Euro business, that same ticket costs double if you were to book it now. A few months ago, I still had a great choice of Airbnb accommodation, now it is much less and for much more money. So for an advanced booking, Colombia and Mexico seemed the better option.

    Thailand was a very impulsive decision and went better than expected. I could even visit DJ Station, who would have thought? But again, I wouldn't book anything past a few weeks from now.

    For my December holiday, I have thought of many different scenarios. What if Colombia goes in lockdown, what if this what if that. I believe that there are many more options in that part of the world. I would be just as happy to stay the full two months in Mexico, Cuba or Brasil. For Asia, there are not so many options. If Vietnam, and the Philippines would be open just like Cambodia, it would feel better about booking Thailand.

    I know I am ranting a bit but my main point is, make sure you have options. Don't commit yourself to a single one because "hoping for the best" might not be enough. Refundable tickets are indeed an important part of that.

  8. 4 Users gave Like to post:

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    Re: Preparing to Return to Thailand - by Richard Barrow

    There seems to be some misunderstanding about booking flights.

    You do NOT need to send a copy of your ticket to obtain the Thai Pass. You just enter details.
    That’s all I had to do.

    No need to buy the ticket first. Obviously the longer you leave booking the ticket the more it will cost.

    If you later decide on a different date then presumably you will have to get another Thai Pass, but they are free.

  10. #7
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    Re: Preparing to Return to Thailand - by Richard Barrow

    It's probably been pasted here before, but this may help.

    Requirements for Test and Go Travelers

    Even though you are a fully vaccinated traveler, from an approved country traveler, and are traveling by air traveler, you are still required to show required documents to Thai authorities to be granted entry in Thailand.

    Here are the requirements that a Test and Go traveler must have:

    Thailand Pass QR Code

    You will need to obtain a QR Code that will be received upon approval after applying for a Thailand Pass. Provide all the necessary details and upload documents that are asked and wait for confirmation or approval for you to receive a QR Code which will be scanned upon arrival in Thailand.

    Certificate of Vaccination

    You will need to obtain a Certificate of Vaccination for proof that you are a fully vaccinated traveler.

    Know that the certificate of vaccination will be only be accepted if the vaccines you have received are approved by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) or by the World Health Organization (WHO). And it shall be at least 14 days before your scheduled travel date.

    For children that are under the age of 12, they will not be required to be vaccinated as long as their parent or guardian is vaccinated and have a certificate of vaccination.

    Medical Certificate for COVID-19 Test Result

    To enter Thailand, you are required to have a negative result. The result shall be issued within 72 hours of the travel date and the test shall be an RT-PCR test.

    If you have just recovered from COVID-19, you will need a Certificate of Recovery. It will serve as proof that you have recovered from COVID-19 at least 3 months already.

    COVID-19 Insurance

    You will have to purchase COVID-19 insurance that will cover the costs of COVID-19 related incidents in case one gets infected during the stay in Thailand.

    The COVID-19 insurance must have a minimum coverage of $50,000. For COVID-19 insurance that you can trust, AXA Sawasdee Thailand is the best option.
    https://www.thaiembassy.com/travel-t...ne-free-hotels

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    Re: Preparing to Return to Thailand - by Richard Barrow

    Here's something that popped up on my Youtbe feed that may be interesting to some here:

    Covid Freedom - Asia Opens Up while Europe Locks Back Down

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQ5quEk1r68

  13. 2 Users gave Like to post:

    daydreamer (November 23rd, 2021), mr giggles (November 24th, 2021)

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    Re: Preparing to Return to Thailand - by Richard Barrow

    It will be interesting to see how many European countries remain in the “no quarantine” list at Thailand’s next review which I understand is soon.
    Austria anyone?

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    Re: Preparing to Return to Thailand - by Richard Barrow

    Quote Originally Posted by Oliver2 View Post
    The Pass still presents problems regarding insurance. Should I use my existing (and generous) one which includes but doesn't mention Covid, or buy a Covid-specific one which may fall foul of the government because it won't include other medical insurance?
    I just wrote to my insurance company for a short letter confirming that I have medical insurance that covers me for at least US$100,000 and this includes cover for covid19.

  16. User who gave Like to post:

    Oliver2 (November 23rd, 2021)

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