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dean

Thai ban on International/American travel to Thailand

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At some point, I’m coming over for 2 months to supervise the renovation of my wife’s house in Chiangmai.  I think that there is a ban on International travel to Thailand, that expires July 31 unless it is extended.  Rumors that I’ve heard is that there is. 14 quarantine for International travelers, plus possession of a hefty health insurance policy that covers COVID-19.  After waiting 4 months for American Airlines to refund the $3,800 for 5 round trip trips to Chiangmai this Summer, I have no desire to buy my ticket far in advance. I’m thinking Mid October to mid December, or more likely, the first part of January to the first part of March.  I normally fly into Bangkok and fly up to Chiangmai after a day or 2 in Bangkok but would fly directly to Chiangmai to avoid quarantine in Bangkok.  At least in Chiangmai, I can quarantine in my own house or my wife’s house while work is being done

Does anyone know the latest rules governing travel into Thailand?  I’d like to assume that my January date would be safe to plan around but with a possible second wave, I wouldn’t bet my house on it.

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I just got back to BKK from the US July 27th and it was a bunch of hurdles.  The process has changed since I applied, and was approved, but needed items are the same.

 

I went to the Los Angeles Thai embassy website once foreigners with Thai wives were approved to reenter.

There was a link and numerous questions were asked, and documents requested to upload.  From memory

My passport, her passports (she is duel US/Thai), marriage license (we were married in US not Thailand), her ID, my visa, bank statement (I believe no longer needed), and a flight confirmation.

The flight confirmation was a typical Thai requirement.  Only repatriation flights are allowed in, but you can't book a repat flight without permission, but to get permission you need a confirmed flight.

Luckily I had booked a flight using miles and AA was happy to cancel and return all miles.

After a week I received an email showing what repat flights were available but when I contacted them they said I could not book without permission from Thai consulate.

Another week later I received an email saying I had permission to book the flight, but that this permission was not the needed certificate of entry.  I booked anyway and could not use points.  Economy $1,000, Premium economy $1,800, business $2,500 all, of course, one way.  The flights also had to be booked through Bangkok so I had to call them (which is always a joy).

Also they wanted me to book a quarantine hotel.  All foreigners returning, except diplomats, must book into a approved ASQ hotel for 14 days (It's really 15 days by Thai counting).   Prices range from 30,000 baht to 165,000 baht.  I had problems booking, the first 6 hotels I called were booked, eventually I got Grand Center Pointe Sukhumvit.

Another week, or so, passed and I got an email asking me to upload the flight, and ASQ hotel, bookings and proof of payment, which I did.  Oh somewhere along the line I had to show proof of insurance specifically covering Covid for $100,000

About 1-2 weeks later I received the official Certificate of Entry.

Now, to actually go I had to

1)  Get a covid RT-PCR test (this is not the antigen, antibody rapid test) with the results timed within 72 hours of takeoff

2)  Get a fit to fly certificate signed by a doctor also within the 72 hours.

I called many, many covid testing places and they all said results 3-5 days from test, maybe! Crap that doesn't work!  I finally found a doctor in Beverly hills that guaranteed a 24-48 hour turn around.  It was a few bucks more, but worth it.  Armed with the test I got a local urgent care to give me a fit to fly.

So, again from memory and things may change, you need

1) Your passport

2) Your visa (if not valid(mine was) you can apply through this process)

3) Marriage certificate

4) Wife's ID, passport (Thai)

5) Insurance covering covid for $100,000 (USD)

6) ASQ hotel reservation and proof of payment

7) Confirmed e-ticket for flight and proof of payment

😎 Declaration form (you fill out as part of application.  It's listed as a required doc but I was never asked for it)

9) Certificate of entry from Thai government

10) form T8

OK the flight

I arrived at LAX 3 hours before and there were only two active flights in the international terminal.  Three Thais with a desk and chairs were set up by the Japan Air gate with a Thai flag.  I went there, they checked my passport off to a list they had, checked my certificate of entry (CoE), insurance form, eticket, covid test and fit to fly.

I then got in line for checkin as they were opening and was the first.  The JAL lady obviously was not sure (I believe this is the first repat flight from LAX) and had to check the paperwork with a supervisor.  This done I proceeded through the almost empty airport to my gate.  I would guess maybe 10 falang and 50 Thai on the plane.

We changed planes in Narita and were led by someone directly from our plane to the new one.

When we landed in Bangkok there were a lot of hazmat covered people, immigration officers, and cops all spaced along the way, no chance to escape!!

1st sit in a chair and have paperwork checked

2nd be led to a counter have paperwork checked along with temperature

3rd led to a chair and waited 10 minutes until about 20 got through the first steps.  Given a tag to wear showing my ASQ hotel

4th led to a line to the standard immigration booths, one for Thai, one for falang and paperwork checked again

5) Immigration checkin with additional paperwork.  Imm officer unsure so older officer had to help.

Once through Imm my bags were up, I grabbed them and was waved to the front.  Customs was closed.  They checked my hotel tag and waved me to gate 9 where a jeep cherokee from my hotel loaded me up

NOTE: At all times upon arriving to being loaded in the hotel car you are escorted by a ton of people.

At the hotel there was a paperwork check and temp check and standard checkin

Quarantine:  All hotels different but same same.  Grande Centerpoint is a nice hotel. Due to my penchant for cigars I got a smoking room but can't open windows and no balcony.

Rules: 

1) Must stay in room at all times.  Cleaning starts day 4 and continues every other day, during this time I can go to a restricted area outside.  No pool/gym

2) There is a set menu.  In fairness there is a decent variety and so far food is good, but not big helpings

3) I can order from room service for a additional charge (20% discount)

4) No grab, food panda, etc

5) relatives can come in but can only bring snacks and dry food, all packages inspected

6) No alcohol (well they never checked my luggage so the joke is on them)

7) covid testing 3 times during stay

It says 14 days but the first full day is day 0 so really 15 days.

Costs

Covid test $225 usd

Insurance - I had bought some already so no additional costs

Flight $2,500 usd, I treated myself to business class, other prices above

Hotel 62,000 baht.

OK haven't typed this much in a long time.  Hope it makes sense, I'm happy to answer any questions

 

 

 

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Thanks for the quick response.  I didn’t realize no commercial flights from the U.S. were going to Thailand.  I’ve been checking dates and costs for flights in October and January and there are plenty of flights listed into Bangkok and a few into Chiangmai.  I’m sure the $100,000 COVID insurance requirement will be in place for awhile.  My Thai wife, who has a Green Card, would remain in the U.S., so only I would be the only one flying.  Since I’m planning on spending $8,000-10,000 dollars on house, as well as a little money on my house near San Kamphaine, I’d prefer to buy a ticket in the $600-800 range, LAX to BKK or $200 more to fly to Chiangmai.  I assume that your wife was living in Thailand and you were flying over to rejoin her.  Since my wife lives in the U.S., I don’t know how that would affect the long approval process.  As a tourist destination, Thailand will at some point revert to easier entry to the country, with the medical COVID detection procedures in place.  I’ll just had to wait them out.

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 Migrant,

You mention visa but do not specify if Married Visa or Retirement Visa, since many of us who do not require a Thai work permit go down the retirement route since a lot less hoops to jump through. 
 

One would imagine married status would be based on marriage certificate and not visa type but this being Thailand you never know.

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Mekong I have a "O" visa based on retirement but it was the married to a Thai that got me back in.  

 

Paul, I had booked 4 flights, all cancelled as the date came closer and the Thai government extended the ban.  I would imagine if the ban is extended those flights you see will be cancelled also unfortunately!!

I had to give a reason for an urgent return to Thailand.  My wife was going to join me in the US in March but cancelled as covid expanded.  I said my urgent return was to help my wife.  In addition to all household duties we take care of her Mom and she needed help doing it.  

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For anyone interested, or may need to go through it.  

  Day 7 in quarantine at Grande Centere Point Sukhumvit 55.  When I first arrived my floor was full at meal times with the plastic bags outside most every door.  Now only about 3-4 doors have the bags.  Not sure if that means vacancies available but for what it's worth.  The rooms have no balcony but are nicely done with a hot pot and cooler.  No microwave or refrigerator though.  There is an ice bucket but since we can't leave the rooms not sure why.  Quite a few menu choices, especially Japanese style meals.  Food has been quite good and you can also order off the room service menu for a discounted price.  Not a huge menu but some items such as pizza and hamburgers not on the quarantine menu.  I had my covid test day 3 with results given day 4.  Now I can, with a reservation, go out to the deck area around the pool.  They said 30-45 minutes a day .  Cleaning of the rooms also started day four and they come every other day.  We can leave the room, again for the pool area, while they clean, maybe 20-30 minutes so you can actually get fresh air twice on cleaning days.  Pool area is big enough to walk some laps if desired and plenty of chairs, and lounges, smoking is allowed.  
  Meals arrive in a plastic bag, plastic utensils and plastic containers, outside your room.  They ring your doorbell to let you know.  
  I had some laundry done yesterday, one day turnaround.
  There have been some families when I get my yard time each day so those quarantining with families it is available.  Haven't seen any pets.
  There was no mention about being able to go outside after the covid test results so if you test negative just ask them.
  Communications is mainly over line and response time has been very good.  The room has some international channels and netflix.  I was having problems with netflix, called, and someone was up very quickly to fix it.
  There are smoking rooms but, again, no balconies and can not open the windows.
  The pool, and gym, are offlimits.
  No family in the area but if you have some (or friends I imagine) they can bring you dried food snacks.  Inspection of all items is to be done.  There is a bench placed by a window that I have noticed people talking through.  Probably to friends/relatives that we can not visit face to face.
  Internet is good and, so far, reliable
  All in all if you have to be quarantined it's a decent place

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In case you had enough and just wanted out at whatever cost. Could you physically leave the place or are you locked in the building? Thinking about a quick visit to Soi 22 Honey Bee massage.

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17 hours ago, buffalo_bill said:

In case you had enough and just wanted out at whatever cost. Could you physically leave the place or are you locked in the building? Thinking about a quick visit to Soi 22 Honey Bee massage.

You would probably have to fend off the hotel staff.  Elevators, etc, are all limited and everything goes by the staff and we know how attentive they all are!!

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