The year 2021 is a year I will never forget. To get home to Chiang Mai, I either need to be quarantined for two weeks in Bangkok or stay in a luxury hotel on Phuket Island. The stay in Phuket comes with a completely ridiculous discount for the same length of time as quarantine in Bangkok. Since the journey home will be long regardless, I chose the option to stay two weeks in Phuket. I felt that it’s better to have the choice to be able to leave the hotel and enjoy Phuket than to be stuck in a hotel room 24/7 in Bangkok.
Travelling to Phuket is done under the Phuket Sandbox program. For an adult, it starts with two jabs of the vaccine. Step two is to fill out an application to get a Certificate of Entry. Without it, you can not travel to Thailand. In my case, I intend to stay 14 nights on Phuket Island and then continue up to Chiang Mai.
I was slightly unsure how to start this process. It gradually turned out not to be very complicated. More elaborate if you say so. Thailand uses both belts and suspenders to be really on the safe side.
The application itself is done online via the Thai Embassy’s website in Sweden (in my case). It worked largely without problems. You can edit the application(before sending), and if something is missing or wrong they let you attach the document to the same application later.
There are no handwritten signatures and such at this stage. A friend of mine did the whole application on his cell phone. However, I was unable to upload documents to the Safari browser. I had to switch to Chrome. Also, make sure that when you attach the document that you press the small arrow to save and upload it.
I had to upload a passport photo, visa and re-entry permit because I have a one-year visa. Vaccination certificate with information about which vaccine I received and which dates I received it. In addition, they wanted the insurance certificate. After this is done, you receive a six-digit PIN code and a confirmation email from the embassy.
Travel information, ie paid flight tickets, hotels according to the Sha + program where a special certificate is required, as well as a receipt for 3 prepaid PCR tests during the stay in Phuket will be added to the COE application later. First, you must get prior approval that you are at all qualified to travel to Thailand.
They write that you must count on 3 office days to get a pre-approval for the Certificate of Entry. In my case, I received an answer already in the afternoon the same day as I sent the application. But it is best to be out at a good time. Keep in mind that there may be national holidays that make up for it as well. After pre-approval, it was quick to add a flight ticket, a receipt for paid PCR tests on-site and hotel booking.
There are many ways to book a hotel. Special booking sites for Sha + hotels, but also Agoda and Booking.com. Some agencies offer complete solutions with transfer, hotel, PCR etc. I booked on Booking.com because I got a good discount as a Genius member there and the hotel’s booking manager responded in less than 15 minutes with a certificate with a code stated when applying for COE.
I did the PCR booking online and paid by credit card. The system selects dates based on your length of stay and. Then you get a receipt that can be uploaded to the COE application. It cost 8000 baht for three PCR tests and you can choose some different locations in Phuket.
When the approval was granted, the following text below was sent as an attachment to my email:
This is indeed a reminder to be careful and not to forget any printouts.
I booked an appointment for a PCR test in Sweden well in advance because I knew the vaccination centres that handle the tests here are very busy. So it is important to have foresight here as well. Travelling on the 19th I made the reservation on the 17th to be able to get the answer on the 18th.
The next step is to pass the first PCR test in Sweden to get permission to travel. Then they do a PCR test on arrival. Just after baggage claim on Phuket. And also two more tests during the stay.
This is a post about my experience as a Swede in Sweden who wants to travel home to my family in Thailand. Check carefully with the Thai embassy in your country for what applies to you.
When I left Thailand to travel to Sweden in July, the numbers were increasing in Thailand. At that time 9000 cases were reported per day. Now there are over 20 000 per day. However, Phuket Island is at the time of writing closed for Thai people to travel in. And the spread of Covid is very different depending on where you are in Thailand. You can follow the PR Thai Government’s updates on Facebook.
Let’s hope that tourism can return to Thailand soon. So many people in the country depend on it.