The year 2021 is a year I will never forget. To get home to Chiang Mai.
I either needed 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 to stay two weeks in Phuket. I felt that it’s better to decide 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.
Certificate of Entry Application to Thailand.
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.
- Ensure that it has been at least two weeks since you were vaccinated with dose number two before entry.
- Check that you have a vaccine pass clearly described above in English.
- Remember that you have travel insurance that guarantees a minimum of $ 100,000 in the event of hospital treatment for COVID for the entire period of your stay.
The application is made online via the Thai Embassy’s website in Sweden (in my case). It worked mainly without problems. You can edit the application(before sending), and if something is missing or wrong, they will 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 paper, 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, i.e. paid flight tickets, hotels according to the Sha + program where a special certificate is required, and a receipt for three 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 qualified to travel to Thailand.
How long time for the pre-application process and how to proceed
They write that you must count on three 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. 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. Particular 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 made the PCR booking online and paid by credit card. The system selects dates based on your length of stay. Then you get a receipt that can be uploaded to the COE application. It costs 8000 baht for three PCR tests, and you can choose some different locations in Phuket.
Approved Certificate of Entry
When the approval was granted, the following text below was sent as an attachment to my email:
- Entry to Thailand
- 1. หลัง ได้ รับ หนังสือ รับรอง ฯ (COE) กรุณา จัด เตรียม เอกสาร เพื่อ แสดง ต่อ สาร การ บิน ที่ เคาน์เตอร์ เช็ค อิน
- 1.1 Passport and valid Thai visa / re-entry permit (if required)
- 1.2 A print out version of Certificate of Entry (COE)
- 1.3 Medical certificate with a laboratory result indicating that COVID-19 is not detected, using RT-PCR test, issued within 72 hours before departure (in case of connecting flights, before embarkation from initial port).
- 1.4 Insurance or letter from employer guaranteeing that the insurance company or employer will cover a minimum of 100,000 USD of medical costs incurred by the applicant in Thailand, including medical costs in the event that applicant contracts COVID-19 (The insurance must cover the total duration of stay in Thailand)
- 1.5 T.8 Form (Health Declaration Form). You can download T.8 Form at https://bit.ly/34X6sAJ
- * Documents (1.3) (1.4) (1.5) must be in English or Thai only. Certified translations into English or Thai are acceptable in the case that the original copy is in a foreign language.
- 2. Please download and register Thailand Plus application.
- 3. The above mentioned documents in (1) and Thailand Plus application in (2) must be declared to the immigration and disease control officers once the passenger has arrived in Thailand.
This is indeed a reminder to be careful and not to forget any printouts.
PCR test before you depart
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 bustling. So it is important to have foresight here as well. Travelling on the 19th, I made the reservation on the 17th to answer on the 18th.
The next step is to pass the first PCR test in Sweden to get approval to travel. Then they do a PCR test on arrival. Just after baggage claim on Phuket. And also two more tests during the stay.
Rules and conditions change – this is just an example from my experience
This post is 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.
The numbers – Covid spread in Thailand.
When I left Thailand to travel to Sweden in July, the numbers increased 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.