When I got the COE confirmation the next step was the PCR test. My trip with Qatar was on the 19th so I booked the PCR test on the 17th. Then I could know on the 18th if I would be allowed into the Phuket Sandbox or not. The test result came out negative which was positive and it popped up in the mailbox just one hour before I was supposed to leave Jönköping towards Stockholm. Another paper needed to print out.
I made sure that I had two sets of printouts with the necessary papers.
I had an interesting experience at the Unique hotel in Stockholm with a super tiny room reminding me about some Japanese hotel rooms. This hotel building was about 120 years old though so it had this little bit cosy retro, ghostly feeling about it.
On the 19th I was at Arlanda Airport before Qatar opened its check-in. The process was smooth. Even though the mask requirement wasn’t strictly followed and the social distancing was so so. Qatar had set up a table in the line where you had to show the papers needed for your specific destination. It took just 5 minutes for them to acknowledge my papers and the whole check-in process was about 20 minutes.
The first flight from Stockholm to Doha took about 5h and 30 minutes. Very few passengers on board. The layover of 3 hours with bus transfers on and off was a bit tiring since it was in the middle of the night. But still no big deal. At Hamad airport, they quickly went through the documents again. The Qatar staffs were mostly interested in the Certificate of Entry.
The second leg, I slept through most of it. We landed at Phuket Airport a bit ahead of time. It was good to have been seated in the front part of the aircraft. Once we got off the plane, we were met by plenty of staff, all covered in plastic suites. They had all passengers sit down so they could inspect all the documents, including boarding passes. Once this was done they wanted to scan the MorChana (link here to Google Play)application QR code. Most passengers had only the Thailand Plus application downloaded. The Thailand Plus is mentioned during the application process, but it is the MorChana app that they use.
So better make sure you have both of them. There is free wifi at Phuket Airport so the MorChana part can be solved on the spot.
After scanning the MorChana QR code they stamped the health declaration T8 and you were allowed to go to a Health Care station where they again inspected documents(T8). After that, I could go to immigration. There was no queue and the luggage came almost immediately on the baggage belt. Walked through customs and then to the swab test register just outside the airport. They checked my passport and gave me the equipment for the PCR test. This was then handed to a staff that did the testing from a temporary stall they had set up. The whole process from landing to leaving the airport took less than 1 hour.
Then it was super easy to get a taxi outside. The ride to Patong was quick but I have never seen so few people in Phuket in my life. At the hotel, they checked my passport, Sh+ document and you are supposed to scan MorChana every day in the reception. The PCR result came out negative already in the evening so I didn’t have to wait until the next morning to leave my room. The quarantine was then officially over by 8 pm when the receptionist called to tell me that my test was all good. So now the Phuket Sandbox is open to me.
The great benefit of Phuket Sandbox is that you can enjoy the island and not being locked up in an ASQ quarantine in Bangkok. So it is a way to start up Phuket tourism again and a “lighter” was to get home if you live in Thailand. No need to quarantine, but still 3 PCR tests are to be taken and at the moment there are limited ways to fly out of Phuket. Many so-called “sandboxers” book a bus to Bangkok via the hotels, or join minivans with others. Another alternative is to rent a car.
Here is a link to part one in the series, The COE application.