The Thailand Test And Go Scheme Is Set To Resume 01st February 2022
Despite initial reservations, the Thailand Test and Go scheme was a massive boost for the Phuket diving industry. Even though the tourist arrivals were way below normal. A lack of diving options in south-east asia especially drew a large number of divers to Phuket. Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines all still have heavy restrictions on international tourism.
In comparison getting to Thailand and especially Phuket is relatively easy especially when test and go returns. It’s not quite so straightforward as it was before and we’re hoping they will revert to previous requirements soon*. The main difference is a second PCR test at the travelers expense on the 5th day of your visit. Completely unnecessary in our opinion, complicating what should and could be a simple process. Test and go and come back again to test and go would be a more appropriate name for the programme but it’s not very catchy.
Both tests must be paid for and confirmed for your Thailand Pass application to be successful.
Tourists will still be allowed to travel anywhere in Thailand after receiving their first negative PCR test. For the second test you’ll be required to once again book into a SHA+ hotel for the night and await results. Potentially putting the brakes on your holiday.
*UPDATE: As from 01st March 2022, new applicants of the Thailand pass only need to stay 1 night in a SHA+ hotel and wait for the first test results. The 2nd PCR test has now been dropped in favour of a rapid antigen test with no requirement to stay a 2nd night in a SHA+ hotel. Great news!
If You Test Negative
This is the big one. By far the most negative (pardon the pun) aspect of the a programme. Travelers were being placed into quarantine even if they’re asymptomatic. Insurers are refusing to pay out leaving a very bad taste in the mouth. Point blank refusal from tourists to accept this did force a more sensible approach in recent weeks on Phuket. The Phuket governor allowed mild or asymptomatic tourists to self isolate in their hotel or villa so at least no extra bill.
We don’t know if Phuket will still be allowed this more sensible course of action from 01st February. Travelers are requested to have insurance that covers them for any kind of quarantine including asymptomatic. Make sure you’re absolutely covered for all scenarios.
Can I Change From Sandbox To Test And Go?
Yes you can. You will need to reapply for your Thailand Pass, it can take up to 7 days to be re-approved. Applications for Test and Go can’t be submitted before 01st February. So if your planned departure date is within the first week of February, rearranging your flights or sticking with your original Thailand Pass under the Phuket Sandbox would be less riskier options.
The Thailand Pass remains the same. Here’s a direct link to the official government website. Where you’ll be able to follow the simple steps to register
Booking A Hotel
There has been a change to the wording regarding suitable hotels. We know your hotel for the 01st and 05th night of your stay must be SHA+ but it also has to have a partner hospital. The partner hospital is the new term. Definitely something you’ll need to check with your chosen hotels before confirming your booking.
Booking through a well known platform and then directly contacting the hotel for confirmation of test appointments and transport has been the most efficient method according to our guests.
There is an official SHA+ website which you can view here. However the choice of hotels appears to be quite limited. This could be due to the aforementioned partner hospital terminology.
So Are You Coming?
Thailand still remains a wonderful place to visit right now. The low tourist numbers really bring out the best of what Thailand and in particular Phuket has to offer. We really think that we’re in the endgame now so next year could be a whole lot different. Making the extra effort and jumping through the few hoops really is worth it to see this beautiful country like you’ll probably never see it again.
Oh and the scuba diving is fantastic!
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