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Thailand to restart quarantine-free travel from 1 February

Thailand's rebooted Test & Go (& Test again & Go again!) is the country's latest attempt to boost tourism... with its latest overcomplicated process!

After suspending new registrations for its Test & Go programme in late December, Thailand will resume applications for the quarantine-free arrival scheme for fully vaccinated travellers on 1st February 2022, with the second PCR now including an unusual second hotel isolation period on the fifth day.

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This will once again allow shorter and more flexible trips than the more restrictive Sandbox arrival programme, which has continued in a limited form but is also being expanded to more destinations and having some travel flexibility added.

Test & Go will also be expanded to everyone, rather than being limited to a list of “safe” origin countries, though for most of our readers this won’t make any difference as Singapore was previously included anyway.

Bangkok. (Photo: Shutterstock)

What’s also new, however, is the requirement to book a separate 1-night SHA Extra Plus (SHA++), AQ, OQ, or AHQ hotel reservation for the Day 5 test, and isolate in the room from the time the test is taken until a negative result is received.

Sandbox will continue to run alongside Test & Go.

Test & Go

Key Features

  • Fully vaccinated travellers from any country
  • Arrive anywhere in Thailand
  • COVID-19 insurance required
  • Pre-departure PCR test
  • On-arrival PCR test and self-isolation in hotel until negative result
  • 3 days of freedom
  • Day 5 PCR test and self-isolation in hotel until negative result
  • No subsequent quarantine

Sandbox

Key Features

  • Fully vaccinated travellers from any country
  • Arrive in a designated Sandbox location
  • COVID-19 insurance required
  • Pre-departure PCR test
  • On-arrival PCR test and self-isolation in hotel until negative result
  • Stay in the Sandbox area for 7 days, or leave Thailand immediately for shorter trips
  • Day 5 PCR test (no isolation)
  • No subsequent quarantine, travel throughout Thailand from Day 8, if desired

If you already obtained a Thailand Pass via the Sandbox entry scheme you can switch to Test & Go, however you will have to submit a new application on or after 1st February 2022 in this case.

The Test & Go programme, which had allowed fully vaccinated travelers from over 60 countries to travel to Thailand quarantine-free, generated 350,000 visitors in less than two months before it was suspended due to concerns over the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Test & Go (& Test again & Go again!)

Thailand’s third incarnation of the Test & Go programme from 1st February 2022 has a few differences compared to the original version launched in November 2021, which was then slightly amended on 23rd December 2021.

Here’s a summary highlighting the key differences.

🇹🇭 Thailand Test & Go
Testing Evolution

  Test & Go
1 Nov 21

22 Dec 21
23 Dec 21

31 Jan 22
1 Feb 22
onwards

Pre-departure test
(within 72h)
PCR
(self paid)
On-arrival test
(Day 1)
PCR
(self paid)
Arrival isolation   In hotel room
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4

Freedom
(3 days)
Day 5 test
None
(Freedom)
PCR
(self paid)
Day 5 test isolation   In hotel room
Day 6 test
ART
(free)
PCR
(free)
None
(Freedom)
Day 6 test isolation None
(Freedom)
Day 8 onwards
Freedom

As you can see the second test has been brought forward by a day in this latest version of the scheme, from Day 6 to Day 5, and unfortunately also involves a designated hotel self-isolation period while awaiting the results.

It is also a self-paid PCR test, while versions 1 and 2 of Test & Go featured a free second test on Day 6.

If you arrive in Thailand before 6pm local time, your arrival day is Day 1. If you arrive after 6pm local time (e.g. on SQ704 from Singapore which lands at 6.45pm), the day after your arrival day is Day 1.

(Source: Thai Consular Department)

The second test isolation period is really quite bizarre, and will be a deal-breaker for many travellers.

Even Thailand’s tourism governor seems incredulous about the process, highlighting how Thai residents will also be subject to this process, not even allowed to isolate at their home for the second test!

“There’s no exception for Thais or expatriates. Even if you have a permanent home here, people have to check in at a hotel five days after arrival to take a second RT-PCR test and wait for a negative result before checking out.”

Yuthasak Supasorn, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor
Bangkok. (Photo: Robby McCullough)

The tests can be in different places

Importantly, you do not need to book the same hotel for your Day 1 and Day 5 tests, nor do you have to book the same hotel for the first five nights of your trip, though of course you