Thailand restores Test & Go from 1 February…with an unfortunate twist

Last Updated:

Test & Go & Come Back & Go Again? That's what Thailand travellers can expect, with two separate isolation requirements for the new Test & Go.

Thailand has announced a reinstatement of the (mostly) quarantine-free Test & Go scheme from 1 February 2022, which will be open to all countries. 

However, this isn’t the Test & Go you knew from before. Changes have been made, the most significant of which is a separate Day 5-6 PCR test which also requires isolation until a negative result is received.

No, that’s not a typo- you’ll be set free on arrival after receiving a negative result, only to have to go back into isolation again on Day 5-6 until you receive a second negative result. 

Richard Barrow sardonically refers to it as “Test & Go & Come Back & Go Again”.

Test & Go to resume from 1 February 2022

Test & Go Details

After a month of suspension, the Thai government has decided to resume the Test & Go scheme from 1 February 2022. 

Here’s how the new Test & Go scheme compares to the previous one. 

 Old Test & Go New Test & Go
Eligible Countries62 countriesAll
Pre-departure PCRWithin 72h of travel^
On arrival PCR
Paid
On arrival isolationBook AQ/ SHA Extra+ hotel & isolate until negative result
Day 5-6 PCR test
Free

Paid*
Day 5-6 isolationNot requiredBook AQ/ SHA Extra+ hotel & isolate until negative result
Min. AQ/ SHA Extra+ Booking1 night2 nights
^Children under 6 exempt
*Complimentary if Test & Go Thailand Pass was issued on or before 21 December 2022

While the old Test & Go scheme covered 62 eligible countries, the new Test & Go scheme will be open to arrivals from all over the world.

Thailand Pass applications for Test & Go will reopen from 1 February 2022, 9 a.m Bangkok time. Passes can be applied for up to 60 days in advance of travel, and take up to 7 days to be approved (so the earliest date you can safely plan travel for is 8 February 2022). 

Walkthrough: Thailand Pass Application (Test & Go)

As before, travellers will need to make a 1-night booking at an AQ/ SHA Extra+ hotel, where they’ll stay for the first night while awaiting the results of their on-arrival PCR test. Transfers from the airport to the hotel must be arranged through the hotel, or via an SHA+ certified transport company. 

Once a negative result is received, travellers are free to go anywhere in Thailand.

However, what’s new is the requirement to book a separate 1-night AQ/ SHA Extra+ hotel reservation for the Day 5-6 test, and to isolate yourself from the time the Day 5-6 test is taken till you get the result. 

❓ How do you count the day of arrival?

The day of arrival counts as Day 1, regardless of what time your flight lands.

Previously, the rule was that if your flight arrives from 12.01 a.m to 6.00 p.m, the day of arrival counts as Day 1, and if your flight arrives from 6.01 p.m to 12.00 a.m, the day of arrival counts as Day 0.

If you think this is odd, you’re not alone. Rumour has it that some tourists were skipping the Day 5-6 test, so this is a (heavy-handed) way of enforcing the requirement. You don’t need to tell me it’s absurd, given how you’ll be mixing with the general population in the intervening days…

⚠️ 2x One-night bookings, not 1x five-night booking

Some media outlets are reporting that you must book an AQ/ SHA Extra+ hotel for at least five days when applying for your Thailand Pass. That is incorrect. You need only submit two separate AQ/ SHA Extra+ bookings: One night for arrival, and one night for the Day 5-6 test.

Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from staying at the same AQ/ SHA Extra+ hotel for five nights if you want to. 

There’s no requirement that your Day 5-6 test be in the same city as your Day 1 test, so you could enter through Bangkok and take your Day 5-6 test in Koh Samui, for example. 

Do note that the Day 5-6 test will be free of charge for those whose Test & Go Thailand Pass was approved on or before 21 December 2021. All others will need to pay ~THB 2,200 (~S$90) per person, per test. 

Other requirements remain the same as before:

Here’s a summary of the overall requirements for travel to and from Thailand on the VTL.

✈️ Summary: Thailand VTL
To Thailand 🇹🇭
  • Purchase travel insurance with min. US$50K COVID-19 medical coverage (foreigners only)
  • Apply for Thailand Pass
  • Fully vaccinated with approved vaccine (age 17 and below exempt)
  • Take pre-departure PCR test 72h before flight (age 5 and below exempt)
  • Book 2x one-night stays at AQ/SHA Extra Plus hotel for Day 1 and Day 5/6
  • Prepay for 2x RT-PCR tests
  • Take PCR test on arrival in Thailand and isolate until result is out
  • Take PCR test on Day 5 or 6 and isolate until result is out
To Singapore 🇸🇬
  • 14 day travel history: Singapore or any Category I/ VTL country
  • Purchase travel insurance with min. S$30K coverage (short-term visitors only)
  • Apply for VTP (short-term visitors and long-term pass holders only)
  • Fully vaccinated with WHO EUL vaccine (age 12 and below exempt)
  • Complete SG Arrival Card
  • Take pre-departure ART/PCR test 2 days before flight (age 2 and below exempt)
  • Take designated VTL flight to Singapore
  • Take PCR test on arrival in Singapore (pre-booking required) and isolate until result is out (age 2 and below exempt)
  • (temporary measure) Take ART swabs at designated testing centres on Days 3 & 7 after arrival in Singapore, plus self-testing on Days 2, 4, 5 and 6 (age 2 and below exempt)

Overall testing regime

Singaporeans heading to Thailand and back can expect to do 11 COVID-19 tests in total, although it’s highly likely that Singapore will ease its daily COVID-19 testing regime for VTL travellers shortly. 

⚕️ VTL Testing Regime
LocationRemarksPrice
🇸🇬 Singapore72h before departure (PCR)From S$98
🇹🇭 ThailandOn arrival (PCR)THB 2,200
🇹🇭 ThailandDay 5-6 (PCR)THB 2,200
🇹🇭 Thailand2 days before departure (ART/PCR)~THB 350
🇸🇬 SingaporeOn arrival at Changi (PCR)S$125
🇸🇬 SingaporeDay 2 (ART)~S$5
🇸🇬 SingaporeDay 3 (Supervised ART)S$15
🇸🇬 SingaporeDay 4 (ART)~S$5
🇸🇬 SingaporeDay 5 (ART)~S$5
🇸🇬 SingaporeDay 6 (ART)~S$5
🇸🇬 SingaporeDay 7 (Supervised ART)S$15
Children aged 2 and below are exempt from testing, except for the on-arrival test in Thailand

You obviously won’t need to do the Day 5-6 test if your stay in Thailand is shorter than that, and it may be possible to combine the Day 5-6 test with the pre-departure test for travel back to Singapore. 

If the Day 5-6 test issues a certificate with the following information, you can use it for pre-departure testing to Singapore: 

  • Full name
  • Date of birth or passport number
  • Negative COVID-19 test result
  • Date and time the test was taken
  • Name of testing institution 

Bangkok VTL flight schedule

Thai Airways operates 7x weekly VTL flights between Bangkok and Singapore

You can take any non-stop flight you wish from Singapore to Thailand. However, when returning from Thailand to Singapore you must take a VTL flight in order to be exempt from quarantine in Singapore. 

VTL flights from Bangkok to Singapore are operated by:

  • Jetstar Asia
    • 3K516 (BKK 1335 ➤ SIN 1710, Mon* & Fri)
    • 3K514 (BKK 2200 ➤ SIN 0130 (+1), Wed, Sat*, Sun)
  • Scoot
    • TR607 (BKK 1155 ➤ SIN 1535, Daily)
    • TR611 (BKK 1810 ➤ SIN 2150, Daily)
  • Singapore Airlines
    • SQ705 (BKK 0950 ➤ SIN 1315, Daily)
    • SQ707 (BKK 1215 ➤ SIN 1545, Daily)
    • SQ709 (BKK 1540 ➤ SIN 1915, Daily)
  • Thai Airways
    • TG 803 (BKK 0800 ➤ SIN 1115, Daily)

*Pending regulatory approval

There are no VTL flights from other cities in Thailand at the moment.

VTL flights from Phuket and Chiang Mai were originally published and then subsequently removed. However, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before we see these (and hopefully VTL flights from Koh Samui). 

While you can fly from Singapore to Koh Samui/Phuket directly, you’ll need to return to Singapore via Bangkok on a designated VTL flight. Returning on a non-VTL flight means you’ll face a 7-day SHN at home, under existing Category II rules.

Award redemptions

Singapore Airlines A350-900 regional Business Class

If you’re thinking of redeeming miles, here’s how much KrisFlyer redemptions to Bangkok on Singapore Airlines or Thai Airways will cost. 

Redemption Cost between Singapore and Bangkok
(Flight on Singapore Air or Thai Airways)
 Saver
(One-Way)
Advantage*
(One-Way)
Economy12,50025,000
Business21,50040,000
*Advantage awards available for Singapore Airlines flights only

Airport taxes and fees on a round-trip itinerary will cost S$102.20 per person. However, if you redeem miles for Thai Airways, you’ll pay an additional S$52 (Economy) or S$79 (Business) in fuel surcharges. 

Tickets to Thailand are not particularly expensive, so redeeming miles probably won’t make sense for most people. 

Sandbox scheme to continue in parallel

The Sandbox scheme (which includes Koh Samui and Phuket) will continue as planned

Test & Go does not replace the Sandbox scheme, which will continue in parallel. While it seems the Test & Go scheme is superior to the Sandbox in every way:

  • Sandbox is being kept as a backup option, should the situation worsen and Test & Go needs to be rescinded
  • One subtle difference is that the Sandbox doesn’t require you to isolate after your Day 5-6 test
 Test & GoSandbox
Eligible CountriesAll
Pre-departure PCRWithin 72h of travel^
On arrival PCR
Paid
On arrival isolationBook SHA Extra+ hotel & isolate until negative result
Day 5-6 PCR test
Paid*

Paid
Day 5-6 isolationBook SHA Extra+ hotel & isolate until negative resultNot required
Min. AQ/ SHA Extra+ Booking2 nights
7 nights
^Children under 6 exempt
*Complimentary if Test & Go Thailand Pass was issued on or before 21 December 2022

For avoidance of doubt (because I’ve heard it asked), you enter Thailand under a single scheme. That’s to say, you can’t enter under Sandbox rules, wait till 1 February and then “switch” to Test & Go rules. You’ll need to apply for a brand new Thailand Pass if your current Thailand Pass is for Sandbox and you now want to enter under Test & Go. 

I’ve got a Koh Samui Sandbox trip coming up next week, which I hope will still be relevant to at least some people! Check out the trip planning post below.

Sandbox Game: Koh Samui Trip Planning

Conclusion

Thailand is bringing back Test & Go, but the new scheme is unnecessarily convoluted in my opinion. I can understand the need to isolate people until they get a negative on-arrival test result, but the second isolation seems nothing more than hygiene theatre.

If the issue was people skipping the Day 5-6 tests, then surely the answer is to crack down on that bunch harder, rather than penalise everyone and treat them as a potential rulebreaker? I suppose in an ideal world you’d schedule your Day 5-6 test as late as possible, then go to bed and hope the results are out by the time you wake up, but still…

What do you make of Thailand’s “new and improved” Test & Go scheme?

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

Similar Articles

Comments

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

16 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Zhong

Not complaining . Illogical but not unexpected from Thailand.

Great for weekend trips +-1 or 2 days, which is perfect for Singaporeans.

James Quek

The issue is how to apply and obtain Thailand pass if the traveller just stay in Thailand for 5 days or shorter ie no documentation on 2nd PCR and hotel stay.

Conundrum

I have this query too. Makes no sense to have to book for a second SHA+ Hotel / PCR test when my trip is going to be less than 5 days. Anyone has had any idea on this?

The Thailand website still says that application for Thailand Pass is suspended till further notice. Not sure what is going on.

Dilemma

planning a 4 day trip for May and rules might change again.

Maybe I extend and use 2nd PCR result for Singapore pre-departure PCR but got to spend a day or so watching Netflix in room. Grrrr

Cy

Hi Aaron, on the point that there’s no VTL flights from Samui back to Sg, I just managed to book one from SQ website that’s a joint PG and SQ with a 2 hour layover in BKK. That’s still allowable under sandbox scheme right?
You were basically saying it’s not ok to stay less than 7 days because of the lack of VTL options so I am wondering if I’m missing sth here but this is my itinerary
SIN > USM (PG one way)
USM > SIN (SQ VTL via BKK)

from 31st jan to 5th feb

Thanks

Ugt8xutx

Planning a weekend trip to Phuket from SG. Anyone know how long it takes to get the PCR test result back upon landing in Thailand?

Given some PCRs can take 3 hours and some 48 hours, this makes a big difference.

Matrix.RX1

the testing is not done centrally at the airport, but rather it is organised by the hotel. Mine was done in a hospital downtown and it took around 5-6 hours, unfortunately the results themselves were given to me half a day later!

Matrix.RX1

EDIT: the paper stated testing time and result time (ie. 5-6 hours), I got notified only much later.

WLKW

My visit in dec, test was done at around 2pm, hotel chauffeur/transport picked us up from airport, dropped by at a hospital nearby, did the poke while seated in the alphard. Then went on to hotel promptly. Hotel staff brought us direct to the rooms, keycard not given for obvious reasons. 3 calls made at 6, 8 and 9pm to follow up and ask for results. I’m the typical eager Beaver Singaporean. Results came back at 9.30pm/10pm or at least I saw the notification from my email first. Then I called front desk to state that I have received the… Read more »

Ian End

We were thinking to rent a villa in Phuket for a month this July, but given all this nonsense well probably just got back to Europe and do it there.

Thailand snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Again.

A C.

So it really depends on the overall costs of Test & Go v2.0 vs Sandbox.
Might be more worthwhile to do the latter if circumstances allow.

Lis

Has anyone heard of this? My hotel in BKK tells me I would need to do a PCR test and pay for a Fit to Fly cert too ok fly out of Thailand (or board any flight)? I was going to do the ART test 48h before flying back to SG, and now I’m unsure if that’s enough. Sounds like a really strange requirement…

CREDIT CARD SIGN UP BONUSES

Advertisment

Featured Deals

Advertisment

Follow us

7,110FansLike
2,641FollowersFollow

RECENT COMMENTS

TAGS