While that was welcome news, it came with a major caveat: in addition to the PCR test on arrival, travellers would be required to take an additional PCR test on Day 5, and isolate in a hotel until they got a negative result. This even applied to Thais or Thai residents who had their own home to isolate in!
In other words, Test & Go became Test & Go & Come Back & Test & Go Again. Travellers would:
- Land in Thailand
- Take a PCR test and enter isolation
- Be released upon a negative result
- Explore the country for four days
- Take a second PCR test on Day 5 and enter isolation once again!
- Be released upon a negative result
It was so absurd that certain hotels were unofficially bending the rules, requiring travellers to stay on premises but allowing them to use the facilities during the Day 5 “isolation”.
Well, the good news is that from 1 March 2022, Thailand will be doing away with the Day 5 PCR test requirement, replacing it with a self-administered ART instead. The minimum insurance coverage required will also be cut from US$50,000 to US$20,000.
Thailand changes Day 5 test requirement
Here’s a summary of the updated Test & Go requirements, following yesterday’s meeting of the CCSA:
|🇹🇭 Thailand Test & Go Scheme|
Instead of making two bookings at AQ/SHA++ hotels for Day 1 and Day 5, Test & Go travellers will only need to make a single booking for Day 1. After receiving a negative on-arrival PCR test, their only other obligation will be to take a self-administered ART on Day 5 and report the results through the MorChana app.
It initially appeared that the rules would apply to anyone applying for a Thailand Pass from 1 March 2022 (as opposed to arriving in Thailand from 1 March 2022), but thankfully, common sense has prevailed.
Richard Barrow in Thailand (the source to go to for things like this) has reported that any traveller arriving in Thailand from 1 March 2022 onwards will be exempt from the Day 5 PCR test and SHA++ hotel stay, regardless of when his or her Thailand Pass was applied for.
The TAT will be asking for “cooperation” from hotels to refund the cost of the Day 5 stay and PCR test, or at the very least issue a voucher or allow change of date. If you’ve already booked and paid for your Day 5 PCR test and stay, do reach out to your hotel for clarifications- but only after the Royal Gazette is published because nothing’s official till then. The Royal Gazette is usually updated a few days after the CCSA meets.
To reiterate: there is no need to reapply for a new Thailand Pass if you already hold one. So long as your entry date into Thailand is after 1 March 2022, you will be excused from the Day 5 PCR test.
For a detailed walkthrough on the Thailand Pass application process, do refer to my article below.
I recently travelled to Bangkok under the Test & Go scheme, and despite the pre-departure hassles, found the on-arrival experience surprisingly seamless.
VTL travel to Singapore
Singapore recently relaxed its border measures for VTL travellers, replacing the on-arrival PCR test requirement at Changi Airport with a supervised ART at a QTC/CTC within 24 hours of arrival. Alternatively, VTL travellers can opt to do a DA Tele-ART from the comfort of their own home.
Also noteworthy is the scrapping of the Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP) requirement for the majority of long-term passholders. Only work permit holders and short-term visitors are now required to apply for a VTP.
Not allowed entry via VTL
Apply for and present entry approval
Apply for and present VTP
With these changes, here’s a summary of the requirements for VTL travel to Singapore.
|✔️ VTL Eligibility Criteria|
|Short-term visitors & Work permit holders|
|*Children aged 2 or under in the current calendar year are exempt|
^Exception for children aged 12 and below, if they are accompanied by vaccinated traveller
Singapore-Thailand travel: Total testing costs
|⚕️ Testing: Singapore-Thailand Travel|
|🇸🇬 Singapore||72h before departure (PCR)||From S$98^|
|🇹🇭 Thailand||On arrival (PCR)||~THB 2,200|
|🇹🇭 Thailand||2 days before departure (ART/PCR)||~THB 500*|
|🇸🇬 Singapore||Within 24h of arrival (ART)||S$15*|
|*Children aged 2 and under exempt|
^Children aged 5 and under exempt
With the latest changes, the average traveller can expect to pay upwards of S$220 in testing costs per person.
For those looking at a short stay, your on-arrival PCR test could potentially be used to satisfy the pre-departure test requirement for return to Singapore, subject to it meeting these conditions.
Travellers who have recently recovered from COVID-19 can be exempted from all pre-departure and on-arrival testing requirements when travelling to Singapore, subject to presenting acceptable proof.
Singapore-Thailand travel: Complete guide
If you’re planning a trip to Thailand, do check out my detailed guide to all the paperwork and processes you’ll need before you can fly.
It sounds like a lot to do, but trust me, Thailand’s still worth it!
Thailand will be simplifying its Test & Go process from 1 March 2022, replacing the Day 5 PCR test with a self-administered ART and cutting the minimum travel insurance coverage to US$20,000.
Thankfully, it looks like the new rules will apply regardless of when your Thailand Pass is approved. If you’ve already booked your Day 5 hotel stay and PCR test, do get in touch with the hotel regarding a refund.
The next step will be replacing the on-arrival PCR test with an ART instead- something that Thailand was considering doing in December but abandoned when Omicron struck. That will further reduce testing costs by almost S$200, making travel to Thailand almost as affordable as pre-COVID.