Thailand Test & Go simplified; Day 5 PCR test replaced with self-swab ART

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From 1 March, Test & Go travellers will isolate once and only once, as the Day 5 PCR test gets replaced by a self-swab ART.

Thailand relaunched Test & Go from 1 February 2022, after Omicron temporarily disrupted its quarantine-free programme for fully vaccinated arrivals. 

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:

  1. Land in Thailand
  2. Take a PCR test and enter isolation
  3. Be released upon a negative result
  4. Explore the country for four days
  5. Take a second PCR test on Day 5 and enter isolation once again!
  6. 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

Thailand Pass rules will be loosened from 1 March 2022

Here’s a summary of the updated Test & Go requirements, following yesterday’s meeting of the CCSA: 

🇹🇭 Thailand Test & Go Scheme
  • Fully vaccinated with approved vaccine (age 17 and below exempt)
  • Purchase travel insurance with min. US$50K COVID-19 medical coverage (foreigners only) [Reduced to US$20K for Thailand Pass applications from 1 March 22]
  • Book AQ/SHA Extra+ hotel for Day 1
  • Book AQ/SHA Extra+ hotel for Day 5 (not required if departing on or before Day 5) [Removed for Thailand Pass applications from 1 March 22]
  • Apply for Thailand Pass
  • Take pre-departure PCR test 72h before flight (age 5 and below exempt)
  • Take PCR test on arrival and approved transport to hotel; isolate until result is out
  • Take PCR test on Day 5 (not required if departing on or before Day 5); isolate until result is out [Changed to self-swab ART for Thailand Pass applications from 1 March 22]
  • Download MorChana app (Android | iOS) and use it to record the results of Day 5 or 6 test

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.

Walkthrough: Thailand Pass Application (Test & Go)

I recently travelled to Bangkok under the Test & Go scheme, and despite the pre-departure hassles, found the on-arrival experience surprisingly seamless.

Thailand Test & Go: On-arrival experience in Bangkok

VTL travel to Singapore

VTL travel to Singapore has been simplified, with ARTs replacing PCR tests, and VTP applications scrapped for long-term passholders (except work permit holders)

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.

LTPHsVTLNon-VTL
  • Long Term Visit Pass
  • Immigration Exemption Order
  • Student’s Pass
  • Employment Pass
  • EntrePass
  • Personalised Employment Pass
  • Tech.Pass
  • Training Employment Pass
  • Work Holiday Pass
  • Dependant’s Pass
  • S Pass holders

✔️

  • Show Long-Term pass/ in-principle approval letter and proof of vaccination status to transport operators/ checkpoint staff
  • No need to apply for or present entry approval/VTP
  • Non-Malaysian male work permit holders in the CMP sector
  • Dormitory-bound work permit holders

Not allowed entry via VTL
✔️
Apply for and present entry approval
  • Confinement Nannies
  • Migrant Domestic Workers
  • All other work permit holders
✔️
Apply for and present VTP

With these changes, here’s a summary of the requirements for VTL travel to Singapore. 

✔️ VTL Eligibility Criteria
All
  • 7-day travel history only includes Singapore and/or VTL countries and/or Category I countries
  • Fully vaccinated with any vaccine on the WHO EUL^
  • Complete SG Arrival Card
  • Present negative pre-departure ART/PCR test taken within 2 days of flight to Singapore*
  • Take designated VTL flight to Singapore
  • Take supervised ART within 24 hours of arrival and isolate until negative result received*
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
LocationRemarksPrice
🇸🇬 Singapore72h before departure (PCR)From S$98^
🇹🇭 ThailandOn arrival (PCR)~THB 2,200
(~S$90)
🇹🇭 Thailand2 days before departure (ART/PCR)~THB 500*
(~S$20)
🇸🇬 SingaporeWithin 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.

Big news: No more SHN, testing or “14-day stranding” for recently-recovered vaccinated travellers to Singapore

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. 

Complete Guide: Singapore – Thailand Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL)

It sounds like a lot to do, but trust me, Thailand’s still worth it!

Conclusion

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. 

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

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Greg

Not to put pressure on you but when will the hotel reviews be published from your Thailand trip? really looking forward to them! Particularly as I’m about to make some bookings myself…

Greg

Yes please that would be great!

Greg

Apologies – meant to specify the Sindhorn Kempinski!

GLEE

If I applied for Thailand Pass for travel in 11 March (pending approval), do I write to them to cancel or/and just reapply again after 1 March?

Sharon

Had my pass approved two days ago for travel on 10 march! was just about to request for a refund on the 2nd PCR! will keep my eyes peeled for updates on your website! *fingers crossed*

any advice on home based PCR tests? Looks like most are results in 48 hours and don’t wanna cut it too fine if i do it on 8 March.

Sharon
Sean

“…ownards!”

Ownards indeed…

Sean

Serious question: could the Day 5 Thailand ART test be done as a *supervised* test, results still uploaded to Thailand Pass but also since supervised therefore used for the Singapore VTL ART requirement for a return on (say) Day 6? Otherwise two ART tests would be needed…

Per Roland

Hi, for the pre departure PCR/ART test, where are the locations in BKK to take, are all same 500 baht?

BKK Traveller

Interested in this answer as well, as i noted none of the guides included this. Thanks.

Per Roland

Are Test and Go applied to Phuket from Singapore and return?

Peter L

So I just called up my hotel, to ask about getting a refund for my Day 5 stay for isolation. But they insist I need to isolate myself for 5 days, and dont seem to be aware of the latest rule changes…

I got my Pass on Feb 20, trip is not till Mar 2.. so confusing.

Peter L

not 5 days – isolate on the 5th day is what i meant

MZ Goh

Is there any guide for those who recovered from covid and would like to travel for leisure? Does the rules above applies?

James

Hello all. Any of one knows what happens to you if you are tested positive using ART on day 5. I am from Singapore and would need a medically supervised ART negative test to board the plane. Even though I am there for 5 days. I read that it’s a 10 days quarantine. Please advise.

Emily de Leon

Hi! Where did you learn that we don’t need to reapply for a new Thailand Pass under the March 1 Test and Go scheme? I applied for mine in Feb but we aren’t traveling mid-March.
I just want to be sure that we don’t need to do the Day 5 PCR before I seek a refund! Also, any info on if there are restrictions on the ATK test for Day 5? Any certain one we need to buy? Thanks so much!

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