Since July 1, 2021, Thailand has been the first Asian country to allow vaccinated persons to enter Phuket with a mandatory stay of 14 nights, the so-called “Phuket Sandbox” model. This is where our Thailand-based author Melanie Rüdiger had to go after a necessary stay in Germany. A journey back with quite a few obstacles.
Originally, I wanted to fly to Germany in 2020 as every year in June. Due to Covid-19, my flight was postponed and finally cancelled, and I decided to wait out the pandemic in Thailand. Besides, I didn’t want to leave the country for fear of not being allowed to return to my husband. Then in the middle of the Covid-19 peak in February 2021 my only uncle died. I had to go to Munich to fulfill his last will.
Not quite that easy! After a very quiet year the Covid-19 cases in Thailand had eventually risen. All airports, even Bangkok, were closed. Any arrivals or departures were only possible through Phuket airport, about 160 km away, but to enter the peninsula was not allowed to unvaccinated people like myself. I was supposed to get my two shots in Munich, as vaccines in Thailand are still not accessible to the masses. I booked a Business Class special fare with Qatar Airways, in order to minimize contact to people as far as possible, and I hoped that me and my likewise unvaccinated driver would somehow be able to pass through to the airport with producing the mandatory PCR test. Much excitement, endless discussions about the validity of my papers followed. At midnight, I fell into my plane seat all exhausted.
Endless paperwork for the return trip
As soon as I had my second shot in Munich, I applied for the „Certificate of Entry“ (COE), the entry permit for Thailand. First, I had to upload the usual papers to a dedicated Thai government website: Visa, Re-entry Permit, a copy of my Thai husband’s passport, our marriage certificate and of course the vaccination certificates. Within two days I received the pre-approval of the Thai Consulate General in Munich by e-mail.
Step 2 was much more complex: Only certified hotels must be booked for the stay in the Sandbox and everything including transfers and three PCR tests for 8,000 baht (ca.200 euros) had to be paid in advance. I had decided for the model “Phuket Sandbox 7+7 Extension” which means that one must stay the first seven nights exclusively in Phuket, even boat excursions are not allowed.… weiterlesen
Since I swapped the urban jungle for a real one in 2014, I have been living in two worlds. As a graduate engineer in architecture in Germany, I deal with large-scale projects built of concrete and steel. I am passionate about Scandinavian architecture and timeless design. On our goat farm in Thailand there is nothing more exciting than the birth of a new kid. Besides that, I always find something to redesign and to learn new craft techniques. I am learning new languages with enthusiasm, with Thai being the biggest challenge so far.