Pattaya Grapevine: Test and Go confusion


Test and Go confusion
Selected land borders with Malaysia and Laos are now open for tourist traffic. But arrivals still need the Test and Go approval. Although no prior health test is required, a negative PCR result is still required on arrival and a stay in a pre-paid hotel is needed awaiting the result. A number of hopefuls at the border posts were turned away as they did not have the Test and Go QR code which is mandatory.

Not yet Cambodia
The land borders with Cambodia are not yet open to tourist traffic, visa runners and the like. Discussions with the Cambodian officials are still ongoing. Some travellers have been misled by claims that the border posts are partially open. They are, but only for goods traffic, merchants and locals returning from (or going to) work.

Fifth day test
The new rules specify that in addition to a PCR test on arrival in Thailand, you must take an ATK test on day five, self-administered if you like, and report the finding to the hotel you initially stayed at pending the result of the PCR test on day one. However, some hotels are not informing their newly-arrived customers of this regulation and the rule seems to be being flouted on some scale. This is Thailand!

Reporting your address
All new arrivals in Thailand are supposed to inform immigration by the TM30 form of their local address within three days of setting foot in the kingdom. This is generally handled by hotels and condominium managements but, if they don’t, the responsibility is the arriving foreigner’s. Expats do not normally have to report with the TM30 if they sleep somewhere else in Thailand for a few days. But they are required to do so on returning from abroad even if to the same address.

Dual passport holder
A reader asks if he can renew his second (UK) passport even though he entered Thailand with his first one (US). The answer is yes he can. There is no requirement to prove you entered Thailand with a passport you are renewing because it is full or nearing the end of its validity. However, it is probably a good idea to make a photocopy of the ID page and visa page of the passport you did use to come into the country,

Another dual question
Another reader asks the procedure for applying for a second UK passport whilst the first one is serviceable. To obtain a second one from the same country, you will need to show your need for two. The most obvious reason is business travel to some Moslem countries if you have an Israeli stamp in your passport. However, you will also need a letter from your employer or sponsor setting out in detail the circumstances.

Rise in infections
Thailand’s reported daily infections, even if you don’t count ATK, is nearing 30,000. Some say this is a real problem and may well require a clampdown. Others say that the symptoms for most infected individuals are not serious and it’s best to get on with life and live alongside the disease. Which way the Thai government will jump is not altogether clear. But the odds are currently favoring the live with the disease scenario.

Bars maybe law abiding
In the past two weeks only two Pattaya pubs or clubs have been raided for serving after hours, that is post 11 pm. Does this mean that imbibers have now become more obedient to the regulations and managements more concerned about losing their licences? The answer seems to be yes. The publicity given to raids over the past year or so appears to be the deterrent factor. The famous “concerned citizen” seems to be everywhere.

Covid extensions still possible
The lease of life for Covid extensions, which can now be granted until late May, came as a surprise and may have been helped by the numbers of stranded Ukrainians and Russians. The latest rules say holders of non-immigrant visas and those with 14 days visas on arrival do not qualify as the discretion is for tourists on visa-exempt 30 days or a 60 days tourist visa. But, as usual, immigration offices are interpreting the rules with considerable discretion. As usual.

Water water nowhere
The third Songkran in a row without water and paint hurling is now about to end. Whilst many Thais and younger travellers say they are disappointed, the likelihood is that most expats on retirement visas are more than pleased with the absence of hosepipes, water guns and buckets. Chances of a fourth year of abstinence in 12 months time? Very low indeed.