Benjamin wants to visit his mother who lives Thailand. The required Thailand Pass to enter the country during the Covid-19 pandemic is a challenge to get.
No time to think about it
I live in a city in Bavaria, Germany. As an entrepreneur I am totally immersed in my work. Thinking of anything else than building up my company is next to impossible. And that’s how the days pass by. Everyone is different and yet they are all alike.
Busy season is ending
December is usually the time of the year where business slows down. I took a weekend off to meet my family for a pre-christmas gathering. Due to Covid large gatherings are to be avoided so we spread them out. Slowly my sense for family returned and I started to think about my mother again. I haven’t seen her in over 6 years. She lives in a rural area in Thailand where it is not easy to get to. Furthermore Covid-19 made things even more complicated due to very strict entry rules in Thailand. Luckily in November 2021 entry rules have been made a lot simpler.
Resisting the urge
Me going to Thailand is something everyone around me understands completely. I’m still hesitant to go because I don’t want to leave the business for a few weeks in this fragile startup state during a global pandemic. The trip won’t be cheap either. Another day passed by and I watched some more travel vlogs of people in Thailand. Does postponing the trip even make any sense? Won’t there be another Covid variant next year anyway? Finally my desire to see our mother again and also to explore my heritage made me decide to go to Thailand within the next three weeks by the end of the year 2021.
Preparing for the trip
I thoroughly researched the entry rules for Thailand. Though not as strict as earlier in the year it is still comparatively complicated. In order to get in, one needs to get the Thailand Pass. To get the Thailand Pass, one needs to get a booking confirmation for a flight, a Test and Go hotel that takes care of the airport pickup, one day quarantine and one PCR test, a certain health insurance that covers Covid-19 treatment, a passport of course and some other things like passport pictures and so on. I’m feeling positive as it seems doable.
Since I haven’t been to Thailand ever in my life, I wanted to get a special tourist visa that would allow me to stay for 60 days, not just the regular 30 days that will be granted to you at the airport.
Big mistake as it turned out…
Now here’s the thing. The Coco virus made companies and governments innovate and digitize. Applying for the special tourist visa in now fully digital for Bavarians. It’s a fairly simple process once you have all the documents on your computer. But the approval process is not instant. It takes up to three weeks to get an answer.
Of course, one day there had to be this rumor about Thailand closing the one day quarantine Test and Go program due to the latest Omicron variant. And sure enough the very next day Thailand announced just that. And also sure enough my visa was accepted just 2 days after that announcement. – Too late.
This basically means that the one day quarantine measure is off the table and so is my planned trip. Now I would have to stay seven days in a special AQ alternative quarantine hotel.
I cancelled my hotel and my flight. Of course the special Test and Go package I had to get with the first hotel is non-refundable. I was very bummed out and sad for two days straight.
I told my family and friends about it and got many different opinions. All in all I’d argue that most of them don’t even understand what it feels like to have a mother outside of the country.
Thinking about it I got to the conclusion that seven days of quarantine in a nice Bangkok hotel can’t be that bad. Also I can use that time to work remotely. After all we are all digital beings now!
I researched for half a day straight to get quotes from hotels for the seven days AQ stay. I also booked another refundable flight. The AQ hotels are quiet expensive and it will put a large dent in my budget for the Thailand trip.
But I made up my mind. Thailand it is! I booked my flight with Emirates and my hotel room at the Radisson Suites Bangkok.
The Radisson was very responsive. After only 20 minutes they sent me the booking confirmation.
Now I have everything I need to apply for the Thailand Pass!
The waiting game
They say processing time for the application for the Thailand Pass will take between five and seven business days. That should work out since I have 9 days left before leaving Germany. To check the state of the application the Thai website assigned me access code 857046.
This time Karma is working for me. After just one day they e-mailed me my accepted Thailand Pass with the all-mighty QR-Code for entry. I’m feeling very relieved now. Suddenly the trip starts to become much more real.
But there’s one more thing we need to do before we can go on the trip.