Editor’s note: The following is a submission from one of our readers who offered to share his recent experiences of going through the alternative state quarantine process and other requirements to enter Thailand recently and is currently wrapping up his quarantine period. He shares this to hopefully give others an idea of the experience. His thoughts, photos, and opinions are his own. This is PART FIVE. Part one can be found here. Also, part two can be found here. And, here is part three. Finally, here is part four. This continues directly from part four, we suggest you read that first.
I was all set to leave the Grand Bella on Saturday, January 30th, and today was Thursday, January 28th. Bo, a Scottish man from Glasgow, whom I met during my exercise hour, was leaving and along with Joe, A London man who lived in the room next to mine, discussed our travel plans.
We were all fans of Pattaya and stayed many times before. Quickly the talk turned to money. Joe had a ‘ Visa on arrival’ which I didn’t know was still available. He’d brought £7,000 for his visit but was going to try and extend his stay. I bought £5,000 for my 90-day stay and Bow had £4,000. Joe, Bo, and I all wanted to stay in Pattaya but read that Pattaya was closed. As a consequence, Joe was going to fly to Koh Samui from Bangkok and had booked a flight with Bangkok air for 2,400 Thai baht.
I was going to Surin and enquired with Nokonchiair if they still had a direct service from Pattaya to Surin. Bo was staying in Pattaya. We had read the there was a closure notice on Pattaya hotels and all entertainment venues were closed. So the prospect of staying in Pattaya seemed to be a bleak one. However, as current residents in Chonburi know, things change quickly.
Having read the latest developments, our perceptions were wrong:
1. Some hotels were still going to open, but the closure notice enabled hotel staff to claim some benefits. We confirmed that some hotels still had rooms available, although others chose to close to collect the benefits.
2. There had been no new Covid cases in Chonburi for a number of days while I was in quarantine, therefore changes were anticipated to the closure orders of entertainment venues.
3. The changes, announced on Friday for February 1st, meant that all entertainment venues could open. Our moods, as our plans, instantly changed as we were all going to stay in Pattaya. There is nothing better than seeing the announcement as you approach the end of your quarantine that not only your quarantine is ending but entertainment venues were opening!
Bo left, and then Friday came and Joe left. As I finished my exercise on Friday afternoon, I walked past his now empty room, and I had a somber feeling I couldn’t explain. His room was always messy and he was always so positive, colorful, and vibrant. But now silence.
I felt strange feeling sad and wondered if this is how all people felt during their quarantine period. Most people I have met since leaving quarantine had very negative things to say. But I believe mindset ( and choosing the correct hotel) is the key to success. In the beginning, I was going to treat the experience as a positive one, a time to reflect and read, also a much-needed detox time. No alcohol is allowed.
I heard stories of people smuggling alcohol into their rooms and other dastardly schemes designed to beat the system. No, it is what it is, go with it, relax and try and enjoy. In moments of boredom: think about what brought you to Thailand, think about the delights,( whatever they may be) and the enjoyments that await you.
The final part, my release from quarantine and what I have been up to since then, will be early next week.