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What is the current situation on the ground in Phuket?


Cmstyle
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Hi guys, I'm from the UK and contemplating coming out to Phuket in august to make the most of the sandbox, but I've got a few questions: 

1: What areas are seemingly the most active? I imagine most of the island is quite dead but going to areas that have a little bit of life would be good. 

2: Leaving phuket after 14 days to go elsewhere then back to phuket to fly back to UK - does this pose a problem? Would I need to quarantine again for 14 days on re-entry to phuket. Would I be able to get back into the UK If I were to do this? I'm considering Koh samui/phagnan but wont even try if it poses a logistical nightmare.  

3: Whats the best insurance to take out if required to relocate to a quarantine hotel (meaning I lose out on prepaid accomodation), do many offer refunds? 

Also, I'm mainly coming to just relax and chill and finish a book I am writing. What's the deal with spa's? are they open? Can we use them?

 

Oh also one more thing, once the 14 days are up will I have to still stay in Sha+ hotels around Phuket? Or am I free to choose any I like? And also are trips to Koh Yao Noi/yai allowed? 

Any info would be great, there's very little info on the net from people on the ground there!  

 

Thanks for you answers,

Mike

 

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Cheers Mike,

You ought to really really really do more research.  

Check a few more relevant Thai organization web sites.

If you are asking the questions you are with a plan to travel in August then frankly you're ill-prepared.

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Posted (edited)

1) Rawai seems to be the most active, but it is picking up elsewhere.

I've been here since March.

 

2) Starting to get a bit risky as the rest of the country is on lockdown, flights keep getting cancelled at the drop of a hat.  Getting back into Phuket will need a test. (you already should have the other requirements if you're flying in for sandbox).

3) dunno, but make sure it covers non essential hospital - i.e. with no symptoms.

Spa's - not open.  Massage places are open, bars are open (some have been throughout, although only really since July openly).  Will depend where you are on the island, some places are still dead - patong for example.

 

Edited by shanghailoz
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3 hours ago, Cmstyle said:

Hi guys, I'm from the UK and contemplating coming out to Phuket in august to make the most of the sandbox, but I've got a few questions: 

1: What areas are seemingly the most active? I imagine most of the island is quite dead but going to areas that have a little bit of life would be good. 

2: Leaving phuket after 14 days to go elsewhere then back to phuket to fly back to UK - does this pose a problem? Would I need to quarantine again for 14 days on re-entry to phuket. Would I be able to get back into the UK If I were to do this? I'm considering Koh samui/phagnan but wont even try if it poses a logistical nightmare.  

3: Whats the best insurance to take out if required to relocate to a quarantine hotel (meaning I lose out on prepaid accomodation), do many offer refunds? 

Also, I'm mainly coming to just relax and chill and finish a book I am writing. What's the deal with spa's? are they open? Can we use them?

Oh also one more thing, once the 14 days are up will I have to still stay in Sha+ hotels around Phuket? Or am I free to choose any I like? And also are trips to Koh Yao Noi/yai allowed? 

Any info would be great, there's very little info on the net from people on the ground there!  

Thanks for you answers,

Mike

Everything you mention poses a logistical nightmare.  The situation changes on a daily, if not hourly basis.  Your local Thai embassy will be the best source of information.  There are some interesting stories covered by the Thaiger about people's experiences in the "sandbox".  Everything doesn't always go according to plan.  Travelling to and from different provinces in Thailand may be problematic.  Some provinces in Thailand are "red"  or "deep red".  All of them are on the ground.  

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Many wise advise has been given, but with the UK opening up itself 'completely' it might even mean they are now on the list of red-listed countries. Get in contact with the Embassy of Thailand they will have all the information and can help you further.

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Thanks for all your replies guys, really helpful! I lived in Bangkok for 5 years and speak a bit of Thai and have been dying to get back out there. UK is alright but I need to get out of the bubble for a bit. I will contact the Embassy and see what they say. If I do get stuck out there for a bit it wont be the worst thing in the world, but obviously want to make sure I can actually relax on the holiday! 

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Believe me I have been checking everything for the last month trying to weigh up the risks, there's no info about transitting on any website, only through bangkok which I wont even touch with a barge pole. Trouble is there are many websites saying it's great, others just stating the basic info and virtually no information from people who have actually gone there and had a holiday successfully. Last I saw 0.5% of visitors into the Phuket sandbox have had to move to quarantine hotels. People have slated the logistical awkwardness of actuallly getting into the country and the hoops to have to jump through but this was to be expected anyway. Little to no info about returning back to the UK other than Thailand is on the amber list so self isolation and a pcr test at home on return. I understand this could change quickly. 

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One last thing as well, I would like to do m

14 hours ago, shanghailoz said:

1) Rawai seems to be the most active, but it is picking up elsewhere.

I've been here since March.

2) Starting to get a bit risky as the rest of the country is on lockdown, flights keep getting cancelled at the drop of a hat.  Getting back into Phuket will need a test. (you already should have the other requirements if you're flying in for sandbox).

3) dunno, but make sure it covers non essential hospital - i.e. with no symptoms.

Spa's - not open.  Massage places are open, bars are open (some have been throughout, although only really since July openly).  Will depend where you are on the island, some places are still dead - patong for example.

Thanks so much for your answers dude, really helpful! One more question, I would like to do my PADI open water course. Are there restrictions on diving in Phuket? I imagine the marine life would have certainly benefited from lack of tourists so would love to do some dives. 

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Posted (edited)

I've been diving regularly since i've been here.
If you're sandboxed, you can dive (after the 1st set of tests come back).
We've had a few sandbox victims^H visitors with us diving from Chalong bay to Rachai Noi/ Racha Yai.

Phi Phi still a no go though.  

You'll actually be in a better situation than me - now only people with 2 covid shots can dive (they aren't checking other than asking you though).

 

The coral is still pretty fcuk'd, but a lot of the wildlife is back. I saw dolphins just out of  Chalong bay the other day.  A turtle at Racha Yai.  There are more boats going out, but its 2 a day maybe.  vs last year 3000 people a day.  Heck, 2 months ago it was 10 people on the boat.  Picked up a bit, but lots of grumbling from the dive people about restrictions on who can dive.  People like me who've been here a while and haven't had both shots or haven't even had one shot are now no longer allowed to dive (although they aren't really checking in detail other than asking you).  I've been showing a shot of my first vaccine paperwork and that seems ok.


Some shots of the process at Chalong;

Need to install and show the Mor Chana app to the ladies.

image.thumb.png.4fa8a560b040597680f7a1969e3dd1d2.png

Scan temp with the "robot"
image.thumb.png.c04f76a2f98f2aee4da33b1f08f11c2f.png


Get your hand sanitised and (temp tested)

image.thumb.png.545859280ee115e9fee2e23c9cccaf1f.png
Plus a few paper forms, and photos  before you leave if you're sandbox people.

Edited by shanghailoz
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On 7/23/2021 at 1:46 PM, shanghailoz said:

I've been diving regularly since i've been here.
If you're sandboxed, you can dive (after the 1st set of tests come back).
We've had a few sandbox victims^H visitors with us diving from Chalong bay to Rachai Noi/ Racha Yai.

Phi Phi still a no go though.  

You'll actually be in a better situation than me - now only people with 2 covid shots can dive (they aren't checking other than asking you though).

The coral is still pretty fcuk'd, but a lot of the wildlife is back. I saw dolphins just out of  Chalong bay the other day.  A turtle at Racha Yai.  There are more boats going out, but its 2 a day maybe.  vs last year 3000 people a day.  Heck, 2 months ago it was 10 people on the boat.  Picked up a bit, but lots of grumbling from the dive people about restrictions on who can dive.  People like me who've been here a while and haven't had both shots or haven't even had one shot are now no longer allowed to dive (although they aren't really checking in detail other than asking you).  I've been showing a shot of my first vaccine paperwork and that seems ok.


Some shots of the process at Chalong;

Need to install and show the Mor Chana app to the ladies.

image.thumb.png.4fa8a560b040597680f7a1969e3dd1d2.png

Scan temp with the "robot"
image.thumb.png.c04f76a2f98f2aee4da33b1f08f11c2f.png


Get your hand sanitised and (temp tested)

image.thumb.png.545859280ee115e9fee2e23c9cccaf1f.png
Plus a few paper forms, and photos  before you leave if you're sandbox people.

This is amazing, thanks for the info! I really hope I can come out and do it, does seem like a good time without the usual chaos of all the the tourists. 

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53 minutes ago, Cmstyle said:

Does anyone know if it is possible to transit in Singapore (1hour) for the flight into Phuket? 

Singapore is open for international transit but is requiring (last I saw) a PCR test to do so. I've got a friend in Phuket who just cleared the sandbox and is working remotely. I'm going to be checking with her to see what things are like and how onerous the sandbox really is as I'm thinking of doing that instead of ASQ when I go in October. If I find anything meaningful I'll report back.

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17 hours ago, JamesE said:

Singapore is open for international transit but is requiring (last I saw) a PCR test to do so. I've got a friend in Phuket who just cleared the sandbox and is working remotely. I'm going to be checking with her to see what things are like and how onerous the sandbox really is as I'm thinking of doing that instead of ASQ when I go in October. If I find anything meaningful I'll report back.

Awesome, thanks dude, yeah I believe everywhere requires a PCR test, is that as you transit or will one before the flight from the UK be sufficient? Everyone here has been really helpful so thank you very much! I am going to go ahead and go for it, I will also report back on the process and what it's like there. I'm just excited to visit Phuket Town and go to my old haunts when I was doing my CELTA teaching qualification there so many moons ago. :) 

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On 7/23/2021 at 3:45 AM, Cmstyle said:

I'm mainly coming to just relax and chill and finish a book I am writing

Coming here in this period means: spend unnecessarily more than usual for tests, ASQ and travel (which you must do masked all the time); go thru a lot of paperwork; being closed in your room for 14 days or so (in phuket I think it is 7 now, isn't it? I don't know) with food you may or may not like; face curfews/lockdown/etc. at any time and short notice; traffic jammed more than usual in bangkok due to protests (whether you  consider to go there some times); a lot of shop/malls closures, either by covid or by people going out of business; plus it is wet season.

Are you sure you want all of this this? There are so many relaxing places in UK to find inspiration and concentration.

Just my 2 cents.

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6 minutes ago, HappyExpat said:

I don't know, seems like a lot of Phuket is currently up in the air.

You mean a bit like this and they believe they will find "Paradise Falls" ?

image.jpeg.80eb083d394aa2aace92e1336ffdf24d.jpeg

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2 hours ago, uanmak said:

Coming here in this period means: spend unnecessarily more than usual for tests, ASQ and travel (which you must do masked all the time); go thru a lot of paperwork; being closed in your room for 14 days or so (in phuket I think it is 7 now, isn't it? I don't know) with food you may or may not like; face curfews/lockdown/etc. at any time and short notice; traffic jammed more than usual in bangkok due to protests (whether you  consider to go there some times); a lot of shop/malls closures, either by covid or by people going out of business; plus it is wet season.

Are you sure you want all of this this? There are so many relaxing places in UK to find inspiration and concentration.

Just my 2 cents.

Yeah it's all a more than usual, and I do understand the stress it can cause. UK is a non entity for me, it's a decent country but I never usually stay longer than 1yr, 2 at most. Too much of a bubble, and the countryside is just a bit boring to me. Being stuck here for so long (going on 3-4 years due to pandemic and money issues) has been incredibly difficult especially as I've been working from a small room next to my bedroom throughout the whole time. I need to get out for a bit, and the cost of going abroad for a long period works out the same as going to Phuket.   I welcome the adventure! :) 

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13 minutes ago, Cmstyle said:

Yeah it's all a more than usual, and I do understand the stress it can cause. UK is a non entity for me, it's a decent country but I never usually stay longer than 1yr, 2 at most. Too much of a bubble, and the countryside is just a bit boring to me. Being stuck here for so long (going on 3-4 years due to pandemic and money issues) has been incredibly difficult especially as I've been working from a small room next to my bedroom throughout the whole time. I need to get out for a bit, and the cost of going abroad for a long period works out the same as going to Phuket.   I welcome the adventure! :) 

Fair enough. But if you have not been there before, you may consider the beauty of the Outer Hebrides in this period, they will not disappoint you ??

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5 hours ago, uanmak said:

being closed in your room for 14 days or so (in phuket I think it is 7 now, isn't it? I don't know

Just <1 day right now. Once you get your first test back negative you're free to go anywhere on the island and you don't (unlike Samui+) need an escort.

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On 7/22/2021 at 1:45 PM, Cmstyle said:

2: Leaving phuket after 14 days to go elsewhere then back to phuket to fly back to UK - does this pose a problem? Would I need to quarantine again for 14 days on re-entry to phuket. Would I be able to get back into the UK If I were to do this? I'm considering Koh samui/phagnan but wont even try if it poses a logistical nightmare.  

This was my question too, but found out today (and I don't have a freaking clue why it took so long to find this website) that you only need to fly out of Phuket if you stay for fewer than 14 days. So now I'm looking into US -> Phuket, get to Bangkok somehow, and then BKK -> US. The website that's packed with sandbox info is the obviously named www.phuket-sandbox.com. Check out the FAQs page, tons of info.

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20 hours ago, JamesE said:

This was my question too, but found out today (and I don't have a freaking clue why it took so long to find this website) that you only need to fly out of Phuket if you stay for fewer than 14 days. So now I'm looking into US -> Phuket, get to Bangkok somehow, and then BKK -> US. The website that's packed with sandbox info is the obviously named www.phuket-sandbox.com. Check out the FAQs page, tons of info.

Getting to Bangkok shouldn't be too hard, unless of course they restrict all interprovincial travel.  I am still strongly considering  an ASQ hotel in Bangkok in order to avoid all of the sandbox uncertainties.  Bangkok is where I want to end up.  Return tickets may  be required to get a COE.  Arriving and departing from different cities may cause someone to pause in their application of a rubber stamp. In the past I have always used an itinerary provided  by my travel agent.  This gives me the freedom to purchase actual tickets at a later date.

I think from the beginning it has been after 14 days in the sandbox you are free to go anywhere in Thailand.  It has only recently become problematic to travel within Thailand.

 

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