After an uneventful flight from Taipei, we landed on time in BKK. When we disembarked, there were staff in full PPE giving directions where to go, probably a staff member every 10 feet or so. It was fairly easy to follow since everything was roped off and we could only go one way. We were in the first group to disembark so we were lucky to be in the front of the pack. We had to stop at the document check where we had temperature checks, were assigned numbers and handed over our paperwork for review. Once staff confirmed we had everything, we moved on to the health check area. We had a temperature check, had our test results and fit to fly reviewed, then answered questions. After that we were escorted to immigration were we had our Certificate of Entry reviewed, confirmed our arrival flight before going through to be officially stamped in. It was a very smooth process.
Once through, you got escorted through to the luggage area. Since we are carry-on only, we didn’t have to stop and were first out of the terminal. The usual stores were closed and areas roped off so we could only go to the exit door. There our numbers were taken, ASQ reservations checked and we were assigned a spot to wait for pickup with a staff member from our ASQ. Since we were in the first group, this was not a long wait! We were escorted to our van where they took and sanitized our bags, asked us to put on booties, gave us plastic bags for our shoes and also had us sanitize again wit a mask change. We had randomly been given water along the way, so we started our bottle collection… we had heard of people not getting enough water in the ASQ’s. Our driver was in full PPE and there was a separation between us so everyone was very protected. Off to the hotel.
They drove us into the basement of our hotel where we were given more sanitizer, our luggage was taken and we were escorted upstairs to see the nurse and check in. At Le Meridien, we had an additional covid test along with the health check before downloading our health app and checking in. Then we were escorted to our room where our packs and shoes were waiting. We had two rooms with an adjoining door. One had a king size bed, the other two twins. The rooms were huge. We had two massive bathrooms with showers, toilets and a tub. It was pretty impressive.
Within an hour, the chef had called our room to confirm my meals, what I liked and the options available, did Paul eat gluten free? We had 3 choices for every meal, with the additional option for vegetarian. Thai, Italian, Japanese, Western were all options on various days. It all sounded delicious and was hard to choose. After a nice lunch and showers, we settled in for the next 15 nights!
When we first booked the ASQ we didn’t think we needed 2 rooms, however by day 3 we were happy to have them both. The rooms came with a dozen large bottles of water, packs of masks and a large bottle of sanitizer. There was also a welcome tray with some snacks and a fridge with various drinks. Your meals were delivered at set times outside the door, with a knock and a polite “room service”. The food was always warm to hot and tasted great, the only possible complaint was there was too much! We also never ran out of water so our collection of small bottles was sent to recycle. We took a lot of photos of food during these days and not too much else.
We got our negative results the next day and were advised when our next test would be, day 5. They required temperature checks daily at 10 am and 8 pm, we had to enter them on the app and on occasion they would also phone to confirm. There was a massive TV in both rooms, the raspberry Pi connected to it easily and the Wifi was awesome. We became “hall friends” with an American couple across the way, saw them 3 times a day… that was a highlight. We were on the 9th floor so didn’t have the best view but we did get to see some sunset reflections in the building.
Day 5 was a big day because that meant we were closer to getting an hour out of the room! We were escorted down to the nurses station, had all our stats checked and received our test before being escorted back. When we received our negative results we were able to book an hour outside, by the pool or in the gym. We started with outdoor time and then switched to gym time. The other positive was now we would get our room cleaned every other day. That meant more masks, toiletries and water.
There was a special Xmas and New Years Menu, but we didn’t partake because the regular food was so good, it just didn’t make sense. On Christmas Eve our trays were decorated and we all received a special dessert treat… even me! It was the same on Christmas Day. It was definitely a different experience spending this holiday in quarantine but we took the opportunity to relax. We tried to arrange outdoor time with our hall friends but the US was considered high risk at the time and we were only allowed out in groups according to our home country risk. The staff were awesome, so nice and friendly… always cleaning everywhere, calling to ensure everything was good. ASQ wasn’t cheap but they really did provide good service.
Quarantine wasn’t so bad for us, we read, caught up on various research and watched movies and shows. I tried following some youtube Yoga in the other room, but as soon as the lady said work on your “organic breathing” I decided it maybe wasn’t for me. We had made some contacts in the Farang FB group who were all going through this at the same time as us, so we kept in contact. We also got a surprise when Yann got in touch saying he was also looking at coming to Thailand.
During our time in quarantine Thailand had an increase of covid cases so restrictions were put in place. Bars and pubs closed and people travelling from high risk provinces risked quarantine when they left Bangkok. This was a concern as we planned on heading to Chiang Mai as soon as we got out on January 2. On the 30th we had our final covid test, another big day as this would affect if we were able to leave or not. Thankfully we had another negative so we made our plans to head north. We booked the more expensive Thai Airways flight from Suvarnabhumi Airport since we were more comfortable with the fact it wasn’t as busy as Don Mueng. We had decided to head straight out so we weren’t getting any additional exposure to COVID.
This was probably our quietest New Years, we watched Lord of the Rings and fell asleep around 10:30 :( It was okay though, as we really felt that our trip didn’t start until the day we got out. The hotel staff were great, helped us get a box so we could pack all our toiletries and jammies that we gathered on our trip, told us what to expect on check out and where to arrange to be picked up. I have to say our quarantine experience was very positive and we were lucky compared to many people.
Next stop Chiang Mai!!!