Shanghai to Bangkok During Shanghai Lockdown 04/15/2022

By Gabby Gabriel

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Introduction

I recently came back to Shanghai, for what I thought was going to be my final three months living in Shanghai full-time. I planned to go to all my favorite places, hang out with my friends, and take care of all the details necessary when moving. As I own a business, Gab China, I will need to go back to Shanghai on a regular basis; however, this time I am getting rid of my apartment and only visiting twice a year. Due to the lockdown, decided that three months in lockdown wouldn’t be the best use of my time, so I headed to Bangkok, where we are considering opening another office.

Since I thought the lockdown was only going to be 5 days, originally I went to do a staycation at the Ritz Carlton in Puxi. However, when the lockdown lasted longer than that, I had to move back to my community. My community, located in Jing’an, allowed me to go back to my apartment, and then to leave again — most communities are not as flexible. You can find the media of this whole process on Instagram:

Step 1: Community Approval

I called the Jiahui (Community Management), and asked if I am allowed to leave the community to go abroad. They said yes, I could leave anytime. This was surprising to me, as my community and building have positive cases.

They first told me I could just leave, but when I actually got to the gate- they wouldn’t let me out and said I needed a pass. Then when I went back to my building, the security guard never saw me leave and wouldn’t let me back into the building- I just say this, to be careful and make sure you ask for details about how to do this as they didn’t tell me I needed the pass originally.

The actual process:

To get a PCR test, I needed to write a note saying that I was going to do that, and I would take all responsibility for what could go wrong during this trip. The note had to be in Chinese, see note:

With the picture of the note, the community then issued a pass for me, and I was able to leave.

Step 2: Booking Flight to Bangkok

After I received community approval, I booked my flight to Bangkok. I first searched on SkyScanner and trip.com – the flight I took didn’t show up on either.

I booked Cathay Pacific CX 363 to Hong Kong, then CX 701 to Bangkok. One hour transfer time. My bags were checked through all the way from Pudong. I will get more into that part later


 
Step 3: Applying for ThaiPass

Link: https://tp.consular.go.th/

64 countries do not require a visa to enter Thailand (US, Uk, Australia, Brazil): https://www.thaiembassy.com/thailand-visa/thai-visa-exemption-and-bilateral-agreement If you are from one of these countries the only item you need is the ThaiPass

Tips for ThaiPass:

  • You need to book your hotel, air ticket, and insurance before you apply for the Thaipass.
  • Export vaccine certificates, hotel reservation, air confirmation, insurance as JPGs or PNGs for uploading to ThaiPass website.
  • You can book a hotel using your own method, you don’t need to use Agoda. Agoda is just their partner, it doesn’t make it easier. I booked Marriot The Surawongse because it has an awesome rooftop pool, and I wanted to earn Bonvoy Points.
  • If you scroll down past the application process on the website, you can purchase insurance there.
  • Insurance I bought (which is on the Thai website) , cost around 200 RMB ($30 USD), but prices vary depending on length of stay and amount of coverage- the most basic insurance works though: https://partner.fwdgi.co.th/en/fwdgi/corona-virus-inbound-insurance?utm_source=tqmbroker
  • After you reserve your hotel, send them an email or call them (I called through Skype) and told him I will need the ThaiPass service. They then have you prepay for the car, they will send instructions to your email about how to do this.
  • I submitted the hotel reservation without doing the extra booking part, and was approved – however if you have time , technically you need proof that you booked the car with the hotel as well.

Thailand has options for both vaccinated and unvaccinated passengers. I happen to be vaccinated with both Moderna & Sinopharm. I submitted both on my Thai Pass application; however, either are accepted.

According to the ThaiPass website, the process takes anywhere from 2-7 days. I had 2 days exactly, so I found out they have an email to expedite passes. After I submitted my application on the website, I sent an email to the expedite: testgo@consular.go.th

Subject: Urgent 04/15 Arrival

Body: I submitted my application online, but given the emergency situation in Shanghai I am looking to expedite my pass.

Attachments uploaded as JPGs: air reservation, hotel reservation, insurance, vaccine proof, passport,

Step 4: PCR Test at Shanghai Jing’an Central Hospital

I chose to do the PCR test somewhere near my apartment, so I could walk or cycle there. I went to Shanghai Jing’an Central Hospital on the corner of Xinzha and Xikang Lu. There was only one other person there, the streets were completely empty, nothing was opened.

The process at the hospital is exactly the same as during open period, go and pay, then go to do the test. It cost 28 RMB. The results came out in about 12 hours.

Step 5: Finding a Car

By asking in the groups, I found a driver. I’m not going to share the price I paid, but I struck a deal with him by saying I could refer him to lots of people trying to leave (he was not disappointed). My advice is to try to negotiate with whoever you find. Most cars are not able to go from Puxi to Pudong, so you need to check if they can do that. I was thankful I chose a driver that could, to save with the stress of grabbing a bus from Hongqiao to Pudong airport, but keep in mind that is an option.

My driver didn’t want to take a deposit, but he was on time and very professional; however, I was always nervous he wasn’t going to show up and I messaged him about every 12 hours to confirm his arrival haha.

Step 6: Apply for Pass to Airport

The pass to the airport is more for the community, no one else checks it, and it is more to document the exit than anything else. Every community is different, I am thankful I lived in a very flexible community, they didn’t ask any questions, they simply asked for when I am leaving and the PCR test results. Similarly, they had me write a note taking responsibility for my exit.

I had to write a note:

Step 7: Going to the Airport

My flight was scheduled for 11:25AM, my driver suggested we leave at 6AM because sometimes there are additional checks at the airport or bridge. We left around 6AM from Jing’an, and I’m not sure if he took a longer route than usual but we arrived at the airport around 7:30. No one checked me, but when went to Lupu Bridge, we were stopped and the guard checked the pass my driver had, see video:

No one checked the PCR test the entire time from crossing the bridge, to entering the airport, to checking in (need a VPN if in China to watch the video)

Step 8: At the Airport / Checking In

When I arrived at the airport, I needed to show my green code to get into the airport. They didn’t check my PCR test, and they didn’t check Antigen either — this isn’t the case for everyone, so still be prepared.

There already was a line for Cathay Pacific. Note, if you are flying to Bangkok, there is a separate and special line for Bangkok— separate from people who are traveling to Hong Kong. Go to the Bangkok line even if no one else is there, I did it and I was first to be checked in.

While you are waiting for the airport staff to arrive (Checkin started at 8:25, and I arrived around 7:40), you can apply for your Exit Code. This is a WeChat miniprogram, see screenshot:

Checking in:

1. The staff wanted to check all of the documents that ThaiPass already had checked: The Thai Pass, Hotel reservation, Insurance, Vaccine Certificate.

2. The staff asked for a ticket leaving Thailand, I told them I didn’t need one as an American. However, maybe good to have one just to avoid issues. They seemed concerned and warned me I might need to buy one when I landed in Thailand (wasn’t true I didn’t get asked anything).

Step 9: At the Airport

Before going through immigration, they check the Code at security, make sure to take a screenshot and you can use that to save time. There is no other form to fill out in order to leave.

The airport is 100% closed except for vending machines, after you get through security. The vending machine drinks are not cold, but they have variety:

Step 10: Flight to Hong Kong

The flight to Hong Kong offers drinks (including wine) and a meal. They were operating as if it is a normal flight. There was a USB port to charge your phone.

Step 11: Landing in Hong Kong

Flying Cathay Pacific, there are staff waiting for you when you get off the flight, not only for the Bangkok flight. They had staff for every flight, including the Emirates connections. It seems like they want to escort you to the next gate. They had everyone wait to the side until all the people on the flight were there, and then we followed the lady through to the gate. My layover time was around 1 hour, but we landed in HK a bit earlier and had 90 minutes.

We did have to go through security in Hong Kong. The airport there is also 100% closed, no shops, no duty free. The Cathay Pacific lounge near the next gate seemed opened, but I didn’t go as there was no need and not enough time.

Step 12: Flight to Bangkok

The flight to Bangkok offers drinks (including wine) and a meal. They were operating as if it is a normal flight. There was a USB port to charge your phone.

Save your air ticket to Bangkok, you will need it in when you land in Bangkok.

Cathay Pacific gives you an immigration form that you will need when you land, filling it out ahead of time saves you time

Step 13: Landing in Bangkok

Checking Thai Pass:

Follow the signs that say ThaiPass. You walk through to ThaiPass, and they want to scan the pass. See picture:
If you used the ThaiPass in Apple Wallet, not all staff can scan it. I recommend saving the PDF version on your phone in case of emergency. They moved me to a different line since I had Apple Wallet version. They scan the pass, and stamp your arrival form.

Immigration:

You then go follow signs through to immigration, where they asked me no questions.

Collecting Bags:

Getting Money:

Where you collect your bags, there are ATMs and places to get a SIM card. I withdrew 3,000 baht. When you withdraw from ATMs never accept their conversion rate, decline the conversion rate and proceed— this will save you money. They will still give you the cash, but at the conversion rate from your bank, which is always better than the ATM’s.

SIM card:

I decided to get the AIS sim card as they had unlimited internet for 30 days, and I plan on staying for at least this long. It cost 1,000 baht ($20 USD) for unlimited internet, also a quick search said that this was the best SIM card. There were other cheaper options though.

Step 14: Finding Hotel & COVID Test & Check-In

When you leave with your bags, you will see tables labeled from A to Z. My table was at T-Z. The hotel rep then takes you to your car. The car then takes you to a drive-through COVID test. The hospital gives you an antigen test to take on day 5 of your trip to Thailand.

The covid PCR test was both a throat and a nose test.

When you arrive at the hotel, they take you to your room directly, and you are not allowed to leave until the results came out. By this time, it was around 9PM and I was pretty tired. I ordered room service, and started to relax.

Any questions? Feel free to reach out

Conclusion:

My instagram account has the Instagram stories I documented through the process. I will upload the images/videos to this by Monday 04/18. But since so many people keep reaching out, I thought getting this typed ASAP was a priority. You are welcome to add my wechat: gabinc

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gabbygabriel_/

If you do make it to Thailand and we are in the same city, feel free to buy me a drink!

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