Back in February we were staying in Ao Nang in Thailand as the world was starting to get to grips with the increasing global threat of Covid-19.
When we transited through Suvarnabhumi Airport in the middle of February there were some notable changes. There were far more areas with sanitising products available and plenty of signage. However it was almost exclusively focussed on Chinese travellers and those travelling from China. There was an area for temperature checks again targetting Chinese travellers but no-one seemed to be enforcing or checking where people had come from. I didn’t see anyone have their temperature checked.
Within Ao Nang and the wider Krabi area we did not see much to indicate that a global pandemic was on it’s way. It was noticeable that there were very few Chinese travellers around but hotels, bars and restaurants were still busy with plenty of people around.
There were a few more tourists wearing masks than normal but nothing that really stood out as being a change. There were, as usual, a few Thai’s wearing masks, including in our hotel, the excellent Pakasai Resort, but you see this more in the cities rather than the less polluted resort areas.
All-in-all it was business as usual in the area. However we did wonder what it would be like as we travelled home.
Our flight out from Krabi was on the evening of 29th February with our flight from Bangkok leaving the following day. At Krabi Airport again it was business as usual, no noticeable changes or precautions apart from a few signs around the airport and the odd person wearing a face mask.
We had 3.5 hours to wait at Suvarnabhumi Airport before our flight home so we had a good wander around the terminal. There were noticeably more people wearing masks although many seemed to be protecting their chins and necks rather than wearing them correctly. There were certainly more Western tourists wearing masks than you would normally see around the airport.
There were more signs around the airport and also announcements prior to boarding to ask people to make staff aware if they were not well.
On board the Thai Airways flight there were more announcements prior to take off. All cabin crew were wearing gloves and face masks at all times. As we approached landing there were more announcements.
On landing we were held for around 20 minutes before we were allowed to leave the plane. No-one questioned this and everyone took the wait in good humour even after a 12 hour flight. What was strange was that we were then just let off the plane. A few days earlier a plane had been held for a couple of hours when a passenger reported feeling ill on the journey. At the time Thailand was one of the countries highlighted by the UK Government as being of higher risk. We were expecting that they would be undertaking temperature checks as we departed but once we were allowed off the plane there were no differences to normal. Heathrow was working as normal with few signs that the pandemic was starting to increase worldwide.
It was a fairly surreal experience to be honest. When we returned people were always asking questions about what it was like in Thailand, mainly due to the UK identifying it as high risk due to it having the first confirmed case outside of China in mid-January. Yet all we could tell them that life was continuing as normal with few signs that anything was happening.
Of course things quickly changed over the next few weeks as Thailand declared a state of emergency starting on 26th March, a curfew from 3rd April and banning foreign travellers from 4th April.
We felt safe and secure during the whole of our holiday in Thailand despite the country having its problems with Covid-19 during our trip.
What are your thoughts?
Were you travelling during the Covid-19 Pandemic? What were your experiences? Leave a comment and let us know.
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