As Thailand is still very much in the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic, it would appear that apart from the Phuket Sandbox idea, which started on 1 July for fully vaccinated people, there is little prospect of quarantine in other parts of the country, including Pattaya, being lifted or reduced anytime soon. Several hotels in the city offer Alternative Local Quarantine (ALQ) for travellers from overseas who will be required to quarantine for 14 or 15 nights, depending on the time their plane landed.
The plan, as it stands, is for Pattaya to adopt a similar Sandbox Scheme on 1 October. Still, most observers believe this will depend on the success of the Phuket scheme, infections rates in Thailand, and the progress of the vaccination rollout. While allowing fully vaccinated people to come as “normal”, there are still likely to be limitations in place regarding the number of people who can arrive at any one time. Although this isn’t the perfect solution by any stretch, it is undoubtedly a considerable step in the right direction.
Of course, people flying in from overseas are no longer the only people required to quarantine on arrival in Pattaya, with visitors from some other provinces, most notably Bangkok, needing to self-isolate for 14-days. These measures make travel, even within Thailand, regardless of if you are vaccinated or not, challenging. Many of Pattaya’s businesses are reliant on people from other provinces, so there are fears that even if the quarantine rules for vaccinated people are relaxed, there will be little for them to come to.
For those who do go through quarantine and want to enjoy some peace and quiet, empty beaches, and a soft drink overlooking the sea, now is arguably the best time. The roads are almost deserted, and the air is cleaner, plus you won’t be disturbed by coach after coach going past your condo early in the morning. It is probably the quietest that the city has been for decades, and for those who are pretty happy not to drink, and there are quite a few, getting used to the new Pattaya could be quite easy.
If you are looking to rent a condo or house, now is a perfect time. You will have a choice of beachfront properties at a fraction of the price that they were 18 months ago. It is also the chance to grab a bargain, with sales prices significantly reduced, and investors who are prepared to wait for a return could be exceptionally well rewarded in a couple of years. Opportunities are there for everyone regardless of if you are vaccinated are not; it is just how hard you look!
We all know that sooner or later, the rules surrounding vaccinated people will be eased. What we don’t know is when and if 1 October is too early. Vaccinations, certainly on the face of it, seem to be the best way out of the pandemic, and Pattaya, like everywhere else in the world, is desperate from some level of normality to return.