Anyone who has thought about visiting Thailand recently will have heard about the country’s ASQ program, which involves spending two weeks confined to a hotel room immediately upon arrival. It is expensive, as well as tedious and would appear to be doing a pretty good job at deterring would-be visitors from coming to Thailand, but the Thai authorities have come up with what seems like a great alternative; “golf quarantine”. This involves essentially undertaking your prescribed quarantine period at a golfing resort, so instead of staring at the same four walls for two weeks you can get outside and play as much golf as you like, get some fresh air and hopefully shave a stroke or two off your handicap in the process. Also, you will be free to roam the resort at your leisure, with some resorts offering swimming pools, tennis courts, games rooms and even snooker to help you pass the time. Whilst this seems like a great way to try and entice more travellers whilst helping out the ailing golf clubs which have been hard hit by the pandemic, let’s take a closer look at the details of the scheme.
How Does it Work?
The scheme was approved by the Thai cabinet on December 7th, 2020, and to date, six golf resorts have been approved for this purpose (although obviously, this number is likely to increase in the coming weeks/months). The courses will be closed to the general public whilst they are in use as quarantine venues, and the golfers will be required to stay within the confines of the golf course and resort complex until their quarantine is completed. With most of the courses having a clubhouse, restaurant, swimming pool and even tennis courts, it is a much more attractive proposition than being stuck in a hotel room for two weeks, if you like golf, that is. You’ll still need to jump through all the hoops getting your visa, fitness to fly certificate, certificate of entry and covid test, but then simply choose one of the courses below as your ASQ. Of course, there is no obligation to play golf, so even if you just want a bit more freedom, this could be an attractive proposition for you.
Below is a list of all the courses that have currently been approved for this purpose as of January 2021, note that all will require a significant amount of travel from Suvarnabhumi international airport.
Evergreen Hills Golf Club, Kanchanaburi. One of the best courses in Thailand, this award-winning golf club has an 18 hole, par 72 course and a 97 room resort. Facilities include a huge swimming pool, tennis courts, a snooker hall, driving range and karaoke. Green fees are 800 baht per round. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blue Star Golf Course, Kanchanaburi. This is an 18 hole, 700-yard course with clubhouse, restaurant, practise area and a choice of accommodation options. Green fees are 500-600 baht per round, depending on which time you prefer to play. Tel: +66 9 8569 6614.
Mida Golf Club, Kanchanaburi. This is another 72 par, 18 hole course with a restaurant and bar, clubhouse and swimming pool. Price of a round is 500-700 baht. Tel +66 81 173 1976.
Artitaya Golf Club and Resort, Nakhon Nayok. Just over an hour from the airport (the closest of the six), this club has a great 18 hole course with a separate resort, clubhouse, restaurant and bar. Green fees are 400-800 baht per round. Tel: +66 2 549 2245.
Artitaya Golf Club and Resort, Chiang Mai. This resort has both an 18 and a newer 9 hole course, with a resort, clubhouse and restaurant. It is around an hour’s drive from Chiang Mai international airport. Tel: +66 53 096 333.
Sawang Golf Club and Resort, Petchaburi. Around 2 hours south-west from the airport, this place has an excellent 18 hole course, clubhouse, pro-shop, restaurant and resort with a swimming pool. Green fees are around 600 baht a round, depending on when you play. Tel: +66 32-899-747.
This list of approved courses is subject to change and is correct as of 22nd January 2021.
What Do I Need to Do?
If you’re interested in a gold quarantine package, then make your choice from the above golf courses and get in touch via email or phone. Once you have agreed on the dates, paid the resort and got your booking confirmation, then this just takes the place of your ASQ booking paperwork when applying for your certificate of entry. Take care when making your booking, as you’ll be stuck in your choice of resort for two weeks. Make sure you consider how far it is from the airport, the standard of accommodation and the restaurant, and remember that you will not be allowed to leave the resort until your quarantine is completed.
There are a few key points to consider here. Firstly, although they may look expensive compared to ASQ hotels in the capital, you need to bear in mind that the golf quarantine packages will almost certainly include one/two rounds of gold per day, golf cart hire and possibly even club hire, if applicable. The main benefit over ASQ being that you’ll be outside getting some exercise and fresh air whilst travellers opting for regular ASQ in Bangkok will be (quite literally) locked in their rooms with nothing to do. All of the resorts have a restaurant and Wi-Fi.
Another thing to consider is that in many cases the standard of accommodation offered at a golf resort may be somewhat lower than at a 4 or 5-star hotel in Bangkok. Although, you will be allowed to go swimming, play snooker or pool and eat in a proper restaurant, depending on which resort you choose to stay at so the room should be of less importance.
Also, because there will be fewer golfers on the courses, the pace of play will be much quicker and the courses will be in a better condition due to having had relatively little use over the past year due to the pandemic. If you’re thinking of doing a couple of rounds a day this will be ideal. When taking into account all of the benefits of this scheme, it offers a compelling choice for any budding golfers and will be considerably more bearable than a traditional ASQ package.
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