Huge thanks to a Koh Samui Guide customer, James, for letting me know that it’s now possible to ‘Test and Go’ on Koh Samui. I so appreciate this collective spirit of information sharing – I think it’s the only way we’ll get the whole picture. Thank you James!! His kind tip led me down the rabbit hole of 340,459,454 browser tabs as I tried to reverse-engineer how it all works. As far as I can tell, what follows is a step-by-step guide to how it’s currently possible to arrive straight to Koh Samui from overseas, and complete your one-night Test and Go stay on Samui rather than in Bangkok.
Updated December 22, 2021
Announced today: New Thailand Pass applications and the Test and Go program will be temporarily suspended over the holidays. This is *hopefully* a temporary measure while sciencey people give Omicron a watchful side-eye. The situation will be reviewed in early January. See full details here or subscribe to updates.
Start here: If you’re just starting from scratch, please start with my guide to ‘No Quarantine’ Thailand travel as it will get you acquainted with your travel options depending on where you live and where you want to go. (Updated Dec 22nd).
How to book your Test and Go hotel? If you’d prefer to book your Bangkok Test and Go hotel through a booking site like Agoda – yes, it’s possible – refer to this step-by-step guide (with screenshots). If you want to compare package options and pricing, it’s a great way to stack up a few choices side by side. Note that it’s also possible (and certainly advised) to book with free cancellation.
Have questions? Confused by all these acronyms? Whether you need help understanding the difference between different kinds of “SHA Plus” hotels or want the Thailand Pass nitty-gritty explained in more detail, don’t miss my long list of answers to your most common Thailand travel questions.
The Koh Samui Guide: Your total travel guidebook for Koh Samui, Thailand in a convenient PDF ebook – it downloads instantly. Get everything you need to know about Koh Samui – and 18 years of Koh Samui expertise – in one easy read.
Subscribe: Finally, if you want to continue to receive updates, make sure you join my email list. It’s an easy way to dip your toe in the water if Koh Samui or Thailand travel is on your “hopefully soon” list but you’re (quite rightly) not quite ready to commit.
One final piece of really, REALLY important reading: [An] experience testing positive (Reddit).
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Top Photo: Amari Koh Samui, a Test and Go hotel
How to ‘Test and Go’ on Koh Samui
Now that you’ve read the above guides and FAQs, you’ll have an understanding of the Test and Go requirement and which hotels are qualified to offer Test and Go packages. (As well as the crucial, crucial knowledge about what happens to you if you test positive on arrival – please don’t miss this).
How to get to Koh Samui
To arrive in Koh Samui eligible for Test and Go, as a newly minted testable-entity, you need to book one of two flight options:
1. Domestic flight options
A ‘sealed’ route on Bangkok Airways from BKK to USM (Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport to Koh Samui). These are flight numbers:
- Both flights run daily.
Let’s quickly look at flight timing and see if this makes sense for you to do.
PG5125 leaves BKK at noon and PG5171 leaves BKK at 17:10. If your arriving flight into BKK doesn’t match up, just scrap the Koh Samui arrivals plan and book a Bangkok Test and Go hotel instead. No point in waiting for hours at an airport after a long-haul flight, rather than going directly to a comfy hotel room.
How to book one of these sealed flights?
Important! Your entire journey from departure airport to Koh Samui needs to be booked on one ticket. You can’t hop on to the Bangkok Airways’ website and book the Samui flight independently. All one ticket. This is best done through a travel agent or by phoning your airline and booking with a real person. For a test, I tried my luck with Thai Airways, British Airways and Eva on their websites. Eva couldn’t find anything, BA wanted to route me through Singapore and Thai told me that “transiting to domestic destinations in Thailand is currently restricted” (which – as this post is trying to demonstrate – is true with two exceptions, PG5125 and PG5171). However, if you click past the warning, Thai Airways does find the sealed route flights.
This is an example from London (LHR) to Koh Samui (USM), for a date in January, offering both sealed route options. But don’t miss the connection time in BKK: 6 hours’ and 11 hours’ waiting respectively. I’d way rather be showered and tucked in a fluffy Bangkok hotel bathrobe, you?
Why can’t I see flights PG5125 and PG5171 on the website?
You’ll only see domestic flights for sale on Bangkok Airways’s website. The two sealed Samui flights are only available via international carriers. (If they were available for purchase to domestic carriers they wouldn’t be sealed, right?). I’ve read that people had to reiterate to their airline that PG5171 and PG171 are different flights. Make sure you’re on the one that starts with a 5. It’s confusing because the two separate flights have similar arrival times.
How to change my existing booking to a sealed flight?
I’ve received emails from people wondering how to change an existing flight booking to include one of these sealed Koh Samui flights. I don’t know the specifics of your ticket conditions but my best guess is you’ll have to talk to your airline (a real human on the phone) and either pay rebooking fees or cancel and rebook it entirely. (Just a guess – covid-era airline fine-print is by no means my area of expertise).
If you accidentally arrive in Thailand with an incorrect connecting flight (e.g. not a sealed flight), you’ll be required to do your Test and Go in Bangkok (and forfeit your Samui Test and Go booking). As I wonder a few times in this post … might it be easier just to spend a night in Bangkok and skip the worry and confusion? (If yes – start here).
2. International flight options to Samui
Can you fly into Koh Samui on an international flight and Test and Go on arrival?
In normal times, you’d have a half-dozen options of direct international flights into Samui (USM), on several airlines. Currently, only Bangkok Airways is offering a direct international flight a few times a week from Singapore:
- Flight PG962 leaves Singapore at 19:30
- Monday, Thursday and Sunday
I can’t find any written proof from a reliable source that you can Test and Go on arrival in Samui on these flights … equally, I can’t find proof that you can’t. I suspect that it’s possible because that’s what should and would happen to fresh international arrivals into Thailand but … I don’t know this for absolute certainty. (If anyone’s done this or is doing this … let me know!). British Airways routes Samui bookings this way on its website (e.g. through Singapore), so I’m assuming this is true until told otherwise.
Ok, so now you’ve got your flights sorted – let’s look at your options for Test and Go hotels on Koh Samui.
Test and Go hotels on Koh Samui
As you’ve learned in this guide, you’re looking for “SHA Extra Plus” hotels which are “SHA Plus” hotels that have a hospital partner to perform the covid testing. It’s my understand that the tests happen at Samui Airport, rather than at the hotel. This is the SHA Extra Plus logo:
You need to book your Test and Go package either on Agoda or directly with the hotel in advance of your arrival (indeed in advance of your Thailand Pass application). As with Bangkok Test and Go, the package will include your arrival covid test, airport transfer (likely just one way), your one night’s stay and a DIY covid test that you take on your 6th or 7th day. Double-check what the package includes in terms of food (as you’re not allowed to leave your room until a test result is received) and read the fine-print for cancellation/refund details.
Test and Go hotels on Koh Samui:
As of today, you have over 125 options for Test and Go hotels and villas on Koh Samui. No matter which you book, you’ll need a document from your hotel (“Samui Plus Pre-paid SHA PLUS Booking Authentication”) to submit for your Thailand Pass.
Booking Test and Go on Agoda
Compared to finding a Test and Go package on Agoda in Bangkok (very easy – learn how), it took a little more digging to do the same for Koh Samui Test and Go packages but it is possible.
1) Follow the same process for Bangkok Test and Go. IMPORTANT! Unless you follow this bizarre series of clicks, you won’t see Test and Go packages in the results. I don’t know why, but this is the way.
2) At the top of your results page on Agoda, under the filter, click “International entry (SHA Extra+) and click “Certified SHA Extra+ hotels”. This is the key step to making the Test and Go packages appear in your results.
I was able to find packages for:
Note that Amari’s options include group and family room options – tons of flexibility.
My examples both include free cancellation up to the day of arrival but not taxes and fees.
Booking Test and Go directly
Looking at a few Test and Go package options for Samui, you’ll notice a few things in the details when booking directly through the hotel.
The Anantara and W Koh Samui’s “Test and Chillax” options are non-refundable. I’d be much more comfortable booking something on Agoda with free cancellation – especially if you’re booking some distance in the future and, y’know, the world decides to totally go to sh*t.
The InterContinental option adds airport transfer and covid test on top of the room rate (THB 2,200 per car and THB 2,400 per person, net, respectively).
Just flagging this so you make sure to read the small print you might otherwise skip past.
The Nikki Beach option requires a 3-night minimum stay and makes vague reference to “terms and conditions”.
Just to say – some homework will be required on your part before handing over your payment for a direct booking.
As for the full list of Koh Samui Test and Go hotel options, these are – alphabetically –
- Absolute Sanctuary
- Amari Koh Samui
- Ammatara Pura
- Anahata Resort Koh Samui
- Anantara Bophut
- Anantara Lawana
- AVANI+ Samui
- Baan Bophut Beach Hotel
- Baan Chaweng Beach Resort
- Baan Haad Ngam Boutique Resort
- Baan Hin Sai Resort & Spa
- Baan Samui Resort
- Banana Fan Sea Resort
- Banyan Tree Samui
- Belmond Napasai Koh Samui
- Bhundhari Chaweng Beach Resort
- Bo Phut Resort and Spa
- Cape Fahn
- Casa De Mar
- Celes Beachfront Resort
- Centara Reserve Samui (new!)
- Centara Villas Samui
- Chaweng Cove Beach Resort
- Chaweng Garden Beach Resort
- Chaweng Noi Pool Villa
- Chaweng Regent Beach Resort
- Chaweng Villawee
- Chura Samui
- CHUZ Villas Samui
- Coco Palm Beach Resort
- Conrad Koh Samui
- Coral Cliff Beach Resort
- Dara Samui Beach Resort
- Eranda Villa
- Escape Beach Resort
- Fair House Beach Resort
- First Bungalow Beach Resort
- First Residence Hotel
- Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui
- Hansar Samui
- Hyatt Regency Koh Samui (new!)
- ibis Samui Bophut
- InterContinental Koh Samui Resort
- J4 Samui Hotel
- Kamalaya Koh Samui
- Karma Resort
- KC Beach Club
- Khun Chaweng Resort
- Khwan Beach Resort
- La Vida Samui
- Lanna Samui
- Le Murraya Resort
- Lotus Samui
- Lub d Koh Samui
- Luxury Villa Samui
- Mai Samui Beach Resort & Spa
- Malibu Resort and Beach Club
- Mantra Samui Resort
- Marina Beach Resort
- Marina Villa
- Melati Resort & Spa
- Melia Koh Samui (new-is!)
- Miskawaan Luxury Beachfront Villas
- Montien House
- New Body & Mind Retreat Koh Samui
- New Leaf Wellness Resort
- Nikki Beach Resort & Spa
- Nora Beach Resort & Spa
- Nora Buri Samui Resort & Spa
- OZO Chaweng Samui
- Panacea Retreat Private Estate
- Panorama Samui Residences
- Paradise Beach Resort
- Pattra Vill Resort
- Pavilion Samui Villas & Resort
- Pawanthorn Villas
- Peace Resort
- Poolsawat Villa
- Prana Resort
- PS Thana Resort
- Punnpreeda Beach Resort
- Rajapruek Samui Resort
- Renaissance Koh Samui Resort & Spa
- Rocky’s Boutique Resort
- Royal Beach Boutique Resort & Spa
- Rummana Boutique Resort
- Samahita Retreat
- Samui Garden Home
- Samui Honey Cottages
- Samui Jasmine Resort
- Samui Palm Beach Resort
- Samui Paradise Chaweng Beach
- Samujana Villas
- Sandalwood Luxury Villas
- Santiburi Koh Samui
- Saree Samui Natures Finest Resort
- Sea Dance Resort
- Sea Valley Hotel & Spa
- ShaSa Resort & Residences
- Sheraton Samui Resort
- Silavadee Pool Spa Resort
- Skye Beach Hotel
- Synergy Samui
- Tango Luxe Beach Villa
- The Beach Samui
- The Briza Beach Resort
- The Canale Samui Resort (new!)
- The Hive Hotel
- The Lamai Samui
- The Library
- The Passage Samui
- The Ritz-Carlton, Koh Samui
- The Rock
- The Samui Beach Resort
- The Sarann
- The Sea Koh Samui
- The Siam Residence Deluxe
- The Spa Resorts
- The Tongsai Bay
- U Samui
- Vana Belle
- Villa Mia
- Villa Nalinnadda
- W Koh Samui
Which hotel should you choose?
My preference for a ‘Test and Go’ hotel would be to choose the most well-oiled, practised machine that’s done this hundreds or thousands of times and has the system perfected. I really, really wouldn’t want to be the guinea pig for a Test and Go hotel that’s new to the party. (Any other day I’ll happily be the sacrificial lamb … but not with this). Me? I’d favour a Bangkok airport Test and Go hotel (Novotel Suvarnabhumi or Siam Mandarina), or a large Bangkok city hotel with a big bathtub and good view (see recommendations). Then, I’d transfer to Samui on any domestic flight and plan to spend my little heart out supporting every small business I can find – hotels included.
However – full disclosure – I’m not yet ready to travel given experiences like this. Very much eyes-on-the-prize for 2022 but I’ll keep the updates coming and you do you!
Then what happens?
What can you do and where can you go after completing Koh Samui Test and Go? After receiving negative test results, it’s just like a normal vacation. You can stay where you want and travel to other parts of Thailand. You can eat, drink and be merry (with the minor caveat that bars won’t reopen until at least mid-January). In short, you can enjoy every inch of Samui … as long as you don’t test positive.
More Koh Samui questions?
- Koh Samui: The Koh Samui Guide
- My favourites: Shop travel essentials
- All Covid resources: See the archive
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