The day had FINALLY arrived! After dreaming of this day to come for years, and then going through months of preparation, the day of departure was a welcomed awakening. Of course, it was a bittersweet day saying, "See you later" to family members, not knowing if they would even get the chance to visit us while in Thailand because of all the unknowns. (Please open soon borders!) When we arrived at the airport, we had to have all our documents ready to show the Thai representatives. For anyone who is going through this program during COVID times, I cannot stress enough how important it is to be organized and prepared! We kept all our documents in a folder that was ready to pull out at a moment’s notice! If you think you might not need something, print it anyway and bring it with you! Trust me, it is much easier to throw away a piece of paper once you're in country versus not having it and having to go through the trouble of finding it somehow (which did happen to one of the other participants with us once we got to Thailand, but more on that later.)
First, we need to talk about the flights! Before this trip, I had never been on a flight longer than 8 hours, so a 13.5-hour flight to South Korea and then another 5-hour flight to Bangkok was the part I was most nervous about the whole time. BUT this is one area where I would actually like to thank COVID. The flights were EMPTY, and we got a whole row to ourselves! (Hallelujah!) I was able to lay out and actually get some rest. I could not imagine going that long sitting up in one seat. Also, the meals on the plane were really yummy! If you fly Korean Air, they take EXCEPTIONALLY good care of you. Forewarning, they will be dressed head to toe in protective gear, on the airplane and at the airport. Once we arrived in Bangkok, the process was very streamlined. You are greeted by a mob in blue protective suits telling you were to sit depending on your itinerary. They check your paperwork, you get into another line, you get your temperature checked, you get in another line, they check your paperwork again, you get in another line, they check your temperature again (if you are even 0.1 to high they make you go to a "cool down corner" and will recheck you in 5 minutes. How do I know, oh because I was the lucky one out of basically everyone that had to do this because airports stress me out and I was carrying everything making me hot.) Not to worry, I passed after 5 minutes then went into another line that we waited in to go get our passport checked. This is where one of the other participants in our group couldn't find her certificate of entry, but she was able to pull it up on her computer and make it through. After that we grabbed our bags and were led to a shuttle heading to our ASQ (alternate state quarantine) hotel. Don't let this process scare you because everyone is SO nice and accommodating through this process! Next up is quarantine, and WOW has that been an experience!
Until next time: keep life simple, travel, and be kind!