Stranded in Thailand ?

We have all had a few unsettling days with news of border closures. A couple of days ago the British government issued a statement that anyone travelling abroad should head on home now as it will become increasingly more difficult to find a means of return.

Of course worried friends and family have been in touch to check that that’s what I’m doing.

At this stage I’m nearly half way through my yoga teacher training and am reluctant to make my way home. The flight with Aeroflot is still scheduled and until it cancels I am unable to make a call to the travel insurance for support.

Thailand has issued a state of emergency for the next month with powers to set up curfews and restrictions to travel if they feel it is required. The news out of Bangkok airport is that there are many stranded British travellers who are turning up at the airport and their flights have been cancelled. Some of these costing over a thousand pounds at a time. People are maxing out their credit cards to buy flights which don’t exist. My thoughts are that the last place that I want to be is sitting inside Bangkok airport with thousands of people. The risk for me is too great.

Bangkok airport

I’m currently safe where I am. We have a little yoga community with no contact with the outside world. We are staying within the confinement of our resort with one member of staff completing any jobs which need done outside on our behalf.

My isolation

Travelling is the last thing I want to do.

The British Embassy in Bangkok has listed a number of airlines who will cease flying to Europe within the next couple of days until at least the end of April, around two weeks after my intended departure. The embassy has given us information in regards to visa extensions and an email address to register as a UK citizen currently in Thailand who wishes to get back to the UK.

British Embassy Bangkok

Every day there are a few more airlines adding Bangkok back onto their route so today I have decided to book a Qatar airways flight back to Belfast. Quite handy really instead of my original Dublin arrival.

It’s taken a few of days of mulling around of ideas in my head but I’ve eventually decided to fly on Saturday 11th april, leaving Ko Phangan on Thursday, meaning only missing the last couple of days of the course.

I have spoken to Jonny the programme director who has been very accomodating and will let me complete my class teach on Wednesday before my intended departure.

Expedia have emailed me about flight credit as I am unable to board my Aeroflot flight due to Russian aviation restrictions, not allowing foreigners to enter Russia or even transit through any of their airports. They have not yet followed up with how much or how I can rebook using it so I’m more content with booking a new flight at this stage.

All I need now is a ferry from Ko Phangan to Koh Samui and a flight on to Bangkok. I plan to arrive in Bangkok Thursday evening giving me plenty of time in case there are last minute flight changes before Saturday.

I’ve been following an account on Twitter which has kept me updated on travelling in Thailand and I’ve just found out that Bangkok airways, the main carrier from island to Bangkok will suspend flights from 7-30 April. I want to fly on 9th 😱

Flight suspension

What are my options? Trying to get rational Gemma to work here. Well, I can either leave before the suspension and miss the last week of the course, which seems rather pointless as I would like to become certified after all this effort or I could use another airport which is around 3.5 hours away by ferry and bus. Option 3- give in to Island life and return when the world returns to whatever will be our new normal🏝️

My gut is telling me to get off the island as soon as possible as every mode of transport is becoming less and less reliable each day and if I use the other airport, missing the Bangkok airlines deadline of the 7th, there’s no guarantee that the other airlines will give me any notice of intended suspension and I could end up stuck. My mind is fried 🤯

Another chat with Jonny and he is willing to complete the lectures online and requires me to record myself teaching a yoga class as a final exam. Phew, I can do that!!

As it stands now I have a flight booked to Bangkok on Monday 6th April, I’ll spend 5 nights in a hotel near the airport and catch my flight on Saturday 11th.

As I write this there’s another update around not being able to transit Thailand, I hope it means the airport for new travellers and not for people trying to get across the country to catch a flight. In addition I need to download an app and fill in forms as well as check with my new airline if a fit to fly certificate is required, which must not be older than 72 hours and where I would get one I have no clue.

UK in Thailand keeping us updated

Some may wonder why I took this trip. Well on the 12th of march there were no restriction on travel. We were not at the height of Coronavirus outbreak in Europe. Had I decided not to fly I would have lost all of my investment into this yoga journey. 6 days later the government advised against all but essential travel, at this stage I could of stayed at home and received financial support for the trip cancellation. Who knew that the virus was going to blow up the way it did?!

This is my journey so far. Keep your fingers crossed for me for my journey from Monday onwards. It’s definitely a mad time in this world.

2 thoughts on “Stranded in Thailand ?

  1. Whoa Gemma. We had a mini version of that trying to get home from Spain. We empathise with all the head frying dilemmas have had and will continue to have. You appear to be doing as much as anyone could in the circumstances as they can and do change on a daily basis. I think your target is get home ASAP and complete the course and online. Our entire community is now taking classes online anyway so it’s the new normal. Keep blogging but email it to me👍

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