With the announcement of a range of special tourist visas and plans to introduce visa-free entry for stays up to 45 days, Thailand’s blissed-out beaches, street food-studded sidewalks, and lush jungles are now open for American travelers. But don’t pack your bags just yet because there’s a catch: All visitors are still required to quarantine for 14 days in a state-approved hotel upon arrival.
A two-week hotel room lockdown is, understandably, not a great start to any trip. But at Pa Sak Tong, a private estate and state-approved quarantine facility in Chiang Rai, the quarantine can actually feel like a holiday itself.
There’s little reason to feel locked up here: From your spacious, three-bedroom villa, you can look out over lush rice fields and jungles backdropped by the Himalayan foothills of northern Thailand — all part of the estate and completely private. There's a mini cinema, a personal spa with a Jacuzzi tub and steam room, a heated pool in the garden, and a fully equipped gym. The art-studded villa is also fitted with plenty of reading nooks, a family dining room, and a large balcony wrapping its full length.
After a negative COVID-19 test result on day five (the package includes three tests), you’ll also get access to parts of the expansive gardens dotted with koi ponds and palm trees. Here, you can get up close with grazing water buffaloes or have an early-morning yoga session in the lotus pond pavilion.
And instead of a tray meal delivered to your front door, a private chef serves up anything from a Thai feast on the balcony to pizza and ice cream in the entertainment lounge. Most dishes draw on the estate's own organic garden and rice fields, while fine cheeses and meats are flown in from France and Australia.
You can even order an eight-course fine-dining meal from Locus Native Food Lab, an experimental Thai restaurant on the estate where tables book up months in advance. Through a live video connection, its chef will explain the origins of every dish, just like he would for guests in his restaurant.
"I spoke with a number of former guests and friends that quarantined in various countries since the pandemic began. They all agreed: 14 days is tough — mentally and physically,” says John Dunbar, managing director at Pa Sak Tong. "This is why we pursued the quarantine facility certification, so that Pa Sak Tong can provide guests with not only a very comfortable and relaxing stay in a totally private, stunning environment, but also give them the support they need to get through a difficult time.”
Unsurprisingly, a quarantine at this caliber requires deep pockets. Rates for a two-week stay start at $13,940 for single guests, with an additional $2,030 per person (the villa hosts up to six). Current government regulations also dictate that guests can only arrive via private jet from outside the country, and stops in Bangkok are not permitted. See the Pa Sak Tong website for more information.
Chris Schalkx is a Dutch writer and photographer based in Bangkok and Taiwan. He writes about travel, sustainability, and design, preferably all three combined. Find him on Twitter or Instagram.
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