Solo Quarantine in Thailand Week 1

Solo Quarantine Week 1 350

Sawadi krub, everyone! If you haven’t heard, I’m stuck in a hotel room in Bangkok for a 15-day quarantine. This is mandatory for anyone coming into Thailand. I’ve been here for a week and it hasn’t been too bad. I get 3 meals per day, a good internet connection, AC all day, and nice indoor plumbing. What else do you need? Yet, many visitors choose to compare this to being in jail. That’s the wrong way to look at it. Instead, I choose to stay productive and use this time to achieve some of my 2021 New Year goals. Today, I’ll tell you more about the quarantine and share what I’ve accomplished so far.

State-sponsored Quarantine VS Alternate State Quarantine (ASQ)

First of all, I want to tell you about the 2 types of quarantines in Thailand. State-sponsored quarantine is only for Thai nationals. ASQ is for foreigners or Thais who want better accommodation. The cheapest ASQ hotels are comparable to the hotel I’m at. The big difference is the level of service and care. Here is a handy chart.

 State-sponsored quarantine hotelsASQ hotels
Who can stay
  • Thai nationals
  • Foreigners or Thai nationals
  • Free
  • $1,000 to $3,500+ per person
  • Stay in the room. The only time I came out was when I went to get a Covid test.
  • After the first negative test, guests can book 45 minutes of outdoor time at the common area, garden, or gym. (Gyms are all closed for now due to the recent outbreak.)
  • Nobody comes to my room so no service at all.
  • I think after the first negative test, the maid comes to clean occasionally. Some hotels suspended maid service due to the recent outbreak.
  • DIY laundry in the sink.
  • Can send clothes out to launder.
  • Thai food 3 times a day. We can order room service, but no food delivery from outside. You can request vegetarian or halal meals.
  • Guests can choose from 3 options for each meal or something like that. More foreign food like scrambled eggs and sausage for breakfast available. Bigger serving size.
  • My room has a window that I can open for some fresh air in the morning.
  • Some nicer (more expensive) hotels have balconies and suites. You can book a villa with a small dipping pool for 4 people for $20,000 in Phuket. (All international flights to Phuket are canceled so this isn’t available right now.)



  • Need to be able to read and write Thai to use the Line app.
  • I’m not sure. I think they use the phone for everything.

I choose the state-sponsored quarantine because it required a lot less paperwork and it’s free. From what I heard, the cheaper ASQ hotel isn’t any better. Of course, the higher-end hotels are nicer. They have bigger rooms/suites, balcony, kitchenette, microwave, optional exercise equipment, and more. You get what you pay for. The big difference for me would be the 45 minutes outside the room. That would be nice, but not necessary. I can deal with it for 15 days.

Ok, on to the review. If you want to visit Thailand, you can find more information at the Thai embassy site.


The food isn’t bad at all. I’d say 20% really good, 5% bad, and 75% okay. What can I say? Mediocre Thai food is better than mediocre American food. 😀 The serving size looks small, but it’s just right for me. I don’t feel hungry at all. At home, I eat way more than this which isn’t very healthy. Now I know we need to reduce our serving size and not go back for seconds…

Best meal so far

  • Panang beef. The kaffir lime leaf and panang curry paste give this dish a wonderful fragrance and taste.
  • Soft tofu soup was good.
  • They pack a ton of rice. I try to eat just 25% of this.
best meal

Worst meal so far

  • Chow Mein noodles with tofu and vegetables. This was too salty. The kitchen must have messed up somehow.
  • 3 fried tofu cubes. They were ok.

This was the only bad meal I had. It was just too salty. It would have been fine if they used less salt.

worst meal

All in all, I’m happy with the meals. They’re like meals from the food courts in Thailand, cheap and pretty good. Famous restaurants cook much better food, but I can wait until I get out. Also, I didn’t pack any snacks at all because I want to lose weight. I had some cravings the first few days, but not anymore. Mindless snacking increased my weight last year. Having no access to junk food is actually very helpful.

Check out my recipe page for easy Thai recipes.


I feel pretty good so far. I had a mental checkup through the quarantine app and I checked off all the right boxes. This quarantine is physically isolating, but I can still talk to my family through the internet. It isn’t bad at all. I can handle 2 weeks of this. Quarantine would have been much more difficult with no internet.


I’m still jetlagged. It’s hard to get over it when the bed is right there 24/7. Normally, I’d go out and about and wouldn’t sleep that much during the day. This time, there is nothing to stop me from taking a nap. Also, I’m working on revamping Retire by 40. I haven’t touched the backend in years and it’s very different now. The initial hump was tough to overcome and I was discouraged for a few days. However, I persevered and I’m making good progress now. Hopefully, I can finish everything before the quarantine is over.


Guests can rent exercise equipment in some nicer ASQ hotels, but they aren’t available here. I brought a yoga mat from home and it’s been very useful. I exercise before breakfast and do yoga before dinner. Actually, that’s more exercise than I got at home! I can’t be too noisy when RB40Jr and Mrs. RB40 are working/schooling from home. Check out my Day 3 video at the end of the post.

Best things I packed

  • Yoga mat – extremely useful.
  • Tea – Thank goodness I packed 25 tea bags. The hotel provided a hot water pot, but no coffee or tea. I could order Lipton tea bags via room service, but I’m glad I already have nicer tea.
  • A canteen mug – I can brew tea in my canteen and skip the paper cups. It’s great.
  • A spork – I don’t have to use the included plastic utensils. They use so much plastic in Thailand.
  • Laptop and phone – Extremely useful. Quarantine would be a lot harder without these.
  • Audiobooks – These are awesome. I can listen to books while I rest my eyes.


There are some problems too, but they are all minor.

  • plugPlug – I forgot to bring a plug converter for my power strip/surge protector. Oh well. My charger plugs fit so it isn’t a huge deal.
  • Laundry detergent – I didn’t bring any so I’m using body wash to do laundry.
  • AC – The AC fan blows right onto the desk area and dries my eyes out. After a while, I can’t keep them open. I need to rest my eyes much more often than usual.


I have 3 main goals to accomplish during this solo blogger retreat.

  1. Revamp Retire by 40 – I’m making good progress here. Hopefully, I can implement the bulk of it this weekend so you can check it out next week.
  2. Reduce weight to 135 pounds – There is no scale here so I don’t know how I’m doing. It feels like I’m making some progress.
  3. Detoxification – This one is great.
    1. No alcohol – check
    2. No snacking – mostly check. I got a few snacks from the flight.
    3. No junk/processed food – check. The Thai food they serve seems very healthy.
    4. No coffee – check
    5. No soda pop – check
    6. Minimal dairy – check. No dairy at all.
    7. Minimal gluten – check. No bread, cookies, cake, or anything.

Alright, I’m 50% done and I’m still doing quite well. The rest of the quarantine should be a breeze. I don’t know what people are complaining about. This is quiet time for me to do some deep focused work. I haven’t been able to do that in 2020. It’s been a great blogger retreat so far. You just have to have some goals and the right mindset to keep you busy.

If you’d like to see more of my travel and quarantine experience, follow me on these channels.

  • YouTube – I plan to eat awesome Thai food and post some videos.
  • Instagram and Facebook – You can see what my quarantine meals look like.
  • Twitter – Check to see if I become unhinged after 15 days in the hole.

Have you been through a solo quarantine? How did you do?

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. After 16 years of investing and saving, he achieved financial independence and retired at 38.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is investing in commercial real estate with CrowdStreet. They have many projects across the USA so check them out!

Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. They have many useful tools that will help you reach financial independence.
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44 thoughts on “Solo Quarantine in Thailand Week 1”

  1. I was wondering why the Thailand government would treat its foreigners better than its own people. And then I see the price tag of $1,000 – $3,500 per person and everything was starting to make sense, ha!

    It’s a good thing that the quarantine is not unbearable. Looks like you’re living like a king!

  2. Glad you’re still making the most of your quarantine. Given how 2020 was, I could appreciate a 2 week quarantine wih someone providing the meals!

    This has me thinking about the place we stayed when we traveled to Thailand a decade ago. It was a wonderful small family business in Chiang Mai and I sure hope they are still ok but darn if I can remember the name of the place to check. I just assumed I’d always remember (which is a terrible idea in hindsight).

  3. IT’S ALIVE (the site redesign/update!) ha. Awesome 🙂 Glad to see, I’ll poke around more to see how it’s faring.

    That said… I’m really happy to hear the quarentine is going as well as it sounds like it could be! Awesome. I know I’d struggle with it and I really feel like even having a balcony would make a big difference to me, personally (getting some direct sun exposure and fresh air would be great—even hot and muggy). But, either way, glad you’re making it through. And of course, I’m sure you’re super excited to see family.

    It’s pretty wild that Thailand does this through a state-sponsored system. I’m not sure I knew what to expect, but it wasn’t that!

    Glad you’re doing well Joe!

  4. That’s a long time to stay inside for me – too long! But part of me is jealous that you have all that time to focus on your goals, have someone else make your meals, and you get to exercise/do yoga inside. I’m impressed that you’re handling it so well. I’m not sure I would, but hang in there and continue making the best of it! At least you’re in a different place and you’re traveling again. You have something to look forward to, so I’m sure that helps. Enjoy!!

    P.S. Glad you brought your own tea, too!

  5. It sounds like you’re handling the quarantine well. Interesting to hear your comments on plastic use in Thailand – our experience from visiting Asia a few years back is we were surprised how much re-usable stuff we came across (although we also saw a lot of plastic waste too). In comparison, we were shocked at how much single use plastic, styrofoam etc we came across in California. In summary, our experience was Asia was better than we expected, and California much worse than we thought it would be.
    Looking forward to seeing the finished revamp of RB40.

  6. Wow, I’m impressed with how well you’re doing Joe! The food looks great!

    I’ve always wanted to visit Thailand, but if means having to stay in the same room for 15 days that would be big hurdle. Probably too big for me. Oh well, maybe in a few years things will calm down a bit.

    I wonder if we’ll ever go back to trekking around the globe again. Seems a touch unlikely with all these new COVID-19 strains on the loose.

    Anyway, keep it up! I’m enjoying all these updates.

    • I’m pretty sure they’ll open up by the end of 2021. Tourism is a huge part of the economy here. Lots of people are hurting.
      I assume Covid vaccine will be like the flu vaccine. We’ll just get a shot once per year. Hopefully, that’ll be enough.

  7. Not bad, meals cooked for you and no responsibilities to cook for your family and clean after them! Also time for deep focused work- sounds like a dream to me lol!!

    I am enjoying your quarantine meal pics!

  8. The bright side is you have internet access. Can you imagine what it’d be like to have no internet for 15 days and you’re locked inside a small hotel room?

    The spork is a good idea. Way to go on saving the environment.

  9. I mentioned on Twitter to you that for some reason, I’m mesmerized by your experience there… it’s like a reality show. It probably wouldn’t be that exciting for TV, but I just find it very interesting. I’d be very similar to you in that I’d aim to get a lot done and enjoy a little time to just get away from everyone for a little bit.

    Best of luck on the site and all the other goals! Is there something you can make or do to redirect the A/C elsewhere while working at the desk? That would drive me bonkers. Of course, I would just do the work sitting on the bed instead. 🙂

    • Hahaha. Thanks! I’ll make more video clips. There isn’t much more to talk about until I get out, though.
      Maybe tips on how to survive quarantine?
      I can’t redirect the AC. Now, I just turn it off until it get warm. Then I turn it on and take a break from working.

  10. I don’t how you survive on those little meals! 🙂

    I eat probably 10 times those portions, yet still can’t seem to gain weight. My New Year’s resolution was to gain just two pounds this year. But it’s been a struggle so far.

  11. I’m gonna bookmark this for when we will return to Thailand as I did not know that they are now enforcing a 2 weeks quarantine. For now, we don’t mind staying here in Taipei are the situation is still under control.

    The quarantine is definitely a great way to read more, work more on blog-related stuff and do some of those things we never have time to do, isn’t it?

    Cheers – Mr. NN!

  12. I didn’t realize other people were fussing about the situation. I guess if you’re used to striving for FIRE and optimizing to make the best of what you’ve got, that attitude conveys to other situations in life as well. Congratulations on hitting your progress goals to this point and here’s to a smooth back half!

    • I think foreigners who pay $1,000+ wants better accommodation and service. I agree with you about FIRE, though. I’m used to delay gratification and making the best of what I have. It’s a good compass for life.

  13. Hi Joe, great job! Another week to go, you’ll be free. The food portion is too small, and I would be hungry the whole day. Laundry is a challenge. Internet and laptop is cool. Take care.

    • You can order room service if you need more food. But the portion is perfect for me. That’s interesting to know. I’ll try to eat less when I get home. The portion size in the US is too big.

  14. I’m so, so impressed with your ability to handle the situation and keep a positive attitude!

    I didn’t realize it was 15 days, and not 14 days. I think I can do five days, but after that, I think I’d go nuts.

    The government sponsored away sounds better than spending $2500-$3000. But I think I would have to spend up if I could do the pool and balcony.

    Good luck on the revamp process!


    • Thanks! I’m sure you can do it if you have to. But better not to find out, right?
      I don’t think a balcony would make a huge difference. It’s hot outside and the air quality is pretty bad right now.

  15. I’m excited to see the redesign. If you got bored in quarantine I was going to see if you wanted to do another one :-).

    The audiobooks sound good. I could never get into them at home, but in a hotel room for a screen break, they sound perfect.

  16. Could you turn on full posts rather than just summaries in your rss feed please? I think it just changed and I’m not sure if you’re aware of it or not.

      • You should be able to differentiate between email and RSS feeds. For those of us using something like Feedly, this makes it really hard to read, and quite honestly I’ll probably stop reading your posts if it remains set to summary.

        • Both email and feed cause problems with Amazon. Can’t you just click over and read at Retire by 40?
          I can change it back to full feed, but that mean I’ll have to give up any hope of working with Amazon. Let me do a little research.

  17. Doesn’t seem to bad, except for the not going outdoors and no visits!

    Pretty impressive the food though and the whole experience is relative to what you are used to. I’m wondering, would quite a few Thailand locals trade places with you for access to such living arrangements and food? I know in our own country, the unemployment/pandemic has created a lot of desperate folks. They’d gladly swap places if it meant a meal 1x day?

    Good luck with the blog rewrite, and of course when you get to spend time with your mom.

    • The food is quite good. The quantity is smaller than I’m used to, but it’s enough.
      I don’t think anyone would trade place unless they don’t have enough to eat. Being in isolation isn’t fun.
      You can get cheap meals outside for around $1.


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