Unlocking Asia Pacific Travel: Which Countries Are Open for Tourism Now?
Asia Pacific countries are in the early stages of reopening their borders to tourism. Learn about travel restrictions by country, re-opening dates, new visa regulations, COVID-19 testing, quarantine procedures, and in general what to expect when planning your next trip to Asia now.
This page is updated frequently with the most recent news. For general COVID-19-related health advice please visit the WHO website. Official COVID-19 statistics for Asia Pacific countries are provided by Reuters.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Asia Pacific has taken the cautious approach to inbound travel and has had some of the strictest border restrictions and closures. At the moment, the nations of the region are in the beginning stages of reopening their borders for tourism, with every country introducing its own regulations.
The “unlocking” statuses vary widely, and travelers entering these countries may be required to do everything from self-quarantining, submitting negative COVID-19 tests, and providing proof of health insurance. Domestic travel is the first to come back to life, and you can fly between selected destinations in countries like Australia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.
Covid-19: why travel will never be the same.
International travel is still on hold, with a handful of exceptions. In Australia, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan authorities are experimenting with country-to-country travel bubbles to jumpstart aviation, tourism, and business travel. Safe air travel corridors are being established between carefully selected airports, where quarantine-free travel is allowed (with temperature and symptom-checks still in place). We should expect a gradual addition of new “low-risk” countries to these travel bubbles, with the coronavirus-free situation being the main condition for inclusion.
There is an understandable uncertainty with how you should travel to the Asia Pacific region if you are planning to. This is why we present you the list of 20 APAC countries, along with details on the current travel situation. As each country applies precisely defined regulations, you should always check the official websites listed in the article below for the latest government’s announcements.
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Compared to Western countries, Asia experiences significant delays when it comes to COVID-19 prevention and vaccination programs. These will have a direct impact on the opening dates, which for the majority of Asian countries will only come in 2022.
The dates for the re-opening of the borders below are only approximate and will most likely change. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive the latest updates.
Australia's borders are likely to remain closed until mid-2022.
Australia’s borders are closed for international tourism. Although the first “travel bubble” with New Zealand is already in place, the Australian Government hasn’t released any official statement on further international borders reopening. Only Australian citizens, residents, immediate family members, and visitors from New Zealand can travel to Australia.
There is a ban on overseas travel from Australia – with an exception of New Zealand, Australian citizens are restricted from traveling to other countries.
Within Australia, the situation remains stable, with many states and territories reopened the borders to one another, allowing for domestic tourism. Whilst some restrictions may apply, most modes of transport are still operating, including domestic flights. Australian airlines including Qantas, Virgin Australia, and Jetstar are gradually increasing scheduled flights and re-introducing routes.
Following an extension of the “biosecurity emergency period” that enables the Federal Government to place restrictions on overseas travel, most international commercial flights to and from Australia are suspended until at least September 2021. The only exceptions are country-specific travel bubbles (to New Zealand).
In the near future, it is expected that all travelers entering Australia will be assigned to one of two zones: red (arriving from a high-risk country for COVID-19) or green (arriving from a low-risk country). Only arrivals from green zone countries will be exempt from the mandatory quarantine. New Zealand remains the only “green zone country”, as the Australian Government has established a Safe Travel Zone (a “travel bubble“) with its neighboring country.
Transit via Australia is allowed, as long as you are transiting for no longer than 72 hours. To transit in Australia, you must hold a valid visa or be from an eligible country to Transit Without a Visa (TWOV).
To reunite families and back the tourism-depended businesses Australia has established a travel bubble with New Zealand. Anyone who has been in either New Zealand or Australia for at least 14 days can travel between these two countries quarantine-free, and without the need to apply for a travel exemption.
The Pacific Islands, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan are being considered as future travel bubbles.
All arriving travelers (including Australian citizens) must quarantine for 14 days at a designated facility and may be required to pay for the costs. Mandatory quarantine applies to travelers entering Australia from overseas, except if arriving from a green zone country.
When will Australia reopen borders for tourism?
There is no definitive date when Australian borders will fully open to international travel, but mid-2022 but makes frequent appearances in official statements. However, the country may not allow foreign visitors until the vaccine has been widely rolled out, and this could take until late 2022 to complete. As of June 2021, there is only one exception – a quarantine-free travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand (the Trans-Tasman Travel Bubble), with the Singapore and Pacific Islands to follow in the near future.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce suggested that successful vaccination programs in the USA and the UK may allow the airline to reopen the routes to those key markets earlier than the proposed mid-2022 timeframe.
Cambodia is not yet reopened for general tourism. The country has been one of the strictest territories to abide by the mandated travel bans ever since the spread of Covid. Flights to Cambodia from most neighboring countries remain indefinitely suspended and most land border checkpoints are still closed.
The government has suspended issuing e-visas, visas on arrival, and visa-free entry. To travel to Cambodia, you will have to arrange your visa in advance, before arrival. Currently, Cambodian Embassies only accept visa applications for diplomatic, official, and business-related travels.
Even though the lockdown has been eased, it is still relatively difficult if you want to visit the country. Travelers who are eligible to enter Cambodia must:
present COVID-19 negative test issued no more than 72 hours prior to the travel
present health insurance of minimum coverage of $50,000
deposit $2000 at a designated bank on arrival for mandatory COVID-19 testing and potential treatment services.
Upon arrival, they will undergo another COVID-19 test and wait to receive laboratory results. If one or more travelers test positive for COVID-19, all accompanying passengers will be subject to quarantine at a location designated by Cambodian authorities.
Cambodia reopening date
Late 2021 is the most likely date for Cambodia to reopen its borders for tourism.
China’s international borders have reopened for some countries in June 2020, although tourists are not welcomed yet.
China is the country that birthed the novel coronavirus as we know it. After much speculation and a complete lockdown, many world leaders around the globe were not convinced if China had completely ridden itself of the disease. Currently, China is successfully starting its ‘new normal’ phase, by reopening flight routes, hotels, and tourist attractions to the public. Domestic travel is booming as people are allowed to travel within the country and most domestic flights have resumed their operations.
Since 28 March 2020, the country’s borders have been closed to almost all foreigners. This seems to be slowly changing. Currently, foreign nationals from selected European and Asian countries are allowed to apply for special purpose visas at a local Chinese embassy or consulate.
Travelers entering Mainland China must undergo mandatory COVID-19 testing on arrival and a 14-day quarantine at their own cost.
China reopening date
China aims to reopen its borders to general tourism in the second half of 2021.
Most foreigner travelers are not allowed to visit Fiji yet
Fiji remains closed to tourism, and international flights are suspended until further notice.
Currently, most foreigners are not allowed to visit Fiji. Only returning nationals are permitted to enter the country, and must undergo 14 days of mandatory quarantine in a government-designated quarantine facility.
Eligible customers can book a flight with Air New Zealand – confirmation of a negative COVID-19 test (taken within three days before departure) is required.
The Fijian Government is working on a safe travel framework for the reopening of international tourism. No official date has been announced yet, however, Australians and New Zealanders are expected to be among the first nationals to be welcomed to Fiji.
As the travel bubbles becoming a popular way to gradually reopen world tourism, Fiji plans to establish “Pacific Pathways” to allow travel from nearby islands such as Tuvalu, Kiribati, Tonga, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu.
For those visiting Fiji by yachts and boats, the pilot project called “blue lanes” has been established. Currently, boats coming to Fiji are carefully considered on a case-by-case basis.
Fiji reopening date
There is not yet a set date for Fiji borders to reopen for tourism. As the country has low numbers of COVID-19 cases reported, it may be soon included in the Trans-Tasmanian travel bubble with Australia, New Zealand, and other Pacific Islands. We can expect that visitors wanting to take advantage of a Fiji travel bubble will need to be fully vaccinated.
Hong Kong will open its borders to international travelers "at some point in 2021".
Hong Kong has only opened its borders to international tourism from selected countries. Non-Hong Kong residents from overseas will be denied entry in most cases. The exception has been made for tourists coming from Macau, Taiwan, and Mainland China – they are permitted to enter Hong Kong provided they do not have a recent travel history elsewhere in the past 14 days. A new travel bubble with Singapore that would enable its residents to visit Hong Kong for short-term tourism purposes, is still on hold.
Most airlines that fly to Hong Kong operate with very limited schedules. Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific serve new travel bubble on Singapore – Hong Kong route. Other airlines are still operating emergency flights serving Hong Kong citizens stuck abroad, diplomats, and business executives to and from Mainland China.
To form so-called “travel bubbles” the government has approached numerous overseas countries that are successful in containing the coronavirus (Thailand, Japan, Singapore among others). At the moment, only a long-delayed travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore is close to being established, with Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines serving the passengers on this route. There will be no restrictions on the purpose of travel and short-term tourism will be allowed. Travelers do not have to quarantine, but everyone coming from Hong Kong will be required to be fully vaccinated, and all passengers must test negative for COVID-19 before departure and on arrival. Additionally, they will also need to download and register their profile on contact-tracing apps.
Both Hong Kong and Singapore will have the option to suspend the bubble if there is an increase in Covid cases on either side.
Transit through Hong Kong
Transit through Hong Kong is allowed if:
Passenger has a connecting flight booked on the same ticket
Passenger meets the entry requirements of their final destination
All the boarding passes are alread printed
The baggage checked through until the final destination
The connection time between flights is within 24 hours
Transiting to destinations in Mainland China remains unavailable.
All arriving passengers are required to undergo a medical test for COVID-19 prior to clearing immigration and baggage collection. There is a compulsory 14 (standard) or 21 days (visitors from high-risk countries) quarantine whether a passenger is tested positive on arrival for COVID-19 or not. Returnees from Mainland China may undergo their 14-day quarantine at home or at hotels that are not designated for quarantine.
Please note that violating the quarantine requirements is considered a criminal offense in Hong Kong, and offenders can face a heavy fine or/and imprisonment.
Hong Kong reopening date
Though the authorities have announced that Hong Kong will open its borders to international travelers “at some point in 2021”, the exact date has not been announced yet. New travel bubbles are expected, and the government is currently talking to various countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea, for future ‘green lanes’ arrangements.
India’s borders remain closed for tourists. Travel to India is restricted to specified categories of passengers, such as Indian nationals on repatriation flights, business travelers, visitors from certain countries who qualify for visas other than a tourist visa, humanitarian staff, etc.
Land borders are closed. Regular international flights remain suspended. Only repatriation and “travel bubbles” flights from various countries are operating – although only foreigners meeting the visa criteria for entry are allowed onboard. All travelers eligible to enter India must submit a self-declaration form (SDF) on the Air Suvidha Portal at least 72 hours before the scheduled travel.
Transit in India is allowed. All passengers must mention clearly in the SDF that they plan to take a transit flight.
Domestic travel is allowed, however, different states are imposing different regulations. Most of the hotels, restaurants, temples, and beaches are now open.
All arrivals are screened. Anyone showing symptoms will be taken to a medical facility for a 14 days quarantine. An exemption from institutional quarantine may be considered if a negative RT-PCR test result has been conducted within 96 hours prior to departure.
India reopening date
India may soon start calibrated resumption of tourist visas on a country-specific basis. Only foreign travellers from countries where the coronavirus situation is in check will be permitted entry.
The beginning of 2021 is often cited as the possible date for Indonesia to open its borders to general tourism.
Indonesia is not yet officially open for international tourism. Only foreigners holding a valid visa from accepted categories or a stay permit are allowed to enter Indonesia.
Free visa-on-arrival and the visa exemption system have been suspended until the pandemic is declared ended by the authorities. At the moment visitors can use long-term e-visas instead. It’s a gateway that the government made available in October 2020 by introducing a new e-visa system.
Any foreign nationals can apply for a single-entry visa B211A that allows staying in the country for 2 months and can be extended 4 times with 30-days extensions. It can be used by anyone who wishes to stay in Indonesia for tourism or social purposes. The best way to obtain a single-entry visa is to use an agent in Indonesia (cost around 6mln IDR or 410 USD / 540 AUD). For more information read the official guide (PDF, Bahasa Indonesia) or visit e-visa section of the Indonesian immigration website.
International flights to Indonesia are available for those with a valid visa and Indonesian citizens. Domestic flights are operating with limited capacity – all passengers are required to provide a negative COVID-19 PCR result (taken maximum7 days before departure date).
Foreign passengers are not allowed to transit through Indonesian airports.
As Indonesia entered a long phase of “new normal”, tourist spots are gradually reopened, including the most famous such as Borobudur Temple, Mount Bromo, Ijen Crater, national parks, beaches, etc. Special measures may be although introduced in some provinces due to high levels of COVID-19 activity in those areas.
Both foreigner and Indonesian passport holders entering Indonesia are expected to bring along a negative COVID-19 PCR test (in English), taken a maximum 72 hours of departure time. Upon arrival, passengers must take another COVID‑19 PCR test and are required to undergo mandatory quarantine for 5 days at a hotel approved by the Indonesian government. The quarantine is free of charge for Indonesian citizens but comes with a cost of around 400 USD (~525 AUD) for foreign visitors.
Indonesia reopening date
The beginning of 2022 is often cited as the possible date for opening borders to general tourism. Reportedly, travelers from Belgium, France, Russia, Singapore, UK, the Netherland and Vietnam may be allowed to visit Indonesia as soon as July.
Bali reopening date
The pandemic has hugely impacted the tourist market in Bali that was otherwise thriving. Bali is still considered safe for those who are fit, healthy and following correct hygiene and social distancing procedures. The authorities in Bali are taking steps that would allow reopening the island to international tourism much earlier than the whole country – possibly as soon as in summer 2021. In the meantime, visiting Bali is still possible for holders of new e-visas.
Japan is not yet opened for international tourists. The COVID-19 situation in Japan is constantly evolving. As the number of new cases has begun to stabilize, the JNTO (Japan National Tourism Organization) is in the process of preparing for the international travel ban lifting.
TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS: Currently, travelers from a majority of Asian, European, and American countries are denied entry, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Under directions from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, visa restrictions have been introduced, including cancellation of already-issued visas and suspension of visa-free entry.
International flights are still limited to essential travelers, government officials, and repatriated citizens. Local travel in Japan is open, though, and domestic flights have resumed at limited capacity.
Allowed, if the connecting flight is on the same calendar day.
There is a 14-days quarantine in a facility after arrival. However, travelers who can present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before arrival, and agree to have another test done upon arrival, can circumvent the 14-day quarantine (providing both tests are negative).
Laos keeps its borders closed on international travel. Most foreigners are not allowed to visit Laos. However, the authorities may consider granting entry permission for foreigners who are experts, diplomats, technicians, or foreign nationals that are required for essential projects.
Commercial flights to and from Laos are mostly suspended except for humanitarian, medical, and repatriation purposes. Some domestic flights are gradually being resumed.
From March 18, 2020, all tourist visas are suspended until further notice. This restriction applies to the visa on arrival, eVisa, and all visa exemptions.
All arrivals testing negative for COVID-19 will have to undergo 14 days quarantine at designated locations (with all expenses covered by the passenger).
Laos reopening date
There is not yet a set date for Laos borders to reopen for tourism.
Malaysia may only start allowing international travelers from the second quarter of 2021.
Malaysia is not yet reopened for general tourism. The recent updates point that Malaysia may only start allowing international travelers from the second quarter of 2021.
Passengers (except Malaysian nationals, permanent residents, work pass and MM2H permit holders, expatriates with special approval from Malaysian immigration) are not allowed to enter at least until the beginning of 2021.
International flights to Malaysia are still limited to essential travelers, government officials, and repatriated citizens. Inter-state travel is permitted though, and domestic flights from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport are operating but at limited capacity.
On 14 July 2020, a Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) (or a “travel bubble”) has been established with Singapore. At the moment the cross-border travel between countries is permitted for essential business and official purposes only, and up to 14 days. All travelers using RGL must be sponsored by either a company or government agency in Malaysia.
Transiting Malaysia is allowed, and you can transit via KLIA as long as you remain airside. Transit that requires passage through immigration (to collect bags, or to move between the two Kuala Lumpur terminals – KLIA and KLIA2) is not possible.
On arrival, anyone who gets permission to enter the country will be obliged to enter a 14-days quarantine in a designated facility (or in the hospital if symptomatic) at their own expense. Effective from 15 November 2020, guests who will be entering Malaysia will be required to make payment in advance for their quarantine accommodation as well as an after-arrival COVID-19 screening test.
When Malaysia will reopen tourism?
Malaysia may only start allowing international travelers from the second quarter of 2021.
Famed for their pristine beaches and turquoise waters, the Maldives took a different approach than most APAC countries. The point to note here is that the gorgeous nation of 1190 coral islands and more than 150 upmarket resorts is entirely reliant on tourism. COVID-19 brought upon the country a situation for the first time in almost 50 years that severely hurt this lucrative sector.
To protect tourism the Maldives reopened its borders to all travelers in June 2020. Commercial outbound foreign flights are resumed with normal traveling procedures and the visa-on-arrival is available for all international visitors. There is no quarantining mandated upon arrival in the Maldives. However, travelers will have to follow some procedures to enter the country:
present a confirmed booking at a registered tourist facility
fill in an HDF (Traveller Health Declaration form).
wear face masks in all indoor public spaces
The Maldives are presenting themselves as a tourist destination offering a “normal” vacation thanks to the fact that most hotels are located on isolated islands, and that the vast majority of leisure-seekers stay in-resort rather than venture out. In fact, when visiting the Maldives you should be prepared to stay in one place as movement between resorts and islands is subject to quarantine requirements.
QUARANTINE MEASURES: All tourists must present a negative PCR test for COVID-19, conducted within 96 hours prior to arrival in the Maldives. Travelers presenting symptoms of COVID-19 will be subject to another PCR test at their cost and in case of positive result transported to quarantine facilities to isolate for 14 days. Tourists who do not show COVID-19 symptoms will not be required to quarantine on arrival.
Following the violent coup, the security situation in Myanmar has worsened.
Myanmar is closed for international tourism. Based on recent political events, the health risks from the COVID-19 pandemic, and the significant disruptions to Myanmar’s transportation network the current travel advice from most governments is “do not travel to Myanmar“.
Currently, all commercial flights to Myanmar are suspended and new tourist visas (including visa on arrival) are not issued. Foreign visitors with business visas may be accepted if the case submitted to the Myanmar Embassy is compelling. Limited international outbound flights are operating from Yangon.
On 1 February 2021, a violent political coup took place in Myanmar with deadly clashes across the country. The country’s military declared a state of emergency and assumed control. Following the coup, the security situation in the country has worsened, and there are active conflicts between armed groups. A curfew is in place and daily internet outages, disruptions to basic services, communications and public health occur across the country. Foreign visitors are at risk of being arbitrarily detained or arrested.
All arriving passengers must comply with Myanmar’s COVID-19 quarantine requirements. There is a mandatory 7 days quarantine in a government facility followed by a further 7 days of self-isolation at home.
New Zealand remains closed to international tourism.
New Zealand is not yet opened for international tourism. At the moment only New Zealand, Australia, and Cook Islands citizens are allowed to enter the country. There are plans to gradually add other safe countries to the travel bubble network, starting with Pacific Islands.
To reunite families and back the tourism-depended businesses New Zealand has established a travel bubble with Australia. Anyone who has been in either Australia or New Zealand for at least 14 days can travel between these two countries quarantine-free, and without the need to apply for a travel exemption.
Recently, one of the safest places in the world – Cook Islands – has finally opened up to New Zealanders. At the moment all flights within this new travel bubble are operated by Air New Zealand.
Mandatory standard operating procedures have been put in place where 14-day quarantine and a negative PCR test are compulsory upon arrival. Passengers are legally required to obtain a Managed Isolation Allocation system voucher confirming their place in a managed isolation facility before boarding a flight.
New Zealand opening date
New Zealand has been close since March 2020 and will be observing the same restrictions well into 2021 to maintain closure from COVID-19. The reopening will most likely depend on the speed of New Zealand’s vaccine rollout. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that her government is determined to explore more travel “bubbles” later this year to re-connect with a post-pandemic world.
Pacific Islands are expected to reopen soon to international tourism
New Zealand and Australia are reportedly in talks about the possible expansion of their existing Trans-Tasman travel bubble to include some parts of the Pacific Islands. At the moment New Caledonia, Tahiti, Fiji, and Tonga are considered.
Here’s the travel situation in popular Pacific Islands:
On May 1 French Polynesia has reopened its borders to travelers who have been in the US for at least 30 days prior to departure. Vaccinated travelers are required to include an official certificate of vaccination. All travelers are required to supply negative PCR test results. Non-vaccinated travelers will be required to quarantine for 10 days (regardless of test results), while vaccinated visitors will be allowed to bypass it.
This South Pacific nation made up of 15 islands scattered over a vast area of the Pacific Ocean has reported 0 (zero) COVID-19 cases. Starting 17 May, New Zealanders can enjoy the stunning beaches of the Cook Islands by using a new travel bubble that allows quarantine-free visits. Visitors from other countries are still banned from entering the Cook Islands.
New Caledonia will remain closed for tourism at least until 30 October 2021. Foreign nationals who are not residents of New Caledonia are not allowed to enter the country.
The island of Niue is closed to international tourism. Only repatriating Niue residents and essential services people are permitted entry. All arriving passengers must undergo a 14-days quarantine at government-appointed accommodation.
Niue is discussing a two-way travel bubble with New Zealand. At the moment it only works one way: you can travel from Niue to New Zealand quarantine-free.
Still largely untouched by mass tourism, Samoa remains free of COVID-19 (zero cases). Unfortunately, the current State of Emergency requires that all international borders remain closed until further notice. There is a possibility though that by the end of the year, Samoa is will join the Trans-Tasmanian travel bubble with New Zealand and Australia.
One of the least developed islands in the Pacific, Tonga has seen no cases of Covid-19 so far. At the moment, the island keeps its borders closed, and plans to establish a travel bubble with New Zealand have been delayed.
Philippines are still closed for foreign tourists.
Philippines’ borders remain closed to international travel until further notice. Foreign tourists are not allowed to enter the Philippines. Visa issuance and entry permission are temporarily suspended, and previously granted visas have been canceled.
Only Filipino nationals and residents returning from abroad are exempt from the entry ban and may be subject to 14-days quarantine upon arrival. Also, foreign nationals with existing long-term visas are still allowed to enter the Philippines.
Domestic travel is gradually restarting, with such destinations as the island resort of Boracay, beaches of Batangas, islands of El Nido being reopened. In March 2021, in a bid to encourage Filipinos to rediscover their own country, the new travel protocols have been announced. Domestic travelers no longer have to submit negative COVID-19 tests, health certificates, or travel authority clearance from the Philippines’ Joint Task Force Covid Shield prior to travel. Quarantine is also not necessary.
As part of the “Reef to Ridge Travel Corridor” that aims to encourage local travel, the Philippines’ summer capital, Baguio City, has also opened to domestic tourism.
Philippines reopening date
The exact date when the Philippines will allow tourists to visit the country remains unknown. We recommend following the travel news from the Philippines News Agency or subscribing to our travel alerts.
Singapore is expected to gradually reopen to tourism by the end of 2021.
Singapore is gradually opening its borders for international tourism. Short-term tourist visits from selected countries are now allowed, by applying for an Air Travel Pass (ATP) or using one of the “travel bubbles” – without having to quarantine, but with a mandatory PCR test on arrival.
Most businesses (including malls, shops, cinemas, restaurants, and gyms) are open with tight social distancing restrictions in place. Parks and beaches are also open to the public, with the face masks required to be worn at all times when outside.
Air Travel Pass
Starting September 2020 travelers from selected countries are able to apply for an Air Travel Pass (ATP) which allows them to enter Singapore for any purpose (including tourism) and without having to quarantine (a valid entry visa is still required). Among eligible countries are Australia, Brunei, Mainland China, New Zealand, and Taiwan. All visitors requesting ATP are required to purchase travel insurance with a minimum coverage of S$30,000 (~$22,500, ~A$ $29,100), and travel to Singapore on a direct flight without transit. Additionally, they should register their profile on the TraceTogether app and book their mandatory PCR test that will be conducted on arrival at Changi Airport.
As part of plans to revive the aviation sector, a travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore has been planned. Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines are the main airlines that will serve the route. People coming from Hong Kong will be required to be fully vaccinated, and all passengers from either city must test negative for COVID-19 before departure and on arrival. Travelers do not have to quarantine and there are no restrictions on the purpose of travel (short-term tourism is allowed). Both Hong Kong and Singapore will have the option to suspend the bubble if there is an increase in Covid cases on either side.
Singapore also started talks with South Korea regarding a to-way travel bubble.
Hong Kong and Singapore to launch quarantine-free entry
Reciprocal Green Lanes
Singapore is in ongoing discussions with various countries on developing bilateral arrangements for safe essential travel. These Reciprocal Green Lanes (RGL) are aimed at business and official travels only and are in place for two countries: Brunei and Mainland China (with others to follow).
Transit through Singapore Changi Airport is only allowed for passengers from approved departure cities, and only to destinations approved for transit flights. Transfers are only allowed between airlines within the SIA Group: Singapore Airlines, SilkAir, and Scoot. Layover passengers are only permitted in specific areas of the Changi Airport.
All travelers arriving in Singapore must undergo a COVID-19 PCR test at the Changi airport, at a cost of S$196 (~$148 / A$~190). They must remain in isolation at the previously declared accommodation until they are notified that their test result is negative. Depending on the country they visited before arriving in Singapore, travelers may be required to serve the 14-day Stay Home Notice (SHN) at the dedicated SHN facilities, and at their own expense.
Travelers should be aware that Singapore takes its rules very seriously. Quarantine violations carry a penalty of a fine of up to S$10,000 (~$7,500,~A$9,700) and/or up to six months in jail.
Singapore reopening date
Singapore is expected to gradually reopen to tourism by the end of 2021. One of the steps will be waiving or reducing quarantine for vaccinated travelers. In the meantime, the list of countries whose citizens can be allowed to enter will be expanding, and new travel bubbles should pop up very soon (Singapore is in talks with Australia, New Zealand, and Malaysia in that matter).
Reportedly, South Korea may resume international flights later this year.
South Korea is still closed for most foreign nationals.
South Korea has cleverly handled the situation of the outbreak and is one of the very few Asian countries to achieve normalcy. Currently, most foreign visitors are denied entry into the country (except in some exceptional cases).
Visa for non-urgent travels (especially tourism) is suspended until further notice. Visa-waiver and visa-free entry programs are not available. Only visas for work, investment, and other business purposes are being issued.
Since March 2021 South Korea is in talks with Singapore on establishing the two-way, quarantine-free travel bubble. Among other counties considered for “safe green lane” are New Zealand and Taiwan.
Transiting Korea is possible if the connecting flight is within 24 hours. Any passenger transiting Korea must have a confirmed ticket.
14-day quarantine rules apply to all international passengers entering Korea. Foreign travelers must present a Self-Isolation Exemption Certificate issued by the Embassy of Korea or, alternatively, must agree to quarantine at a government facility at a cost of KRW1,400,000 (A$ 1750 / $1150).
South Korea reopening date
As the situation in South Korea is still evolving it’s difficult to estimate the date borders reopening to non-essential travelers, especially tourists. Reportedly, South Korean airlines are planning to resume international flights later this year – starting with China and other countries with a stable COVID-19 situation. On the other side, domestic travel is back and residents are allowed to travel within the country without any restrictions.
Sri Lanka is open to tourists without compulsory quarantine.
Sri Lanka is open for international tourism.
The government decided to reopen the country on 21 January 2021, after 10 months of strict pandemic closure. The tourism sector is responsible for a significant 12% of the GDP of Sri Lanka, and opening borders is expected to provide a boost to this tourism-dependent economy.
All tourists have to show negative PCR tests (taken maximum 96 hours prior to their flight) and are limited to a selection of hotels across the country. Another COVID-19 test will be conducted when they arrive at their hotel in Sri Lanka, and the next one again seven days later. Guests staying longer will have to take the third test the following week. The cost of all tests must be covered by the guest.
Visitors must stay in a designated “travel bubble” inside of 14 travel zones and should not mix with the local population. Most sightseeing is only allowed as part of an organized tour group or with an approved Sri Lankan guide.
Guesthouses, Airbnb-listed places, and other forms of accommodation are off-limits. The government is also discouraging taking public transport.
All prospective travelers must apply for a visa online and download the Visit Sri Lanka app (to be used for contact tracing and for storing information about test results and hotel bookings).
Two main airports: Bandaranaike International Airport (Colombo) and Mattala International Airport (Hambantota) have been opened on 21 January 2021. International flights are gradually being resumed.
Sri Lanka quarantine rules
All visitors must stay in accommodation chosen from a government-approved quarantine hotel list for 14 days upon the arrival. It is not a strict quarantine as guests are allowed to leave their rooms and use hotel facilities like pools, gyms, and restaurants.
Taiwan has been one of the most successful countries in the world when it comes to battling COVID-19. Its impressive success has been largely attributed to early border controls (including a strict ban on foreign visitors), mandatory quarantine for all Taiwan nationals returning home, and the proactive wearing of face masks by its citizens.
Beginning January 1, 2021 entry restrictions for foreign nationals have been tightened. Currently, most foreigners are not permitted entry to Taiwan, unless they obtain special permission. Tourism is not accepted as a purpose of visit.
All passengers eligible to enter Taiwan are required to provide a COVID-19 RT-PCR test report issued within three days of boarding. Arriving travelers must also provide proof of the location of their intended quarantine.
When will Taiwan reopen to tourism?
The exact date when Taiwan will allow tourists to visit the country remains unknown. We recommend following the travel news or subscribing to our travel alerts.
Thailand considers opening some other parts of the country to vaccinated tourists as soon as in July 2021.
Thailand is now opened for international tourism. After the successful administration of restricted traveling, the Thai government has finally taken the initiative to open the country, starting in September 2020. International tourists are now welcome to visit Thailand, albeit with some restrictions under newly amended tourist (TR) and long-stay (STV) visas. With the flat pandemic curve and low level of community transmission Thailand is one the safest destinations to travel to now.
All travelers visiting Thailand are required to undergo a two-week quarantine at the approved hotel – after that, they will be able to freely move around the country for up to 60 days.
Two types of new visas have been introduced:
Long-stay Special Tourist Visa (STV). Allows staying for up to 90 days, which can be extended twice, each time for another 90 days (9 months of total stay length). The issuance of visa costs 2,000 THB (~66 USD / ~83 AUD), and the same fee applies for every extension.
Regular 60-day Tourist Visa (TR). Allows staying for up to 60 days. Cost: 1,900 THB (~63 USD / ~80 AUD).
Both visas require a Certificate of Entry (COE), which can be granted after applying online on the official Thai Government website.
The following entry requirements must be met to apply for COE:
Both visa and COE must be approved by the Thai embassy/consulate in the traveler’s home country
A copy of a recent bank statement with a minimum balance of $700 per person and $1,500 per family.
Health insurance that covers COVID-19, and minimum medical coverage of $100,000 USD.
An agreement to undergo a 14-day quarantine upon arrival (at traveler’s own expense) and proof of Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) reservation.
Furthermore, for an STV visa, the visitor must present proof of payment for 90 days of accommodation in Thailand.
Tests and quarantine details
When boarding flights to Thailand, passengers must present a negative PCR test (no more than 72 hours old), and an additional test is required upon landing. The mandatory 14-day quarantine can be undergone in appointed hotels only, with all costs paid by the visitor. For instance, quarantine hotels in Bangkok and Phuket offer quarantine packages ranging from 28,000 THB (~885 USD / ~1170 AUD) to 200,000 THB (~6,300 USD / ~8400 AUD) per person.
Thailand reopening date
The key to restart Thailand’s tourism is the mass vaccination plan with a target of inoculating 70% of residents by the end of 2021. The Thai government considers opening some other parts of the country to vaccinated tourists (with quarantine requirements waived) as soon as July 2021. Six tourism-reliant provinces will have slashed quarantine times to seven-day only for vaccinated travelers even sooner – including Phuket, Krabi, Ko Samui, and Pattaya. The popular resort island of Koh Samui plans to skip quarantine for vaccinated foreign visitors from October 1.
Vietnam is not yet opened for international tourism. All land borders into Vietnam are closed.
Known for its Buddhist pagodas, green valleys, idyllic villages, and bustling cities, Vietnam sees its worth 8% GDP tourism sector struggling during coronavirus outbreak.
Currently, entry for all foreign nationals is suspended, and tourism-related visas are not issued. Only Vietnamese nationals, foreigners on diplomatic or official business, and highly skilled workers are allowed to enter the country at this time. All inbound commercial flights (except for repatriation flights) are suspended.
On June 2 Vietnam’s civil aviation authorities lifted the ban on inbound international arriving flights to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. There are plans to resume flights from selected Asian nations in July and from other vaccinated nations in October.
In order to minimize the risk of contagion, all travelers entering Vietnam must comply with specific health regulations. Quite recently, a mandatory quarantine on arrival has been extended to 21 days.
Vietnam reopening date
Vietnam’s reopening date is still uncertain. As of today, only a very limited number of essential workers and business people are allowed entry. This is assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Maksim is an industry expert and digital editor at Tiket2. He is also a frequent flyer, travel writer, photographer, and the truest evangelist of the company.
Amanda Jerelyn is a Travel Blogger at Dissertation Assistance, the perfect platform for buying assignment help. She has been keen on the travel bans being lifted so that she could travel again. She will soon be updating her experiences on her blogging platform.
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