Coronavirus Travel Information
Travel Status - 12 October 2023
All of our Asian destinations have almost completely relaxed their entry requirements to pre-pandemic levels: this is true for Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Laos, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan. Entry requirements for these countries are minimal – please see full details below for each country, as they do differ slightly.
As of late 2023, the outlook is looking great for travel to all of our destination, with only light arrival requirements depending on the country.
In August 2023, Vietnam introduced e-visas for all nationalities to ease travel into the country; said e-visas are now valid for up to 90 days, and can be single or multi-entry. Whilst in Vietnam, there is no longer a requirement to monitor your own health, and travel insurance is no longer a requirement to enter the country (though we strongly recommend our customers to take travel insurance regardless).
Earlier in 2023, in line with the WHO's announcement that the emergency phase of Covid-19 is over, Japan lifted its overseas travel warning for Japanese nationals on May 8, 2023. This is widely seen as the final step in the complete resumption of normal travel to and from Japan to pre-pandemic levels.
Japan removed arrival caps and resumed visa-free travel in October 2022, and further removed all vaccination requirements on April 29, 2023. There is no longer a need to do pre-departure testing or show proof of vaccination. Fully independent travel to Japan is full steam ahead, with Japan having enjoyed its first full cherry blossom season in four years.
Hong Kong removed all Covid-related entry requirements in early 2023, allowing both vaccinated and non-vaccinated travellers to enter the country without the need to provide proof of vaccination or PCR test. In case of contracting Covid-19 while in Hong Kong, there is no longer a requirement to isolate, though travellers are expected to adhere to general health guidelines to minimise the spread of the virus.
South Korea removed On Arrival PCR testing requirements in early October 2022, and from April 1, 2023 it introduced a K-ETA exemption for 22 countries, which include the UK and 12 other countries in Europe, United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. This means that all countries exempt from the K-ETA no longer need to apply for a visa in advance.
Even if there are few to no restrictions in our destinations, we continue to work closely with our local partners to develop and follow the robust protocols of WTTC (World Travel and Tourism Council) to implement new safety practices and standards. These will strengthen the current health and safety guidelines set out by local governments themselves to create a stress-free travel experience for you.
Government advisories and your travel to Asia
There is no restriction to travel to any of our destinations: just make sure to check the entry requirements for the country you're travelling to further down below or, alternatively, check the latest official government information on travel to Asia from the FCDO here.
There is no restriction to travel to any of our destinations: same as the UK, just make sure to check the entry requirements for the country you're traveling to. Currently our destinations are listed as level 1s and 2s in the US by the State Department (with the exception of Hong Kong, listed as 3 - reconsider travel).
Advice from the CDC:
Level 3 – Avoid Nonessential Travel.
Level 2 – Practice Enhanced Precautions
Level 1 - Practice usual precautions
Advice from the State Department:
Level 3 – Reconsider travel.
Level 2- Exercise increased precaution
Level 1 - Exercise normal precaution
International travel is open, though please check the government advisory beforehand and any country entry requirements below.
Same as the UK and US, there is no restriction to travel to any of our destinations: just make sure to check the entry requirements for the country you're travelling to further down below, and check Smartraveller's website for the most up-to-date information.
In line with this final ease on restrictions, DFAT has updated its advisory and most of the destinations listed are now showing EXCERCISE NORMAL SAFETY PRECAUTIONS (Japan, South Korea, Vietnam Singapore, Cambodia, Laos and Malaysia) or EXERCISE A HIGH DEGREE OF CAUTION (Thailand and Hong Kong)
- Lv 1 EXERCISE NORMAL SAFETY PRECAUTIONS
- Lv 2 EXERCISE A HIGH DEGREE OF CAUTION
- Lv 3 RECONSIDER YOUR NEED TO TRAVEL (avoid non-essential)
- Lv 4 DO NOT TRAVEL
DFAT are updating travel advice levels for 177 destinations based on the latest assessment of risk – both COVID-19 and other threats to safety and security.
A global COVID-19 Health Advisory will also be issued in conjunction with the Department of Health, with advice for vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers.
See below for a breakdown of our destinations vaccination and travel status.
Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos
Vietnam has flung its doors fully open to visitors, with no testing, quarantine, or travel restrictions regardless of vaccination status. In addition, citizens from 13 countries are allowed up to 15 days visa-free entry, while 90-day tourist e-visas are available for citizens of all countries, for either single or multi-entry.
- Visa exemptions: will be offered for citizens of the following 13 countries: Belarus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and the U.K. This will permit travel for up to 15 days without a visa regardless of passport type or entry purpose.
- E-Visas: will be offered for citizens of all countries. Tourist E-visas can be single or multi-entry, for up to 90 days.
- Medical insurance is no longer a requirement, but strongly recommended.
- Proceed through immigration as normal and enjoy your stay!
- Monitor health for 10 days as per health ministry protocol
- If travellers test positive for COVID-19 during their stay, they may self-isolate as long as they aren't exhibiting serious symptoms requiring medical attention.
Cambodia has also fully re-opened for travel and has dropped their previous testing requirements - not just on arrival but completely! Visa requirements have also been relaxed, and travellers can now simply acquire their visas on arrival. There is no requirement to show proof of vaccination anymore.
To travel to Cambodia, you will need to:
- Obtain a Visa on Arrival when entering Cambodia
- It is no longer necessary to download the 'Tracerapp'; you are free to travel Cambodia with no quarantine restrictions!
Our sources on the ground have said that they are welcoming tourists in and that it would be good if visitor numbers were to increase in 2022. A lot of the sites and temples are quieter meaning people are freer to move around. We are hoping to gather more intel as to what life is like on the ground over the coming months.
Laos is officially and fully open thanks to a continual decline of covid cases despite Laos being behind its neighbours in terms of its rates for the vaccination programme.
There is no quarantine, testing and no travel restrictions for vaccinated travellers while unvaccinated travellers only need to take a rapid ATK test within 48h of departure to Laos and show the results upon arrival to enjoy the same ease of entry. Everything else including visas and entry returns to pre-covid norms, although visa on arrivals are now charged at $40USD per person.
- The requirement to be fully vaccinated no less than 14 days prior to arrival seems to have been removed according to the Laotian government, but several countries still list it as a requirement to go to Laos. Until this is fully clarified, we recommend being vaccinated or checking your local foreign affairs office website.
- Visas as normal pre-covid: Citizens of countries that do not have a visa waiver agreement with Laos can apply for a visa at a Lao embassy or consulate abroad or via the e-Visa online system
- Show proof of vaccination (this is being currently revised as per the mention above)
- Must have a rapid ATK test performed no more than 48 hours before departure to Laos.
- Show proof of negative results from rapid ATK test before departure.
- Show proof of negative results from rapid ATK test before departure.
Thailand is now allowing both fully-vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers free access to the country's stunning tourism sites as soon as they leave the airport! Do I need to wear a mask? Not generally. The mask mandate was rescinded in 2022, though some indoor places may still require you to wear a mask.
Malaysia & Borneo
Malaysia & Borneo
Malaysia has fully opened the borders! There are no quarantine restrictions or requirements for vaccinated or unvaccinated passengers. Travellers are free to download the MySejahtera contact tracing app before or after arrival in Malaysia and indicate their Covid risk status, but this is not mandatory.
- Valid visa (if required by country)
- Not required but recommended: while not formally required, we recommend travellers who have vaccination cards to bring them
- Mask usage is required indoors, but optional outdoors
When travelling to Singapore, there are no longer any requirements for vaccination or pre-arrival testing. However, please check any extra requirements below.
- SG Arrival Card to be submitted at least 3 days prior to your date of arrival in Singapore
- Visa (if applicable)
- Enjoy your stay!
- Guests must adhere to local regulations relating to COVID safety.
South Korea is open to travellers with no pre-departure testing or quarantine requirements. Additionally, the government has exempted 22 countries from the electronic visa requirement, including the UK and 12 other countries in Europe, United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
To enter South Korea, the process will look as follows:
- If required, you need to obtain an electronic Visa (K-ETA) (note above that countries like the UK, United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are exempted from this)
- Proof of vaccination is no longer needed to enter South Korea.
- While having travel insurance is highly recommended, proof of it is no longer a requirement to enter South Korea. It is a requirement of InsideAsia Tours however, that you purchase travel insurance if you are travelling with us.
- There is no longer PCR on arrival.
- You will need to register personal information using the Q-code system prior to entry to the country.
With 82% of its population fully vaccinated, Japan now ranks among the most vaccinated countries in the world!
The Japanese government removed arrival caps and resumed visa-free travel in October 2022, and on 29 April 2023 it removed pre-departure testing and vaccination proof to enter the country regardless of vaccination status. The original date to do this had been announced as May 8, but the government decided to bring the day forward ahead of Golden Week in Japan.
From October 11th 2022, to enter Japan tourists simply need to:
- Optional but recommended: preregister on Visit Japan Web to ensure smooth entry into Japan; the immigration and customs declarations can be done online ahead of time to save time on arrival.
- Optional but recommended: Have a travel insurance plan that covers covid-related medical expenses and disruptions.
After almost 3 years of complex Covid-19 prevention measures, Hong Kong has removed restrictions to pre-pandemic levels.
Both vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers are able to travel to or transit through Hong Kong normally without any need to test, observing normal visa requirements and conditions.
The Hong Kong Department of Health encourages travellers to take daily RAT tests until day 5 after arrival, though this is purely voluntary. In the unlikely case of a positive result, isolation is no longer necessary. However, please always refer to the latest health guidance issued by the government to help minimise the spread of Covid-19.