Coronavirus Travel Information
Travel Status - 18 May 2022
Asia continues to relax its entry requirements, with the latest happy news coming out of Laos, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore.
In a delightful announcement from the Prime Minister, Laos has announced they are fully reopened for travel from May 9. Vaccinated travellers need only show proof of vaccination, and non-vaccinated travellers must take a rapid ATK test within 48 hours of their flight. After that, fully unrestricted travel is open to all!
In one broad stroke, Malaysia has announced from the 1st of May that vaccinated travellers will no longer be required to undergo any PCR testing, purchase mandatory health insurance, or use the country's contact tracing app while travelling. As for Thailand, the kingdom has recently announced that requirements for PCR testing and a 1-night stay on arrival are to be dropped from the 1st of May. Finally, Singapore has also dropped the mandatory pre-departure PCR test for fully-vaccinated visitors from abroad. Fully-vaccinated visitors to Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore will now be able to travel freely after passing through airport immigration!
In other good news, travel has also returned to Vietnam. The country is fully reopened for tourists, with no testing on arrival. South Korea has announced that the seven day quarantine no longer applies for fully vaccinated travellers from abroad. To take advantage of the quarantine-free travel, travellers must have received all three doses, or have received their second dose within the last six months.
Cambodia is also welcoming tourists, and Laos has announced plans to significantly relax entry requirements and in-country restrictions. Hong Kong is also resuming international flights from 9 countries including the US and UK, although a 7-day quarantine and multiple testing requirements are still in place.
Japan is in the process of reopening - travel is definitely returning in June! Firstly, this will take the form of monitored group tours for travel industry professionals from certain countries only (Thailand, Australia, the United States and Singapore). Once the government has had a chance to assess the impact of these test tours, we expect regular, unsupervised travel to resume at some point in the near future.
Overall the outlook is looking good for travel to almost all of our destinations in mid 2022. 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
The UK currently has no countries on the red list, including our Asia destinations. The blanket ‘all but essential travel’ has been lifted and it is possible to visit some countries. However, it is restricted and conditional travel - proof of a negative Covid test and/or vaccination status may be required and quarantine measures still apply in some instances. It is also an ever-evolving situation as the latest concerns over the new Covid variant have demonstrated.
Activity in the US is picking up and it is opening to vaccinated travellers as of late last year. Currently our destinations are listed as level 3s and 4s in the US, but this does not necessarily mean that you cannot travel there. It means restricted and conditional travel per the guidance below.
Advice from the CDC:
Level 4 – Avoid travel to these destinations. If you must travel to these destinations, make sure you are fully vaccinated before travel.
Level 3 – Make sure you are fully vaccinated before travelling to these destinations. Unvaccinated travellers should avoid non-essential travel to these destinations.
Level 1 – Make sure you are fully vaccinated before travel to these destinations.
Advice from the State Department:
Level 4 – Do not travel.
Level 3 – Reconsider travel.
Canada has joined the US in allowing travel to certain destinations, but it also falls under restricted and conditional travel. It is essential to check for the latest information on travel and entry requirements.
There has been a lot of positive news from Australia given that it had locked down and put a blanket ban on all travel in and out of the country last year. It is now allowing citizens out of the country earlier than expected.
With the reopening of Australia’s international borders, fully vaccinated Australians are now able to depart Australia without applying for an exemption. In line with this reopening, DFAT have removed the global ‘Do not travel’ advisory. 99% of destinations are now showing RECONSIDER YOUR NEED TO TRAVEL (Vietnam) or EXERCISE A HIGH DEGREE OF CAUTION (Thailand, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia)
- 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 fully reopened to visitors, with the further good news that there is no testing on arrival! Some details are still not fully clear, but what we know so far is very promising:
- Arrivals by air: are required to take a PCR test within 72 hours before departure or rapid antigen(ATK) test within 24 hours of departure.
- Arrivals by land or by boat: are required to take a rapid test or PCR test at the border before entering the country if they do not have prior tests results as above.
- 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 80 countries including the United States and most European nations not included in the visa exemptions above. E-visas are single-entry 30 day tourist visas.
- Medical insurance: covering COVID-19 treatment worth at least US $10,000, which costs around $30 USD.
- Children: Children under 2 years of age are exempt from all requirements, while children between the ages of 2 and 12 must be tested prior to departure.
- Install COVID Management and Prevention application (PC-COVID) for contact tracing.
- Anyone exhibiting symptoms of COVID infection will be asked to take a rapid antigen test at the airport before heading to their hotel.
- Monitor health for 10 days as per health ministry protocol
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.
To travel to Cambodia, you will need to:
- Have proof of full vaccination.
- Obtain a Visa on Arrival when entering Cambodia
- Download 'Tracerapp' before leaving the airport. Once done, 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.
From May 9, Laos has officially and entirely reopened for travel. Travellers, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, can fully explore Laos free of any restrictions! This is thanks to a continual decline of covid cases despite Laos being behind its neighbours in terms of its rates for the vaccination programme.
- Be fully vaccinated no less than 14 days prior to arrival
- 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
- 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.
Thailand is now allowing fully-vaccinated travellers free access to the country's stunning tourism sites as soon as they leave the airport! As of now, fully vaccinated travellers will only need to do the following:
- Register for a ‘Thailand Pass’
- Submit proof of full vaccination completed at least 14 days before arrival
- Submit proof of insurance covering COVID treatment and at least $10,000 USD of coverage valid for in-patient hospitalisation, hospital isolation, hotel isolation, or related quarantine in Thailand for a period of at least 10 days longer than the planned travel period (in case of medical complications).
- Children under 18 years of age travelling with vaccinated parents are exempt from vaccination requirements.
- Present Thailand Pass QR code to health officials prior to immigration procedures.
- Enjoy your holiday!
During your holiday, you will still be required to wear masks in public places including outdoor locations. At beaches, this is quite lenient though.
Malaysia & Borneo
Malaysia & Borneo
More exciting developments, as Malaysia has fully opened the borders to vaccinated travellers! There are no quarantine restrictions; all you'll need are proof of vaccination submitted via the MySejahtera contact tracing app before departure and to fill out the pre-departure form on the app; you're then free to explore Malaysia with no restrictions!
- Valid visa (if required by country)
- Proof of full vaccination (submitted within a week before departure via the MySejahtera contact tracing app)
- Not required but recommended: pre-purchased RTK saliva self-test kits to take with them on their trip
- Visitors will be given an ID Tag by a health screening official who will check the above entry requirements.
- Mask usage is required indoors, but optional outdoors
Fully vaccinated travellers can travel with no quarantine or testing upon arrival under the new Vaccinated Travel Framework (VTF). VTF is open to citizens of all nations and by any transport means. Children under 12 do not need to be vaccinated to enter.
Under the Vaccinated Travel Framework, travellers will be required to:
- Proof of full vaccination with the following vaccines at least 2 weeks before arrival in Singapore:
- All vaccination certificates, regardless of where they were issued or whether they are digitally verifiable or not, will be accepted.
- Children 12 and under are exempt from vaccination requirements.
- Visa (if applicable)
- Enjoy your stay!
- Guests must adhere to local regulations relating to COVID safety.
- Guests must remain contactable using declared contact information throughout their stay.
In an exciting move, South Korea country has recently opened its doors to fully vaccinated travellers, with no quarantine requirement as long as they have had three doses of vaccine or their second dose within the last six months. Vaccination status must also be registered on the Q-CODE app.
To enter South Korea, the process will look like:
- PCR 48 hours before you leave at a DOH-approved test provider.
- You need to obtain an electronic Visa (K-ETA)
- You must bring a proof of vaccination certificate
- You must have proof of travel insurance with minimum coverage of 30 million won (approx. 25,000 USD)
- PCR test upon arrival at Incheon airport. You must remain at the testing facility until a negative result has been secured.
- You must download the Korea COVID 19 self-diagnosis app and check in everyday with your health status.
- If the trip is over 8 days, then a further PCR test is needed on day 6 or 7 (you can just turn up to an appropriate hospital for this on the day)
This is a pilot scheme in place and based on the success of this, we might see other countries being added to the list to join the scheme. We're excited to see international leisure tourism returning in 2022.
With 81% of its population fully vaccinated, Japan now ranks among the most vaccinated countries in the world!
While Japan temporarily closed its border to new entries in response to the emergence of the omicron variant, these rules have been eased as case numbers continue to drop. The daily cap on entrants to Japan is continually being loosened for both Japanese and foreign nationals from 37 countries. These alterations are primarily aimed at business travellers and overseas students, but Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has announced that the government will examine how this can be extended to tourists.
The first step will be carefully-supervised group tours from selected countries (Australia, Thailand, Singapore and the United States) in June; fully-independent travel is not yet on the cards but this relaxation of border restrictions means that there is a genuine prospect of this changing in the not-too-distant future. Keep checking back to this page for more details as we receive them.
Hong Kong is gradually relaxing its entry requirements. Flights to and from nine countries, including the UK, Australia, and USA have resumed, and the mandatory quarantine period has been halved from 14 days to 7.
While this is a promising start, at the moment there is little visibility about further plans for reopening or insight into discussions.
We have our eyes on this one and continue to wait patiently!