Despite the second wave of COVID-19 infections, most Asian countries continue to efficiently manage the pandemic and have kept new cases and death tolls low. The world is better prepared this time around.
This is especially true on that side of the world, where many countries are settling into a “new normal” way of life. Their efforts in containing and preventing new outbreaks have paid off and as of today a few countries have reopened or are very close to reopening their borders to international travelers once again.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the current border status of 16 Asian countries reopening for tourism.
Which Asian countries are open for tourism?
Cambodia, Hong Kong, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand, and Singapore are the only Asian countries open for tourism at the moment. Various entry requirements and restrictions apply.
Cambodia is open to ALL countries.There is a USD 2000 deposit to pay in addition to other requirements.
Hong Kong is open for tourism from Mainland China, Taiwan and Macao only.
Maldives is open to ALL countries. No mandatory quarantine.
Nepal is open, but only to trekkers and mountaineers.
Pakistan is open to ALL countries. No quarantine required.
Thailand is open only to long-term tourists only.
Singapore is open to 5 countries (China, New Zealand, Australia, Brunei, and Vietnam)
With the exception of Maldives and Pakistan, all countries on this list require some sort of mandatory quarantines for inbound travelers. Some ask for test results and others test on arrival. Below you can find the specific requirements of each country.
December 5 – Update
Cambodia is open to all travelers. To be granted access, visitors must bring a mandatory visa and a hefty security deposit.
Have a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 72-hours before arrival.
Proof that they have health insurance with coverage of at least USD $50,000.
Agree to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival.
The visas-on-arrival program has been suspended. All travelers need to obtain a visa either through the online visas website or a Cambodian embassy/consulate.
A deposit for USD 2000 to cover unexpected expenses related to biosafety measures.
But there’s a twist.
Before arrivées can settle into quarantine accommodations, they must submit to additional COVID-19 screenings at the entry port. Everyone on the passenger manifest must wait in government-run facilities until all the tests come back clear. If even one test returns positive, then everyone on the flight, boat, or train must quarantine in a government facility for two weeks, the expenses for food and accommodation will be taken out of your deposit money.
So far, Cambodian officials have reported 308 cases and zero deaths.
China had announced a reopening of its borders and flights to visitors from 8 different countries. These countries were Canada, Thailand, Cambodia, Pakistan, Greece, Denmark, Austria, and Sweden. However their plans have been halted due to the second wave of COVID-19.
Hong Kong is currently open to travelers coming from Mainland China, Taiwan and Macao only.
Agree to undergo a 14-day quarantine, or
Present proof of having spent the 14 days prior to their arrival in Mainland China, Taiwan, or Macao and bring negative COVID-19 test results no older than 72 hours. Also, travelers need to have a reservation for 14 days in a hotel in Hong Kong.
October 29 – Update
Hong Kong was considering reopening with 11 countries in September but the plan has been delayed due to the local 2nd wave of the Coronavirus spread.
Considering its proximity to mainland China, COVID-19’s point of origin, and its status as an international travel hub, Hong Kong has managed to squash its coronavirus curve.
How’d they do it?
For starters, since the 2003 SARS outbreak, Hong Kong residents have taken to wearing masks regularly. Plus, they’re law-abiding citizens who ardently observed social distancing recommendations. Though the government has loosened some social distancing requirements, masks are still mandatory everywhere.
To date, Hong Kong has reported 93,905 confirmed cases and 4,752 deaths.
During the first COVID-19 wave, India’s contagion rate was high, but it had one of the lowest mortality rates. Its travel restrictions were, and still are, complicated.
Certain people — including students, medical professionals, engineers, design specialists, and managers working on projects in India — are welcome back if they obtain the proper visas, test negative, and quarantine for two weeks upon arrival.
Agree to health screenings and self-isolation for 14 days at home (if not infected) or a government-approved facility (if infected)
September – Update
Indonesia — home of venerated vacation hot-spot Bali — is closed for tourism until at least 2021. Though officials announced plans for a September reopening to “revitalize” its economy, the country remains a “red zone” and decided to keep its borders shuttered until next year to casual foreign travelers.
Since the pandemic’s arrival, 563,680 Indonesians have caught the coronavirus, 17,479 have died of complications. (Source: WHO)
Japan remains closed for tourists, but it has relaxed restrictions for business travelers from Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Cambodia, Singapore, Republic of Korea, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Brunei, Malaysia, Myanmar, Mongolia, Laos, and Taiwan.
theJapanese government has confirmed reopening for tourism in April 2021 with health screenings and testing on arrival.
October 29 – Update
Japan has started gradually reopening in October for long-term residents, students, and business travelers. Also the government has announced plans for the full reopening in April 2021, before the Olympics.
At the time of this writing, COVID-19 has reportedly infected 157,674 people in Japan, of which 2,283 have passed away. (Source: WHO)
Malaysia continues to be shut down for international tourism. The Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) that heavily restricts internal traveling ends on December 6, but extensions or new orders have not been announced as of today.
October – Update
Though officials have toyed with partial reopening plans, Malaysia remains closed to foreign travelers. Residents and medical professionals can obtain special entry visas.
Keen to jump-start its all-important tourism economy, the country was hoping to reopen its borders to holiday travelers on October 1. Guests were to pass a COVID-19 test at the airport and then quarantine for two weeks on Phuket Island. This, however, was not possible.
So far, Malaysia has reported 70,236 cases and 376 deaths. (Source: WHO)
Booking at a hotel, resort, or any other government-approved lodging facility.
Negative results of a PCR COVID-19 test taken in the 92 hours before departure.
Agree to undergo health screenings on arrival, and additional testing if necessary.
There are no mandatory quarantine policies at the time, however, self-isolation for the first 14 days of your stay is recommended by authorities.
The Maldives have reported 13,143 COVID-19 cases and 47 related deaths to date. (Source: WHO)
December 5 – Update
Myanmar continues to be tied in a tight lockdown that includes curfews, domestic travel restrictions and a ban on all international flights that goes until December 15. What happens after this date has not been announced, but it does not seem like Myanmar is planning to reopen any time soon.
October – Update
Myanmar’s curve remained relatively flat until September when cases skyrocketed. Nearly all flights are canceled until September 30, plus the country currently observes a curfew. Foreign nationals in the country are urged to find passage on a relief flight out. (source)
As of now, Myanmar has reported 95,018 cases and 2,028 related deaths. (Source: WHO)
The Philippines is receiving nationals returning home and foreigners traveling for essential purposes only. It remains closed to all other foreign visitors.
At the moment only spouses or children of Filipino nationals and permanent residents from abroad are allowed to enter the Philippines. They need to submit the COVID test on arrival and undergo a 14-day quarantine.
South Korea was one of the first nations to shut its borders in February, and it also implemented one of the best contagion-prevention programs in the world. Although they did shut down partially, officials unfurled an aggressive testing program instead of enforcing acrimonious lockdowns. The approach allowed them to pinpoint and isolate infected parties swiftly.
South Korea was initially closed to non-essential travel, including tourism and most business. Foreign nationals, though, could return home. Currently, it has reopened to all travelers.
As of now, about 36,915 South Koreans have caught the coronavirus, and 540 have succumbed to its deadly grip. (Source: WHO)
Sri Lanka’s borders remain closed to all incoming travelers, including returning nationals. Citizens stranded abroad need to contact Sri Lankan authorities to be authorized entry.
September – Update
Prasanna Ranatunga, Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism, recently told reporters that he “cannot give an exact date for the reopening of the airport.”
Like many Asian countries that rely on tourism dollars to buoy their economies, Sri Lanka hoped to open its borders in September to people from “safe” countries. But an outbreak in a popular sightseeing town triggered a shutdown extension.
To date, 26,038 people in Sri Lanka have caught the coronavirus, and 129 of them have passed away. (Source: WHO)
Negative PCR COVID-19 test results, in English, issued within three days before boarding.
Mandatory 14-day quarantine (business travelers can apply to shorten it)
September – Update
Taiwan has managed to keep its COVID cases very low and scheduled partial reopening on October 5. At the moment it had not been confirmed yet, whether the country was going to let foreigners in or not.
Vietnam isn’t opening its borders to tourists anytime soon. However, residents and essential business travelers can apply for special pandemic visas. Like other countries, officials in Vietnam had hoped to welcome back guests in the fall of 2020, but a new wave of cases has curtailed the plans.
Travelers that secure special entry visas must quarantine for two weeks upon arrival. Moreover, people who test positive at airports may not be granted entry.
Vietnam had one of the lowest contagion rates in the world, with 1,361 cases and 35 deaths. (Source: WHO)
And that’s the low-down on Asian border reopening. Generally speaking, the continent is timidly reopening to international travel. If you urgently need to get to one of these countries, start by reading the information posted on your country’s embassy page. Good luck!