asian countries opening borders

Asian Countries Open for Tourism: December 2021 Update

Despite the fourth and fifth waves of COVID-19 infections, most Asian countries continue efficiently managing their pandemic figures. 

Let’s take a look at the current reopening status of 21 Asian countries reopening (or not) for tourism.

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Check also: Countries Open for Vaccinated Tourists

Which Asian countries are open for tourism?

  • Brunei is open to nationals, residents, and green card holders. All visitors must pay for their mandatory quarantine and COVID-19 tests.
  • Cambodia reopened for tourism on Nov. 20.
  • China is open to foreign nationals with work or residence visas.
  • Hong Kong has reopened to visitors from India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Thailand, and South Korea.
  • India reopened for tourism to all countries on Oct. 15.
  • Indonesia is closed for tourism but Bali reopened for tourism on October 14.
  • Japan will reopen to business travelers and international students on Nov. 30.
  • Maldives is open to most countries. No mandatory quarantine.
  • Laos will reopen several cities under a new “Green Zone Travel” strategy.
  • Malaysia will reopen its first travel lane on Nov. 30. 
  • Myanmar plans to reopen for tourism on “early 2022.”
  • Nepal resumed commercial flights on June 24.
  • Pakistan is open to all countries. No quarantine required. New – Proof of vaccination is now mandatory
  • The Philippines is not open for tourism but started to ease restrictions on Oct. 16. 
  • Singapore scrapped quarantine requirements for 10 more countries including the U.S. and Canada.
  • South Korea is open to visitors from most countries. Quarantine is mandatory.
  • Sri Lanka is open to all tourists from multiple countries. Health Insurance, visa and test are required.
  • Taiwan will reopen for international workers between mid-to-late November.
  • Thailand scrapped quarantine restrictions for the UK, the U.S., and Canada on Nov. 1.
  • Vietnam reopened for tourism on Nov. 20.

Asian countries open for tourism – Latest Updates November 23)

Brunei 

Mosque in Brunei

Brunei is open for essential travel only. Nationals, permanent residents and green card holders require permission from the Prime Minister’s Office to leave the country. 

Entry requirements:

  • Show proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
  • Undergo a 14-day mandatory quarantine at a government-designated facility.
  • Foreign travelers visiting Brunei for essential reasons must pay for their quarantine accommodation, COVID-19 tests, and food.

For more information about approved accommodations click here.

Visitors who bypass quarantine may be liable for a fine up to USD $7,459.47 or imprisonment for up to six months, or even both.

Royal Brunei Airlines has canceled most of its operations until March 27, 2021.

Cambodia Reopening

Cambodia

Cambodia 

Cambodia reopened for fully vaccinated international tourists on Nov. 20. 

The country cites its effective nationwide campaign as the main reason enabling the reopening. 

Prime Minister Hun Sen confirmed that fully vaccinated tourists are now permitted to enter the country without quarantine from Saturday.

“I hope our compatriots enjoy our reopening. It is widely due to the country having achieved such an outstanding rate of vaccination,” he said.

Entry requirements – Updated

  1. Have a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 72-hours before arrival.
  2. Proof that they have health insurance with coverage of at least USD $50,000.

Read our full article: Cambodia To Reopen Borders To International Tourists on November 30

China Reopening

China

For the very first time in more than a year, China is reportedly having conversations with multiple countries to resume the visa/entry request process for travelers who have received two doses of the Chinese vaccine. 

Visitors will still need to bring a negative COVID-19 test result and undergo a 14-21 day quarantine.

Using their own homemade vaccine, China has set a new goal to boost the ratio to 40 vaccines per 100 people by the end of June 2021.

Most restrictions on local travel have been lifted and life has almost gotten back to normal. However, allowed visitors must go through a strict process of obtaining a visa, get tested for Covid-19 and undergo mandatory quarantine.

As of today, China is open to foreign nationals with work or residence visas, or those who need to travel for family reunification. Commercial airlines are covering multiple routes.

Entry requirements:

Check the full and updated post on China reopening borders to foreigners!

Hong Kong Reopening

Hong Kong

Residents of India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Thailand, and South Korea can now enter Hong Kong if they are fully vaccinated, but they must still quarantine up to 21 days, according to a news release.

Starting on Oct. 21, Hong Kong will allow up to 2,000 nonresidents from the mainland and Macau to enter each day without having to go through quarantine.

In addition to mainland China and Macau, the admission of those five new nations brings the total number of countries from which visitors are allowed entry to 49.

Other essential travelers such as diplomats and students also need to undergo a mandatory 21-day quarantine, plus agree to the rest of the regular restrictions.

Entry requirements for people coming from medium or high-risk countries.

  • Agree to undergo a 21-day quarantine at a designated quarantine hotel
  • Present proof of having spent the 14 days prior to their arrival in Mainland China, Taiwan, or Macao and have a reservation for 21 days at a regular hotel in Hong Kong. 

Read our full post on Hong Kong reopening borders.

India Reopening

India

On Oct. 15 India reopened its sea and air borders to international tourism. 

Visitors must complete a self-declaration and upload a negative COVID-19 test result taken less than 72 hours before departure. 

Five thousand tourist visas free will be issued at no cost as part of the strategy to boost the airline and tourism sectors. 

Read our full post: India Is Officially Open For International Tourism Since October 15

Entry requirements

  • All travelers must apply for a visa from the Indian Embassy beforehand.
  • In order to enter the country, they must fill out a self-declaration form 72 hours before departure and submit a negative Covid-19 RT-PCR test upon arrival.
  • Submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours before arrival.
  • If they do not have negative test results, they will face 7 days of institutional quarantine followed by 7 days of at-home isolation.

Also read: India opening tourism.

Indonesia Reopening

Indonesia

The resort island of Bali reopened for tourism on October 14. However, it has not seen any tourists yet due to a lack of airlines resuming operations to the island.

The government is reportedly working on strategies to encourage both airlines and tourists to return to Bali. Indonesia recently reduced its quarantine period from 5 to only 3 days.

Read our full post: Bali Reduces Quarantine To 3 Days As It Reaches The Lowest COVID Alert

Restaurants, malls, and places of worship in the capital Jakarta and Bali have reopened at a limited capacity, President Joko Widodo announced a few weeks ago.

For further information on the new protocols click here.

As of today, Indonesia is open to business visa holders of all nationalities.

Entry requirements

  • Tourists visa
  • Negative COVID-19 test
  • Proof of accommodation
  • Health insurance with coverage of at least US$100,000
  • 3-day mandatory quarantine

For more details, check out the full post on Indonesia reopening borders and Bali opening tourism.

Japan Reopening

japan reopening borders

Japan will reopen to foreigners on business trips, and international students and technical interns on Nov. 30

Universities, companies, and other sponsors must agree to manage these visitors’ movements thoroughly. Otherwise, they will not be permitted entry.

Japan detected some of the new highly contagious variants of the coronavirus in 20 prefectures so the government decided to tighten the restrictions. As of today, only 2,000 people (of those who are allowed for essential reasons) are permitted to enter the country per day.  

Foreign nationals from non-banned countries who have diplomatic, work or study visas should check with the Japanese embassy in their country if they can travel and if they need to comply with additional requirements.

Entry requirements

  • Diplomatic visa, work visa, or re-entry permit.
  • PCR COVID-19 test results no older than 72 hours.
  • Agree to get tested on arrival (at no cost)
  • Complete an online health declaration
  • Agree to a 10-day quarantine 
  • Short-term business or student visitors who plan to stay for less than three months will only have to serve three days of quarantine instead of the usual ten. 

Read the full post on Japan opening for tourism for the latest updates!

Maldives Reopening

Maldives

Maldives was open to all countries but since the islands are going through a severe spike in COVID-19 cases, the country has decided to halt flights from India and other South Asian countries until further notice. 

The rest of travelers are welcome in Maldives. They only need to bring their negative PCR test results. Visas are issued on arrival at no cost. No quarantine is required, but if a visitor gets in close contact with a positive patient they will be required to quarantine for 14 days.

Check out our full post: Maldives is open for tourism

Entry requirements

  • 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.

Laos Reopening

Laos

Laos plans to reopen Vientiane Capital, Vang Vieng, and Luang Prabang under a Green Zone Travel Plan.

According to the Lao Travel Green Zone plan, to be classified as a green zone, regions must have a population of 70-80 percent vaccinated, with 90-95 percent of service providers immunized.

Although many of the internal measures -lockdowns and travel restrictions- have been relaxed, airports remain closed to international commercial flights.

In order to be granted entry, visitors need to request a special permit from the Laos government explaining the type of emergency that forces the traveler to visit the country.

The country only allows one or two international humanitarian flights with Korea every two weeks, and a weekly UN humanitarian one to/from Malaysia. 

Inside the country, the situation is quite normal. Domestic flights continue to be fully operational, restaurants, grocery stores, and schools and universities are open, and even large gatherings such as religious ceremonies, and karaoke sites are open for business.

Entry requirements

  • Negative PCR COVID-19 test results
  • Agree to a 14-day quarantine

Malaysia Reopening

Malaysia

Japan will reopen to foreigners on business trips, and international students and technical interns on Nov. 30

Universities, companies, and other sponsors must agree to manage these visitors’ movements thoroughly. Otherwise, they will not be permitted entry.

Japan detected some of the new highly contagious variants of the coronavirus in 20 prefectures so the government decided to tighten the restrictions. As of today, only 2,000 people (of those who are allowed for essential reasons) are permitted to enter the country per day.  

Foreign nationals from non-banned countries who have diplomatic, work or study visas should check with the Japanese embassy in their country if they can travel and if they need to comply with additional requirements.

Entry requirements

  • Diplomatic visa, work visa, or re-entry permit.
  • PCR COVID-19 test results no older than 72 hours.
  • Agree to get tested on arrival (at no cost)
  • Complete an online health declaration
  • Agree to a 10-day quarantine 
  • Short-term business or student visitors who plan to stay for less than three months will only have to serve three days of quarantine instead of the usual ten. 

A few weeks ago, authorities opened Langkawi for domestic tourism, which is a positive sign for its international reopening plans. 

Also, Malaysia Airlines has introduced its brand-new Digital Travel Health Pass to allow passengers to schedule COVID-19 tests with trusted medical partners and upload their COVID-19 vaccination certificates. The idea is to make travel to the country easier for locals and visitors.

Read our full post: Malaysia Plans To Reopen for International Tourism on December 1

Entry Requirements

  • Apply for permission to enter through MyTravel Pass portal
  • All travelers will be tested on arrival. This does not have any effect on their mandatory quarantine.
  • Travelers with a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours prior to boarding will need to undergo a 7-day quarantine and get retested on day 5.
  • Travelers without a negative COVID-19 test will need to undergo a 10-day quarantine and get retested on day 8.

Also read: Malaysia reopening requirements!

Myanmar Reopening

Myanmar

The country has stated that it plans to open its doors to international visitors in early 2022.

“We are planning to reopen tourism for vaccinated tourists if plans are well-prepared for safe and convenient travel,” Zeyar Htun, deputy director of the Public Relations and Information Department at the military-run Ministry of Hotels & Tourism, confirmed to CNN Travel.

Myanmar is still struggling with the effects caused by a coup in February 2021. According to experts, it will be hard to see any airlines resuming commercial flights to the country for the time being.   

Nepal Reopening

Nepal

Nepal resumed commercial flights to and from Kathmandu on June 24. Multiple restrictions apply.

Also, according to the U.S. embassy in Nepal, the Nepali government announced the reopening for American travelers a few days ago. 

U.S. visitors still need to obtain a tourist visa from a Nepali diplomatic mission abroad or obtain a pre-approval recommendation from the concerned ministry for ensuring their on-arrival visa. 

Also read: Nepal reopening for tourism – Travel restrictions

Entry requirements

If allowed, visitors must bring, 

  • A proper visa.
  • Negative results of a COVID-19 test taken 72 hours before arrival.
  • Booking in an approved hotel for a 10-day mandatory quarantine. On day 10 of their quarantine, they will get retested regardless of their symptoms. 
  • Trekkers and Mountaineers need to bring proof of insurance that covers COVID-19 up to, at least, US $5,000.

Special entry requirements for Mount Everest climbers

Apart from the insurance that covers COVID-19 related expenses, Mount Everest climbers will need to agree to potential additional testing, mandatory face mask-wearing, and mandatory social distancing during the climbing period. 

The Nepali government has stationed trained medical personnel at the Base Camp to deal with infected patients but this is increasing the total costs of the trip.

Check our post for more information about when is Nepal opening for tourism?.

Pakistan Reopening

pakistan reopening borders

Pakistan has ordered an 80% reduction of international flight operations and the closure of most non-essential businesses including tourist spots.

Effective August 1, all domestic air travelers must provide proof of vaccination, according to the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC).

Important! – In certain provinces only fully vaccinated people will have access to public transportation.

For further information, click here.

Entry requirements for allowed visitors

Philippines Reopening

Philippines

As of Oct. 16, 2021, the Philippines has begun to relax the lockdown restrictions, enabling more businesses to operate in Manila at reduced capacity.

Meetings, conferences, and exhibitions, as well as social events like weddings and tourist attractions like museums and parks, are now permitted to reopen for tourism

Even though the Philippines is not open for tourism, President Duterte has decided to permit returning nationals and people visiting for essential reasons from 57 low-risk countries to enter the territory under a reduced 7-day quarantine.

“Those who received full vaccination outside the Philippines need to bring the official documents stating you were already vaccinated,” said a government spokesperson at a conference some days ago. 

This is a huge step for the Philippines that only allowed returning nationals who had received their vaccination curse in the Philippines. 

Additionally, all visitors are compelled to book a room at a government-designated facility to quarantine upon arrival and take the extra COVID-19 tests. All at the visitors’ expense.

Also read: Philippines reopening for tourism

Entry requirements

  • Get tested for COVID-19 on arrival
  • Present a reservation for at least days at a pre-approved quarantine hotel or facility
  • Quarantine for 14 days or until negative test results are made available

Singapore Reopening

Singapore

Singapore has expanded its quarantine-free travel scheme (VLT) to include fully vaccinated visitors from ten additional countries, including seven European nations plus Canada, the United States, and, eventually, South Korea.

Also, Singapore has eased entry restrictions for visitors from Germany, Brunei, Hong Kong, and Macau. 

The travel bubble with Germany and Brunei opened on Sept. 8.

Visitors from these 2 countries will need to be fully vaccinated, download a contact tracing app for use while in Singapore and spend the 21 previous days in either Germany or Brunei.

Entry restrictions for visitors from Hong Kong and Macau are a bit easier.

Travelers coming from other countries will need to get a long-term visit pass (for work, study, business, and others) and obtain an Approval Letter issued by the respective Ministry to be allowed entry.

Entry requirements

  • Negative COVID-19 test results (or a test on arrival for Air Travel Pass visitors)
  • Agree to a 14-day quarantine
  • Proof of vaccination against COVID-19
  • Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP) 

Also read: Singapore is open for some tourists but reimposing strict local restrictions

South Korea Reopening

South Korea

South Korea continues to be open to tourists with restrictions. However, the government is reportedly negotiating travel bubbles with a number of Asian countries. The beneficiaries of these new agreements will forgo quarantine and other requirements. The names of these countries have not been released yet but Australia and Japan are two of the candidates. (Source)

The country has introduced an additional entry requirement for all foreign arrivals, they will need to present a negative COVID-19 test result obtained within 72 hours prior to departure. 

Entry requirements

  • Foreign travelers will need a visa and present proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
  • All travelers will need to quarantine for 14 days at their own cost
  • Nationals returning from the UK, South Africa or Brazil need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test. (source)

Sri Lanka Reopening

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka reopened for tourism from June 1. The country had to temporarily close its borders due to a surge in COVID-19 cases, but it is open again. Commercial airlines can operate at a limited capacity.

People who have visited or transited through India, South Africa, Vietnam, as well as South American countries including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Falkland Islands, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, and Venezuela over the last 2 weeks will be denied entry regardless of nationality or vaccination status. 

Check our full post: Sri Lanka opening for tourism!

Entry requirements

  • Apply for a visa or travel permit online here.
  • Bring a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours before departure.
  • Pay for on-site COVID-19 testing and health insurance.
  • Undergo a 14-day quarantine regardless of vaccination status at a government-designated facility.

Visitors cannot leave their hotels for 14 days but they can enjoy the hotel facilities and common areas.

Taiwan Reopening

taiwan reopening - asian countries

On Nov. 4, Taiwan’s Ministry of Labor (MOL) announced that the country will reopen to international workers “at some point between mid-to-late November”.

To be granted access, workers will be evaluated on a new point-based system that takes into account their vaccination status, the epidemiology situation in their home country, and “the prospective employer’s epidemic prevention plan.”

Entry requirements

  • Negative PCR COVID-19 test results, in English or Chinese issued within three days before boarding.
  • Show proof of a reservation at an approved hotel or quarantine facility.
  • Mandatory 14-day quarantine at a government facility or a government-approved hotel (residents can stay at their homes if they can prove is a one person household)

Check our full post Taiwan opening for tourists!

Thailand Reopening

Thailand

Thailand has scrapped quarantine rules for fully vaccinated travelers from ten low-risk countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, China, Singapore, and Malaysia.

“I’m very excited that it’s finally happening,” said Nanthasiri Ronnasiri, the head of the Phuket branch of the Thai tourism authority. “Business here has been devastated. With this reopening, at least the people are being given the chance to welcome tourists again.”

To be eligible, visitors need to be able to demonstrate they received the last shot of a COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to arrival in Thailand. 

Also on Nov. 1, the country reopened 5 provinces including Chiang Mai, Phangnga, Krabi, Hua Hin, Pattaya, and Cha-am.

Check our full post: Thailand Is Open For Tourism And Scrapping Quarantine Requirements On November 1!

Vietnam Reopening

vietnam reopening borders

Vietnam started to reopen for tourism on Nov. 20. 

In the first stage, only passengers from France, Germany, Russia, the U.K., Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, and Cambodia, will be permitted entry said the Minister of Transport.

Visits are only possible on planned excursions. Foreign tourists must present a vaccine certificate and a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before departure. 

“The program is among the country’s efforts to revive its tourism industry while reopening and developing the economy step by step under a new normal context,” said Vietnam’s Administration of Tourism chairman on Nov. 20

Also read: Vietnam Officially Reopens For tourism Under Strict Controls