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Asian Countries Reopening for Tourism: Complete List 2021

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Asian Countries Reopening for Tourism: Complete List 2021

Despite the second and third waves 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.

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Check also: Countries Open for Vaccinated Tourists

Which Asian countries are open for tourism?

Cambodia, Hong Kong, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Singapore are the only Asian countries open for tourism at the moment. Various entry requirements and restrictions apply.

  • Brunei is open to nationals, residents, and green card holders. All visitors must pay for their mandatory quarantine and COVID-19 tests.
  • Cambodia is open to diplomatic, official and business travelers only. There is a USD 2000 deposit to pay in addition to other requirements.
  • China is open to foreign nationals with work or residence visas.
  • Hong Kong is open for tourism from Mainland China, Taiwan and Macao only.
  • India is open to 27 countries for essential reasons.
  • Indonesia (Bali) is open to business visa holders of all nationalities. It is set to reopen in July.
  • Japan is open for essential travelers only.
  • Maldives is open to all countries. No mandatory quarantine.
  • Laos is open for essential travel only.
  • Malaysia is open for multiple types of visa holders. Quarantine is required. 
  • Maldives is open for tourism. No quarantine is required. 
  • Myanmar is close to all visitors.
  • Nepal is open to all countries. No quarantine required. 
  • Pakistan is open to all countries. No quarantine required.
  • The Philippines is not open for tourism but multiple groups of visa holders are allowed. 
  • Singapore is open to travelers from 66 territories (China, New Zealand, Australia, Brunei, Taiwan, and Vietnam).
  • South Korea is open to visitors from most countries. Quarantine is mandatory.
  • Sri Lanka is open to all tourists. Health Insurance, visa and test are required.
  • Taiwan is open for essential travel only but opened a travel bubble with Palau on April 1. 
  • Thailand is open to all travelers under a STV scheme (Special Tourist Visa). A 14-day quarantine is required.
  • Vietnam is closed for tourism but might reopen soon.

Most countries on the list have banned or restricted flights from the UK and South Africa, along with other countries who have reported new strains of COVID-19. They also may have additional requirements like negative COVID-19 test results or tests on arrival. Below you can find the specific requirements of each country.

Asian countries reopening – Latest Updates (April 6)

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 plans to get 20% of its populations vaccinated by mid-2021. To do so, the country has recently received its first batch of 600,000 Sinopharm vaccines from China as well as 300,000 dosis of AstraZeneca.

Domestic travel including flights between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh are now operating. 

Cambodia is currently open to diplomatic, official and business travelers only. The country has suspended its e-visas program so travelers will need to obtain one through an embassy or consulate in their home countries.

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.
  3. Agree to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival at a hotel or government facility.
  4. The visas-on-arrival program has been suspended. All travelers need to obtain a visa at a Cambodian embassy/consulate.
  5. A deposit for USD 2000 to cover unexpected expenses related to biosafety measures.

Before arrivals 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. 

China Reopening

China

For the very first time in more than a year, China is reportedly having conversations with 23 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-day quarantine. (Source)

Using their own home-made 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

Travelers coming from Mainland China, Taiwan and Macao can all visit Hong Kong, diplomats and other essential travelers of different nationalities can be allowed as long as they acquire a proper visa.

The quarantine period for incoming travelers is now mandatory for all arrivals and it has been extended from 14 to 21 days. Travelers who have hotel reservations for a shorter period than that will be refused entry.

Entry requirements – Updated

  • 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. 
  • Visitors who have been to Bangladesh, Belgium, Ethiopia, Ecuador, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Romania, Ukraine, Pakistan, The Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Canada or the United States in the 21 days prior to their arrival in Hong Kong, must present a COVID-19 nucleic acid test negative result issued 72 hours before the scheduled time of departure of the aircraft.

Read our full post on Hong Kong reopening borders.

India Reopening

India

India has tightened the entry restrictions to the 27 countries allowed. Due to an increase in coronavirus infections, allowed visitors must present a negative COVID-19 test result taken within the 72 hours prior to arrival.

Also the country has decided to extend its ban on international flights once again. This means all commercial flights will be suspended until the end of March. Only international travel through official travel bubbles is allowed for now. 

India’s borders are open to foreign nationals who hold a work or residence visa, as well as returning citizens and Overseas Citizens of India (OCI). Tourist visa holders are not admitted at the moment.

Entry requirements

  • Agree to a 7-day quarantine at a government facility, followed by 7 more days of self-isolation at home (applies for New Delhi, quarantine policies in other regions may vary.)
  • Submit a self-declaration through the New Delhi Airport website 72 hours before your arrival in India.

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.

Read more on India opening tourism.

Indonesia Reopening

Indonesia

Bali, the most famous Indonesian Island, will officially reopen some areas for tourism in July 2021. Such zones were designated as “green areas”. So far, it’s not clear if there will be any type of restrictions to access those places. 

Also, Indonesia is working together with other Asian governments to reopen some “travel bubbles” that allow them to restart the tourism industry in other cities and islands of the country.

To do so, the country has created a “Penalty for Health Protocol.” Due to biosafety concerns the country has decided to strengthen their policies against tourists who don’t want to comply with the COVID-19 protocols. Bigger fines and deportations are included. 

For further information on the new protocols click here.

As of today, Indonesia is open to business visa holders of all nationalities. Unfortunately, Indonesia is not offering tourist or digital nomad visas at the time

Entry requirements

  • Visa
  • Health certificate from the country of origin
  • Negative PCR COVID-19 test results
  • Agree to health screenings and self-isolation for 14 days at home (if not infected) or a government-approved facility (if infected)

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

Japan Reopening

japan reopening borders

Japan detected some of the new highly 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.  

Additionally, Tokyo banned foreign spectators for the Olympic and Paralympic Games to be held on July 23. 

“If the situation is tough, and [having foreign visitors] would make locals concerned, that is a situation we need to avoid from happening,” said the new head of Tokyo’s Olympic organizing committee, Seiko Hashimoto. 

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 that are no older than 72 hours.
  • Agree to get tested on arrival (at no cost)
  • Complete an online health declaration
  • Agree to a 14-day quarantine 

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

Maldives Reopening

Maldives

All travelers are welcome in Maldives. Travelers only need to bring their negative PCR test results! Maldives is also issuing visas on arrival at no cost. 

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.

There are no mandatory quarantine policies at the time, however, self-isolation for the first 14 days of your stay is recommended by authorities. 

Laos Reopening

Laos

Laos is not welcoming foreign tourists just yet. Although many of the internal measures -lockdowns and travel restrictions- have been relaxed, airports remain closed to international commercial flights.

Entry requirements

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

Malaysia Reopening

Malaysia

Malaysia Airlines has introduced its brand-new Digital Travel Health Pass. The new app will permit 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.

The country has authorized the entry of foreign students starting January 1. Other categories of allowed foreign travelers are:

  • Residence Pass-Talent (RP-T) and their dependents
  • Employment Pass (Category EP I, II and III)
  • Professional Visit Pass (PVP) 
  • Dependent Pass to expatriate for all categories
  • Long Term Social Visit Pass (LT-SVP) to expatriate for all categories
  • Foreign Maid to expatriate for all categories
  • Spouses of Malaysian citizens are allowed to apply for an entry permit since November 20.

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.

Myanmar Reopening

Myanmar

Myanmar is currently closed to all travelers and it may remain so for a long time since a military council has overthrown the elected government and declared a State of Emergency for a year. 

Myanmar continues to have a heavy lockdown that includes curfews, domestic travel restrictions and a ban on all international flights. It does not seem like Myanmar is planning to reopen any time soon.

Nepal Reopening

Nepal

The Nepali government has announced that all visitors who have been administered two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine over the last 14 days will be allowed in Nepal without having to undergo a quarantine period. This move is an attempt to attract visitors for the mountaineering and trekking season. 

Not all countries can afford a pandemic. Not all can invest in complex systems and resources to respond to COVID-19. That’s the case of India, a country that has had to go back to “almost normal.” As of today, political leaders are organizing mass rallies, nightclubs remain full, schools and universities have reopened and sports venues are also open for fans. 

Entry requirements

  • Any type of visa
  • Negative results of a COVID-19 test taken 72 hours before arrival.
  • Booking in an approved hotel for a 7-day mandatory quarantine. On day 5 of their quarantine, they will get retested.
  • Trekkers and Mountaineers need to bring proof of insurance that covers COVID-19 up to, at least, US $5,000.

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

Pakistan Reopening

pakistan reopening borders

Pakistan has eased the COVID-19 restrictions. Starting March 15, the government will allow indoor activities such as weddings, cinemas and shrines. Also, commercial activities and amusement parks will be allowed to open for business without a time limit.  

Pakistani authorities have updated the list of countries exempted from presenting COVID-19 test results which includes 24 nations as of today. Several countries have been added and a handful have been taken off the list. 

Entry requirements

Philippines Reopening

Philippines

From March 20, the Filipino government banned the entry of all international tourists and returning Filipino nationals who are not part of the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). 

As of today, 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.

On March 4, the country received its first batch of 487,000 AstraZeneca Plc. vaccines from the COVAX program. The country will start its vaccination rollout this week with another 600,000 doses of Sinovac Biotech Ltd. jabs donated by China. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said that with the new vaccines the country would be easing restrictions soon. 

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

According to a recent report from Bloomberg, the Singapore government is working on ensuring the safety reopening of its borders this year. The country is determined to secure Changi Airport’s position as an international hub based on new biosecurity protocols. 

Singapore has added Taiwan to the list of countries allowed entry through their Air Travel Pass agreement. Other countries on the list are Australia, Brunei, China, New Zealand and Vietnam.

Travelers coming from other countries will need to be holders of 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

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. 

South Korean citizens and permanent residents are exempted unless they are returning to the country from the U.K., South Africa, or Brazil.

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 continues to be open for tourism and the industry is now thriving. As of now, most of its tourists come from Belarus, China, Russia and Germany, but it is Ukraine, the country that is currently representing the 86.8% of its visitors.

Check our full post for more information about Sri Lanka opening for tourism!

Countries need to get creative in order to reopen for tourism. Sri Lanka is trying a “new concept” developed by the tourism authority. This new strategy allows groups of tourists to visit the country in “bio-bubbles” which means that visitors can enjoy the country’s tourist destinations but are not allowed to get in contact with locals to avoid the spread of the virus. 

Traveling from the UK is still banned and special conditions may apply to other countries. Check the complete information here.

Entry requirements

  • Apply for a visa or travel permit online here
  • Bring a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 96 hours before departure.
  • Pay for on-site COVID-19 testing and health insurance
  • Bring proof of a reservation for 14 days at a hotel in Sri Lanka
  • 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 April 1, Taiwan opened its first “travel bubble” with Palau, one of the few countries in the world with zero COVID-19 cases or deaths. The first flight took off from Taipei to Palau international airport carrying Palau’s President Surangel Whipps Jr. and first lady Valerie Whipps among the 100 lucky tourists. 

“We are opening this travel bubble in hopes of boosting tourism and economic activities for both (sides) while preventing the spread of Covid-19.” Said the Taiwanese Health Minister Chen Shih-chung.

The island has instituted group quarantine facilities for travelers from the UK, South Africa and the Kingdom of Eswatini. They have also banned passengers in transit through their airports

Entry requirements to the rest of visitors

  • 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)

Continue reading here for more information about Taiwan opening for tourists!

Thailand Reopening

Thailand

The Thai government has decided to reopen some areas of the country and remove the quarantine restrictions in October, 2021. 

The good news is that Thailand’s Minister of Tourism, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn has proposed to reopen Phuket, the most visited island with the same conditions in July. The decision has not been officially announced yet. 

By summer, an important number of potential visitors will be vaccinated and that’s why they think it could be a key date to reopen.

Continue reading here for full updates on Thailand opening for tourism!

Thailand is open to tourists from all countries with its long-stay STV scheme first introduced in October 2020. This allows visitors to stay in the country for a 90-day period and can be renewed twice.

Travelers must also submit proof of an insurance policy that covers treatment for Covid-19 up to the cost of $100,000 and a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure.

Vietnam Reopening

vietnam reopening borders

Last week, Prime Minister of Vietnam Nguyễn Xuân Phúc spoke with his ministers about starting working on a reopening plan for international visitors and also to create some protocols for the so-called “vaccination passports.”  “The war against the virus is not over and there is still a lot to do.” said the Prime Minister. 

Vietnam borders remain closed for most types of travel. Only diplomats, returning citizens and essential workers will be considered to be granted entry.

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.

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