Skip to main content
By The Way
Detours with locals. Travel tips you can trust.
The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Asia is slowly reopening to travelers. Here’s where you can go.

South Korea and Japan are the latest countries to welcome back tourists

Worshipers and tourists gather at the Wat Saket Buddhist temple in Bangkok. (Jack Taylor/AFP/Getty Images)
Placeholder while article actions load

This story has been updated.

While many of Americans’ favorite international tourism destinations across Europe and the Caribbean have reopened (albeit with fits and starts), Asia has trailed behind and remained largely closed to leisure travelers.

For Asian countries that heavily rely on tourism, the closures have had a massive economic impact. A study by the flight booking company Next Vacay estimates that Thailand’s economy lost more than $13.5 billion last year because of the pandemic.

“Testing and tracking methods across Asia have allowed infection rates to stay relatively low, while their tourism destinations have become some of the worst-hit in the world,” said Next Vacay founder and chief executive Naveen Dittakavi.

That doesn’t mean demand isn’t there.

“[Clients] want to go to Asia again, and it’s restricted,” said John Rose, chief risk officer for the travel management company Altour. “So they’re asking, ‘Hey, who’s open for business now?’ ”

Flying with kids: 6 questions about mask rules, answered

TourScanner co-founder and chief executive Simone Semprini said that with a trend of significant declines in coronavirus cases, more countries in Asia are lifting travel restrictions for domestic travelers and plan to welcome international travelers once again.

Here’s a look at where Americans can go and what might be on the horizon.

Thailand

As of June 1, fully vaccinated travelers may enter Thailand without testing before or after landing in the country. Starting July 1, travelers will no longer have to register for a Thailand Pass or show proof of travel medical insurance, but foreign nationals still must show proof of vaccination (certificate or digital).

Children under 18 who travel with fully vaccinated parents are automatically granted the same entry scheme as their parents.

Travelers who are not fully vaccinated must provide results of a PCR or approved rapid test taken within 72 hours of their flight.

All travelers must provide proof of travel medical insurance with at least $10,000 coverage.

What to know about going to Thailand right now

Vietnam

As of March 15, Vietnam does not require a covid test to enter the country. All travelers must purchase a coronavirus-specific travel insurance policy covering at least $10,000 and download the country’s PC-Covid Viet Nam mobile app.

Birthright to Israel and beyond: 7 trips to explore your roots

Japan

Starting June 10, Americans are allowed to travel to Japan on guided tours. Visitors from countries deemed low risk do not have to show proof of vaccination, isolate or test on arrival. They will have to show proof of a negative test within 72 hours of departure for the country, according to a checklist published by Japan’s National Tourism Organization.

The tourism organization also published guidelines on the “New Travel Etiquette for Visitors” including where people must wear masks, among other coronavirus mitigation recommendations.

Philippines

All travelers to the Philippines, including children, must complete a BOQ e-Health Declaration Card (e-HDC). Registration can be done online up to three days before your trip. The country recommends keeping a copy of your transaction number and QR code to show to Philippine immigration authorities om arrival.

As of May, fully vaccinated travelers with at least one booster dose are no longer required to provide a negative PCR test to enter the Philippines.

Unvaccinated travelers must complete a quarantine at an accredited facility at their first port of entry regardless of where they’ll be traveling during their stay in the Philippines. On the fifth day (the arrival day counts as the first), travelers will take a PCR test. No matter the result, unvaccinated travelers must home quarantine up to their 14th day.

The government has requested travelers self-monitor for any signs of a covid infection for their first seven days and report symptoms should they appear. Children under 12 must follow the same protocols as the adult or guardian with them.

South Korea

South Korea has resumed issuing short-term travel visas to foreign tourists for the first time in two years.

Before departing for Korea, travelers must submit their vaccination records online through Q-CODE to receive a QR code they will be required to present on arrival. Visitors over 6 years old must present a negative PCR result from a test taken within 48 hours of their departure to Korea or a rapid test taken at a hospital or clinic no more than 24 hours of departure. Within three days of their arrival in Korea, travelers must take a PCR test at the airport or a public health center. A rapid test is recommended after day six or seven, but it is not mandatory.

From June 8, the country will no long have quarantine requirements for foreign arrivals without vaccination.

Indonesia

In May, Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced that vaccinated travelers no longer need to provide a PCR or antigen test result to enter the country.

Unvaccinated travelers will need to take a PCR test on arrival and self-quarantine for five days. On the fourth day, they can take a PCR test to end their isolation.

Those who have had covid and recovered within 30 days of their trip to Indonesia are required to take a PCR test on arrival and provide proof of recovery from a hospital in their home country.

Sri Lanka

As of March 1, vaccinated adults and any children under 12 are not required to present a coronavirus test to enter Sri Lanka. Visitors 12 and older who are unvaccinated must take a PCR test within 72 hours of their inbound flight, or a rapid antigen test within 48 hours.

Maldives

Those who have always wanted to stay in an overwater bungalow in the Maldives don’t have to wait. The island in the Indian Ocean revoked its public health emergency March 13. Visitors must complete a travel health declaration form within 72 hours of their flight, but they are not required to test or quarantine. The government recommends taking a PCR test three to five days after arrival.

Cheap flights are back — but they won’t last. Here’s how to find them.

Nepal

As of March 16, Nepal allows fully vaccinated visitors to enter the country without testing. Travelers who can’t present a certificate of vaccination have to take an approved covid-19 test (RT-PCR, NAAT, Gene Xpert) within 72 hours of their inbound flight.

India

As of Nov. 15, foreign tourists arriving by commercial flights are allowed into India. Visitors must get a tourist visa ahead of their trip and present a negative test taken within 72 hours before departure to India.

On March 27, India began allowing international flights to resume after they were suspended more than two years. Experts say the move will increase the availability of flights to the country, making fares more affordable. The government has also resumed tourist visas for foreign nationals.

Singapore

On March 31, Singapore ended its Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) program. Ahead of travel, fully vaccinated visitors must upload their certificate onto Singapore’s Vaccination Check Portal, download the TraceTogether mobile app and make a profile. Three days before their departure, they must also complete an SG Arrival Card and e-health declaration through the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) website.

Unvaccinated travelers must take an approved PCR or rapid test within two days of their departure to Singapore. They must also purchase covid-specific travel insurance covering their whole stay with a minimum coverage of $21,823 ($30,000 in Singapore dollars).

Pre-departure testing isn’t required for those who’ve tested positive for covid between 14 to 90 days before their trip, but they must provide documentation to prove their infection or recovery.

The Singapore SafeTravel website has more information and a helpful tool to guide travelers through their specific requirements.

United Arab Emirates

Vaccinated travelers to the UAE do not have to take a PCR test if they can present an approved vaccine certificate that contains a QR code. Unvaccinated visitors have to show a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of departure or a QR-code enabled certificate of recovery that was obtained within a month of the travel date.

Malaysia

As of May 1, fully vaccinated travelers are allowed into Malaysia without a coronavirus test or travel insurance. Children 12 and younger and people who’ve had covid from six to 60 days before their trip can also enter without a test or insurance.

Unvaccinated travelers must take a PCR test two days before departure, take a professionally-administered rapid test on arrival and observe a five-day quarantine. Children 17 and below are exempt from that quarantine.

Cambodia

Cambodia is welcoming fully vaccinated travelers to visit without quarantine or testing requirements. Unvaccinated travelers must quarantine for seven days. Even though testing is no longer mandatory, Cambodia’s ministry of health encourages travelers to take a rapid test out of precaution.

Mongolia

Effective March 14, international visitors may enter Mongolia without any travel restrictions. The country removed its testing requirements for both vaccinated and unvaccinated visitors. Travelers will be asked to fill out a medical declaration form on arrival to Mongolia.

Myanmar

Myanmar resumed issuing tourist visas for vaccinated foreigners in May. Visitors are required to buy a travel insurance policy from Myanma Insurance and attach it to their entry application. Travelers over 6 years old must provide a negative result from a PCR test taken within 72 hours of landing in Myanmar. Travelers will also pay for a rapid test on arrival (about $8) and provide proof of vaccination.

However, travel to Myanmar is discouraged. Both the CDC and the State Department have issued Level 4: Do Not Travel advisories for the country for its civil unrest and armed conflict, as well as its covid-19 situation. On March 21, Secretary of State Antony Blinken designated actions taken by military in Myanmar against the country’s Rohingya Muslims a genocide and crimes against humanity.

Nathan Diller, Gabe Hiatt and Hannah Sampson contributed to this report.

Loading...