Travel began to open up in the last part of 2021 and holidays to Asia are now firmly back on the horizon. In this article, we’ll discuss the current situation in our specialist destinations in South and Southeast Asia. We will explain how you can travel to Asia and what it is like in the destinations themselves.
Can I travel to Asia in 2022?
Most countries in Asia are now open for fully vaccinated visitors from the UK, Europe and beyond. The majority have removed any requirement for pre-travel COVID testing. Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, India, The Maldives, Oman, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam are open with no testing requirements. While there are some limited formalities to complete which we detail below, travel to these destinations operates pretty much as normal.
Certain countries in South and Southeast Asia, including Sri Lanka, Oman, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and The Maldives, are open to non-vaccinated travellers with only a pre-departure test required if anything.
Below, we’ll detail which countries are open and the specific entry requirements for each destination. We’ll also discuss when Bhutan might be open for tourism.
ETG TV – The State of Play: The Lowdown on Travel to Asia in 2022
In this, our final episode, Sam is joined by Melissa, James and Holly for a deep dive into what and where you can book for your next Asian holiday adventure.
We’ll go into the latest changes and discuss ideas for travel now and in the near future, bearing in mind the rules and restrictions which are gradually slipping into the past.
Can I Travel to India Now?
The simple answer, is yes, you can travel to India on holiday! As of February 14th 2022, you no longer have to quarantine on arrival from the UK as a double vaccinated traveller.
Is India Open for tourism?
Yes, India’s borders are now open!
You must complete a Self Declaration Form at least 72 hours before departure. The declaration will need to include a log from the last 14 days of where you have travelled. You then upload it to the Air Suvidha Portal.
The Indian authorities have said that they will randomly select 2% of passengers arriving by air to undergo a Covid-19 test. The remaining passengers will be allowed to leave the airport without further testing and go about their business with no quarantine.
Scheduled commercial flights have recommenced, and routes are re-starting all the time.
For those looking to go on holiday, you need a tourist visa. The E-visa scheme has not been re-instated yet, although we expect it to be in due course. The Indian Embassy has set up a visa and consular application centre in Goswell Road, London. You need to process your visa and book an appointment, and currently, it takes three to four working days to be approved. We can recommend a visa service to make this process very easy.
The visas are single entry and valid for six months from the issue date.
Is it Safe to Travel to India?
We see no heightened level of risk for India. The FCDO (The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office) has no warning against travel to India. As of mid-February 2022, 54% of India’s population are fully vaccinated, and 70% have had one jab, with well over 1.6 billion doses administered. Boosters have been rolled out since January 10th for healthcare workers and those above 60 with underlying conditions.
Do I Need to be Double Vaccinated to get into India?
Yes, you do need to be double vaccinated to get into India at the moment (as of February 2022).
Can I Travel to The Maldives Now?
Yes. As of March 2022, tourists do not need to take any tests before or after arriving for a holiday to the Maldives. The Maldives is fully open to foreign visitors and has been so since July 2020. Resorts have been operating throughout the pandemic, albeit at lower visitor numbers than previously. Once restrictions started to loosen worldwide, visitor numbers shot up and the Maldives has seen record visitor arrivals ever since Autumn 2021.
Is it Safe to Travel to The Maldives?
The Maldives has had two short, sharp COVID spikes (one Delta and one Omicron) but cases are now low again. During the spikes, cases centred on the highly densely populated capital island of Male, where most of the population live and tourists generally bypass. The majority of the 500,000 inhabitants are fully vaccinated too.
By its very nature, the country benefits from being socially distant. The perfect place to get away from it all, as our colleague Matt experienced when he travelled to the Maldives in November 2020.
Is The Maldives Open for tourism?
Heavily reliant on tourism (the second-most tourism reliant economy globally), it’s no surprise that the Maldives has been open since July 2020.
Unlike many other destinations, Maldivian hotels are geared entirely towards holidays. They have not had the option to pivot towards domestic tourism or business travel during Covid times, so there have been no changes or compromises to the service or experience. All resort activities and water sports have been running as normal throughout.
Do I Need to be Double Vaccinated to get into The Maldives?
You don’t need to be fully vaccinated to enter the Maldives. As of 5th March 2022, double vaccinated tourists do not need to take a PCR test before arriving – you just need to ensure each traveler has completed this form within 96 hours of arrival.
You may have to be double vaccinated to visit certain locally inhabited islands with lower-than-average vaccination rates. There are only a handful of these islands, and most tourists would be unlikely to visit them.
For more on our holidays to the Maldives.
Can I Travel to Oman Now?
You can travel to Oman without any restrictions at all. Oman has dropped all precautionary measures and procedures related to covid-19.
Is it Safe to Travel to Oman?
Oman has had a couple of COVID waves during the pandemic, and cases are now low again. Oman is a huge country with a relatively low population, so social distance is a given on any Oman holiday.
After a surprisingly slow start for a wealthy country, as of early January, 60% were fully vaccinated.
Is Oman Open for Tourism?
Oman re-opened for visitors on 1st September 2021 and tourists have been visiting ever since. In late September 2021, the UK announced ut would remove Oman from the ‘Red List’. These changes meant travellers from the UK could travel freely to Oman.
Now that all measures have been removed, non-vaccinated people can travel to Oman in the normal way.
Can I Travel to Vietnam Now?
There is no COVID-19 testing required for travellers to Vietnam whatsoever. There is no requirement to test before departure, on arrival, or at any stage. There is no need to prove your vaccination status. Vietnam has returned to pre-pandemic rules.
We are currently arranging holidays in Vietnam again.
Is it Safe to Travel to Vietnam?
Along with countries like Australia, Vietnam was strict and initially kept COVID cases low with tight border controls. As of 15 March 2022, Vietnam has reopened to fully-vaccinated tourists.
Two months later, on 15 May, Vietnam dropped all COVID-19 testing requirements completely.
80% of the Vietnamese population is double vaccinated, with rates among the highest in the world.
Is Vietnam Open for Tourism?
Vietnam is entirely open to tourism in the same way it was in a pre-pandemic world.
International flights between Vietnam and nine destinations resumed during December and January. The Vietnamese authorities scrapped hotel quarantine, and travellers can now holiday in Vietnam.
Apart from localised lockdowns, Vietnam remained remarkably open throughout the period. Hotels benefited from a strong domestic market, and tourism infrastructure was relatively unaffected.
Do I need to be double vaccinated to get into Vietnam?
No. There is no requirement to show your vaccinated status nor take any COVID-19 testing. It is one of the best places to travel to in Asia if non-vaccinated.
Can I Travel to Sri Lanka?
Yes, Sri Lanka is open and fully vaccinated tourists (and dependent children under 12) no longer need to test before or after arrival. Unvaccinated tourists can also enter Sri Lanka without quarantine with proof of a negative pre-departure test.
ETG has very close ties to Sri Lanka and we are very excited that all travellers can have a fantastic holiday there again.
Take a look at our holidays to Sri Lanka for inspiration and ideas for your travel.
Is Sri Lanka Open for tourism?
Sri Lanka was removed from the UK’s Red List back in September 2021 and we declared Sri Lanka ETG “Travel Ready’” on 1st November following an extensive research trip. Lot’s of people have travelled there with us so far this winter and we’re busy helping plan many future adventures.
Sri Lanka has been open and welcoming tourists throughout the past 12 months and has seen visitor levels return to something close to pre-pandemic levels during the winter season of 2021-22.
Along with your passport and visa for Sri Lanka, you need to have:
• Proof of vaccination status
• (If not vaccinated proof of a negative PCR (taken within 72 hours of departure) or a LTF test (taken within 48 hours of departure)
• An airline passenger consent form will be given to you in the check-in queue by airline staff – so take a pen to the airport so you can fill this in, in the queue.
• An online health declaration form to get into Sri Lanka.
• Compulsory Insurance included as part of your ETG holiday.
Make sure you have a couple of printed copies of each document including your visa.
Can children and teenagers visit Sri Lanka?
Children under 12 travelling with vaccinated parents may enter Sri Lanka without testing. Children aged 12-18 must be fully vaccinated (one Pfizer vaccination counts as fully vaccinated for children aged 12-18 as long as two weeks have elapsed since the dose) or present a negative PCR (taken within 72 hours of departure) or a LTF test (taken within 48 hours of departure).
Is it Safe to Travel to Sri Lanka?
After a slow start to their vaccination program, Sri Lanka is making good progress with the vast majority of the adult population fully vaccinated. Teenagers are currently being vaccinated and booster doses are being offered to front-line health care workers. Sri Lanka’s are generally cautious with mask wearing widespread and all of the hotels we use are extremely spacious and well ventilated. The relatively rural nature of the country makes it one of the safer places in the world to visit in terms of Covid-19.
Do I Need to be Double Vaccinated to get into Sri Lanka?
Yes, there is no requirement to be fully vaccinated to enter Sri Lanka. However, non-vaccinated people are required to take a PCR test 72 hours before departure or a LTF test 48 hours prior and present the negative test on arrival.
Can I Travel to Thailand Now?
The simple answer is yes. You can go on holiday to Thailand without the need for quarantine.
As of the 1st of May 2022, there is no longer any need to take either a pre-departure OR an on-arrival test before entering Thailand for full vaccinated travellers.
Is Thailand Open for tourism?
Yes, it is, and the rules are now among the most straightforward in Southeast Asia.
Fully vaccinated visitors to Thailand require only a vaccination certificate and proof of travel insurance (with minimum $10,000 health coverage).
Is it Safe to Travel to Thailand?
Thailand has taken a very cautious approach throughout the pandemic and as such should be as safe as anywhere in terms of COVID-19. As of April 2021, 72% of the Thai population are double vaccinated, and 79% have had one jab. This compares favourably with the UK and Europe.
Source: FT Vaccine Tracker.
Mask wearing is still common throughout Thailand we predict this will continue to be the case for some time.
Do I Need to be Double Vaccinated to get into Thailand?
If you are not vaccinated, you are permitted to enter freely, so long as you produce evidence of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure.
Can I Travel to Bhutan for a holiday Now?
No, Bhutan is currently closed to most visitors, due to the requirement to quarantine for 14 days. From contact with our in-country partners in Bhutan, we expect borders to be open from September 2022 onwards (i.e. in time for the winter ‘season’ for travel to Bhutan).
Is Bhutan Open for tourism?
Bhutan is open for tourism only in a very limited way. The Bhutanese government is taking an understandably risk-averse approach to fully re-opening. Currently, borders are open but you have to quarantine for 14 days as a fully vaccinated traveller.
However, now is a great time to book a holiday to Bhutan for the winter 2022-23 season as Bhutan books up very early.
Is it Safe to Travel to Bhutan?
The vaccination campaign in Bhutan has been one of the most successful in the world. It was thoroughly planned out resulting in two timeframes in March and July for mass vaccination. This has meant that as of early January 2022 77% of the Bhutanese population has received one dose of a vaccine and 74% of the population are fully vaccinated (we suspect the numbers are higher but there is often a month-long lag when getting vaccine information from Bhutan). The country has also started a booster campaign initially aimed at the elderly and those with underlying conditions.
Do I Need to be Double Vaccinated to get into Bhutan?
No, you don’t need to be fully vaccinated but either way, you have to quarantine. It is 14 days for fully vaccinated travellers and 21 days for non-vaccinated travellers.
Can I Travel to Indonesia?
Indonesia has removed all COVID-19 testing requirements for vaccinated visitors in time for the summer season.
Visa on arrival has been re-instated for a long list of countries including the UK.
This is brilliant news for holidays to Indonesia and Bali in particular.
Bali is open to foreign tourists with immediate effect in time for the optimum travel season. May-October is the best time to visit Bali so this is good news for travel this year. They key information is that travellers will not need to take a test on arrival nor a pre-departure test so long as they are fully vaccinated.
Do children travelling to Indonesia need to be fully vaccinated ?
Children aged 18 and under travelling with their (fully vaccinated) parents do not need to be fully vaccinated and can follow the same process as their parents.
Is it Safe to Travel to Indonesia?
In keeping with many other Southeast Asia nations, Indonesia took a cautious approach to the pandemic, with closed borders, strict quarantines and compulsory mask-wearing. While Indonesia suffered several big waves, the localised nature of the islands meant that each island experienced covid differently. A relatively low incidence of Covid and high vaccination rates were enough for the authorities to open the borders and loosen restrictions.
Is Bali Open for Tourism?
Bali was the first island to open for tourism in Indonesia, first with a hotel quarantine scheme and then a test on arrival system. In keeping with the rest of Indonesia, there is no requirement for Covid-19 testing for vaccinated travellers and their children.
Bali is highly reliant on tourism, and people are ready with open arms to welcome tourists.
Do I need to be double vaccinated to get into Indonesia?
To avoid quarantine on arrival in Indonesia, you must be double vaccinated.
Can I Travel to Cambodia Now?
The good news is that you can indeed travel to Cambodia for a holiday.
We’ll detail below how you can travel to Cambodia and the practicalities of travelling there. Cambodia is open to fully vaccinated travellers with minimal restrictions and paperwork. Take a look at our holidays to Cambodia for inspiration and ideas for your travel.
Is Cambodia Open for tourism?
Cambodia was the first country in Southeast Asia to fully reopen for tourism on the 15th of November 2021. On 17th March, Cambodia dropped all pre-travel and on arrival COVID testing and it’s now possible for British tourists to visit in much the same way as they could pre-pandemic.
The Cambodian government offer an insurance policy for all visitors which covers any COVID related isolation or medical bills upfront. It is not compulsory. There are no apps or forms that need to be filled in (like in some other countries), and the ‘e visa’ process is as it always was. Visa on arrival was reinstated too in March 2022.
Is it Safe to Travel to Cambodia?
Cambodia has had remarkable success with vaccination and ranks alongside much wealthier Singapore in having one of the best vaccination rates in Southeast Asia. By the end of January 2022, 83% of the population were fully vaccinated and Phnom Penh claims to be one of the most highly vaccinated capital cities globally. Vaccination rates are still increasing and children from 6 years old are now being vaccinated.
Do I Need to be Double Vaccinated to get into Cambodia?
Yes – you do need to be double vaccinated to get into Cambodia without restriction or quarantine, though there are exceptions for children under 18.
Can I Travel to Laos Now?
The good news is that you can indeed travel to Laos for a holiday.
We’ll detail below how you can travel to Laos and the practicalities of travelling there. Laos is open to fully vaccinated travellers with zero testing and minimal paperwork. Take a look at our holidays to Laos for inspiration and ideas for your travel.
Is Laos Open for tourism?
As of the 9th May 2022 the only requirements are;
– A Certificate of Vaccination for fully-vaccinated travellers:
– A lateral flow test 48 hours before travelling for non-fully vaccinated travellers.
Most travel requirements have now been revoked, with Laos now welcoming travellers with:
– No PCR testing before or on arrival
– No Quarantine
– No Test on arrival
– No Pre-departure test to depart Laos
International flights are still limited, but additional flight routes and options are expected to be confirmed shortly in response to growing demand.
Visitors to Laos can expect an even warmer welcome than ever, so feel free to explore the great hospitality and top value hotel rates this year.
Is it Safe to Travel to Laos?
By the end of April 2022, 67% of the population were fully vaccinated. Laos is a small and thinly populated country which took a cautious approach to the pandemic and has emerged with the health system intact. It is one of the safest countries to visit in the world statistically and we don’t anticipate this to change any time soon.
Do I Need to be Double Vaccinated to get into Laos?
No – you do not need to be double vaccinated to get into Laos. There is a simple requirement for a lateral flow test taken within 48 hours of departure.
Can I Travel to Malaysia & Borneo Now?
The simple answer is yes. You can go on holiday to Borneo and Malaysia without the need for quarantine.
As of the 1st of May 2022, there is no longer any need for fully vaccinated travellers and those aged 17 and under to take either a pre-departure OR an on-arrival test before entering Malaysia (or the two provinces of Malaysia on the island of Borneo, Sabah and Sarawak).
Is Borneo Open for tourism?
Yes, it is, the parts of Borneo belonging to Malaysia and to Indonesia are now fully open and entry procedures are straightforward.
Fully vaccinated visitors aged 18 and over and any travellers aged 17 and under to Malaysia, including Malaysian Borneo will simply require a vaccination certificate, a completed pre-departure form and proof of travel insurance. Visitors must
- Download the MySejahtara app within the week before departing to Malaysia.
- Complete the pre-departure form via the “Traveller” icon in the app. Within this, you will be asked to upload your digital vaccine certificate and you’ll be issued with a “Digital Travellers Card”.
Is it Safe to Travel to Malaysia?
Malaysia has taken a very cautious approach throughout the pandemic and as such should be as safe as anywhere in terms of COVID-19. As of May 2021, 82% of the Malaysian population were fully vaccinated. This vaccination rate compares favourably with the UK and Europe.
Source: FT Vaccine Tracker.
Mask wearing is still common throughout Malaysia.
Do I Need to be Double Vaccinated to get into Malaysia?
Non -vaccinated or partially vaccinated travellers (aged 18 and over) can travel to Malaysia but will be required to take an RTK Antigen or RT-PCR test within 48 hours of their departure to Malaysia. They will also need to take a test on arrival. They will need to download the MySejahtera app (as above) and will need to upload their test results to the app.
They will then be issued with a digital Home Surveillance Order on the app – this means quarantining in a home or hotel for 5 days with a test to release on day 4.
Should I book a holiday to Borneo now?
The island of Borneo is one of the best places to visit in Asia during the European summer holidays and Malaysian Borneo opened (in conjunction with the rest of Malaysia) on 1st April 2022. Some of the more remote locations always have very limited availability, so aspects of a trip to Borneo such as Danum Valley Rainforest need to be booked a good year in advance. We’ve recently been arranging Summer 2022 holidays to Borneo and even for 2023. All we can say is it’s a great time to get dates in the diary and start planning for that once-in-a-lifetime trip!
This blog was last updated on 05th April 2022.