Countries in Southeast Asia Open for Tourism [UPDATED 2021]

Which Countries in Southeast Asia Are Open for Tourism Now? [UPDATED 2021]

As of 16 April 2021, these are the latest travel restrictions and COVID-19 updates in Southeast Asia.

Several countries in Southeast Asia are jumpstarting international tourism and opening borders to travellers while implementing health measures to contain the spread of COVID-19. To provide a regional look at how Southeast Asia plans to open for foreign tourists, we answer the following questions: 

  • Which countries in Southeast Asia are reopening for tourism in 2021?
  • What are the COVID-19 travel restrictions for countries in Southeast Asia? 
  • How is each country faring during the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • Who can travel to Southeast Asia right now? 
  • What does the future of tourism look like for Southeast Asia? 

This travel advisory is meant to provide a general overview of the COVID-19 travel situation in Southeast Asia. For this reason, we strongly advise you to check the official tourism and health websites of each country in Southeast Asia before making any decision to travel.

Also read: 11 Reasons to Explore Southeast Asia Soon — One for Every Country in The Region!

Overview of Southeast Asia reopening for tourism

Image credit: Sumit Chinchane

Which countries in Southeast Asia are open to tourists right now? As of 16 Apr 2021, Singapore and Thailand are leading the region in reopening borders to leisure tourism. Both countries are introducing some form of vaccine certification that will allow fully vaccinated tourists to verify immunity and travel with lighter restrictions. 

Singapore is currently open to tourists who qualify for an Air Travel Pass (ATP) and is considering resuming its travel bubble with Hong Kong. Meanwhile, the Land of Smiles has rolled out a plan to reopen the country in three stages, with Phuket being the first tourist destination to welcome foreign visitors by 1 Jul 2021

Cambodia and Laos have suspended tourist visas and e-visas on arrival. 

Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines are keeping borders closed to international tourists, but foreign visitors travelling on diplomatic or official business are still allowed to enter the country.  

Myanmar, Brunei, and Timor-Leste remain closed to tourists until further notice. 

Singapore 

Southeast Asia Open for Tourists

Singapore is open to select international tourists under special travel arrangements. Short-term visitors from Australia, New Zealand, Mainland China, Brunei Darussalam, and Taiwan are allowed to enter the country by applying for an Air Travel Pass (ATP)

Business travellers from these countries, including Japan and Indonesia, can also travel to Singapore using the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL). Check out the different entry requirements for each country here

All short-term visitors entering Singapore through the ATP and RGL schemes are required to possess mandatory COVID-19 travel insurance with a minimum coverage of US$30,000 (S$40,071) for medical treatment. Anyone travelling to Singapore must also take a COVID-19 swab test within 72 hours of their departure and a rapid COVID-19 test upon arrival. 

Singapore will accept the IATA Travel Pass for foreign arrivals from 1 May 2021

Starting 1 May 2021, Singapore will allow visitors to use the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Travel Pass to enter the country. 

The IATA Travel Pass, which will be used as a mobile application, will enable travellers to electronically store and manage their health credentials, including digital vaccine certificates and pre-departure COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results from accredited laboratories. The IATA Travel Pass includes a QR code that will be scanned by Singapore health and border authorities at immigration checkpoints in Changi Airport

Before booking a flight to Singapore, travellers who wish to use the IATA Travel Pass should check with their airline to determine if they meet the travel requirements. 

COVID-19 update

As of 16 Apr 2021, Singapore has 60,735 confirmed cases, 60,417 recoveries, and 30 deaths.

For more travel updates and announcements on the COVID-19 situation in Singapore, visit the official websites of the Ministry of Health and the Singapore Government.

Thailand 

Southeast Asia Open for Tourism

Thailand is open to international tourists. Effective 1 Apr 2021, the Royal Thai Government has shortened the mandatory quarantine period to seven days for fully vaccinated tourists and 10 days for foreign visitors from countries with no mutated strain of SAR-CoV-2 virus. Currently, there are 11 groups of people who are currently permitted to enter Thailand. You can read more about the eligible categories of visitors here

On 3 Apr 2021, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) announced a three-stage plan to reopen six major tourist destinations in Thailand — Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Surat Thani (Koh Samui), Chon Buri (Pattaya), and Chiang Mai — to vaccinated foreign tourists.  

Image credit: Nehal Patel

Under this three-stage plan to jumpstart the tourism sector, Phuket will be the first destination to welcome back vaccinated foreign tourists without quarantine starting 1 Jul 2021

Also read: International Tourists Can Visit Phuket Without the Need to Quarantine Come 1 July

List of COVID-19 vaccines accepted by the Thai government

As of 31 Mar 2021, Thailand has approved a total of eight COVID-19 vaccines for international tourists who wish to avail of a reduced quarantine period on arrival.  The COVID-19 vaccines endorsed by the Thai government are as follows: 

  • ARS-CoV-2 Vaccine (CoronaVac) by Sinovac (2 doses needed)
  • AZD1222 by AstraZeneca/Oxford (2 doses needed)
  • AZD1222 by SK BIOSCIENCE – AstraZeneca/Oxford (2 doses needed)
  • BNT162b2/CORMIRNATY – Tozinameran (INN) by Pfizer/BioNTech (2 doses needed)
  • Covishield (ChAdOx1_nCoV19) by the Serum Institute of India (2 doses needed)
  • Ad26.COV2.S by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson (1 dose needed)
  • mRNA-1273 by Moderna (2 doses needed)

Foreign tourists entering Thailand should have received their shots no less than 14 days before departure in order to qualify for a seven-day quarantine period. This policy applies to visitors who are from countries with no mutated strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, as announced by the Ministry of Public Health. 

Visitors should be able to present a copy of their vaccine certificate (an original paper or a print-out of an online vaccine certificate) to the International Port Health Control on arrival. Otherwise, they will be quarantined for no less than 10 days. 

Image credit: Evan Krause

Required documents for foreign tourists

Below are the documents that vaccinated foreign tourists will need to enter Thailand: 

  • Certificate of Entry (COE) 
  • Valid Thai visa or re-entry permit 
  • Medical certificate with an RT-PCR laboratory result indicating that the passenger tested negative for COVID-19, issued not more than 72 hours before travelling
  • Booking confirmation at an Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) hotel
  • Health insurance with a minimum coverage of US$100,000 (S$131,791) to cover medical expenses

Vaccinated foreign tourists will undergo a COVID-19 screening and RT-PCR tests on arrival. They will also be required to download the ThailandPlus app, which is available on Apple App Store and Google Play. Alternatively, you can access the app here

Before planning a trip to Thailand, we encourage aspiring visitors to inquire at the Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate in their home country for more information.  

COVID-19 update

As of 16 Apr 2021, Thailand has 37,453 confirmed cases, 28,383 recoveries, and 97 deaths. 

For more travel updates and a list of requirements for the Special Tourist Visa, visit the official website of the Tourism Authority of Thailand here

Vietnam

Vietnam is closed to international tourists until further notice. Along with Vietnamese nationals, only foreign diplomats, officials, investors, experts, and highly skilled workers can travel to the country at this time. All international visitors must submit a health declaration form before arrival. 

Starting 1 Feb 2021, anyone entering Vietnam must undergo COVID-19 medical checks and a 21 day-quarantine upon arrival. Foreigners will be expected to cover their own quarantine costs in Vietnam.  

COVID-19 update

As of 16 Apr 2021, Vietnam has 2,758 confirmed cases, 2,445 recoveries, and 35 deaths. 

For more travel updates, visit the official tourism website of Vietnam here.

Cambodia

Southeast Asia Open for Tourists

The Government of Cambodia has suspended the issuance of tourist visas, including e-visas and visas on arrival. However, this does not apply to foreigners with a diplomatic visa (Visa A) or an official visa (Visa B). 

Upon arrival in Cambodia, foreign visitors must abide by the following requirements: 

  • Present a printed medical certificate with a negative COVID-19 test result issued not more than 72 hours before departure. 
  • Show documents confirming their hotel reservation for their accommodations, which should be reserved at least three days prior to departure. 
  • Purchase a health insurance package for US$90 (S$122) from Forte Insurance Company with medical coverage of at least US$50,000 (S$67,815). 
  • Pay a deposit of US$2,000 (S$2,670) upon arrival at the airport. The money will cover the costs of accommodations during quarantine, mandatory COVID-19 testing, and transportation from the airport to a designated hotel. 

 

Cambodia quarantine protocols

The Royal Government of Cambodia has made it mandatory for all visitors to undergo a medical screening and a quarantine period of 14 days. 

Travellers will be transferred from the airport to a designated testing facility, where they will undergo a COVID-19 swab test. From there, they can expect one of two possible scenarios: 

  • If all passengers on their flight to Cambodia test negative for COVID-19, they can self-quarantine for 14 days at their hotel or chosen accommodation.
  • If one or more passengers on the flight test positive for COVID-19, then all passengers in that flight will be quarantined at a government-designated facility. On the 13th day of quarantine, they will undergo another COVID-19 test that will be conducted by Cambodian health representatives. 

Also read: Cambodia Has Intense Requirements for Travellers Amidst COVID-19

COVID-19 update

As of 16 Apr 2021, Cambodia has 5,218 confirmed cases, 2,319 recoveries, and 36 deaths.

For more travel updates and a list of costs, visit the official website of Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation here.

Laos

Is Laos open for tourists?

Laos is closed to international tourists until further notice. Flights to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic are suspended until 31 May 2021. The country has also suspended tourist visas and e-visas for all foreign nationals.

The Government of Laos will continue to issue non-tourist visas for investors, experts, diplomats, and officials. Foreign travellers who hold valid multiple-entry long-term visas — say, a work visa or a diplomatic visa — can also qualify for entry to Cambodia by completing a health declaration form and submitting a health certificate showing that they don’t have COVID-19. Moreover, they will be asked to disclose their travel history and follow the 14-day self-quarantine procedures listed here

COVID-19 update

As of 16 Apr 2021, Laos has 53 confirmed cases, 49 recoveries, and no deaths.

For more travel updates, visit the official website of Lao PDR’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs here.

Malaysia

Malaysia is closed to international tourists at the moment. However, foreign nationals who are eligible for the Long Term Visit Pass are currently allowed to enter Malaysia, as long as they apply for permission through the MY Entry system and obtain an approval letter from the Malaysian Department of Immigration or a Malaysian Consulate overseas. 

For a list of categories of foreign nationals who are permitted to visit Malaysia, refer to the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here

Malaysia quarantine measures

All visitors to Malaysia will be required to take a COVID-19 test at the Health Inspection and Screening International Gate at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport upon arrival. They will undergo a 14-day quarantine at a designated quarantine station or government-approved facility. The full costs of COVID-19 testing and quarantine must be shouldered by the traveller. You can check the full details here.

Reciprocal green lane between Malaysia and Singapore

On 17 Aug 2020, Malaysia launched a reciprocal green lane with Singapore, allowing residents of both countries to cross the border for essential businesses and official purposes. You can review the guidelines here

COVID-19 update

As of 16 Apr 2021, Malaysia has 367,977 confirmed cases, 349,039 recoveries, and 1,363 deaths. 

For more travel updates, visit the official website of Malaysia’s Immigration Department here

Indonesia 

Indonesia is closed to international tourists at the moment. Only foreign nationals carrying the following documents are allowed to enter the country: 

  • Official Visa
  • Diplomatic / Service Visa
  • Official Residence Permit
  • Diplomatic Residence Permit
  • Temporary Stay Permit (ITAS)
  • Permanent Stay Permit (ITAP)
  • e-Visit Visa with a visa number ending with LN
  • Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) card 

All foreign visitors must complete a health declaration form prior to departure and then undergo a five-day quarantine period upon arrival. Furthermore, they require a medical certificate indicating a negative COVID-19 PCR test result, which should have been taken no more than 72 hours prior to departure. 

Indonesia hopes to reopen Bali by July 2021

According to the Jakarta Globe, the government of Indonesia hopes to vaccinate 2.5 million out of 4.5 million residents in Bali within the next two months in order to welcome international tourists by July 2021

COVID-19 update

As of 16 Apr 2021, Indonesia has 1,589,359 confirmed cases, 1,438,254 recoveries, and 43,073 deaths. 

For more travel updates, visit the official tourism website of Indonesia here

Philippines 

The Philippines is closed to international tourists until further notice. Due to the surge of COVID-19 cases across the country, foreign nationals and non-Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are temporarily prohibited from entering the country from 20 Mar 2021 to 19 Apr 2021

Non-essential travel is discouraged

In a press release on 20 Mar 2021, the Department of Health (DOH) has strongly urged Filipinos to stay home and avoid non-essential travel as much as possible. 

Many parts of the country remain under varying stages of lockdown, with Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal being placed under the less stringent modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from 12 Apr 2021 to 30 Apr 2021

Also read: COVID-19 Philippines Travel Advisory for Filipinos & Foreign Visitors

COVID-19 update

As of 16 Apr 2021, the Philippines has 904,285 confirmed cases, 705,164 recoveries, and 15,594 deaths.

For more travel updates and information about health protocols in each province, visit the Department of Tourism’s official website here


This article was originally published on 22 Oct 2020. It will continue to be updated with the latest information. It’s important to note that at the time of publication, these COVID-19 travel guidelines and restrictions reflected the information that was currently available.

About Author

Tiffany Conde
Tiffany Conde

Tiffany is a writer who covers travel, food, and pop culture. She has a soft spot for stories about Japan and Italy. While she waits for her next adventure, she enjoys writing about the coolest places to stay around the world and where to find them.

CLICK TO SEE MORE ARTICLES BY Tiffany Conde



Related Posts