Status of tourism reopening in Southeast Asian countries

Status of tourism reopening in Southeast Asian countries

Since the pandemic started in Asia, We expected that the restart of travel and reopening of tourism will also happen from the east. However, borders remain closed and many countries are wary of welcoming foreign travellers due to fear of a sudden rise of infection.

But one thing is certain, all countries are keen to reopen and tourism stakeholders are hard at work in coming up with a plan so that we can all travel again.

Brunei Darussalam – CLOSED

Who can enter Brunei?

All visitors were denied entry from all ports of entry (land, sea, and air) into Brunei Darussalam since 24 March 2020. This includes any visitor on transit in Brunei Darussalam.

Special consideration will be given to those whose affairs are of national importance or pertain to the national interest of Brunei Darussalam subject to approval from the Department of Immigration and National Registration.

Citizens and permanent residents of Brunei are not covered by the aforementioned regulations.

Entry requirements:

All visitors arriving into Brunei will be required to undergo a 14-day self-isolation period immediately at appointed monitoring centres in accordance with the Infectious Diseases Act (204). Any foreign nationals who receive permission to travel into Brunei will also be required to present:

Since 14 August 2020, all foreign travellers arriving at Brunei Darussalam are also required to bear the cost of the COVID-19 laboratory testing of BND 350 (USD 258) per person. Travellers will bear all cost for self-isolation and testing.

  • Valid Entry Travel Pass or Letter of Approval from the Department of Immigration and National Registration
  • Proof of valid hotel booking for at least 14 days starting on the day of arrival.
  • Proof of a valid air ticket
  • Proof of a valid visa (for visa-required passport holders)
  • Proof of payment for a post-arrival COVID-19 PCR test
  • Proof of installation of BruHealth app on mobile device

Cambodia – CLOSED

Who can enter Cambodia?

The e-visa and visa-on-arrival programs are currently suspended. Cambodian Embassies are not issuing tourist visas at this time. The only applications being accepted are for diplomatic, official, and “sponsored” business-linked visas at this time. All travellers must present a valid visa issued by a Cambodian Embassy or Consulate.

Entry requirements:

Cambodia has placed stringent rules travellers must follow upon arrival.

  • Obtain a visa from Cambodia embassy/consulate in your country
  • All incoming travellers to Cambodia must purchase a Cambodian health insurance package which covers COVID-19 treatment. The package must be 20 days long and costs around USD90
  • Pay USD2000 deposit upon arrival
  • Provide a negative COVID-19 test result issued no more than 72 hours prior to departure. Get tested again for upon arrival at the airport

Travellers that tested positive will be quarantined at the state-run facility, while travellers that tested negative to the virus will self-quarantine for 14 days at hotel/accommodation. These are the government-mandated fees for COVID-19 related treatment.

  • USD 165 for mandatory COVID-19 testing
  • USD 1280 for potential state-run quarantine costs
  • USD 3,255 potential Covid-19 treatment costs

Indonesia – CLOSED

Who can enter Indonesia?

President Jokowi has banned all foreign arrivals and transits. Only travellers with a valid working permit and diplomats are allowed to enter until further notice.

Entry requirements:

All foreign travellers must have a valid health certificate in English indicating free of respiratory illness, highly recommended to have negative PCR tests results, that is issued by the health authority in respective countries and valid for maximum seven days on the date of arrival.

Foreigners entering Indonesia will fill out an electronic health awareness card (e-HAC) and undergo PCR test or Rapid Test (at the international port where PCR test facility is unavailable) upon arrival at own cost, if previously had not taken or unable to present PCR Test results issued by a health facility in the country of origin.

While waiting for PCR-Test results, the person will undergo quarantine at a designated location provided by the local government or at the accommodation (hotel/inn) authorised by the Ministry of Health at own cost.


Who can enter Laos?

Issuance of tourist visa is currently suspended, but the following travellers can enter the country:

  • Companies that are involved in investment projects are now allowed to bring in foreign technical staff, but they must comply with the procedures imposed by the relevant ministries.
  • Lao nationals in foreign countries who wish to return to Laos are required to register with a Lao PDR embassy or consulate in the country of their residence to determine how their return can be facilitated.
  • Lao state agencies wishing to bring in foreign experts or students for essential reasons must also submit a document to the Secretariat.
  • People who already have a valid entry visa can now use it to enter Laos. Those who do not have one should apply for a visa from a Lao embassy or consulate in their country of origin to begin the process of approval to visit the country.

Entry requirements:

All international travellers entering Laos will be tested for COVID-19 and must undergo quarantine for 14 days at a special centre or a designated hotel, at their own expense. All incoming foreigners must be tested for Covid-19 and obtain a certificate indicating they have tested negative for the virus. This must be issued in the country from which they have departed and presented to authorities at the Lao border.

The certificate must have been issued no less than 72 hours before the start of their journey. Upon arrival at the Lao border, all visitors need to have their temperature checked and fill in a health declaration form.

Malaysia – CLOSED

Who can enter Malaysia?

International flights are still limited to essential travellers, government officials and repatriated citizens. As of July 1, Malaysia has allowed medical tourists to enter the country. But patients only from Brunei, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand are allowed.

Malaysia is making some other exceptions for foreigners to enter as of July, but they are strict. This includes expatriates holding high management positions with Employment Pass category 1 (EP1), Professional Visit Pass and Resident Talent Pass, foreign spouses with long-term dependency pass, etc.

Entry requirements:

For foreign visitors arriving in the country for medical tourism purposes must go through the Health Ministry and register with the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) and do the following:

  • Download MySejahtera app.
  • Undergo a Covid-19 PCR test in their home country prior to their arrival in Malaysia. They will be tested again upon arrival in Malaysia.
  • Quarantine will come into effect, and the visitor would be expected to check directly into the hospital or clinic for their treatment.
  • Medical tourists can bring one guardian to accompany them, but the guardian must also follow all the above requirements including testing, app download, etc.

Myanmar – CLOSED

Who can enter Myanmar?

Suspension of the issuance of all types of visa (including social visit visa) to all foreign nationals, except diplomats accredited to Myanmar, United Nations officials resident in Myanmar and crew of ships and aircraft operating to and from Myanmar until August 31, but there has been no further advice as of this writing.

Entry requirements:

All diplomats accredited to Myanmar and United Nations officials working in Myanmar are also required to present laboratory evidence of absence of COVID-19 infection issued no more than 72 hours prior to the date of travel before boarding any airline destined for Myanmar. They will be subject to home quarantine for seven days on their arrival in Myanmar

Philippines – CLOSED.

Who can enter the Philippines?

The Philippines has banned the entry of all foreign travellers, except for the following:

  • Accredited Foreign Government and International Organization officials and their dependents
  • Foreign spouses and children of Filipino nationals
  • Foreign airline crew

Entry requirements:

Upon arrival, all passengers will undergo a swab test (RT PCR COVID-19 test) to be performed by trained government personnel.

While awaiting test results, passengers must stay either in a government-designated mandatory quarantine facility or in an accredited quarantine hotel.

Payment for accommodation in a government-designated quarantine facility shall be shouldered by the traveller, except that the cost for Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) shall be shouldered by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (for land-based OFWs) and by MARINA or the local manning agency (for sea-based OFWs).

Travellers whose test results are negative will be allowed to go home. Travellers with positive test results will be transferred to a designated hospital for further medical management.

Singapore – OPEN

Who can enter Singapore?

Starting September 1, Singapore has slowly opened its borders. However, short-term visitors are not allowed entry into Singapore, except those coming in under the Green/Fast Lane arrangements, the Air Travel Pass or with special prior approval.

Entry requirements:

Depending on the country you are coming from, entry requirements vary. Check the conditions and overall process here.

Thailand – CLOSED

Who can enter Thailand?

Currently, only foreigners who are medical tourists, direct family members of Thai nationals, business investors, and skilled foreign workers are given permission to enter Thailand.

Entry requirements:

All the aforementioned travellers are required to have a ‘Fit to Fly’ health certificate in addition to a negative COVID-19 test result, conducted by the RT-PCR method, at least 72 hours before their scheduled flight.  These two documents must be presented upon check-in and on arrival in Thailand.

Lastly, all foreign nationals will be subject to the 14-day quarantine at a government-designated hotel. The traveller will bear all costs.

Timor-Leste – CLOSED

Who can enter Timor-Leste?

Timor-Leste authorities apply entry restrictions on all travellers.

Entry requirements:

Entry requires an exemption from authorities. If an exemption is granted, you will be subject to at least 14 days mandatory quarantine at a location determined by authorities, likely at your own expense, including mandatory COVID-19 testing.

Vietnam – CLOSED

Who can enter Vietnam?

Vietnam has suspended the entry of all foreigners from March 22 until further notice to limit the spread of COVID-19. This does not apply to diplomats, officials, foreign investors, experts, and skilled workers.

Entry requirements:

All inbound travellers coming to Vietnam will be required to submit a health declaration and undergo COVID-19 medical checks and 14-day quarantine upon arrival. Vietnamese authorities will charge a quarantine fee for anyone entering Vietnam from September 1.



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