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State of Travel to Southeast Asia in January 2022: A Country-by-Country Breakdown

Giant tree sculptures at night in Singapore

Travel to Southeast Asia during the 2020-2021 years has been a rollercoaster. All the while, most sites and attractions remained open, as domestic and foreign visitors visited in waves. In 2022, with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, different countries have adopted different policies at their borders. With the ASEAN Tourism Conference in Sihanoukville, Cambodia just around the corner, all eyes are on Southeast Asia’s tourism and travel recovery. Below is a country-by–country round-up as of January 8, 2022 on the status of travel to Southeast Asia.

White boats on secluded lagoon white sand beach rock formations Philippines

Philippines Travel Update

Recent News: In 2022, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat announced recently a push for two markets for the Philippines. The first, is sustainable tourism, where the Philippines would further invest in developing and marketing its many beautiful ecotourism and natural sites. The second is business combined with leisure or “workation” trips, where more and more business travelers will be able to come to the Philippines for longer stretches in time for work and weekend trips around the islands. There are some high points of Philippine tourism that show for major potential for lovers of the crystal-blue islands to come back at high volume in 2022: the roll-out of new tourism infrastructure projects in Metro Manila and beyond,  new and effective safe travel protocols by the Philippine government, and record visitor numbers traveling to destinations like Boracay in December 2021. There is a lot to look forward to as the situation develops in 2022.

Recent Travel Updates:

Beginning on February 16th, all travelers to the Philippines must be vaccinated. There are three lists:
  • Green List. There are 32 countries and regions on the green list, including China, India and Japan. Testing and quarantine requirements for green-list travelers is available here.
  • Red List. There are 14 countries and regions on the red list, including Canada, Saudi Arabia and Spain. Individuals who have been in or traveled through a red-list country within 14 days of intended arrival are now allowed to enter the country. Testing and quarantine requirements for red-list travelers is available here.
  • Yellow List. All countries and territories not listed on the green or red list are categorized as yellow. Testing and quarantine requirements for yellow-list travelers is available here.

As a Southeast Asia DMC focused on travel experiences, we have aggregated these travel requirements. For consistent information tailored to your point of origin, access your embassy or consulate website.

Laos Travel Update

Recent News: As a Southeast Asia DMC with operations across Laos, we are excited to see that the beautiful Laos, known for its adventure travel and beautiful mountains, is open for business. From the Great Stupa in Laos, regarded as the country’s most important landmark, to gems in Laos like the Phou Hin Poun region and its natural sites, Laos has something for everybody. 

Laos has spent much of the last two years investing in tourism infrastructure and safety and health standards. The new LaoSafe program includes a new series of health and safety standards for different sectors in the industry, including accommodation, food and beverage and airlines.  In addition, with the new launch of the China-Laos Railway connecting Boton and Vientiane, Laos has entered a new age as a land-linked country with increased infrastructure.

Recent Travel Updates: The Laos Travel Green Zone plan has opened up travel for fully vaccinated arrivals from 31 nations, including Australia the United Kingdom, and the United States. Eligible visitors looking to visit Laos will need to sign up for organized group group tours for travel operators in Vientiane and Luang Prabang. Travelers to Laos must be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before arrival, have a current health insurance policy with a coverage of at least $50,000 (USD), have in possession a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours prior to departure, download the two official Laos travel apps prior to arrival and undergo a PCR test upon arrival and remain at their home or hotel until they receive the negative result.

As a Southeast Asia DMC focused on travel experiences, we have aggregated these travel requirements. For consistent information tailored to your point of origin, access your embassy or consulate website.

Vietnam Travel Updates

Recent News: In recent months, the tourism industry in Vietnam has gone from strength to strength. IHG Hotels & Resorts has announced a four-hotel deal in Vietnam focused on expanding into Danang and other areas. During 2021, Vietnam’s beautiful natural sites were highlighted on many “Best of” lists, including the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, which was highlighted in the “52 places to love in 2021” list by the New York Times, and Phong Nha-Ke Bang, a UNESCO Heritage Site, chosen as the world’s 25 best national parks by TripAdvisor readers.

Recent Travel Updates: Vietnam welcomes international visitors and returning Vietnamese citizens who meet the following conditions:

  1. Visitors must be traveling from the following countries: China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Laos, Cambodia, and the US
  2. Present proof of full vaccination against COVID-19, with the last dose at least 14 days and not more than 1 year prior to date of entry.  Or present a certificate of recovery from COVID-19. 
  3. Present a negative result from an RT-PCR/RT-LAMP-method test administered within 72 hours before boarding
  4. Have medical or travel insurance that covers COVID-19 treatment, with minimum liability at $50,000. 
  5. Present booking with an approved package tour program from a travel agency.

Travelers that are fully vaccinated must quarantine for 3 days at their accommodation, conducting two PCR tests (one on Day 1 and one on Day 3). Travelers that are not fully vaccinated must isolate for 7 days at their accommodation, conducting two PCR tests (one on Day 1 and one on Day 7.

As a Southeast Asia DMC focused on travel experiences, we have aggregated these travel requirements. For consistent information tailored to your point of origin, access your embassy or consulate website.

Cambodia Travel Updates

Recent News: Nearly 190,000 tourists, most of them domestic, celebrated this past New Year’s Eve in Siem Reap. According to the Cambodia Ministry of Tourism, the number totalled 1,145,141, with 1,139,387 domestic tourists and 5,754 international foreign visitors visiting Cambodia during the New year holiday. As Cambodia continues in 2022, there is an emphasis to provide visitors the opportunity to explore areas outside of Siem Reap, including the beautiful beaches and natural wonders of the Coastal Zone (Kep, Kampot, Sihanoukville and Koh Kong), as well as stunning natural sites and rainforest areas in the Cardamom Mountains. 

Recent Travel Updates: At this point, Cambodia is fully open to vaccinated travelers. The requirements are: 1 negative PCR test result 72 hours prior to arrival in Cambodia and  1 negative Rapid Antigen test result on arrival. After that, travelers are free to travel anywhere in Cambodia with no quarantine requirements. Unvaccinated travelers must undergo a 14-day quarantine upon arriving in Cambodia in a government-sanctioned hotel at their own expense.

As a Southeast Asia DMC focused on travel experiences, we have aggregated these travel requirements. For consistent information tailored to your point of origin, access your embassy or consulate website.

Thailand Travel Updates

Recent News: Thailand’s quarantine and opening policies has seen a considerable amount of changes in the last two years. There are some positives notes to look forward to in 2022, however. Thailand’s famous Maya Bay beach on Ko Phi Phi Leh finally re-opened after three years of closure. Thailand has also launched the Entry Thailand website, which it plans to roll out in 2022 and helps streamline the visitor’s travel documents and experience prior to and during arrival to Thailand.

Recent Travel Updates: Thailand has announced that they will restart quarantine-free travel in February 2022. Until then, below are requirements to enter Thailand. Below are requirements to enter Thailand:

  •  A Thailand Pass, which can be applied via the Thai Consular website
  •  A Medical Certificate with an RT-PCR lab result indicating that COVID-19 is not detected issued no more than 72 hours before travelling.
  • Travellers under 6 years of age, travelling with parents, are exempt from this requirement.
  • An insurance policy with coverage no less than US$50,000.
  • A confirmed payment for an Alternative Quarantine (AQ) accommodation or similar government-approved facility. Foreign nationals must also have proof of payment for the required RT-PCR tests.
  •  In case of a 7-day or 10-day quarantine, 2 RT-PCR COVID-19 tests are required.
  • At least a 7-day quarantine for travellers who have a Certificate of Vaccination for have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 with an approved vaccine – or at least 1 dose for travellers under 18 years of age – at least 14 days before travelling to Thailand.
  •  At least a 10-day quarantine for travellers who do not have a Certificate of Vaccination.

As a Southeast Asia DMC focused on travel experiences, we have aggregated these travel requirements. For consistent information tailored to your point of origin, access your embassy or consulate website.

Malaysia Travel Updates

Recent News: Singapore’s Vaccinated Travel Lane has been relatively successful in initiating travel from Singapore to Malaysia. Discussions are still ongoing between Brunei and Malaysia to establish a vaccinated travel lane (VTL) that would begin to open up travel between these countries. Malaysian tourism gems including Sabah and Sarawak in Borneo have seen international attention through 2021 for their natural and eco-tourism sites, many of which invested in sustainable tourism development throughout the pandemic. Medical tourism to Malaysia is also expected to see an uptick in 2022.

Recent Travel Updates: Malaysia has relatively strict travel restrictions. All passengers must undergo COVID-19 screening test upon arrival.

  1.  All passengers arriving from overseas must provide a negative RT-PCR test result taken two (2) days before departing to Malaysia
  2.  All passengers must also observe a 7-day quarantine for fully vaccinated passengers* and a 10-day quarantine for unvaccinated

Then, there are differing policies based on the category of Passenger. For instance, travelers from currently high risk countries including Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, India, Nigeria, Norway, Saudi Arabia, the USA, UK, South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Malawi have stricter testing policies and quarantine periods, as compared to travelers from Singapore who do not need to quarantine. The only exception is with travelers from Singapore, who are able to enter Malaysia without quarantining under a recently resumed (as of January 20th) vaccinated travel lane programme with Singapore.

As a Southeast Asia DMC focused on travel experiences, we have aggregated these travel requirements. For consistent information tailored to your point of origin, access your embassy or consulate website.

Singapore Travel Updates

Recent News: The well-known leisure and business travel destination Singapore has opened three new tourism attractions in 2021. These include the new Museum of Ice Cream (paralleling the museum of the same name in New York City), the freefall swing ride Slingshot in Clarke Quay, and the SkyHelix ride in Sentosa. The Singapore Tourism Board has new plans for the shopping center on Orchard Road, planning new leisure travel concepts to provide more and varied experiences for travelers.

Recent Travel Updates: For the first time in nearly half a year, in January 2022, Singapore reported more COVID infections among travelers than from local residents.The Singapore program has paused its Vaccinated Travel Lane program, which allows for travel by vaccinated travelers from certain countries without the need to quarantine upon arrival, for a month, starting on December 23, 2021. The VTL program is expected to come back at the end of January 2022. The VTL program is for vaccinated travelers from Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Canada, Denmark, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Maldives, the Netherlands, the Republic of Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.

As a Southeast Asia DMC focused on travel experiences, we have aggregated these travel requirements. For consistent information tailored to your point of origin, access your embassy or consulate website.

Indonesia Travel Updates

Recent News: According the Indonesia Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy (MoTCE), Indonesia will focus on quality, outdoors, natural and sustainable tourism in the pandemic aftermath, with a target of attracting between 1.8 and 3.6 million international visitors this year. Popular destination Bali has largely relied on domestic travel through 2020 and 2021. Other destinations in Indonesia have seen international attention this year for their unique experiences, including Komodo National Park, Bukit Lawang, Weh Island, and Raja Ampat Islands.

Recent Travel Updates:

As of Jan. 12, travelers from Angola, Botswana, Denmark, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Norway, South Africa, the U.K., Zambia and Zimbabwe can now enter the country.

To enter Indonesia, all travelers must:

  • Have a negative PCR test with a valid QR code taken within 72 hours of departure.
  • Have a digital or physical copy proving that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • Enter seven-day quarantine upon arrival to Indonesia.
  • As of Jan. 12, foreign nationals must have a Single Entry Visit Visa or Limited Stay Visa to enter Indonesia; the Free Visa (Visa Exemption), Visa on Arrival and Multiple Entry Business Visa remain suspended until otherwise announced.

As a Southeast Asia DMC focused on travel experiences, we have aggregated these travel requirements. For consistent information tailored to your point of origin, access your embassy or consulate website.

There is a lot to look forward to in 2022 in Southeast Asia for travel enthusiasts and lovers of nature, unique experiences, and culture. Visit our Southeast Asia Diaries for more consistent information on Southeast Asian travel, and follow us on  Instagram, Linkedin, and Facebook.

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