on the ground in Asia – situation report

On the Ground Situation Report

We’re answering the big question on travellers’ minds…when can they come back to Asia?

Currently, travel restrictions and recommended routes vary depending on a traveller’s home country, where they’re transiting through and what country they want to enter. While some countries are still limiting who can enter their borders, others are open for business.

With dedicated offices and experienced teams in 13 countries across Asia, we have the inside scoop of each location’s travel situations and are sharing it with you.



• Bhutan is not yet open to tourists but has been very successful at containing the spread of COVID-19
• There have been less than 900 virus cases since March 2019 and every household in Thimphu and Paro has been tested twice
• The country will soon roll out a nationwide vaccination programme



• Cambodia is open to tourists but is not offering visas on arrival; all visas must be obtained before travel

• The country is positioned to start vaccinating citizens very soon and we expect this will change travel restrictions


Hong Kong

• Tourists can transit or enter Hong Kong after meeting specific requirements
• Stringent efforts to contain COVID-19, include targeted testing for high-risk communities and strict preventive measures, which have led to a decrease in cases
• Eateries are re-introducing evening dine-in service until 22:00 hours for groups up to 4 persons effective 18 February
• A city-wide vaccination scheme will start at the end of February
• All parts of Hong Kong are following strict hygiene standards with sanitising materials and facilities freely available in public areas



• Laos has received 300,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and has already started to inoculate 600 frontline medical workers
• Laos is not yet open to tourists but has been very successful at containing the spread of COVID-19 with only 45 Covid-19 cases to date (zero death)
• Laotian borders remain closed to tourist for the time being but will surely open once neighbouring countries allow tourist arrivals.



• The Maldives is open to all tourists
• The ‘one island, one resort’ concept automatically reduces risk of virus spread making it one of the best destinations to holiday during the current global situation
• Our safety standards exceed the standards set by the Maldivian Health authorities
• We’ve partnered with Synctech solutions to ensure using correct practices and skin-safe hygiene products
• We continue to ensure all guests are up to date with the ever-changing regulations, while also facilitating any urgent requirements, such as PCR tests or last-minute flight adjustments



• Malaysia is starting to open its borders within set travel bubbles; an agreement has been confirmed with Indonesia and there are discussions with nine other Asian countries
• Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Johor and Selangor are currently in lockdown until 4 March
• There has been a continual decrease in virus cases and vaccinations are starting at the end of February for all residents



• The Philippines is gradually opening its tourist destinations to domestic tourism, which is now allowed to destinations like Boracay, El Nido, Coron and Siargao
• Wearing facemasks is mandatory throughout the country, while face shields are required at some destinations as well as when flying
• Travellers are required to take a PCR test to visit certain destinations and fill in a health declaration form



• Though not open to all tourists, Singapore is open to business and special air pass travellers, which means that safe travel protocols are already in place for when the borders completely reopened
• Singapore is doing so well managing the virus that the World Economic Forum 2021 has now been moved from Switzerland to Singapore for August 2021


Sri Lanka

• Sri Lanka is completely open to tourists and has put a number of measures in place to make guests’ journeys both safe and seamless
• Tourists can easily obtain their visa online and only need a reservation for a hotel to apply
• There is no minimum length of stay, but the first 14 days of a visit has to be in Tier 1-approved properties
• PCR tests are administered (one on arrival and another 5-7 days after arrival) in the comfort of one’s hotel
• Travellers can move from one Tier 1-approved hotel to another, meaning they can tour around the country with no quarantine, as long as transfers are arranged through a Tier 1-approved DMC like Diethelm Travel



• Thailand is open to a limited number of tourists, business and medical travellers who meet government restrictions
• The country recently had a second wave of local infections starting 26 January but cases are dramatically decreasing
• Overall restriction measures in Bangkok have been lifted and at the moment restaurants are open until 23:00 hours
• Local travel is allowed with few restrictions
• The country has announced plans to inoculate 1 million of its most vulnerable people by May and start mass vaccinations in June, with the aim of administering 10 million doses a month



• Vietnam’s borders are closed except for diplomatic, official duty and special cases, including experts, business managers and foreign investors
• The country has been handling a relatively small outbreak since 28 January after almost two months without recording any new cases; authorities have enforced immediate and strong measures to contain the spread
• Vietnam has taken a three-pronged approach to successfully contain the virus since the beginning of the pandemic which has kept citizens safe and has set the country up to safely welcome tourists once borders open, including:
1. Mandatory temperature screening and testing for everyone entering major cities and some provinces by land, and for everyone entering a government building or hospital
2. Quarantining suspected cases from epidemic areas or those who have had direct contact with returnees from epidemic areas and instituting lockdowns for affected areas
3. Consistent government communications to the public and the launch of an online management and administration center for COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment
• The country will start vaccinating its population by the end of February starting with 5 million doses


Get All Your Questions Answered During a 1-on-1 Live Chat

We’re sure you’ve got questions about navigating the “new normal” of Asia travel and we have all your answers!

We’re hosting private one-on-one live chats with our country general managers. This is your opportunity to schedule a time to speak directly with our individual country experts about current travel situations, what to expect in the near future and how we can support your clients.


Click HERE to book your online appointment.