COVID-19 Travel Restrictions in Southeast Asia (July 2021)

A traveller wearing a mask in a city

Updated every few days. Last update 23rd July 2021.

What is the situation like with COVID-19 in Southeast Asia? And when will Southeast Asia open its doors to international travellers? These are the main questions on backpackers’ minds right now after over a year of global travel restrictions… Like you, we are desperate to hitch on that backpack and set off for adventures – but when will that be possible? And will it ever be the same again? We sincerely hope so!

We strive to regularly update this article with the latest travel restrictions across Southeast Asia to keep you up to date with where you can and can’t travel right now, and what entry requirements are in place (quarantine, tests, mask-wearing etc.).

With the recent reopening of Thailand to vaccinated travellers starting with the island of Phuket on 1st July, things in Southeast Asia are finally beginning to look up! However, if 2020 taught us anything, it’s that things can change in a heartbeat…

Keep up to date with the latest travel news by bookmarking this article and be sure to join our newsletter where we send out updates on travel across Southeast Asia.

Hang on in there, backpackers 💪

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COVID-19 Travel Restrictions across Southeast Asia (Countries Listed A-Z)

Disclaimer: COVID-19 travel restrictions are changing daily. The following information reflects South East Asia Backpacker’s current understanding of the rules. We work hard to update this information as often and accurately as possible. However, we cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. We strongly advise you to contact the embassy of the country you are visiting for the latest information.


Cambodia Travel Restrictions

NEWS –

6th July 2021 – Cases continue to rise across Cambodia with daily figures almost reaching 1,000 per day. Source.

  • Open to international travellers: Yes, with restrictions.
  • Visa on arrival: Not available. 
  • Requirements before departure: You must arrange a visa in advance, have a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of departure and have travel insurance with $50,000 US medical cover.
  • Quarantine: All passengers must quarantine in a government facility or a Government-approved hotel in Phnom Penh for 14 days. You must undertake a further two COVID-19 tests (upon arrival and on the 13th day of stay in a quarantine facility).
  • Extra costs: You must pay a deposit of $2000 US to the Cambodian government to cover COVID services while you are there (tests, waiting facilities, transport, potential medical bills). Anything not spent will be returned to you once you have completed your 14-day quarantine. 
  • Current internal travel restrictions: Within the country, travel restrictions between provinces, local curfews and regional lockdowns persist. Many hotels, public businesses and tourist attractions have been forced to close due to lack of custom.
  • Face coverings: Masks are not compulsory but are recommended in all public places.
  • Border crossings: You must enter Cambodia by air. Once in the country, you are not allowed to cross the border from Cambodia into Thailand, Laos or Vietnam.

READ MORE: COVID-19 Cambodia Travel Restrictions.


Laos Travel Restrictions

NEWS –

Lockdown extended in Vientiane capital from 5-19th July 2021 with some restrictions eased. Source.

  • Open to international travellers: No. All visas on arrival are currently suspended and visas to international travellers are only being given in special circumstances to those on official business in the country (e.g. experts, technicians, diplomats).
  • Visa on arrival: Not available. 
  • Requirements before departure: You must arrange a visa in advance, have a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of departure, fill out a Certificate of Entry, a Health Declaration form and show a booking for 14 nights in a quarantine hotel or centre.
  • Quarantine: All passengers must quarantine in a government facility government-approved hotel for 14 nights upon arrival in Laos. All arrivals must wear a GPS tracker for the entire duration of their stay.
  • Extra costs: $200 USD deposit is needed for the GPS tracker, as well as $6 USD for rental
  • Current internal travel restrictions: Lockdown is currently in place in Vientiane until 19th June 2021. Travel restrictions vary depending on the province.
  • Face coverings: Masks are compulsory in all public places.
  • Border crossings: The borders to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam are open with restricted access.

READ MORE: COVID-19 Laos Travel Restrictions.

Indonesia Travel Restrictions

NEWS

  • 1st July 2021 Jakarta and Bali Lockdowns – Jakarta and Bali face new partial lockdown until at least 20th July 2021 in a bid to curb cases of Delta variant. The aim is to bring cases down to 10,000 per day. Source.
  • 5th July 2021 Bali Reopening – The reopening of the holiday island of Bali is delayed in the face of new lockdowns. Source.
  • 6th July 2021 New Travel Restrictions – From 6th July, only vaccinated travellers are allowed to enter Indonesia. Upon arrival, they must complete 8 days quarantine in a hotel (increased from 5 days) and must provide a negative PCR test 72 hours prior to travel, as well as negative PCR tests on days 1 and 7 of quarantine. Unvaccinated Indonesian nationals are allowed to travel back to Indonesia but will be required to have an obligatory COVID-19 vaccine before they are allowed to leave quarantine. Source.
  • Open to international travellers: No. Indonesia is currently not open to international travellers. There are exceptions for diplomats, holders of Indonesian residency permits and those travelling for essential business. (Note – Some foreign nationals have been entering the country on a B211 Business Visa which must be arranged by a travel agency and requires sponsorship from an Indonesian company.)
  • Visa on arrival: Not available. 
  • Quarantine: Any new arrivals in Indonesia with a valid visa (that meet the specific categories above) must quarantine for a minimum of 8 days. From 6th July 2021, all travellers must be fully vaccinated in order to enter Indonesia. Those from Nepal, India, Pakistan and the Philippines must quarantine for 14 days. (See suggestions for quarantine hotels in Jakarta here.)
  • Current internal travel restrictions: There are restrictions on travel and social activity until 14th June 2021. Schools remain closed, shops and restaurants have limited hours and businesses must limit the number of employees. Restrictions vary according to the region.
  • Face coverings: Masks are compulsory in all public places (indoor and outdoor) and those not adhering to the rule can be fined.
  • Border crossings: The land border crossing into Borneo Malaysia on the island of Kalimantan is currently closed.

READ MORE: COVID-19 Indonesia Travel Restrictions.


Malaysia Travel Restrictions

NEWS

6th July 2021 – The nationwide lockdown remains in place until further notice with all schools and non-essential businesses closed. Source.

Malaysia bans all flights to and from India to prevent the spread of new COVID-19 variants. Source.

  • Open to international travellers: No. Malaysia is not currently open to international travellers except for those holding residency permits and anyone with official work contracts. 
  • Visa on arrival: Not available.
  • Quarantine: Any new arrivals who meet the strict criteria must quarantine for 10-14 days in a government-designated facility. You must have a negative COVID-19 test before you can leave quarantine.
  • Current internal travel restrictions: Inter-state travel across Malaysia is currently not allowed.
  • Face coverings: Masks are compulsory in all public places including shops, restaurants, cinemas, markets and restaurants.
  • Border crossings: Crossing the border into Thailand and Singapore is prohibited (Peninsular Malaysia) and crossing into Indonesia (Borneo) is also disallowed.

READ MORE: COVID-19 Malaysia Travel Restrictions.


Myanmar Travel Restrictions

NEWS

MYANMAR MILITARY COUP – As well as grappling with COVID-19, Myanmar is in the throes of a violent military coup. Most governments advise against all but essential travel to the country. Source.

  • Open to international travellers: No. All international flights to Myanmar and visas have been suspended until further notice. Business visas are available and are assessed on a case-by-case basis.
  • Visa on arrival: Not available. 
  • Quarantine: Any new arrivals to Myanmar must quarantine for seven days in a government facility, followed by a further seven days in their home, private residence or hotel of their choice. A COVID-19 test must be taken on day seven before the traveller is allowed to leave the government facility.
  • Current internal travel restrictions: Travel restrictions vary from state to state. Some states have stay-at-home orders. To travel domestically you may have to take a COVID-19 test or quarantine upon arrival, especially if you are travelling from a region with a stay-at-home order
  • Face coverings: Masks are compulsory in all public places and those disobeying the rule will be fined.
  • Border crossings: The land border crossing into Thailand is closed.

READ MORE: COVID-19 Myanmar Travel Restrictions.


The Philippines Travel Restrictions

NEWS –

The Philippines reduce quarantine from 14 days to 7 days for vaccinated travellers from ‘green countries’. Source.

The Philippines extends ban on travellers from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, UAE and Oman. Source.

  • Open to international travellers: No. The Philippines is only open to returning Filipino nationals, parents, children or spouses of Filipino nationals and those with a valid residency or work permit.
  • Visa on arrival: Not available.
  • Requirements before departure: If you match the criteria above before departing to the Philippines you will have to obtain a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of boarding the plane. You will need a valid visa and proof of payment of your quarantine facility.
  • Quarantine: 14 days. (10 of these must be in a designated government facility, 4 of these can be in your place of residence.) You will need to take a COVID-19 test on the 9th day before you are released from government quarantine. NEW: For fully vaccinated travellers from a list of 57 ‘green countries’ the quarantine period is now 7 days. (See our list of budget quarantine hotels in Manila here.)
  • Current internal travel restrictions: There are restrictions on travel and the opening of public places depending on the number of live COVID-19 cases in each city/barangay. There are three levels of restrictions: ECQ, MCQ and GCQ. See the full overview for more information.
  • Face coverings: Face masks must be worn in all indoor places and on public transport, including jeepneys and taxis.

READ MORE: COVID-19 Philippines Travel Restrictions.


Thailand Travel Restrictions

NEWS

From July 1st 2021, the island of Phuket opened to vaccinated arrivals without the requirement of quarantine via the Phuket Sandbox scheme. The island of Koh Samui reopened quietly on 15th July 2021, and more destinations will follow later this year. Read more about Thailand’s reopening timeline here.

From Monday 28th June, 10 of Thailand’s provinces became ‘dark red’ zones meaning top-level restrictions on gatherings and movement. Source.

On 16th June 2021, Thai Prime Minister, Prayut Chan-o-chan, announced plans to “fully reopen Thailand within 120 days” to ease the suffering of the people. Source.

  • Open to international travellers: Yes. Thailand is open to travellers from all over the world (apart from India).
  • Visa on arrival: Not available. 
  • Requirements before departure: You must also apply for a COE (Certificate of Entry), have a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of departure and have travel insurance with $100,000 US medical cover. If you are flying into Phuket, you must have proof of payment for your SHA+ Hotel. If you are not flying into Bangkok, you must have proof of payment for 14-day quarantine stay.
  • Quarantine: If you are not flying into Phuket and using the Phuket Sandbox Scheme, you must quarantine in a state quarantine facility or an alternative state quarantine hotel for 14 days upon arrival. (See list of quarantine hotels in Bangkok here.) You must undertake a further two COVID-19 tests in quarantine. Travellers who enter Thailand from 1st July via the Phuket Sandbox will have to stay on the island of Phuket for 14 days, but will not have to self isolate.
  • Face coverings: Masks are obligatory in all indoor and outdoor public spaces in Thailand.
  • Current internal travel restrictions: Within the country, restrictions on movement and social activity persist. Many hotels, public businesses and tourist attractions have been forced to close due to lack of custom.
  • Border crossings: You must enter Thailand by air. Once in the country, you are not allowed to cross the border into Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar or Malaysia.

READ MORE: COVID-19 Thailand Travel Restrictions.


Vietnam Travel Restrictions

NEWS

Vietnam plans to trial cutting the quarantine period from 21 to 7 days for vaccinated travellers. Details still to be finalised. Source.

Following a newly-discovered strain of COVID found in Vietnam, the government suspends all international flights to its capital and tightens restrictions across the country. Source.

Vietnam extends quarantine to 21 days. Source.

Vietnam has plans to resume flights from Asian nations in July and other vaccinated nations from October. Source.

  • Open to international travellers: No. Since 22nd March 2020, it has not been possible for any foreign national to travel to Vietnam. There are exceptions for Vietnamese repatriates, certain skilled workers, foreign investors and others with official business in the country. The granting of visas is assessed on a case-by-case basis.
  • Visa on arrival: Not available. 
  • Quarantine: Any new arrivals in Vietnam (that meet the strict criteria above) must quarantine for a minimum of 14 days. (Recently extended to 21 days.)
  • Current internal travel restrictions: Regulations vary in each province. Within the country, travel restrictions between provinces, local curfews and regional lockdowns persist. Many hotels, public businesses and tourist attractions have been forced to close due to lack of custom.
  • Face coverings: Masks are compulsory in all public places in Vietnam and those not adhering to the rule can be fined.
  • Border crossings: All land borders into Vietnam are closed. 

READ MORE: COVID-19 Vietnam Travel Restrictions.


Dave Noakes Bio Pic, with Nikki Scott
Nikki Scott | Founder & Editor

Nikki is the founding editor of South East Asia Backpacker. At age 23, she left the UK on a solo backpacking trip and never returned. After six months on the road, she founded a print magazine about backpacking in Asia. The rest is history.

Find me: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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