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

A traveller wearing a mask in a city

Updated every few days. Last updated 21st September 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, PCR tests, mask-wearing etc.).

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 💪


Where can you travel in Southeast Asia? – Quick Answers

Click the country to skip down for more details.

  • CambodiaOpen to tourists with a 14-day quarantine.
  • LaosClosed to tourists.
  • IndonesiaClosed to tourists.
  • MalaysiaClosed to tourists.
  • Maldives Open to tourists with no quarantine.
  • Myanmar Closed to tourists.
  • PhilippinesClosed to tourists.
  • SingaporeOpen to tourists from selected countries.
  • Sri Lanka Open to tourists with PCR test on arrival, no quarantine for vaccinated travellers.
  • Thailand Open to tourists with a 14-day quarantine. (For vaccinated tourists travelling via the Phuket Sandbox or the Samui Plus Program, there is no quarantine, but certain restrictions apply.)
  • Vietnam Closed to tourists.

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COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Southeast Asia (Countries 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 –

17th September 2021 – Hun Sen, Cambodian Prime Minister urges the Ministry of Tourism to reopen the country with a 7-day quarantine for vaccinated international tourists. Source.

13 August 2021 – The Thai/Cambodia border is reopened to migrant workers returning from Thailand to Cambodia. Source.

12 August 2021 – Phnom Penh curfew extended until 20th August from 10 pm to 3 am. Source.

7 August 2021 – Cambodia lifts the travel ban on Indians and foreigners travelling from India. 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 –

19th September 2021 – New lockdown rules introduced in Vientiane. Source.

New multi-entry visas are made available to Lao people living abroad, 15th September 2021. Source.

Covid restrictions extended until at least 16th September 2021. Source.

31st August 2021 – Curfew introduced in the Laotian capital, Vientiane. 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

17th September 2021 – Indonesian government clarifies that they do not intend to keep backpackers away from Bali. Source.

10th September 2021 – Indonesian politician Luhut Pandjaitan, announces “We will filter tourists that come visit. We don’t want backpackers to come so that Bali remains clean, where the people who come are of quality”.

7th September 2021 – Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno hints Bali is soon to reopen to vaccinated tourists. 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 had been entering the country on B211 Business Visas, which were arranged by travel agencies and required sponsorship from an Indonesian company. Since 21st July 2021, these visas have been suspended.)
  • 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

2nd September 2021 – Langkawi set to open to domestic tourism on 16th September. Source.

8th August 2021 – Malaysia approves home quarantine for fully-vaccinated residents and non-residents of Malaysia who have a home or second home in the country. Source.

8th August 2021 – Interstate travel opens for fully vaccinated citizens including spouses who live in different states and parents who wish to visit their child under 18 years old. 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 or at home (as of new rules: 8th August 2021). 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.


Maldives Travel Restrictions

  • Open to international travellers: Yes. The Maldives reopened to international tourists on 15th July 2020 after closing for only a few months. There are very few restrictions on travel.
  • Visa on arrival: Yes. Travellers from most nations can recieve a free 30-day entry pass on arrival.
  • Quarantine: Tourists do not need to quarantine when entering the Maldives.
  • PCR Tests: All travellers must have a negative PCR test taken within 96 hours of travel. You will be asked to take a further PCR test upon arrival, only if you are showing symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Current internal travel restrictions: Travel between the islands of the Maldives is not currently restricted.
  • Face coverings: Face masks should be worn in all public places in the Maldives.

READ MORE: COVID-19 Maldives 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.

31st July 2021 – Myanmar extends travel suspension until at least 31st August. 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 –

6th September – Traffic light system introduced to replace blanket travel ban. Source.

6th August 2021 – Manila enters its third lockdown. Citizens only allowed to leave home for essential reasons. Source.

1st July 2021 – The Philippines reduce quarantine from 14 days to 7 days for vaccinated travellers from ‘green countries’. 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.


Singapore Travel Restrictions

NEWS

8th September 2021 – Vaccinated Travel Lane scheme launches, allowing fully vaccinated travellers from Germany and Brunei to enter the country.

26th August 2021 – Singapore allows visitors from Hong Kong and Macau

11th July 2021 – The Singapore-Australia travel bubble has been delayed until the end of 2021.

  • Open to international travellers: Yes, with restrictions. Singapore is open to short term tourist visits from selected number of countries including Brunei, Macau, Mainland China, Taiwan, New Zealand and Vietnam. Visitors must secure an Air Travel Pass and take a PCR test when they arrive.
  • Visa on arrival: Not available. 
  • Requirements before departure: You must apply for permission to enter Singapore to secure an Air Travel Pass and submit a mandatory online health declaration before you arrive. Travel insurance is compulsory and must cover COVID-19 hospitalisation and treatment to at least S$30,000.
  • Quarantine: Singapore has established some Safe Travel Lanes where visitors from certain countries may only have to do a reduced quarantine. Most travellers will be required to fulfil a two week quarantine in a SDF (Dedicated Facility). A number of hotels have been selected to house quarantining travellers. The Singapore quarantine hotel that you are assigned to is usually done by lottery, however, if you are happy to spend extra to reserve a suite, you can choose your accommodation from a preselected list (depending on availability).
  • Face coverings: Masks are obligatory in all public spaces in Singapore.
  • Current internal travel restrictions: Within the country, restrictions on crowds persist. There are caps on social gatherings and social distancing is still in place.
  • Border crossings: You must enter Singapore by air. Only emergency visits to Peninsular Malaysia are taking place using the land border.

READ MORE: COVID-19 Singapore Travel Restrictions.


Sri Lanka Travel Restrictions

NEWS –

Sri Lanka plans to make vaccination cards compulsory for travel on public transport and other social activities from 15th September 2021. Source.

  • Open to international travellers: Yes. Sri Lanka is open to international travellers with valid tourist visas.
  • Visa on arrival: Not available. 
  • Requirements before departure: You must arrange a visa in advance (online), show a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of your flight, have proof of payment of a ‘Level 1 Safe & Secure Hotel’ in Sri Lanka, pay for your on-arrival PCR tests and purchase travel insurance online before travelling.
  • Quarantine: Quarantine duration depends on your vaccination status. If you are fully vaccinated and provide a negative on-arrival PCR test, your quarantine will be no more than 48 hours. If you are not vaccinated, you will need to stay at a ‘Level 1 Safe & Secure Hotel’ in Sri Lanka for at least 14 days. However, bear in mind that during this time you are allowed to use all of the hotel’s facilities and visit approved tourist sites in a ‘bio bubble’.
  • Extra costs: Cost of ‘Level 1 Safe & Secure Hotel’ in Sri Lanka, $12 USD for travel insurance and $40 USD per PCR test.
  • Current internal travel restrictions: There are currently restrictions on inter-provincial travel for all citizens.
  • Face coverings: Masks are compulsory in all public places.

READ MORE: COVID-19 Sri Lanka Travel Restrictions.


Thailand Travel Restrictions

NEWS

21st September – Bangkok City Hall lays out three criteria that must be met before the city opens, making it unlikely until mid-November. Source.

16th August 2021 – Phuket Sandbox 7 + 7 Extension Scheme launched, allowing a transfer from Phuket to one of three other areas of Thailand, Krabi, Surat Thani and Phang-Nga

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 via the Samui Plus programme, and more destinations will follow later this year. Read more about Thailand’s reopening timeline here.

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

20th September 2021 – Ha Long lifts swimming ban. Domestic tourism is set to return in October. Source.

13th September 2021 – Ba Ria-Vung Tau to open four resorts to domestic tourists from 15th September. Source.

9th September 2021 – Phu Quoc island reopening is announced by the government. The so-called ‘Phu Quoc Sandbox’ will start in October. Source.

Vietnam plan to halve the quarantine period from 14 to 7 days for fully vaccinated travellers. 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

4 thoughts on “COVID-19 Travel Restrictions in Southeast Asia (September 2021)”

    1. You’re very welcome Bob! We hope travel to the region will get easier towards the end of the year and into 2022. All the best, Nikki

  1. Hi Nikki, thank you for keeping this article up to date!
    I’ve been planning to move to Indonesia since the beginning of the year, and had prepared everything including flights, hotel, vaccine, etc. My flight was booked for 1st August, but Indonesia closed their borders just before my flight.

    I’ve been watching the news and submitted a formal complaint as I already have a visa which will expire in September. And I’m losing hope that the border will open anytime soon.

    I’m looking into other options, mainly Thailand and Singapore, but Singapore is crazy expensive for me.
    Is it risky for me to travel to Thailand alone? I don’t know anyone there, but I’m hoping I can meet people. Also, do you know if I can get a visa to stay for longer than 30 days? I’m an Australian citizen.

    Thanks again!

    1. Hi Ari,
      Sorry to hear about your troubles over the past few months! It’s certainly been a challenging time for those of us who want to travel…
      During normal times, I would say it is perfectly safe and easy for you to travel to Thailand alone, and very easy to meet lots of people! However, right now it’s a slightly different story. The only way to access Thailand without having to do a 2-week quarantine is via the Phuket Sandbox, which you can read about here:
      https://southeastasiabackpacker.com/phuket-sandbox/
      This scheme requires you to be fully vaccinated and also stay on the island for 14 days before travelling elsewhere in Thailand. (They have actually just launched a 7+7 program which means you can spend 7 days in Phuket and 7 days on another island, see article for more details.)
      Once you’ve completed 14 days, you can travel throughout Thailand (local travel restrictions apply). The longest you can get a visa is 60 days (TR60 visa) which can be extended at a Thai Immigration Office for a further 30 days, so 90 days in total.
      Have a look at these guidelines also:
      https://southeastasiabackpacker.com/covid19-thailand-travel-restrictions/
      Be aware that things change all the time (as you know!) and Thailand isn’t having the best time with COVID right now. There is a lockdown in Bangkok and many domestic flights are cancelled. Make sure you have a look at local news and decide if you really want to travel during this time. If you were unlucky enough to test positive for COVID whilst on the Phuket Sandbox, or be on the same flight as someone who tests positive, it can be an expensive affair as you have to pay for extra quarantine accommodation on top of the hotel you’ve already paid for. Make sure you read all of the resources on the above pages carefully. Any further questions, feel free to get in touch!
      Also, join our Facebook Group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/SEABackpackerCommunity
      All the best,
      Nikki

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