Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand Open to Free, Independent Travel

Free and independent travelers in Cambodia
Free and independent travelers in Cambodia.

Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand have opened their countries to free, independent travel with a minimum of restrictions.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Health announced this week that it is now open to foreigners with negative RT-PCR tests within 72 hours of departure or negative rapid antigen tests within 24 hours of departure. 

Those who cannot test before departure to Vietnam may also complete tests within 24 hours of arrival and will be allowed to leave their accommodation if negative.

Arrivals will also be required to use a location-tracking app, but will be otherwise allowed to travel freely within the country. Children under two years of age will not need to be tested.

No Pre-Arrival Tests Needed in Thailand and Cambodia

Meanwhile, Cambodia, which has a vaccination rate of over 90%, has completely dropped its testing requirements in hopes of reviving its once-thriving tourism industry, which accounted for a quarter of the nation’s gross domestic product prior to the pandemic

Thailand is likewise easing entry requirements, with pre-travel testing to be officially dropped from 1 April. Negative tests will be required upon entry and at five days after arrival as part of a plan to move Covid-19 from pandemic to endemic status.

The Federation of Thai Industries is pushing for even more relaxed entry requirements, arguing that visitors arriving in Thailand with two vaccines should only need to present their vaccine passports.

Myanmar Reopening for Tourism

Myanmar is reopening to tourism from 17 April, with flights returning to the country, requiring tourists to be fully vaccinated and undergo quarantine for one week. Myanmar has not stated that free, independent travel won’t be allowed, although some areas may likely remain off-limits to tourists.

Laos Continues Green Zone Travel Scheme

Laos is continuing with its Green Zone Travel Scheme, which allows only for group travel. The country has thus far shown no plan to move toward allowing free, independent travel as the Green Zone Plan moves toward Phase 2 in April this year, wherein travel zones will be expanded to include nine provinces.

Four provinces will be included as Green Travel Trails, areas that have not reached 70% vaccination coverage but that group tours may visit if they wish.

While it appeared earlier this week that Laos was relaxing entry requirements for holders of multiple-entry visas, travelers have been having difficulty navigating entry requirements and representatives of the tourism industry have been calling for a streamlined entry process in order to better facilitate arrivals.

A recent surge in positive cases may, however, dash those hopes for broader reopening.