Ready to travel | Borneo Bulletin Online

Hakim Hayat

Borders have reopened and travel restrictions have been virtually lifted in most parts of the world and Brunei Darussalam is no exception.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, air travel or even crossing land borders was virtually impossible in most parts of the world as countries tried to suppress cases.

There was also a lot of fear at the time about the disease, which was still so unknown, which was rounded off by meticulous requirements for entry and exit.

Three years later, the world is embracing the new normal and has most likely decided that it has had enough – we cannot live in isolation forever. Although health protection measures are still being put in place to stay vigilant against the virus, people are starting to pack their bags and travel again.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released August 2022 passenger data showing continued momentum in air travel recovery. Total traffic increased by 67.7 percent in August 2022 compared to August 2021. Global traffic is now 73.7 percent of pre-crisis levels.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Amphawa floating market in Thailand
An overview of Singapore

International traffic grew 115.6 percent from August 2021, with airlines in Asia posting the strongest year-on-year growth rates. Asia-Pacific airlines saw a 449.2 percent increase in air traffic in August compared to August 2021, data showed.

Are you planning to travel soon?

Here is a list of 10 major travel destinations in Asia that have relaxed COVID-19 entry regulations:


All travelers are allowed to enter Malaysia regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status and do not require a pre-departure or on-arrival COVID-19 test. You also no longer have to fill out the travel card in the MySejahtera mobile application.

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The Malaysian Ministry of Health is advising all travelers who have just arrived from overseas to self-monitor their health, follow standard procedures and seek medical attention if they feel unwell.


Japan maintained some of the strictest border measures among major economies, effectively barring visitors from entry for two years before beginning a phased reopening in June.

Japan has restored individual tourism and visa-free travel for people from certain countries as long as they are vaccinated against COVID-19.

A daily cap on arrivals has also been removed. Tourists can now visit Japan on package tours without a tour guide. All arrivals, including Japanese nationals, are exempt from presenting a negative COVID-19 test once they have received their third vaccination.


Travelers no longer need to apply for a Thailand Passport, which was an online platform for submitting documents before entering Thailand.

No COVID entry requirements will be imposed on visitors to the Southeast Asian country.

However, travel insurance is still strongly recommended.


When traveling to South Korea, you are no longer required to present a negative PCR test on arrival within 24 hours of arrival.

In order to facilitate travel, it is recommended that you register your personal information in Korea’s Q-code registration system before traveling to South Korea on its website. You will receive a generated QR code for your arrival.

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Travelers who are eligible for visa-free entry must also register for the Korea Electronic Travel Authorization (K-ETA) if visiting for less than 90 days.


You must have received a full first COVID-19 vaccine course to enter Indonesia. Children under the age of 18 do not need to be vaccinated to enter Indonesia.

Upon arrival, travelers must complete a COVID-19 symptom check and temperature check.

All travelers (domestic and international) must use the PeduliLindendi application.


Hotel quarantine is no longer required for international arrivals in Hong Kong.

The area has scrapped the three-day quarantine requirement for hotels, ending the travel restrictions that have kept the financial center isolated around the world for the past two and a half years.

Travelers arriving from abroad can return home or their accommodation and must self-monitor for three days after entering Hong Kong.

During the three-day period, they are allowed to go to work or school, but not to enter restaurants.

A pre-flight PCR test required for travelers to Hong Kong 48 hours before the flight has been replaced with a rapid antigen test.


The Philippines is open to all fully vaccinated international tourists. Fully vaccinated foreigners from visa-required countries do not need an exemption document to enter the country, but must still follow immigration, visa and testing procedures set out by the government.

Travelers aged 18 and over are exempt from the test requirement if they can show proof of a full COVID-19 vaccination and at least one booster shot. Minors aged 12-17 are not required to have a booster shot and are only required to provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination. Children under the age of 11 do not need to be vaccinated but must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian who meets their own entry requirements.

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Singapore is open to all non-quarantine travelers, subject to pre-departure COVID-19 testing for travelers who are not fully vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccines. Depending on the destination you are traveling from, wearing masks may not be required on board flights and ferries to Singapore. Travelers are recommended to inquire about the obligation to wear masks with the respective transport company before starting their journey.

All travelers entering Singapore by air or sea are required to submit their electronic health declaration prior to entering Singapore via the SG Arrival Card e-service up to three days prior to arrival.


All Vietnam destinations are open, no self-isolation is required and all SARS-CoV-2 pre-entry testing regulations have been suspended.


It is important to check visa, entry and exit requirements for your destination and all your transit locations.

Strict entry and exit measures may still apply to many travel destinations. Some airlines also have strict vaccination and mask requirements.

Check that you are eligible for a visa and can meet all other entry requirements before booking anything.

Contact the embassy or consulate for your destination to confirm the requirements.


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