Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan to Reopen: Major Drop in Border Restrictions 

We can finally travel with ease to most Asian countries. Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan have announced major changes to their travel requirements, which means that we have more places to visit in the fourth quarter of 2022.  The only major country with strict border controls is China. The ‘zero Covid’ policy implemented there means that travellers to the country need to quarantine for 10 days in a hotel at their own expense. 

Taiwan in autumn is mesmerising
Autumn in Taiwan is from September to November. This season tends to be warm and dry, along with mesmerising sceneries | Credit: @one.mjp on Instagram from Taiwan Tourism Bureau, North America Facebook

Major Drop in Border Restrictions: Time to Travel Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan

Travel Japan in Autumn
Autumn in Japan is one of the country’s most beautiful seasons. This season last from mid-September to early December | Credit: Japan National Tourism Organization

Japan welcomes individual travellers

After 2 ½ years of strict travel restrictions, Japan is ready to welcome mass tourism. Here are the latest updates: 

  •     Visa-free travel is back from October 11, 2022
  •     Independent travellers can enter Japan. No requirement to book via a travel agency 
  •     No cap on daily arrivals 

Now the important bits to remember: all travellers to Japan must have valid Covid-19 vaccination certificates. Japanese authorities have yet to recognise Chinese-made vaccines such as Sinovac and Sinopharm. Those that have not received three jabs of an approved vaccine will need to take a pre-departure PCR test within 72 hours of departure. This ruling will reportedly continue even after October 11. 

The Japanese government is said to end the use of its contact app for smartphones but there is no news on when this will take effect. However, there are reports that the government is considering allowing hotels to refuse entry to guests that are not wearing masks. This bill will be submitted to Parliament in October. 

Taiwan removes mandatory quarantine

World's first quiet trail is in Taiwan
Hike the world’s first Quiet Trail in Taiwan | Credit: Quiet Parks International, Laila Fan/Soundscape Association of Taiwan

Taiwan is easing travel restrictions this month and will scrap its mandatory quarantine for travellers from October 13, 2022. Now, arrivals have to quarantine at a hotel or home for three days, followed by four days of self-monitoring. 

From October 13, the weekly limit for international visitors to Taiwan will also be raised to 150,000 and tour groups will be allowed into the country.  Visa-free entry for nationals of all countries that were on the visa-waiver list before the pandemic will resume from September 29. We will have to keep an eye on this as Malaysia is on the “temporarily suspended” list following reviews of the pandemic situation and healthcare capacity on the island nation. 

Taiwan, which does not require vaccination checks, will remove the requirement for PCR tests for inbound passengers from Sept 29. Furthermore, contact tracing is no longer required.  Take note that everyone is required to don masks at all times while in public. Masks can be temporarily removed while eating and drinking and should be put back on immediately after

Hong Kong ends formal quarantine 

Hong Kong Travel
Autumn in Hong Kong is the best time for outdoor activities | Credit: Hong Kong Tourism Board

Like Taiwan, Hong Kong has announced the end of formal quarantine for international travellers after more than two and a half years of pandemic controls. This rule takes effect from September 26, 2022. 

The latest requirements:

  • Incoming travellers will be required to undergo three days of self-monitoring on arrival at home or a place of their own choice. During the three-day monitoring period, they will be assigned an amber colour under the city’s digital health code, which will prevent them from entering places such as bars or restaurants.
  • Travellers will no longer need to provide a negative PCR test before boarding a plane. However, they will need to provide a negative RAT 24 hours before boarding.
  • Arrivals need to complete PCR tests on days 2, 4 and 6 after arrival, and a RAT test every day for seven days after arrival.

Hong Kong has a mask mandate in most public areas, indoors and outdoors. People have to wear masks except when they are engaged in physical exercise, eating or when they are in country parks.

Hong Kong is fast becoming a dog-friendly city with many pet-friendly establishments. | Credit: Hong Kong Tourism Board
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