How Asia is opening up to tourism, and where you can go

Greg Dickinson
·10-min read
The Maldives is one of the most appealing options for a long-haul getaway in the sun - Getty
The Maldives is one of the most appealing options for a long-haul getaway in the sun - Getty

Much of the Asian continent remains closed to British holidaymakers, but there is a small list of countries allowing us in.

There are also a number of countries that British nationals can return from, without needing to go into a quarantine on return to the UK. Last week, the Government added Bhutan, Mongolia and Timor-Leste to the 'travel corridors' list. There remain, however, significant obstacles for entry to these and many other travel corridor countries.

There are still more travel corridors that could be added on the continent. As part of our Unlock Long Haul campaign, we are urging the Government to lift restrictions to destinations with a lower Covid rate than the UK (that’s the vast majority of them, in the case of the Asian continent). We’ve had some early success, with eight new corridors announced on November 12, eight on November 19 and a further ten on November 26.

Aside from our travel corridors, there are 20 Asian and Middle Eastern countries that are open to British holidaymakers. On the map below, the green countries are open to British holidaymakers and have a travel corridor, the orange countries are open to British holidaymakers but do not have a travel corridor, and the red countries are closed to British holidaymakers. Many countries that are open to British holidaymakers require a negative PCR test certificate on arrival, and may have quarantine or further testing measures – these can change at short notice, so check before you book.

Where can I go? Asia
Where can I go? Asia

Asia

Open, with travel corridor
Brunei

Travel corridor? Yes

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 0.5 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? Yes (but you must apply for a permit from the Brunei Prime Minister’s Office)

How to get there: Royal Brunei has very few direct flights available.

Cambodia

Travel corridor? Yes

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 0 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? Yes (but you need to deposit US$2,000 for Covid-19 service charges at the airport on arrival, and undergo testing on arrival)

How to get there: No direct flights. You can fly via Singapore or Malaysia which both have a UK travel corridor, without needing to go into quarantine on your return.

Maldives

Travel corridor? Yes

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 84.7 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? Yes (with negative test, taken 96 hours prior to departure, and screening procedures on arrival)

How to get there: Check British Airways and Sri Lanka Airlines for direct flight options.

South Korea

Travel corridor? Yes

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 5.2 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? Yes (although you must undergo testing on arrival, and a mandatory 14-day quarantine)

How to get there: Korean Air has direct flights from Heathrow to Seoul, as does Asiana Airlines. Qatar Airways has flights via Doha; Etihad has flights via Abu Dhabi.

South Korea is open to British tourists, so long as you are happy to go into a mandatory quarantine on arrival - Getty
South Korea is open to British tourists, so long as you are happy to go into a mandatory quarantine on arrival - Getty

Timor-Leste

Travel corridor? Yes

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): n/a

Open to British tourists? Yes (but with testing and mandatory 14-day quarantine on arrival)

How to get there: No flights available.

Open, without travel corridor
Afghanistan

Travel corridor? No

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 4 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? Yes (with testing on arrival). Note that the FCDO advises against all travel to most of the country.

How to get there: Check Turkish Airlines and British Airlines for flights via Istanbul. 

Bangladesh

Travel corridor? No

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 9.5 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? Yes (negative Covid result from 72 hours before travel, with health screening on arrival)

How to get there: Check Turkish Airlines for flights via Istanbul or Qatar for flights via Doha.

Kyrgyzstan

Travel corridor? No

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 45.2 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? Yes (negative Covid result from 72 hours before travel, with health screening on arrival)

How to get there: Pegasus Airlines has flights via Istanbul Sabiha.

Pakistan

Travel corridor? No

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 9.6 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? Yes (prove negative Covid test certificate, taken 96 hours prior to travel;  health screening on arrival)

How to get there: Turkish and Pegasus have flights via Istanbul. Etihad has flights via Abu Dhabi. Emirates has flights via Dubai.

Pakistan is open to British tourists, although you'll have to go into quarantine on your return to the UK - Getty
Pakistan is open to British tourists, although you'll have to go into quarantine on your return to the UK - Getty

Russia

Travel corridor? No

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 118 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? Yes (prove negative Covid test certificate, 72 hours prior to travel; health screening on arrival)

How to get there? You must have a valid visa, and can only enter from the UK. Check the Covid-19 test requirements for your airline. Wizz are operating direct flights from Luton to St Petersburg. Wizz, Aeroflot and British Airways are operating flights from Luton to Moscow.

Tajikistan

Travel corridor? No

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 3 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? Yes (mandatory 14-day quarantine on arrival)

How to get there: Turkish has flights to Dushanbe via Istanbul. Emirates has flights via Dubai.

Closed, with travel corridor 
Bhutan

Travel corridor? Yes

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 1.1 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? No

Japan

Travel corridor? Yes

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 11.4 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? No

Laos

Travel corridor? Yes

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 0 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? No

Malaysia

Travel corridor? Yes

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 28.8 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? No

Mongolia

Travel corridor? Yes

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 6.1 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? No

Singapore

Travel corridor? Yes

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 1 case per 100,000

Open to British tourists? No

Sri Lanka

Travel corridor? Yes

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 14.7 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? No

Taiwan

Travel corridor? Yes

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 0 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? No

Thailand

Travel corridor? Yes

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 0 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? No

Vietnam

Travel corridor? Yes

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 0 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? No

Closed, without travel corridor 
China

Travel corridor? No

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 0 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? No

India

Travel corridor? No

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 22.8 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? No

Indonesia

Travel corridor? No

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 12.4 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? No

British holidaymakers will need to wait a bit longer before experiencing the joys of Bali - Getty
British holidaymakers will need to wait a bit longer before experiencing the joys of Bali - Getty

Kazakhstan

Travel corridor? No

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 29 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? No

Myanmar (Burma)

Travel corridor? No

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 19.2 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? No

Nepal

Travel corridor? No

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 45 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? No

North Korea

Travel corridor? No

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): n/a

Open to British tourists? No

Philippines

Travel corridor? No

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 10.2 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? No

Turkmenistan

Travel corridor? No

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): n/a

Open to British tourists? No

Uzbekistan

Travel corridor? No

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 4.3 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? No

Middle East and West Asia

Open, with a travel corridor
Bahrain

Travel corridor? Yes

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 65.6 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? Yes (but testing on arrival, and a second test after day 10)

How to get there: Check Gulf Air or British Airways for direct services to Bahrain.

UAE

Travel corridor? Yes

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 90.5 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? Yes

How to get there: Direct flights between the UK and Dubai available. Check British Airways and Emirates. Etihad has direct flights from Heathrow to Abu Dhabi.

Dubai is open to British tourists, and is a good option for winter sun - Getty
Dubai is open to British tourists, and is a good option for winter sun - Getty
Open, without a travel corridor
Armenia

Travel corridor? No

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 301.2 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? Yes (entry with a negative PCR test certificate taken up to 72 hours before travel)

How to get there: Wizz Air/Ural have flights to Yerevan via Moscow. Qatar has flights via Doha.

Azerbaijan

Travel corridor? No

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 222.4 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? Yes (options to travel are extremely limited)

Iraq

Travel corridor? No

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 40.2 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? Yes (negative Covid certificate required for entry – check with your airline. Health screening and possible quarantine on arrival).

How to get there: Turkish and Pegasus have flights via Istanbul. Royal Jordanian has flights via Amman.

Jordan

Travel corridor? No

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 337.8 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? Yes (arrive with a negative PCR result; mandatory 7-day self-isolation regardless of PCR result)

How to get there: Turkish has flights via Istanbul

Lebanon

Travel corridor? No

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 149.7 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? Yes (arrive with a negative PCR result taken 96 hours before travel; second test 72 hours after arrival, during which period you must go into quarantine).

How to get there: Pegasus has flights via Istanbul; Turkish has flights via Istanbul; Egyptair has flights via Cairo; Lufthansa has flights via Frankfurt.

Oman

Travel corridor? No

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 25.3 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? Yes (arrive a negative PCR result taken 96 hours before departure; further testing at airport).

How to get there: Direct flights available through Oman Air. British Airways has flights via Doha.

Oman's souks are open to British holidaymakers - Getty
Oman's souks are open to British holidaymakers - Getty

Syria

Travel corridor? No

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 3.3 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? Yes, although the Government advises against all travel to Syria

Closed, with  a travel corridor
Israel

Travel corridor? Yes

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 68 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? No

Qatar

Travel corridor? Yes

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 51 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? No

Closed, without a travel corridor
Georgia

Travel corridor? No

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 686.1 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? No

Iran

Travel corridor? No

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 114 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? No

Kuwait

Travel corridor? No

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 65.9 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? No

Saudi Arabia

Travel corridor? No

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 5.5 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? No

Yemen

Travel corridor? No

Seven-day case rate (Nov 27): 0 cases per 100,000

Open to British tourists? No