Travel, holidays, vacation… These words almost seem taboo! But with quarantine restrictions slowly easing, many of us are keen to get back out in the big wide world. Here’s where we’re planning holidays and what to expect from post-COVID travel from Hong Kong.
Travel has firmly been on our minds lately, and many of Team Sassy have ventured back into the world for a much-needed vacation. It’s hard to know what travel looks like in the post-COVID world. While you might be going green with envy at the reels popping up in your feed, what is the reality like on the ground when you do go ahead and book your trip? We’re offering up our insights into some of the destinations we’ve visited this year, as well as what to be aware of when it comes to foreign mask requirements and other social distancing procedures.
Editor’s Note: Entry restrictions and COVID prevention measures are constantly changing. We’ve referenced official government websites where we can, but please check entry requirements for your particular destination and airlines for the most accurate information about your circumstance.
Beach bums everywhere are rejoicing at the reopening of one of our favourite islands. Travel to Bali is quiet (but getting busier every month!), but you can still expect lines to get to the picture-perfect waterfalls and for boats for your island hopping adventures. The local tourism operators seem excited and optimistic as they welcome back travellers, but are still feeling the after-effects of the COVID closures.
COVID Prevention Measures: Masks are required in closed rooms (shops, malls and to enter restaurants) although a recent traveller told us this wasn’t strictly enforced.
Entry Requirements: Fully vaccinated travellers do not need to quarantine. You will still need to follow the regular entry visa requirements for Indonesia. You don’t need a PCR test to board your flight or enter Indonesia, however, if you have a temperature over 37.5° or any symptoms you will be required to test, and if you are positive you may be taken to a hospital or an isolation facility at your own expense.
What Happens If You Catch COVID: The official information is a little hard to come by.
Once upon a time, we were pinning our hopes on the travel bubble, but it wasn’t meant to be… Singapore has forged ahead in the post-COVID world and is an easy option for Hong Kong travellers looking for a city break. Whether it is the epic street-food scene or living the fine-dining high life, wandering the colonial neighbourhoods or strolling amongst the skyscrapers, Singapore ticks all the boxes for an easy holiday, especially if you are planning a stopover en route to Hong Kong.
COVID Prevention Measures: Mask wearing is required indoors, except when eating or drinking (optional outdoors).
Entry Requirements: Fully vaccinated travellers can visit Singapore (there are extra testing and quarantine restrictions for non-vaccinated people). You’ll need to download the Trace Together app and submit the Singapore arrival card and e-health declaration three days before departure.
What Happens If You Catch COVID: There are a few protocols to follow, but generally you should immediately isolate for 72 hours, take a RAT on day 4 and if it is negative you can leave, otherwise you can automatically leave after seven days.
Landing in Phuket has always been a breath of fresh air after the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong. Post-pandemic that feeling hasn’t gone away! It’s still pretty quiet in most places, but most certainly kicking up a gear with the dropping of the Thailand Pass as of 1, July 2022. Like all places, just because restrictions aren’t formalised, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful when out and about.
COVID Prevention Measures: Restrictions have been eased across Thailand. Masks are now optional (but recommended in crowds).
Entry Requirements: You must show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of travel.
What Happens If You Catch COVID: You should isolate for seven days and then only leave if symptom-free.
Dubbed the hermit kingdom for closing its borders (to the point that residents were even banned from leaving the country!), Australia has flung open its doors, ready to welcome back travellers. Day-to-day life is largely back to normal, but there are staff shortages, especially across the tourism and hospitality sectors. A small price to pay for finally making the trip to see the glorious, golden sand beaches, the red earth of the outback, getting up close with cuddly koalas and generally wining and dining your way around the country.
COVID Prevention Measures: Masks required on aircraft (but not in airports), doctor’s surgeries and hospitals. Elsewhere it is encouraged but optional and there are no check-in apps required.
What Happens If You Catch COVID: If you test positive for COVID (on either a RAT or PCR), you’ll need to isolate for seven days. As long as you are symptom-free after your week you can go out. Close contacts do not need to quarantine but do need to wear a mask when out and about.
Crystal-clear waters, white sand beaches, it’s fair to say that we’ve been missing our Philippines island escapes! The situation here is varied and highly dependent on the areas you wish to visit. Be sure to check the local government unit for where you are headed.
COVID Prevention Measures: There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about wearing face masks. It would be a safe bet to have one handy just in case.
Entry Requirements: You’ll need to be fully vaccinated and present proof of a negative PCR test result. Philippine Airlines has a comprehensive list of boarding requirements.
What Happens If You Catch COVID: According to the Philippines Department of Health you’ll need to isolate for 10 days if you are asymptomatic or have only a mild case.
The United Kingdom
Hot off the back of the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations, the Brits are continuing the post-COVID party all summer long. Restrictions have largely been dropped and Hong Kongers are returning in their droves to visit family members or use this as a jumping-off point for an escapade across the continent.
COVID Prevention Measures: Masks are not required (but recommended in busy areas).
Entry Requirements: None.
What Happens If You Catch COVID: There are no legal requirements to self-isolate if you test positive, although it is still highly recommended to help protect others!
Re-entering Hong Kong
Of course, it’s not so much getting out of Hong Kong that is the issue, more about getting back in… At the time of writing you need the following to enter Hong Kong:
- Present your vaccination record.
- Present a negative PCR test result from a specimen collected within 48 hours of departure.
- A booking for seven days in a designated quarantine hotel.
- On arrival at the airport you will be directed to take a RAT and a PCR test, if the RAT comes back negative you will be able to proceed with immigration formalities and on to your quarantine hotel.