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The era of COVID-19 has not been the kindest to travelers, however, there is an awful lot of momentum towards ending the restrictions that have stifled travel over the past couple of years. East Asia was one of the first regions to be hit with COVID-19 while also being the home to some of the strictest COVID-19 policies seen across the globe. In 2022, this has finally started to change.

Southeast Asia was the region that started the year by reducing restrictions, however, the second half of the year has seen more northern countries in East Asia start to lighten their policies as well. One of the last Zero-Covid holdouts, Taiwan, is quite quickly moving to allow tourism. Japan is taking baby steps, while Indonesia and Malaysia opened early in the year and have seen growing numbers of travelers. Here is a quick look at East Asian destinations that will be ready for travel in the fall of 2022.


Taiwan Reinstates Visa-Exempt Entry For Diplomatic Allies

A recent announcement from the Central Epidemic Command Center in Taiwan states that Taiwan plans to reinstate the visa-exempt entry scheme to nationals of the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, European countries, and diplomatic allies as of September 12, 2022.

The range of reasons travelers are allowed to travel to Taiwan has also increased. The list now includes business, exhibition visits, fact-finding missions, international exchanges, visiting relatives, tourism, and social events.

If travelers still don’t meet the criteria to enter Taiwan they can attempt to apply for a special entry permit.

Requirements To Enter

Those wishing to enter Taiwan should be aware that several requirements are still in place.

For one, proof of vaccinations must be shown, and Taiwan still has a cap on how many entries it allows in (as of the writing of this article, it is likely to change soon).

To not run into issues with this cap, travelers should reach out to a local Taiwanese mission in their country to confirm their ability to enter the country. It should also be noted that Taiwan hasn’t dropped its three-day quarantine requirement upon entry.

Of course, it's still crucial to follow the dos and don'ts of visiting the country amid the changing rules.

Related: Visit These Unique Destinations On Taiwan's West Coast

Japan Plans Starts To Move Towards Unrestricted Tourism

Currently, the Japanese government allows group tourism, as a way to allow some tourism while attempting to control the virus by containing the groups.

However, with COVID-19 already prevalent in the country, growing pressure from the private sector, and with a plummeting Yen it is looking more and more like Japan will start dropping its restrictions.

Baby steps have been made in the process of dropping some of their restrictions.

The most likely restrictions to be dropped soon are the 50,000 daily person entry limits, the restrictions on independent tourists, and visa requirements for short-term visitors from countries previously eligible for a waiver.

Conservative estimates have Japan dropping these requirements

Requirements To Enter

As of Wednesday, September 7th this year, Japan's entry restrictions and requirements include a 50,000 person a day cap on entry, and travelers must be a part of a traveling group (seven or more).

The requirement for a PCR test from vaccinated travelers has been dropped (three doses are considered fully vaccinated in Japan).

Malaysia Has Been Open Since Early 2022

Since the second quarter of the year began on April first, two years of strict border control in Malaysia ended.

As of now, travelers can enter Malaysia fairly easily, no longer needing to apply for a MyTravelPass.

Malaysia is one of many Southeast Asian countries transitioning into the endemic phase of the outbreak meaning that the government views the virus as no greater threat to its people than any common illness.

The country boasts a 64% vaccination rate, and after seeing its economy contract in 2021, Malaysia is hoping for a bounce back with a boost to the tourism industry.

Requirements To Enter

Diplomatic allies to Malaysia, including Americans, will no longer need to obtain a visa in advance to arrive in the country.

Travelers traveling for pleasure will be fine as long as they spend less than 90 days in the country.

However, it should be noted that travelers will still need to keep their passports on them essentially wherever they plan to travel in the country, this especially includes traveling from peninsular Malaysia to eastern Malaysia (on the island of Borneo) and between the provinces of Sabah and Sarawak, both of which are on Borneo.

Related: Two-Weeks In Taiwan: Taipei To Taipei, A Complete Circuit

Indonesia, Including Cities Like Bali, Is Open To Tourism

Since the beginning of this year, Indonesia has been open to travel. Indonesia welcomed International tourists back to its shores in January of this year.

Currently, there are no nationalities banned from entering the country, though potential travelers will need to apply for a visa if they plan to stay in the country for more than 30 days as a tourist.

This early opening has allowed popular travel destinations like Bali to help reinvigorate the country's economy.

Requirements To Enter

On top of needing a visa for a stay of more than 30 days, there are a couple of things that travelers should confirm before they depart for Indonesia. So here is a list of three things that travelers need to check before traveling.

  • Requirement One - Take possession of Proof of Vaccination or Vaccination Certificate (physical or digital). Download and make use of the application.
  • Requirement Two - There is no need to present negative proof of the RT-PCR test.
  • Requirement Three - There is no need to present proof of health insurance.