a city street with buildings and cars

After two years of speculation, a few false starts and countless cancelled, speculative trips — Japan is reopening. This time, for real. Visitors from visa-waiver countries will be able to enter without hassle, and the days of booking a ticket and jetting off are pretty much back.

That’s the big headline, but there’s more.

In almost synchronized fashion, two other major destinations in the region followed suit, with plans to drop quarantine or open completely. Taiwan is reopening, and Hong Kong will finally diverge from the insane bureaucratic policies of China.

Victoria Peak skyline at night

Asia Heads Toward A Full Reopening

You simply can’t say that Asia has full reopened until China welcomes visitors, or ends its zero tolerance health strategy, but still — virtually all the rest of Asia has.

With news that Taiwan will open almost fully from October 13th and Japan will open restriction free travel from October 11th, there’s new excitement in the region. More flights are set to resume on top carriers including EVA, China Airlines (a Taipei based airline), ANA and Japan Airlines.

More tourism focused destinations in Asia, including Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore opened many months ago, but these final holdouts remained a mystery. Here’s what’s changing in the weeks to come, and how it will have a huge impact on destinations all over the region.

Taiwan Is Dropping Most Restrictions

From October 13th, Taiwan plans to relax entry restrictions, including dropping any quarantine period or arrival testing. The country was blossoming as a destination of diverse tourism opportunity in 2019, and looks to pick up where it left off.

If you venture that way, the Alishan forest is stunning and Chiayi is a foodie heaven. Further details on reopening plans and what’s needed to enter can be found here and here.

a building with a tree in front of it

Japan Readies For Tourism

After initial plans left us with disappointing restrictions, such as packaged guided tours only, Japan is finally reopening in full.

People who could enter with a visa on arrival, or visa program before can once again do so from October 11th. Proof of vaccination is still required to avoid any restrictions, but that’s about it!

It’s time to branch out beyond Tokyo and explore the delights of Osaka, and other fascinating cities which remain far too overlooked by most visitors.

Hong Kong Enters The Tourism Chat

Hong Kong is ending its mandatory quarantine period. That’s the good news. The bad news, is that post arrival testing and three days of “medical supervision” will still follow.

Those and other factors mean GSTP will be giving this once beloved destination a pass for a while, until things change. After seeing countless horror stories from Penny Bay, the changes seem like an extremely positive development for residents and regional visitors, but perhaps still a long cry from “open” for international tourism.

Great News For Travel Savings

Whether you’re flying to to Taiwan or Japan as your final destination, or not, this is big news. With few airlines operating regular schedules, great itineraries, or prices were very hard to come by. Seats using points were virtually non-existent.

As leading airlines based in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan seek to reboot international routes, there should be a significant dip in pricing followed by a significant opening of points seats. Plus, hotels should remain reasonable, with currencies such as the yen nearing all time lows.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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