Planning ahead: where we are, where you can go & latest advice

A message from Selective Asia's founder, Nick

'The COVID-19 outbreak had an extraordinary impact on travel, bringing the industry to its knees and altering its landscape completely. The beaches and rainforests of Asia never felt further from me than in the first few months of 2020. Now the dust is settling, we're learning what must be done differently from now on. Although it's a time of great challenge, there are also many opportunities to do things better. Throughout our years of growth, we’ve undoubtedly been successful in many ways, but in others we feel we lost our way — lost a little of our ‘selectiveness’, if you will. To balance all the negative impacts of the pandemic, we’re determined to make the most of the opportunity it has given us to review how we work and get back on the path.

Along with developing a new 'low touch travel' approach, and other ways to minimise risks associated with travel as we move towards the new norm, we're stepping up our focus on sustainability, and becoming even more rigorous when it comes to asking ourselves the tough questions about our products and services. We've also redefined our booking procedure and adjusted our terms & conditions, giving you the necessary flexibility and certainty to allow you to plan your travels in 2021 & beyond.

We're taking care not to lose what we do well, of course — you can look forward to plenty of innovative products, a refined iteration of our highly personalised service, and no doubt many terrible puns, at least when I start feeling up to making jokes again!

In many ways, the Selective Asia approach is already ideal for travel in a covid-focused world. We maintain a genuinely local network of colleagues and partners throughout Asia. This allows us to craft highly individualized trips that can match all manner of requirements. Our expert guides and agile ground handlers take care of you throughout your journey. We depend on them to breathe life into our thorough research and careful planning, and they're skilled at adapting safely to unexpected events — ensuring that your holidays can stay fun and fulfilling, as well as low-risk.

Other aspects of the travel industry were long overdue a push in a better direction. Visits to much-dreamed-of destinations will become even more precious experiences to be savoured, with a focus on slowing down our travels, and exploring other connected communities. Global lockdowns brought into even sharper focus the need for travel to be sustainable, and for our journeys to be gentle on the environment, to support conservation projects, and have tangible benefits for the communities we visit.

As a long-standing advocate for this type of travel, I think the next chapter in humanity’s eagerness to see beyond the horizon could, eventually, be a really gratifying one. I intend to make sure that Selective Asia leads the way, and hope to support many of you in your desire to do likewise.

Every destination is different — surely that’s what makes Asia such a compelling destination! — and our approach to your safety during your travels will be adapted to local circumstances.

Wishing the very best for you and yours,


Ready, set, go...?

Where can you go now & the latest FCDO advice

(information last updated 4th June 2021)

Please note that according to the UK's current roadmap you'll only be allowed to travel on a holiday from the 17th of May 2021. If you're outside the UK, please check with your government's current advice to ensure there are no travel restrictions in place.

Whilst most of our destinations remain closed to visitors from the UK, encouraging news are emerging with opening dates and alternative ways of travelling to our favourite destinations. We will be adding any relevant news and updates on which destinations are what in the UK's traffic light system, but if you're in doubt whether you can travel to your preferred destination, get in touch with one of our Destination Specialists who will be happy to advise you on the current situation for where you are. 

Sri Lanka open its borders to international travellers

Sri Lanka was added to the red list by the UK government - for more information please read more here.

Sri Lanka opened their borders to a selection of countries, with a clear arrival process for both travellers who have a vaccine and those who don't have one. Vaccinated travellers (at least 2 weeks after vaccination) will need to do the following:

  • 1st night stay at a Level 1 hotel until the on-arrival PCR test is performed (at least 24 hours required).
  • Upon a negative PCR test report, vaccinated travelers can leave the bio-bubble.
  • Children between 2-18 years not vaccinated are allowed to leave the bubble with fully vaccinated parents upon a negative on arrival PCR test.

Thailand's clear roadmap to welcome international guests

Thailand has revealed a comprehensive three-stage roadmap to re-introducing incoming travel, which includes the below:

  • July - September:
    • Phuket has opened to vaccinated travellers, without having to quarantine. After 7 days, you'll then be able to travel to other provinces. 
  • October-December: Krabi, Phang Nga, Surat Thani (Ko Samui), Chon Buri (Pattaya) and Chiang Mai will join Phuket in allowing vaccinated travellers in, without the need to quarantine.

* Please note that all travellers will be required to undergo a COVID19-screening, which includes PCR tests and to download the dedicated track & trace application. 

Nepal opens their borders 

Nepal has officially opened their borders to international travellers. Vaccinated travellers will not need to quarantine, but all travellers will need to provide a Covid 19 negative report with them obtained not before 72 hours boarding your flight to Nepal. As always, please check your own country's current travel restrictions.

Find out more about Nepal and get in touch with our Nepal Specialists when you're ready to chat.

The Maldives 

The Maldives have opened their borders to international travellers. As of the 20th of April 2021, you no longer must have a negative PCR  if you have received a recommended Covid-19 vaccine two weeks before you depart to the Maldives. If you haven't yet received your vaccine, you must have a negative Covid-19 test result, received no later than 96 hours before you're due to arrive in the country, complete the Travel Health Declaration form at least 24 hours before you arrive and be be prepared to be screened on arrival, including for your temperature.

Find out more about the Maldives and get in touch with our Maldives Specialists when you're ready to chat.

Indonesia (Bali)

Indonesia is being added to the red list by the UK government on the 19th of July - for more information please read more here.

With an impressive vaccination rollout in Indonesia, we've heard encouraging news from our partners on the ground that all drivers and guides have been vaccinated. Having said that, there have been some added restrictions placed on Java and Bali between 3-20th of July, with Bali's planned July opening postponed. 


Bhutan continues closed to international tourism, but news that the country has vaccinated over 80% of the population is very encouraging news that this will soon change, but we're not expecting this to happen until Autumn 2021.


We have heard of a 3 phase plan of reopening of international flights in Vietnam; from July to include quarantine for a selection of countries, but that vaccinated visitors would from September 2021 be able to skip quarantine on arrival, as long as the vaccine taken have been authorised by Vietnam, and based on an assessment of herd immunity. 


Cambodia's Ministry of Tourism has approved its Resilience & Restart roadmap, but there are no more details as of yet.


Japan plans to issue its own vaccination passport to allow for travel to open, but there are no firm details in place at the moment for when it may open. 


Laos remains closed to international visitors, but with an effective vaccine rollout programme we're feeling positive we'll have clear information regarding future travel soon.


International flights remain suspended until the end of April when there will be a review. At the moment, India has bilateral travel bubble arrangements with 27 countries, including the UK. PCR tests are still required on arrival and require a self health declaration. 


Malaysia has been slowly opening its borders, firstly to its Asian neighbours and then they will extend to other destinations (unlikely to cover all until 2022). We're hopeful that a vaccination passport may speed things along, and we've been hearing August 2021 as a possible date, but nothing is yet confirmed. 

The latest from the FCDO

If you're looking for further information, please visit the FCDO website (UK) (or here if you're in the USA) for the latest information on any specific destination.

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