When can I visit Vietnam? March 15 set as tourism reopening date

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam - February 2nd, 2019: A young Vietnamese driving a motorbike with people holder apricot flower pot behind decoration purposes house for Lunar new year in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Vietnam will reopen to tourists on March 15 © HuyThoai/Getty Images

Vietnam is reopening three months ahead of schedule, allowing tourists to return on March 15, according to state-run newspaper Tuoi Tre.

Vietnam removed COVID-19 restrictions on international passenger flights on Tuesday February 15, restoring the frequency of inbound and outbound flights to pre-pandemic levels.

Now the country is preparing to roll back tourism curbs too as the government has agreed to lift remaining travel restrictions on March 15.

While some details still need to be finalized, the new tourism plan will require travelers to present a recovery or vaccination certificate, with the second dose administered at least 14 days and no more than 12 months before the date of entry.

In addition, travelers must take a pre-departure PCR test no more than 72 hours before flying or a rapid antigen test within 24 hours. A second test will be administered on arrival and passengers must quarantine for one night in an approved hotel while awaiting their results.

Medical or travel insurance that covers COVID-19 treatment is mandatory with a minimum coverage of $50,000 (according to the Vietnam tourism board, this typically costs about US$40 to take out).

Read more: These Southeast Asian tourist spots are open – here’s how to get there

Woman diving off of a boat in Halong Bay Vietnam
Travelers must present proof of vaccination or recovery to enter Vietnam with no need for lengthy quarantine © Helena And Laurent Martin / Stocksy United

After adopting a zero-COVID approach in the early days of the pandemic with locked borders and test-and-trace quarantine, Vietnam slowly began to lift border restrictions in September as vaccination rates started to climb.

Currently visitors from approved countries can visit Vietnam under a pilot scheme that’s similar to Thailand’s Sandbox program, where they are mandated to stay at one of five beach destinations for a minimum of seven days before being permitted to travel around the rest of the country. The five destinations include Phu Quoc, Danang, Khanh Hoa, and Quang Ninh, and Quang Nam (home to the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Halong Bay and Hoi An).

This program will be scrapped in March as the country opens to tourists again, though some destinations may be restricted, depending on local outbreaks.

Read more: The 10 best beaches in Vietnam

Discover Vietnamese coffee

Since coffee was introduced by the French, Vietnam has made it its own, building a cuisine and culture that are unlike any in the world. 

Until recently, Vietnam was one of the world’s top performers at fighting the coronavirus. But the Delta variant and a shortage of vaccine supplies caused a surge in infections at the end of 2021 before Omicron hit. Nearly 77% of its 98 million population has been double jabbed.

More entry protocols are set to be announced at a later date. We will update this article when more information is available.

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SASHA BRADY / Lonely Planet Writer

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