HCMC expats dream of traveling without quarantine


Mike Williams, a Canadian teacher living in District 3, has been fully vaccinated for over two months and plans to travel out of town for a few days to enjoy the fresh air after more than five months of home confinement due to strict social distancing measures.

He plans to visit Phu Yen and Binh Dinh, which are home to long sandy beaches and upscale resorts along the south-central coast, but struggles to find specific information on quarantine rules in English.

“If the provinces impose mandatory quarantine measures, I’m not interested in traveling there. I agree with the testing regulations, but I’m not really interested in spending seven days in a designated hotel.” , did he declare.

Currently, fully vaccinated tourists from HCMC, considered a medium risk area, can travel to Phu Yen and Binh Dinh but are required to book a tour package with a travel agency and monitor their health at home or on their place of accommodation for seven days upon arrival. .

Mike Williams poses for a photo at Da Lat, 2018. Photo courtesy of Williams

Williams is still hesitant to plan her trip at this time due to inconsistent travel rules and quarantine regulations between localities.

He is one of many expats willing to visit popular tourist hot spots after social distancing measures are lifted.

An American living in District 2, who asked to be identified only as Michael, was planning to take his family to visit Sa Pa, a popular resort in northern Lao Cai province, next week as a break after being confined at home by the pandemic.

However, he abandoned his plan after his colleague told him that HCMC tourists should watch each other for seven days at their homes or places of accommodation upon arrival in Lao Cai.

“I work for a foreign company and I cannot waste more than a week on my trip,” he said.

Instead, Michael would take his family to the HCMC Can Gio ecotourism site, around 70 kilometers from the city center, where the pandemic situation has been brought under control and tourism activities have resumed.

Nuno F. Ribeiro, professor of Portuguese at RMIT University, who has received two doses of a Covid vaccine, prefers to travel to localities that do not require quarantine because he has limited vacation time.

“I think we can safely remove the mandatory quarantine for anyone who has been doubly vaccinated in the last 14 days and who tests negative before and after arriving at their destination,” said Ribeiro.

Ribeiro plans to visit seaside tourist destinations like Da Nang, Cam Ranh, and Phu Quoc during the semester break and Christmas break.

Currently, Da Nang requires newcomers from areas with high infection rates like HCMV to monitor their health at home or accommodation for 14 days and be tested three times.

Phu Quoc and Cam Ranh currently only welcome intra-provincial tourists.

JP Klovstad, a Norwegian living in Thu Duc City, plans to enjoy the Ox-Racing Festival in An Giang Province in the Mekong Delta or book a jeep tour in the northern region in late November.

After being fully vaccinated on September 25, the 60-year-old said if localities imposed a mandatory quarantine, he would postpone his travel plans and wait until those rules were lifted.

JP Klovstad visits the Cu Chi tunnels in HCMC in 2019. Photo courtesy of JP Klovstad

JP Klovstad visits the Cu Chi tunnels in HCMC in 2019. Photo courtesy of JP Klovstad

“I’m ready to travel when there are no more quarantines in the country and hopefully no testing regulations.”

He also wants to be able to move around freely instead of staying inside a hotel all the time.

“Part of the fun of traveling in Vietnam is interacting with the locals,” said Klovstad, who works as a tour guide for Albatros Travel, a Danish company specializing in bringing Norwegian tourists to Vietnam and Southeast Asia. East.

“Last year two friends and I took a jeep tour in the central highlands and gave Christmas gifts to children in the area. I have visited many places in the north before, but many more to see, “he said.

As Vietnam resumed tourist services in early October, destinations began to ease social distancing restrictions. But tourists can only take package tours, and in some places, they must enter home quarantine for seven to 14 days.

Many travel agencies have complained of inconsistencies in travel rules and quarantine regulations across localities only confusing them.

Nguyen Le Huong, deputy general manager of the main tour operator Vietravel, said the unity and consistency of travel policies and regulations across the country is a prerequisite for the resumption of tourism.

Huong said that although security remains the top priority, the testing and quarantine rules are different in different locations, and if these differences are not removed, the resumption of tourism cannot happen.

In the first nine months of this year, the number of domestic tourists fell 16% year-on-year to 31.5 million and generated tourism revenues of 137 trillion VND ($ 6 billion), down from 42% year-on-year.


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