July 9, 2024

Pandemic travel news: Asia vacations just got easier

Pandemic travel news: Asia vacations just got easier
(CNN) — This week at CNN Travel, we’re eating our dinner out of the world’s coolest toothpaste tube, dreaming about sunny Indonesian beaches and admiring the latest developments in British mass transit. Come along for the ride, won’t you?

Asia opening up

Traveling to Asia just got easier as Hong Kong will allow passengers to transit through its airport as of April 1.

The city is still mostly off limits to tourists, but it is a major airport hub for destinations throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Meanwhile, many countries in Asia are now embracing the “living with the virus” approach.

South Korea is ditching quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated visitors beginning April 1, while Indonesia has dropped its quarantine rules for international guests following a successful trial on the popular island of Bali.

Singapore, pictured above, is moving toward a full reopening to vaccinated visitors from all countries as of April 1. There are a few exceptions, but most fully vaxxed guests will not need to take a post-arrival PCR test or quarantine.

Islands and the southern tip of Africa

It’s not only Asian destinations that are relaxing Covid regulations.

The Pacific island country of Fiji has eliminated a “soft quarantine” policy requiring visitors to spend three days in a government-approved facility, provided they are — you guessed it — fully vaccinated. The new guidelines come into effect April 7.

Spain’s Canary Islands have dropped their local restrictions, which is great news for spring breakers. In addition to dropping masking and testing rules, nightclubs can reopen and dancing is allowed once again.
Vaccinated travelers heading to South Africa no longer need a negative PCR test to enter. Not vaccinated? You can get a shot in the country once you land, as local vaccine centers allow people from anywhere to walk in and request a jab.
The United States continues to be cautious about international travel, though. This week, and Indian Ocean island country was the only nation bumped up to Level 4, “avoid travel” status by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That’s the good news. The less-good news is that there are still about 120 destinations listed at Level 4.

What would Garfield think?

That is just one of the innovative presentations of Italian cuisine created by Valerio Braschi at Rome’s Ristorante 1978. He is also known for pizza served in a sachet, steak in liquid form and carbonara converted into a cocktail.

Not unusual enough for you? The restaurant also serves zebra — although in a more traditional cutlet-type format.

Say hello to Elizabeth

Named after Queen Elizabeth II, Crossrail is set to partially open in 2022 as the Elizabeth line. It will connect East and West London like never before.

London’s new Crossrail transit system, officially known as the Elizabeth Line in honor of the Queen, will begin ferrying passengers as soon as May.

The 100-kilometer (62-mile) underground network will connect some of the capital’s most popular places, such as the West End theater district and Canary Wharf financial hub, with Heathrow Airport and can go as fast as 90 miles per hour.

Although the full schedule won’t be active until 2023, travelers will welcome being able to go from the airport to the city center in as little as 38 minutes.

A cult candy goes global

White Rabbit, a milk-based sweet made in China, has become an international trend thanks to its yummy taste and adorable, partly edible packaging.

It has expanded beyond its roots to White Rabbit-flavored ice cream in Los Angeles, branded socks in NYC, ice pops in Hong Kong and even an art installation in Shanghai.

If you want to sound like you’re in the know, ask for da bai tu, Mandarin for big white rabbit.

In case you missed it

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The “world’s longest flights” list just got a new contender.

Colombia is a mix of jungle, beach and urban cool.

Return to flying in style

Flying again for the first time since the pandemic?

Our pals at CNN Underscored, a product reviews and recommendations guide owned by CNN, have put together a handy list of tools and products that will make your economy seat feel just as cozy as your well-worn living room couch.

Top image: A view of the Singapore skyline captured on June 14, 2021. (Roslan Rahman/AFP via Getty Images)