From November 21 to December 2, 2021, Hanoi will be hosting the 2021 Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games), where athletes from all over the Southeast Asian region will be competing against each other in a variety of sports. This is already the second time that Vietnam has hosted this event. The Southeast Asian Games in 2003 was also held in Hanoi.
Those wishing to go to Vietnam and witness the SEA Games in person should prepare for their trip as early as possible. So here’s everything you need to know when going to Vietnam for the SEA Games.
Before you travel to Vietnam for the 2021 SEA Games, you must first determine ahead of time what requirements you need to prepare. First of all, you must purchase your tickets to the events in advance. Remember, thousands of people are expected to attend the SEA Games so the tickets are expected to sell out fast. Right now, there’s no information yet on where you can buy your tickets, but they will most likely be available online.
Another thing you need to book is your plane ticket. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, flights to Vietnam are still very limited at the moment. But some airlines may already be selling tickets to Vietnam for November flights. You can book your ticket in advance, but given the unpredictability of the border situation, find out how you can get a refund just in case your flight will be canceled.
Of course, you also need to book your hotel. Since thousands will be going to Hanoi to witness this sporting event, there’s a good chance that the hotels will be fully booked. So to be sure, pre-book your hotel as early as possible. As for the other requirements such as the visa, this will mainly depend on the Covid-19 situation.
No one knows if we will go back to normal by November, but now that millions of people are getting vaccinated, there’s a good chance that the spread of Covid-19 will slow down by the end of the year. If this is the case, then we could go back to traveling in the normal way, just like those days before the pandemic.
Since Vietnam is offering a visa-free entry for visitors from the Southeast Asian region, then you don’t need to get a visa when going to Vietnam to watch the SEA Games. Visitors coming from Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Laos can enter Vietnam with no visa for as long as they stay for less than 30 days. Those coming from the Philippines can enter visa-free but for a stay of less than 21 days, while citizens of Myanmar and Brunei can enter Vietnam visa-free but can only stay less than 14 days.
If the Covid-19 virus will not be controlled by November, the Vietnam government has to impose stricter rules for the entry of foreign visitors. This is to ensure the safety of everyone attending the event, as well as the Vietnamese citizens. In this case, you may need to have a sponsor company before you can enter the country. The sponsor company will have to request an entry permit on your behalf by sending a letter to the Local People’s Committee. Once they approve your visit, an approval letter will be sent to the Vietnam Immigration Department then a visa will be issued to you, allowing you to enter Vietnam for the SEA games.
For visitors who are only staying in the country for a short time, there won’t be a need to quarantine. But for those who will stay longer, then a 14-day quarantine may be required. In this case, you will have to book a hotel for your quarantine stay. During the 14 days, you will not be allowed to go out of your hotel, so you may have to come early to Vietnam if you plan on watching the sporting events.
Before flying to Vietnam, you will also have to undergo a Covid-19 test. You must show a negative result of the test upon checking in for your flight. The test must be performed 3 to 5 days before your trip.
You may be able to get away with the Covid-19 test and quarantine if you have a vaccine passport. This passport will serve as proof that you have been vaccinated for two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. With a vaccine passport, you can skip the quarantine and you may not be required to undergo the Covid-19 test anymore. But then again, it’s still too early to confirm what requirements will the Vietnam government require for visitors to the SEA Games. For now, we can only hope that this Covid-19 nightmare will be over.