An air travel bubble has recently been introduced between Singapore and Hong Kong. This travel air bubble will be taking place from 26 May 2021 with one flight of 200 passengers a day into respective cities. As this is the world’s first leisure travel bubble, there are many tests and precautions in place that you should know about. So, if you are keen on getting on one of these flights, here is all you need to know before flying to Hong Kong!
Singapore has made arrangements with Hong Kong for a travel bubble as both cities have been able to maintain low COVID-19 cases. Minister Ong Ye Kung acknowledged the risks of this bubble and highlighted that this arrangement can be cancelled if the daily average number of untraceable COVID-19 cases in a week reaches more than 5 from either country. So do take extra care when travelling!
Before You Go
Before departing from Singapore to Hong Kong or vice versa, there are some things you should take note of!
Before booking your flight, you should check if you are eligible to fly within the travel bubble. According to Cathay Pacific, you must:
- Have no travel history to anywhere other than Hong Kong or Singapore in the last 14 days
- Proof of a negative COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test 72 hours before your flight
- Check if you need to apply for an air travel pass, visas, health declaration and/or approval of entry
- Have Singapore’s TraceTogether app downloaded and registered
- Singapore residents will not need to be fully vaccinated to travel to Hong Kong, but Hong Kong residents do
You can learn more about these on Cathay Pacific’s website!
COVID-19 Testing & Quarantine
While there will not be any quarantine or stay home notice put in place before, during or after your trip, you will need to do multiple COVID-19 testing both before and during your travel. Note that you will need to take a mutually recognised COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours before you depart and get an approval for Pre-Departure PCR Test at least 7 days before departure. Upon arrival in Hong Kong, you will need to take another COVID-19 test and be prepared to wait in the airport for your results. This may take up to 4 hours or longer. These COVID-19 tests can be done in any one of the clinics or testing centres approved by the Singapore Government, costing S$185.10. Upon receiving a negative test result, you may then travel and enter Hong Kong.
Book Your Flight
If you wish to travel, you can’t book any flight to Hong Kong, but only those that have been dedicated to travelling under this travel bubble scheme. This is to not mix passengers who are in transit and those who are under this scheme. Currently, there are two airlines that will fly under this scheme — Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific. If your flight is not booked under this scheme you will be required to serve a quarantine or a stay home notice.
During Your Trip
Once you land in the Hong Kong International Airport, you are required to take another COVID-19 PCR test and wait for your results in the airport.
While in Hong Kong, ensure that you adhere to prevailing public health measures. While you will not be needed to quarantine and there is no restriction in movement, you will still have to comply with health and social distancing measures.
Should you unfortunately become COVID-19 Positive during your stay in Hong Kong, you will need to take necessary medical treatment there by the Hong Kong Government. You will also need to bear full cost of any treatment. Remember to bring enough masks for your trip too as you will need to wear your mask when you go out.
Once you are allowed to enter Hong Kong, there are so many things you can see and do! Get an MTR pass, which allows you to get around Hong Kong easily. From eating to shopping, the things you can do are endless!
During your time in Hong Kong, it is essential for travellers to download and install their LeaveHomeSafe (LHS) app. Similar to Singapore's SafeEntry, this app will allow you to scan LHS QR codes around Hong Kong to record your visits.
Upon Arrival Back in Singapore
There is no need to apply for another Air Travel Pass when returning to Singapore if you are a Singapore citizen. However, short-term visitors will need to while long-term pass holders will need to seek entry approval.
Travel Tips While You Are in Hong Kong
Getting around Hong Kong is no trouble at all - there are many different options for transport around this city. The easiest way to get around is with the MTR - Hong Kong’s train. You can purchase one either from the airport or at different stations around Hong Kong. Cards are offered at HK$39 without store value and you can refund the ticket at the end of your trip.
There are so many delicacies to try in Hong Kong - watch out for their street food as well as their night markets! While they may close earlier because of COVID-19 restrictions, don’t let that stop you from exploring - with safe distancing measures of course! Try some dim sum or deep fried pig intestines, if you’re feeling adventurous.
Minister Ong Ye Kung believes that this leisure air bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore will be an “important step forward” and will be a “useful reference for other countries… now contemplating [on] how to open their borders”. This scheme may be expanded in the future if we are able to maintain safety and follow respective protocols. Ultimately, if you stay safe, wear a mask and practice social distancing, you can go forth and explore!