We are all disappointed with 2020, especially all of us who love traveling and riding but perhaps next year will be a bit more lenient and will allow us to fly again and explore “extreme” destinations once again.
Nothing is really predictable at this point yet we can still keep an eye on what is happening in the countries where we want to ride.
So today we have prepared an update of each of our destinations with travel restrictions and other highlights.
Sri Lanka – Next scheduled tour: February 2021
Sri Lanka faced the first wave with strict island-wide curfews and closed the airport for tourism before starting to repatriate citizens that were living and working around the globe. Lately a new cluster has been identified and covid-19 positive cases have been rising. The government imposed partial lockdown in certain areas of the country. So far there have been 11,335 cases and 23 deaths.
During the past few months there was speculation about re-opening to tourism however beside a few unofficial drafts that were systematically denied by the government, there is no news about when the island will welcome tourists again and what would be the protocol.
Needless to say, Sri Lanka’s tourism has suffered for two consecutive years, first with the “Easter bombings” in 2019, then again this year with the novel Covid-19. As a consequence, thousands have lost their jobs or their lifetime savings after investing in small ventures such as restaurants or guest houses.
Please consider visiting the country and supporting the local population once this pandemic will be over. Anyone who has been to Sri Lanka will tell you “it’s worth every single penny”.
Check here our new motorcycle tours in Sri Lanka.
Bhutan – Next scheduled tour: April 2021
Bhutan has applied a strict “0 tourism” policy and was able to keep their numbers remarkably low: 354 Positive, 0 death. At the moment only repatriated Bhutanese citizens have been tested positive while under the strict arrival quarantine measures. So far this system allowed Bhutan to keep the pandemic under control.
Unfortunately there is no official news about re-opening the country to tourism. We will have to wait a bit more.
On a side note, Bhutan’s government is working on a “Tourism policy” which should be approved this month. Although the content of the policy is not yet completely available, the objective is to “… open new areas and sites for tourism.”.
India – Next scheduled tours: April / July / November 2021
With over half million active cases, India is the second most affected country in the world after the USA. The government has just issued an updated statement and started to reopen airport arrivals however only citizens and certain categories of foreigners such as family members of Indian citizens or citizens of Bhutan and Nepal may enter the country.
India is also one of the countries participating in the vaccine race and in a recent statement reported by The Hindu, Barath Biotech – an Indian biotechnology company – has announced that they are planning to launch the vaccine in the second quarter of next year. This is provided that the last phase will confirm the validity of “Covaxine” and permits from the relevant authorities are issued.
Beside the tour in Bhutan which starts and ends in Delhi and it is scheduled for April 2021, all the other tours – Himalaya & Rajasthan – are scheduled in the second half of the year. Hopefully by then, the situation will have reverted to better traveling conditions.
Myanmar – Next scheduled tour: March 2021
Myanmar had about 54,000 cases of which about 17,000 are still active. The government had implemented precautionary measures including suspension of electronic visas – the most used by tourists – and only residents and citizens are allowed to enter the country. These measures were applicable until 31st October although the government has decided to extend the same until the end of November.
Given the number of active cases it is likely that Myanmar will extend again the precautionary measures until statistics get better. On the other hand local restaurants, hotels and other activities that rely on tourism are slowly reopening following the guidelines of the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.
A small positive step in preparation for better times.
Mongolia – Next scheduled tour: July 2021
Mongolia is one of the lowest affected countries in the world. Only 350 cases recorded from the beginning of the pandemic. 313 patients have already recovered leaving the country with only 37 active cases and 0 deaths.
Very little information is available regarding the government position about tourism. Office Holidays stated “There is a ban of entry into Mongolia of all foreign nationals. All international air and rail routes are suspended”.
This tour is also scheduled for the second half of the year so there is still time. We are keeping in touch with our support team in the country and as soon as official news will be available, we will update you too.
Tibet – Next scheduled tour: September 2021
The situation in Nepal, where we begin and end our tour, is not the best. In fact October has been a tough month for the Himalayan kingdom with over 2000 recorded cases each day and touching a peak of over 5000 cases detected in a single day.
Nepal has officially delayed the reopening of regular tourism to international visitors until at least the middle of November. There are exceptions for Mountaineering Expeditions, for which visitors can enter the country after securing a special visa arranged by a local Travel or trekking agency.
The Tibetan border is the other entry point during our tour and we are waiting for an update from our support team in Tibet to confirm the status. What we know is that both international and domestic travel is partially restricted and inbound travelers have to stay in quarantine for 14 days. The Chinese territory is very big and each region does have different rules, official updates can be read on China Briefing.
Luckily there is almost a year before this scheduled tour and hopefully by then the situation will have improved.