Back in October 2022, Taiwan reopened its borders to foreign tourists and returning residents without quarantine and with no vaccination requirements, having maintained strict border controls for two and a half years during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the process to enter the country since then has been a straightforward one, travellers are still provided with four free COVID-19 rapid antigen test kits on arrival at the airport, which they are then expected to use to obtain a negative result before leaving their accommodation for the first time, and every 48 hours thereafter, during the subsequent seven days.
Reporting of the results is not required, so it has effectively been an ‘honour system’.
Now we’re happy to report that there’s more good news for those planning Taiwan trips in the weeks and months ahead.
Post-arrival testing scrapped from 7th February
Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) has now announced that from 7th February 2023, inbound travellers will no longer be subject to taking self-swab ART tests every 48 hours before leaving their place of accommodation during the initial seven-day arrival window.
Instead, those arriving at the airport will be provided with one free ART kit. This only needs to be used if you develop symptoms of COVID-19 during your first seven days in the country.
If you require additional rapid tests and you didn’t bring any spares along, you can simply purchase them at pharmacies or convenience stores.
On-arrival PCR testing for travellers arriving on direct flights from China, and pre-departure testing for those arriving from China via Hong Kong or Macau, will also be scrapped on the same day.
According to the CECC, these relaxations can now be made since no new variant of concern has been detected among arriving travellers, who represent only around 0.4% to 2.2% of new daily cases across Taiwan.
Arrival cap scrapped
Back in December 2022, Taiwan also hiked its weekly inbound international passenger arrival cap from 150,000 to 200,000, around 40% of pre-pandemic arrival volumes.
This cap was completely removed on 10th December 2022, allowing Taiwan to progress towards pre-COVID international passenger arrival volumes of around 500,000 per month, and even beyond that if demand warrants.
Taiwan entry process
Here’s the latest process you’ll follow when travelling to Taiwan from Singapore or any other country from 7th February 2023.
Travel to Taiwan
|Eligibility & Vaccination|
|COVID-19 Tests (travellers aged 2+)|
|Restrictions (first 7 days)|
Mask wearing relaxed
Despite reopening its borders in October 2022, Taiwan retained a strict mask-wearing mandate both indoors and outdoors in public.
Since 1st December 2022, people are no longer required to wear masks in outdoor settings, though face coverings are still required indoors, at hospitals, and on public transport.
A further easing of mask-wearing rules across Taiwan is due to be published later this week.
Taiwan does not impose mask-wearing requirements on flights, so all Singapore Airlines and Scoot services to and from the country are happily mask-optional.
However, do be aware that local carriers like China Airlines, EVA Air and Starlux are still imposing their own mask-wearing edicts at the time of writing, requiring masks to be worn onboard when not eating or drinking.
Singapore – Taiwan flights
Based on schedules in January 2020, there were around 24,000 passenger seats per week offered by five airlines from Singapore to Taiwan, including to Taipei and Kaohsiung.
For the first week in February 2023, around 20,200 seats are on offer, already 84% of pre-COVID volumes.
Singapore – Taipei
(2023 vs. 2020)
|Airline||Weekly Seat Capacity from SIN|
|Jan 2020||Feb 2023||Change|
In terms of Singapore-based carriers, currently SIA offers a daily Boeing 787-10 service to and from Taipei, alternating between SQ876/877 and SQ878/879 flights on different days.
Flights will be hiked to 10 per week from April 2023 and then back to the pre-COVID level of 14 per week from June 2023, which will also hopefully allow the airline to reopen its SilverKris lounge at the airport.
Scoot has a far greater presence on the route, with 24 weekly flights using Airbus A320neo, Boeing 787-8 and Boeing 787-9 aircraft, all of which continue to either Tokyo, Sapporo or Seoul.
Jetstar has yet to return to the Singapore – Taipei market, having offered 11 services per week on the route prior to the pandemic, with 180-seat Airbus A320s.
Aside from Jetstar, as you can see from the table it’s Singapore Airlines that is currently taking the biggest capacity cut on Taipei flights compared to pre-COVID, so we’re happy to see a restoration to twice daily Boeing 787-10 flights by the carrier in the months ahead.
Unfortunately Starlux’s new Airbus A350 cabins aren’t set to make an appearance on the Singapore route, with recent confirmation that Bangkok, Macau and Tokyo will be the regional test-bed cities for the new type, ahead of long-haul services between Taipei and Los Angeles from April.
Meanwhile the carrier operates its Airbus A330-900neo on Singapore flights, which already offers direct aisle access flat-bed seats in Business Class and could be a good alternative to SIA’s Regional Business Class product.
Redeeming KrisFlyer miles to Taiwan
Here are the award redemption rates using KrisFlyer miles to redeem on EVA Air flights (Star Award) or Singapore Airlines flights on the Singapore – Taipei route.
|KrisFlyer Saver Redemption Rates
SIN to/from TPE
* Premium Economy is not currently offered on SIA’s Singapore – Taipei route, but it has been in the past and could therefore make a comeback.
With only one daily flight currently on offer, Saver award space in Business Class on Singapore Airlines is very hard to secure in the coming months, with many periods seeing only waitlist Advantage rates.
When you redeem KrisFlyer miles for SIA flights on the Singapore – Taipei route, taxes and fees of S$59.20 are payable.
If you lock in an EVA Air award, you’ll pay S$189.20 on top of your miles outlay, due to the carrier’s hefty fuel surcharge.
Taiwan relaxed its strict border policy in October this year, and is already seeing over 90,000 weekly international arrivals, close to 20% of pre-COVID levels.
From 7th February 2023, there will no longer be any post-arrival testing requirement for international travellers, with a single ART kit provided only for use if you develop symptoms within seven days.
The weekly arrival caps have also been abolished, hopefully allowing more international flights to be added, with China Airlines recently doubling down on its Singapore – Taipei services and SIA planning a return to pre-COVID frequencies and capacity by June 2023.
Trips to Taiwan are also less onerous in terms of mask-wearing requirements, with a removal of the mandate for outdoor settings already in place since 1st December 2022, and further relaxations in the pipeline.
(Cover Photo: Shutterstock)