How to: Hong Kong/Singapore travel bubble
Since the publication of this article, the travel bubble has been suspended for two weeks.
The Air Travel Bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore will launch in a few days on November 22nd. All eyes are set on how the journeys will be managed, as the pandemic’s first non-essential travel bubble. Yesterday – November 18th – there were 9 new cases in Hong Kong and 5 in Singapore. The two cities are known for their low Covid-19 rates, and were listed by the Airports Council International in 2019 amongst the twenty busiest airports in the world. Starting off with one flight of 200 passengers into each city, there are high hopes to set an example for other cities where – if successful – similar plans might soon emerge.
What to be aware of
If either city has over 5 untraceable cases, the travel bubble will be immediately suspended for a fortnight. The following are the only flights within the bubble:
SQ891 (after November 23rd)
CX734 (after November 23rd)
All travellers must provide evidence of their travel history within a fortnight of their journey. At least 7 days before their journey, Hong Kong travellers must also apply for an Air Travel Pass. After touching down in Singapore, they are also required to download and activate the Trace Together contact tracing app.
They will have to pay for the required Covid-19 tests themselves, which will exempt them from quarantine in the new city. Hongkongers and Singaporeans must apply for and acquire a negative test report from a designated testing centre within 72 hours of their departure. Upon arrival, travellers from both cities must undergo a second test to guarantee their right to unrestricted travel. Travellers should take a third test before their return flight as well, as this will allow an exemption from quarantine in their home city.
A smartphone that makes travelling easier
“Physically distant, emotionally close” is a mindset we all share in the current climate. The Portier Phone is the perfect choice to accommodate this: travellers will be able to always be connected to the internet in their new surroundings, and use Google Maps with ease. Users would also be able to use integrated social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. Consider the Portier Phone like an insider’s guide of sorts, one that removes the need to search online for lists like Top Ten Restaurants. Whilst alerting you to changing local circumstances and keeping you safe, the Phone will allow you to experience the city’s neighbourhoods like a local.
Advice for hotels
Hotels should familiarise themselves with the local laws and restrictions regarding the pandemic, as well as the specific regulations that will be in place for the travel bubble tourists.
In order to welcome overseas travellers in a manner that is safe for themselves as well as local Singaporeans, we recommend hoteliers implement additional training for their employees.
An in-room video addressing guests could also prove effective. Whereas the shared English language between Hong Kong and Singapore is one less hurdle to jump over, it would be worthwhile to prepare multiple-language options to ensure the general situation is mutually understood.
Travellers: where to visit
Our Marketing & Sales Associate, Wan Qing hails from Singapore, and our Editorial Intern, Karen is a native of Hong Kong. Whether you plan on staying in either city for a week or longer, Portier has put together a list featuring both cities’ best of the best. These recommendations come from Wan Qing and Karen’s genuine experiences:
A popular destination for parents to bring their children, we recommend you visit the expansive Hong Kong Park to witness an urban space brimming with wildlife.
Nearby the park is the SoHo district with its famous Central-Mid-Levels escalator, which was once the longest in the world. Visit the renowned Lin Heung Tea House while in the area, where dim sum is still served from carts.
From the escalator, look to your left to see traditional restaurants juxtaposing trendy bars and shops. If you want to look at some art, the heritage centre Tai Kwun has an entrance directly connected to the escalators. The collaborative exhibition Wet feet __ dry feet: borders and games showcases geopolitical contemporary art by Francis Alÿs.
We also recommend you plan one evening for a boat ride on the Star Ferry to Tsim Sha Tsui, a popular neighbourhood filled with shopping malls. A seat on the ferry will treat you to one of the most stunning sights of the Hong Kong skyline.
Most likely, you will have heard of Mong Kok already. Packed to the brim with shops and restaurants, the area is known by tourists as the vivid setting of many famous movies. Head to the Flower Market Road to enjoy the colourful bouquets and plants. There are also a number of cha chaan tengs in the neighbourhood, where we highly recommend you try Hong Kong milk tea and a steaming cocktail bun.
For beach-lovers, Portier recommends the breathtaking outlying island Cheung Chau. There you will have the chance to take a hike directly from the ferry pier and visit the island’s many notable temples.
In downtown Singapore, head to the Art Science Museum for insight into Singapore’s art culture. Featuring local pieces discussing topics of local relevance, the photography exhibition Margins: drawing pictures of home runs until early next year.
Early on in your trip, Portier recommends you visit the stunning Gardens by the Bay park, home to one of the world’s largest greenhouse. There you will be able to experience both humid and dry climates within Singapore’s tropical classification.
Within walking distance is the Singapore Flyer, once the world’s tallest ferris wheel, where you will have the chance to look over the bustle of downtown Singapore.
Jumbo Seafood is a restaurant where you will be able to try Singapore’s chilli crab. The restaurant has a branch at The Riverwalk, which is an approximate thirty minute walk away from the Singapore Flyer. Until December 31st, the chilli crab dish is part of a discounted set meal.
Sentosa Island is well-known by Singaporeans and tourists alike for its wide range of attractions. Buy tickets for the Universal Studios theme park there, or go zip-lining and ride a Segway at Mega Adventure Park. You will have the opportunity to experience the outdoors in a way that is unique to the refreshing island resort.
A final note
Stay aware of both cities' regulations – they can potentially change over the course of the next month. As we mentioned earlier, this travel bubble is a groundbreaking test to see whether or not the world is ready to take the next step in the pandemic. Portier wishes everyone involved the best of luck, and to those planning on taking part in the new travel bubble – we hope you enjoy your stay in these two wonderful cities.