Drone Regulations in Asia

Asia is not only a popular destination for backpackers, but also for drone pilots. In this article, I list the rules that you need to consider as a copter pilot in Asian countries.

For a better overview, we have summarized the provisions vividly in two Asia maps: The first map is for the private use of drones and the second map represents the provisions for commercial users.

Drone rules in Asia for private pilots

Asia map private Placeholder
Asia map private
Drone rules in Asia for commercial pilots

Asia map commercial Placeholder
Asia map commercial
Legend
  • Green indicates that you can use your copter without prior authorization under the applicable regulations. In many cases, you can get a special permit for operations beyond the rules. In some countries, you may fly without authorization, but only without a mounted camera. These countries are not green – but yellow – marked; as most pilots certainly want to create films and photographs.
  • Yellow indicates that you need to register your drone or yourself, you must apply for a permit or you need to pass a test. You will learn the details below.
  • Red indicates that the commissioning of drones is generally prohibited. In these countries, you should be especially careful, because even at the airport your drone can be confiscated partially under the laws or you can be arrested only because of the possession of the drone.
  • Grey means that I have not found reliable information or I do not sufficiently understand the drone laws. If you can help here, I appreciate your comment below the article!

Before you start here, you should also read my article on the international drone laws view. There I list general safety precautions that you should always be aware and call tips for dealing with no-fly areas.

The research for this article took several weeks and the ongoing update process of the current legal situation is extremely time-consuming. Please consider to support us with a donation. Your help makes it possible that we can update and improve this article permanently! Thank you so much in advance! 🙂

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Table of contents:

Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, ChinaGeorgia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, LebanonMacao, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, North KoreaOman, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South KoreaSri Lanka, TaiwanTajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab EmiratesUzbekistan, Vietnam

Have you ever been in an Asian country with your drone? What experiences have you collected?

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About the author

Since January 2015, we travel around the world. In our backpack we carry a camera drone which we use to capture the best places from a bird’s perspective. First we travelled with a DJI Phantom 2. But now we use a Yuneec Typhoon H. On our blog we share the best tips for you about travelling with a copter. If you have questions about this article or new information, don’t hesitate to leave us a comment!

Discussions

  • Hitesh | 18.12.2016

    Hi Francis,
    Thanks for sharing your insights to drone laws around Asia. I’m wondering whether you may have the Thai Laws written in Thai so I could present to any official who may stop me doing my travels in Thailand ?
    Regards hitesh

    • Francis Markert | 22.12.2016

      Hello Hitesh,
      thanks for your comment! You can find the Thai version here: http://www.ratchakitcha.soc.go.th/DATA/PDF/2558/D/086/6.PDF
      Best regards and safe travels, Francis

      • Davide | 08.01.2017

        Hey brother thank you for your job , amazing. I’m not a drone pilot yet but i want ti buy drone djl mavic pro . My English is not perfect so I ask you very direct. Can I fly in Thai islands with this drone ? As you know the camera is inside of the drone .
        Thank you so much and if you need a music for your next video text me I will do for you with my 2 handpan

        • Francis Markert | 03.04.2017

          Hi Davide! Since February, you must register your drone equipped with a camera in Thailand. This process takes you at least two month and involves authorities like the immigration bureau and the narcotic drugs office. Nowadays, it is quite complicate to fly legally in Thailand. I will update the article above in a couple of days. Best wishes, Francis

          • spencer chartier | 27.09.2017

            Hey all, I have just recently purchased a DJI Spark for personal use as I’m going to be going back packing November 2017. I have a layover in Taiwan and then to Bangkok. From there I will be going through Cambodia and backpacking into Vietnam and possibly through Laos and then coming back around to do the south of Thailand. To everyone’s knowledge will they let me through all the borders with the drone with out registering it? That’s my name concern as I don’t want to travel with it if it’s going to get confiscated. Secondly I understand Vietnam is out for flying the drone Which is tolerable and Cambodia seems to be fair game but I’m getting mixed reviews as Whether or not I can fly it in Thailand?

  • Finest UAV | 09.01.2017

    After you check out this Drone the DJI and compare it to the yuneec drone tell me which is better.

    • Francis Markert | 06.02.2017

      It depends on the models you compare 😉 So far, I changed from a DJI Phantom to a Yuneec Typhoon H. Maybe it gives you an idea 😀

  • Kyle Stevenson | 03.02.2017

    Hi Francis,
    I am planning a potential trip (with either a Phantom 2 or Mavic) to Vietnam and Cambodia, to do a personal project travel film. So far I have read that Cambodia seems OK, do you now have any more info on Vietnam? or do you know where abouts I might be able to get more info? Many thanks, Kyle

    • Francis Markert | 06.02.2017

      Unfortunately, no 🙁 You can try to get in touch with the Vietnamese Defense Ministry. But a few friends in Vietnam did not get any response :/

  • Pavel | 07.03.2017

    Hey Guys, first thing I wanna do is: Thank You, you saved me lots of time!

    I have one more question: we wont have any checked in baggage on our journey across countries in Asia. Do you think that it could be a problem to have Phantom 3 with 2 batteries as carry on baggage on a plane?

    • Francis Markert | 20.03.2017

      Hi Pavel,
      thank you for your comment! 🙂 No, I think that’s not a problem. We always have our drone in the backpack (carry on baggage).
      Enjoy your trip!

  • Haley Harper | 02.04.2017

    Hi I am planning on traveling to Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and China this May and want to bring my drone, I understand I won’t be able to use it in all the places I am visiting, but do you know anything about trouble traveling in and out of these countries with the drone in my possession?

    • Francis Markert | 03.04.2017

      HI Haley, as far as I know you should be fine by bringing your drone to these countries. I would not expect to get trouble during this trip.
      Best regards, Francis

    • Braus | 18.04.2017

      Double check Thailand( they changed the law recently) and Vietnam.

    • Francis Markert | 19.04.2017

      Please check the latest Thai laws here: https://drone-traveller.com/drone-laws-thailand/

  • Deepak | 03.06.2017

    Hi Francis
    I just happened to come across your wonderful yet most interesting and valuable page around carrying the Drone.
    I am starting my motorcycle adventure ride from Tashkent and getting straight into Dushanbe and then head into Kyrgyzstan Kazakhstan Mongolia and Russia. The bikes are in Uzbekistan and we will reach there from India on 6th June .. What are my chances to land in Tashkent without any trouble for carrying the Mavic Pro

  • YJ | 11.07.2017

    Hi Francis,
    this is the best website that collects info on drone regulations across Asia, one of the thing that I think would be good it adding a line with date of updated info. So people can check themselves if info is bit too old.

    • Francis Markert | 28.03.2018

      Hi YJ,
      Thank you for your comment. You can find the date of the last update right below the headline.
      Best regards, Francis

  • Nolan M. | 10.11.2017

    Hello,

    First off, this site is fantastic thanks so much for the hard work Francis.

    I was just wondering where things stood currently or if anyone has recent experience traveling in Asia? We are getting ready to do a 6 week tour through SE Asia (Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Indonesia) and have read all kinds of contradictory things. We reached out to the various governments where permits were required and only Thailand got back and said it would be a 2-3 month process, which will obviously not work for us since we are leaving in a few days!

    My main question is: can I have my Mavic with me in my carry-on and just not fly it in certain countries (Thailand, Myanmar etc) or will we get issues at airports?

    I usually bring the Mavic traveling, but am now concerned with everything I am reading about SE Asia and am considering leaving it at home. Would be a shame, but may not be worth the risk.

    Any advice would be terrific, thanks so much everyone!

    • Francis Markert | 28.03.2018

      Hi Nolan,
      You should be fine with bringing your drone to these countries without flying it there.

  • Daniel Fuerman | 09.03.2018

    Hi Francis,

    I am planning on taking a backpacking trip through the ‘stans this Summer with my DJI Mavic Pro. Is it possible to do this, even if I don’t fly in a restricted country/area? You said Uzbekistan drones are not allowed? Could I simply bring the drone into Uzbekistan, any other -stan country and not fly it?

    Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

  • Tiberiu Ionita | 28.05.2018

    I am planning a 3 month trip to SE Asia and I would like to take my dji mavic pro with me.
    I only have a carry and, I don’t have time to registrate for Thailand and Vietnam but, Is not necesary to fly in this countries. There is a problem if I bring my drone with me and not fly with it, Should I need any papers? What do I risk if I fly without a permit? How often did you hear of cases when they don’t let you in their countries ( indonesia, Papua new guineea, malaysia, philipines, cambodia, vietnam) with the drone and they confiscate it?

    • Francis Markert | 02.07.2018

      I think most of your questions are answered in the articles linked above. In general, you only need the permit if you plan to fly your drone in the country. Just in Vietnam, depending on the airport of arrival and departure, I would expect that the drone gets seized. Have a wonderful time in Asia!

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