Revenge Travel Semenanjung: Malaysia VTL Trip Plan to Revisit The Stations (RTS)

Malaysia VTL Trip Game Plan

With the recent announcement of the Singapore – Malaysia bilateral Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTLs), I wonder if it’s a surprise or otherwise that I found myself as part of the online fare hunt mob to make my way to Malaysia and back to Singapore without quarantine. Thanks to the World’s Best Low-Cost Airline 12 years in a row, I managed to snag an unbelievably cheap deal to visit Malaysia after around 2 years.

My last booked KL flight with AirAsia was AirAsia AK715 on Sunday, 15 March 2020. Yes, that was just hours before quarantines kicked in from 16 March 2020.

Unfortunately, I gave that KL trip a miss, sacrificing my bus ticket up and AirAsia fare and ancillaries, as Malaysia had more than 100 cases a day then.

How naïve I was.

Little did I know that if I had been on that weekend trip, it would have been my very last overseas trip before all the lockdowns (and breaking of circuits which is not a lockdown) began.


Revenge Travel Semenanjung Journey


Restarting Travel Safely: RailTravel Station Revisits The Stations (RTSRTSRTS)

With less than a month to go to ride proper trains again, the feeling sure is surreal. Perhaps it is fitting that this Malaysia VTL trip is done with AirAsia once again to recover where I had left off since March 2020.

And also I have like S$484 in my credit account. Help.

Being RailTravel Station, no prizes for guessing what’s going to be on my priority list when visiting Peninsular Malaysia. KL is my point of entry and exit, but I’m not spending too much time there.


Malaysia VTL Requirements for Singaporeans

Malaysia VTL Infographic from Jabatan Imigresen Malaysia

Any Nationality

Any person of any nationality in Singapore may use the Singapore-Malaysia VTL as long as the person meets the requirements. The only thing sticky is the Singapore-Malaysia VTL flight. However, certain nationalities may need to apply for a Malaysian visa based on existing requirements.

14-day Travel History in Singapore and/or Malaysia

Similar to the Korea VTL, your 14-day travel history prior to arrival in Malaysia must only include Singapore and/or Malaysia ie. you cannot be arriving from another country into Singapore and then transit to Malaysia without staying at least 14 days in Singapore first.

Fully Vaccinated

Malaysia recognises COVID-19 vaccines approved under the World Health Organization’s Emergency Use Listing or “approved by a stringent regulatory authority”.

Children aged 12 years old and below based on their date of birth will be exempt from this requirement when travelling with a fully vaccinated adult.

Malaysia VTL Flights

All VTL travellers to Malaysia must book a return flight on 1 of 6 VTL flights between Singapore Changi Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport. You will not be eligible for quarantine-free entry to either Malaysia or Singapore if you do not book a VTL flight.

Malaysian nationals do not need a return flight out of Malaysia to enter Malaysia.

Singapore – Malaysia VTL Flights as of 29 November 2021

Jetstar Asia 3K683
Airbus A320
SIN 07:15 ► KUL 08:25
Daily

Singapore Airlines SQ108
Airbus A350-900
SIN 08:30 ► KUL 09:30
Daily

Malindo Air OD804
Boeing 737-800
SIN 11:30 ► KUL 12:35
Daily

AirAsia AK710
Airbus A320
SIN 11:45 ► KUL 12:55
Daily

Malaysia Airlines MH606
Airbus A330-300/200
SIN 14:30 ► KUL 15:30
Daily

Singapore Airlines SQ122
Airbus A350-900
SIN 17:30 ► KUL 18:40
Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays only

Scoot TR472
Boeing 787-9
SIN 17:30 ► KUL 18:30
Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays only

Travel Insurance

Short-term visitors to Malaysia must have travel insurance with a minimum coverage of RM100,000 (S$32,500) for medical treatment or hospitalisation costs related to COVID-19 in Malaysia.

Malaysian nationals do not need travel insurance to enter Malaysia.

Pre-Departure COVID-19 PCR Test

All travellers to Malaysia must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result with the test taken within 2 days before departure from Singapore.

On-Arrival COVID-19 PCR Test (Day 1)

All travellers to Malaysia must do an on-arrival COVID-19 PCR test at KLIA or klia2 BP Health Screening Centre and await the results in a designated waiting area. You can pre-book the PCR test here.

Test results will take 1 to 3 hours, and travellers to Malaysia can only clear immigration after the negative PCR test result has been received.

Download MySejahtera App

Travellers must download and register with the MySejahtera app available on Android or iOS for contact tracing. Children aged below 12 years old who are travelling with their parents/legal guardians can be registered as dependents of the parents/legal guardians in the MySejahtera app.

I suggest to do this early to register your vaccination status with the MySejahtera app as it takes 5 working days for them to process it. Otherwise, you cannot dine-in in Malaysia, which is the whole point of visiting Malaysia.


15 x COVID-19 Tests and Costs

For this 10-day trip to Peninsular Malaysia, there are 15 COVID-19 tests involved.

Malaysia VTL’s Singapore Pre-Departure PCR Test: S$107

Mainly Miles has very helpfully compiled a list of cheapest pre-departure COVID-19 PCR and ART tests in Singapore here.

pdtswab.sg has recently been added to the list, offering a S$107 pre-departure PCR swab test in Singapore, on par with the solo cheapest S$107 before at SATA CommHealth.

SATA CommHealth‘s clinics and laboratories do not operate on weekends. As my departure day is a Sunday, my PCR test will not be processed in time for my flight.

As such, I booked my pre-departure PCR swab test at pdtswab.sg which offers the cheapest pre-departure PCR swab test in Singapore at S$107.

Malaysia VTL’s KLIA Arrival PCR Test: RM370 (~S$120.32)

My on-arrival COVID-19 PCR test will be at klia2 BP Health Screening Centre since I’m flying with AirAsia. Pre-booking for the PCR test can be done here. Notably, the negative result from the Singapore Pre-Departure PCR Test must be uploaded to the booking portal, so I can’t book my klia2 test just yet.

Malaysia VTL’s Days 2, 4, and 6 Post-Arrival self-administered RTK Test: ~RM9.90 + ~RM9.90 + ~RM9.90 (~S$9.70)

Malaysia Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced on Tuesday, 7 December 2021 that Vaccinated Travel Lane travellers entering Malaysia are required to undergo additional self post-arrival Days 2, 4, and 6 COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test Kits (RTK) Tests on Days 2, 4, and 6. This applies to both Vaccinated Travel Lane (Air) [VTL (Air)] travellers entering Malaysia by plane, and Vaccinated Travel Lane (Land) [VTL (Land)] travellers entering Malaysia by bus.

This additional self-administered Days 2, 4, and 6 COVID-19 RTK tests will be using self-purchased Rapid Antigen Test Kits (RTK) in Malaysia and the results will have to be reported on the MySejahtera application.

Malaysia VTL’s Days 3 and 5 Post-Arrival professional RTK Test: ~RM70 + ~RM70 (~S$45.52)

Malaysia Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced on Tuesday, 7 December 2021 that Vaccinated Travel Lane travellers entering Malaysia are required to undergo additional self post-arrival Days 3 and 5 professional COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test Kits (RTK) Tests on Days 3 and 5. This applies to both Vaccinated Travel Lane (Air) [VTL (Air)] travellers entering Malaysia by plane, and Vaccinated Travel Lane (Land) [VTL (Land)] travellers entering Malaysia by bus.

This additional professional Days 3 and 5 COVID-19 RTK tests will be done at clinics or hospitals. View the list of clinics and hospitals for a professionally administered RTK-Ag test here.

Singapore VTL’s Malaysia Pre-Departure ART (RTK-Antigen) Test: RM70 (~S$22.76)

After looking through a few options including doing an RTK saliva test at KLIA, I decided to do my pre-departure ART (RTK-Antigen in Malaysia terms) test in the city for RM70 to save the hassle of arriving at the airport area way ahead of my morning flight and risk a long queue to take the test there and then.

I’m still unsure of which clinic to choose, though I have narrowed it down to 2. There’s quite an extensive ART / RTK-Antigen test list of clinics here, perhaps too extensive. It would be nice if it were plain text instead of image files.

Singapore VTL’s Changi Airport Arrival PCR Test: S$125

Inbound travellers (including Singapore citizens, permanent residents and long-term pass holders) on  the VTL are required to undergo a COVID-19 test upon arrival in Singapore. Bookings can be made from Safe Travel Concierge.

Singapore VTL’s Day 3 and Day 7 Post-Arrival ART Test: S$15 + S$15

Additional post-arrival Day 3 and Day 7 post-arrival Antigen Rapid Tests (ARTs) at Quick Test Centres (QTCs) have been added for inbound VTL travellers (including Singapore citizens, permanent residents and long-term pass holders) in view of the COVID-19 Omicron variant. Bookings can be made from the COVID-19 Appointment Booking Portal.

Singapore VTL’s Day 2, 4, 5 & 6 Post-Arrival ART Test: S$21.80

Additional post-arrival Days 2, 4, 5, and 6 post-arrival self-administered Antigen Rapid Tests (ARTs) have been added for inbound VTL travellers (including Singapore citizens, permanent residents and long-term pass holders) in view of the COVID-19 Omicron variant. You can get a pack of 4 Abbott PanBio Covid-19 Antigen Rapid Self Test (ART) Kit at S$21.80 from pharmacies and supermarkets.

Singapore – Malaysia VTL Total COVID-19 Tests Cost: ~S$482.10

Pre-corona, this budget would more than cover me for a week’s trip in Malaysia inclusive of all tickets, hotels, and expenditures, but, such is life in corona times.

Travel Insurance

I bought my single trip travel insurance from AIG Travel Guard® via SAFRA where there is 20% off all Single Trip Plans that includes 24/7 in-house Global Assistance. Ignore the details on SAFRA’s page which is outdated – the AIG page later on clearly shows the COVID-19 Benefits.

I didn’t compare around as S$37.60 after discount was quite a reasonable price to pay already, and the coverage includes COVID-19 Benefits of Medical Expenses Incurred Overseas & Emergency Medical Evacuation and Repatriation under age 70 years of S$100,000.

That’s 3 times above what Malaysia requires of me (RM100,000).

Revisit The Stations (RTS)

With such a long hiatus of not taking KTM trains, the main plan is to ride on the entire operational railway network where reasonably practicable.

*cough*JB Sentral*cough*

Due to time and geographical constraints, it will also not exactly be a two-way trip on the entire network, but the trains that I will be on will stop at or bypass all the main line passenger stations at least once.

Here’s what I’ll be doing if everything goes to plan:

I’m not doing the Singapore-Malaysia VTL-Land Bus back to Singapore even though I’m eligible because I booked my air ticket on 19 November 2021 itself, before the VTL-Land annoucement.

Sigh. RIP my wallet and nose. But at least I have Pak Nasser’s Nasi Lemak to look forward to.

My trip was supposed to culminate on the JOM NAIK KERETAPI’s Nasi Kandar Fun Ride Special Train, but this has unfortunately been cancelled due to lack of demand. At least now I have more time for the next task list which I have to do in KL.


Singapore VTL Requirements for Singaporeans and PRs

Singapore VTL Infographic from Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS)
Singapore VTL Infographic from Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS)

The VTL for returning Singaporeans and PRs are no different from other countries. Here’s what it entails, though this has been repeated for months by ICA and other more prominent blogs already.

14-day Travel History in Singapore and/or Malaysia

Returning Singaporeans and PRs must have a travel history of Singapore and/or VTL countries and/or Cat I countries in the past 14 days.

Fully Vaccinated

Singapore recognises COVID-19 vaccines approved under the World Health Organization’s Emergency Use Listing.

Children aged 12 years old and below based on their year of birth will be exempt from this requirement when travelling with a fully vaccinated adult.

Pre-Departure COVID-19 ART/RTK or PCR Test

All travellers to Singapore must present a negative COVID-19 ART (RTK for those in Malaysia) or PCR test result with the test taken within 2 days before departure from the departure country ie. Malaysia.

SG Arrival Card

Submit your SG Arrival Card within three (3) days prior to the date of arrival in Singapore to avoid unnecessary delays during immigration clearance.

Singapore VTL Flights

All VTL travellers to Singapore must book a flight on 1 of 6 VTL flights between Kuala Lumpur International Airport and Singapore Changi Airport. You will not be eligible for quarantine-free entry to either Malaysia or Singapore if you do not book a VTL flight.

Malaysia – Singapore VTL Flights as of 29 November 2021

Jetstar Asia 3K684
Airbus A320
KUL 09:05 ► SIN 10:15
Daily

Malindo Air OD803
Boeing 737-800
KUL 09:25 ► SIN 10:30
Daily

AirAsia AK711
Airbus A320
KUL 10:05 ► SIN 11:05
Daily

Singapore Airlines SQ107
Airbus A350-900
KUL 10:25 ► SIN 11:35
Daily

Malaysia Airlines MH603
Airbus A330-300/200
KUL 12:20 ► SIN 13:20
Daily

Singapore Airlines SQ121
Airbus A350-900
KUL 19:30 ► SIN 20:35
Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays only

Scoot TR473
Boeing 787-9
KUL 19:30 ► SIN 20:35
Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays only

On-Arrival COVID-19 PCR Test

All Cat I and VTL travellers to Singapore must do an on-arrival COVID-19 PCR test at Singapore Changi Airport after immigration. You can pre-book the PCR test here.

After the test, travellers to Singapore must proceed to the declared accommodation immediately and remain in isolation until the test result is out which takes 6 to 48 hours.

Conclusion

I booked this Malaysia VTL trip as soon as the AirAsia VTL flights were announced, which makes it less than 1 month from booking to travelling. It certainly feels surreal that I’m going to hop on to a plane again, and visiting Malaysia again after so long.

This trip sure costs me a lot more than usual with my normal budget Malaysia spending, but with a longer trip, the costs should still even out reasonably when divided by the number of days thanks to local budget hotels and the Shuttle Timuran.

I guess this is the price to pay for corona travel. While I would hope that costs could be lower with reciprocal ART/RTK tests just like the Singapore-JB Bus VTL (perhaps even unfair), or even an ASEAN-recognised vaccine “passport” like the EU Digital COVID Certificate, eliminating the need for testing and quarantine in general, I think thousands are still willing to embark on this landmark VTL journey despite the high prices after almost 2 years of travel hiatus.

And so am I.

14 comments

    1. I’m still considering if I should do selected trip reports with important advice while on the trip, or perhaps updating Facebook on the spot instead.

      However, for the usual trains, buses, and hotels, I will be doing them only after returning to Singapore as I’ll like to spend my time in Malaysia enjoying what I’ve missed for the past almost 2 years.

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