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
- Revenge Travel Semenanjung: Malaysia VTL Trip Plan to Revisit The Stations (RTS)
- Pre-Departure PCR Swab Test in Singapore at PDTSWAB.SG (Q & M Medical Clinic Buangkok MRT) Experience
- AirAsia VTL Flight AK710 from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur klia2 by Airbus A321neo Review
- SATS Premier Lounge Changi Airport Terminal 1 Post-COVID Review
- Malaysia VTL On-Arrival RT-PCR Swab Test in klia2 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia Experience
- KLIA Ekspres Combined Service from klia2 to KL Sentral by KLIA Transit Train Set
- Rapid KL KL Monorail Line from KL Sentral to Medan Tuanku for The Chow Kit Hotel
- The Chow Kit Hotel King Den Stay & Dine Experience with Free Dining Credits Review
- ETS Platinum Standard 9371dn from Kuala Lumpur to Gemas by Train
- Ekspres Selatan 45dn from Gemas to Kempas Baru by Train [ASC (Air-Conditioned Second Class)]
- Ekspres Rakyat Timuran 26up from Kempas Baru to Kluang by Train [AFC (Air-Conditioned First Class)]
- Milano Hotel Kluang Review
- Malaysia VTL Day 3 Professional RTK Antigen Swab Test on CLEA Virtual Screening Experience
- Verifying My Foreign COVID-19 Vaccination for MySejahtera at Kluang District Health Office (KKM Kluang)
- Must-Eat Breakfast at Kluang RailCoffee
- Ekspres Selatan 43dn from Kluang to Kempas Baru by Train [ASC (Air-Conditioned Second Class)]
- Looking Back To Singapore From R&F Marina Place
- Empty JB Sentral, Johor Bahru City Square & Komtar JBCC
- Ekspres Rakyat Timuran 26up from Kempas Baru to Tumpat by Train [ADNS (Air-conditioned Day/Night Second)]
- Jeti Pendaratan Kampung Dalam Rhu
- Shuttle Timuran 57dn from Tumpat to Gua Musang by Train (61 Class DMU12 / 61112)
- Rihla Hotel Dataran Tengah Gua Musang Budget Twin Room Review
- Malaysia VTL Day 5 Professional RTK Antigen Swab Test on CLEA Virtual Screening Experience
- Shuttle Timuran 53dn from Gua Musang to Kuala Lipis by Train (61 Class DMU02 / 61102 Kota Bharu)
- Kereta Sewa from Perhentian Bas Dan Teksi Bandar Kuala Lipis to Terminal Anggerik Kuala Lipis
- Pahang Lin Siong from Terminal Anggerik Kuala Lipis to Pekeliling Bus Terminal Kuala Lumpur by Bus
- Coming soon!
- Malaysia to Singapore VTL Pre-Travel COVID-19 Antigen Test (ART/RTK) on CLEA Virtual Screening Experience
- AirAsia VTL Flight AK711 from Kuala Lumpur klia2 to Singapore by Airbus A321neo Review
- Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre Quick Test Centre (QTC) for VTL Travellers Day 3 ART (DA at MBS p-QTC)
- Plaza Singapura Quick Test Centre (QTC) for VTL Travellers Day 7 ART
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
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.
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
SIN 07:15 ► KUL 08:25
Singapore Airlines SQ108
SIN 08:30 ► KUL 09:30
Malindo Air OD804
SIN 11:30 ► KUL 12:35
SIN 11:45 ► KUL 12:55
Malaysia Airlines MH606
SIN 14:30 ► KUL 15:30
Singapore Airlines SQ122
SIN 17:30 ► KUL 18:40
Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays only
SIN 17:30 ► KUL 18:30
Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays only
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- AirAsia AK710 Malaysia VTL Flight from Singapore Changi Airport to klia2
- ETS Platinum Standard 9371dn from Kuala Lumpur to Gemas
- Ekspres Selatan 45dn from Gemas to Kempas Baru
- Ekspres Rakyat Timuran 26up from Kempas Baru to Kluang
- Ekspres Selatan 43dn from Kluang to Kempas Baru
- Ekspres Rakyat Timuran 26up from Kempas Baru to Tumpat
- Shuttle Timuran 57dn from Tumpat to Gua Musang
- Shuttle Timuran 53dn from Gua Musang to Kuala Lipis
- Pahang Lin Siong bus from Kuala Lipis to Kuala Lumpur Jalan Pekeliling Bus Terminal
- ETS Platinum Standard 9274up from KL Sentral to Padang Besar
- KTM Komuter Northern Sector 2963dn from Padang Besar to Butterworth
- ETS Business Class 9107dn from Butterworth to KL Sentral
- AirAsia AK711 Singapore VTL Flight from klia2 to Singapore Changi Airport
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
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.
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
KUL 09:05 ► SIN 10:15
Malindo Air OD803
KUL 09:25 ► SIN 10:30
KUL 10:05 ► SIN 11:05
Singapore Airlines SQ107
KUL 10:25 ► SIN 11:35
Malaysia Airlines MH603
KUL 12:20 ► SIN 13:20
Singapore Airlines SQ121
KUL 19:30 ► SIN 20:35
Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays only
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.
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.