For many Singaporeans and Malaysians, the resumption of travel across the borders has been highly anticipated. The COVID-19 travel restrictions have meant a period of long separation for families and workers who used to travel regularly, sometimes daily, across the Causeway (and Second Link). Thankfully, now the long wait is over with the announcement of the Singapore-Malaysia Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTLs) via both air and land.
The Singapore-Malaysia VTL (Land) has started on 29 November 2021, the same day as the Singapore-Malaysia VTL (Air).
From 20 December 2021, Singapore Citizens will be able to enter Malaysia and Malaysian Citizens will be able to enter Singapore via the VTL (Land). This means that Singaporeans who want to enter Malaysia for leisure (JB shopping trips?) will be able to do so via the land VTL from 20 December.
[Update] As of 21 January 2022, the 50% limit on VTL flight and bus tickets for entry into Singapore remains.
As of 22 December 2021, Singapore has suspended ticket sales for VTL flights and buses between 23 Dec 2021 and 20 Jan 2022. Existing ticket holders can still proceed with their travels, but new tickets will no longer be sold. This is in light of concern about the new Omicron variant.
Here’s how much it will cost to travel via the Singapore-Malaysia VTL.
Land VS Air Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL)
Price isn’t the only factor when it comes to determining whether we would choose to travel to Malaysia and back, using the land or air VTL.
The Singapore-Malaysia VTL (Air) would start with 6 daily designated flights with 6 operators – AirAsia, Jetstar Asia, Malaysia Airlines, Malindo Air, Scoot and Singapore Airlines. The Singapore-Malaysia VTL (Land) would start with 32 bus trips each side with 2 operators – Handal Indah and Transtar Travel.
Travelling by land has always been a more frequented mode of transport and the land VTL has the larger capacity and high frequency between the VTL options. The Land VTL is expected to allow up to 1,440 travellers to cross the border in each direction and this capacity would be reviewed weekly. The Land VTL may also be expanded to include rail travel which would also increase the frequency and capacity of travel.
However, the limitation of the land VTL is that it is currently restricted to only citizens, Permanent Residents and Long-Term Pass holders of the country they are entering. Short-term pass holders and foreign visitors would not be able to utiilise the land VTL. This prioritises the land VTL as an option for families who have been separated by the border restrictions. So, Malaysian citizens working in Singapore would be able to enter Malaysia via the land VTL and vice versa for Singapore citizens working in Malaysia to enter Singapore. However, Singapore citizens intending to visit Malaysia for a holiday would have to use the air VTL which doesn’t have this restriction.
Note: While Long-Term Pass holders are able to travel via the VTLs, they would need to apply for a Vaccinated Travel Pass. Citizens and Permanent Residents need not apply for the VTP. The VTP (Land) and VTP (Air) are not interchangeable.
Whether you choose to take the land or air VTL may also depend on your intended destination in Malaysia. Designated buses will travel to Larkin Sentral Bus Terminal in Johor Bahru while designated flights will arrive at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
Designated VTL Flight VS Bus Ticket Price To Malaysia
Without a doubt, the bus ticket prices are much cheaper. Adult bus tickets cost S$15 in Singapore and RM20 in Malaysia. Tickets for children cost S$8 and RM10. Travellers are required to purchase their bus tickets at least three days before the date of departure. However, as of the morning of 25 November 2021, both bus operator websites faced long wait times.
Air tickets cost between $165 to over $600 for a flight departing on 7 December and returning on 14 December 2021. Most of the flights departing on 29 November, the start date of the VTL, have already been sold out, leaving only higher-priced options.
|Singapore-Malaysia VTL (Air)|
|AirAsia||$165.54 for VTL flight departing on 7 Dec 2021 and returning 14 Dec 2021|
|Jetstar Asia||S$216.53 for VTL flight departing on 7 Dec 2021 and returning 14 Dec 2021|
|Malaysia Airlines||S$244.30 for VTL flight departing on 7 Dec 2021 and returning 14 Dec 2021|
|Malindo Air||S$200.70 for VTL flight departing on 7 Dec 2021 and returning 14 Dec 2021|
|Scoot||S$310.93for VTL flight departing on 7 Dec 2021 and returning 14 Dec 2021|
|Singapore Airlines||S$684.70 for VTL flight departing on 7 Dec 2021 and returning 14 Dec 2021|
Notes: Prices are accurate as of 25 November 2021 and obtained from the airline’s websites.
Jetstar’s booking page doesn’t indicate clearly the VTL flights which are 3K683 and 3K684. Malindo Air currently only operates VTL flights between Singapore and Malaysia. Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines do codeshare their VTL flights. The options presented are for their own airline flights and does not include codeshare flights.
COVID-19 Testing Prices
However, the greatest expense of taking a VTL to Malaysia is probably the COVID-19 testing requirements. Regardless of whether you choose to take the land or air VTL, you would have to take the pre-departure and on-arrival tests, which can add up significantly.
Notes: Antigen Rapid Test (ART) or Rapid Testing Kit (RTK) or Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) COVID-19 tests may be accepted depending on the requirements. The table lists the accepted tests for each stage. Prices are estimated if there is no designated provider.
|Test Required||Cost For VTL (Land)||Cost For VTL (Air)|
|(Singapore to Malaysia) Pre-departure||ART: S$15 at Quick Test Centres
RTK: only ART or PCR tests are offered in Singapore.
PCR: ~S$150 to $200
|PCR: ~S$150 to $200|
|Post-arrival in Malaysia||Professionally administered RTK on Day 3 and 5: ~RM130 each
Self-administered RTK on Day 2,4,6: ~RM19.90 each
|(Malaysia) On-Arrival||RTK: RM130||PCR: ~RM350|
|(Malaysia to Singapore) Pre-departure||ART: ~RM80 for ART
PCR: ~RM210 for PCR
|ART: ~RM160 for ART/RTK
|(Singapore) On-Arrival||ART: S$15||PCR: S$125|
|Post-arrival in Singapore||Supervised ART on Day 3 and 7: S$15 each
Self-administered ART on Day 2, 4, 5 and 6: ~$6 each
In total, the cost of testing is about $75 for VTL (Land) and about $530 for VTL (Air). The lower cost of testing for VTL (Land) is due to the acceptance of ART and RTK test results. There is also no need to take an on-arrival test when entering Singapore via VTL (Land).
In light of the new Omicron variant, Singapore and Malaysia have implemented additional ART/RTK for post-arrival VTL. This additional testing bumps up the cost to about $260 for VTL (Land) and $600 for VTL (Air).
[Update] As of 21 January 2022, Singapore has announced a simplified VTL testing regime. From 24 January 2022, VTL travellers entering Singapore via both air and land checkpoints will only be required to do unsupervised self-administered ARTs from Day 2 and Day 7 of their arrivals if they need to leave their place of residence or accommodation. The results need not be submitted but travellers must test negative before going out. With this new arrangement, testing costs will be reduced as supervised testing is no longer required.
You May Return To Singapore Via VTL(Land) Or VTL(Air) If You Left Via VTL (Land)
According to ICA, those who have left Singapore and entered Malaysia via VTL (Land) may return via both VTL (Land) or VTL (Air) arrangements, subject to the relevant inbound VTL criteria.
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