Disclaimer: The travel rules and official government instructions are changing rapidly during the pandemic times and this article might NOT be up to date within a matter of hours. Therefore, you should always double-check the information with local authorities or your embassy in a given destination. Traveling Lifestyle does not take any responsibility for your decision to travel during pandemic.
Located in Southeast Asia, Malaysia takes up part of the Malay Peninsula as well as the island of Borneo.
It’s known for its natural beauty, with white sand beaches and tropical rainforests. It also has a melting pot of cultures, with Malay, Chinese, Indian, and Europeans all living here.
Malaysia’s Borders still Closed; Delays Likely
Since March, tourism has been restricted into Malaysia with a government ordered Movement Control Order (MCO) in place. General tourism is still not possible, but as of July 1st medical tourists were allowed.
In addition, a few other foreigners are being allowed to enter. These include foreign spouses and dependents and a few select workers in high management positions. These arrivals must follow the same strict entry rules as medical tourists.
It was hoped that the borders might start to open for regular tourists on August 31st, but due to the concerns regarding the new coronavirus strain, delays are expected.
How the Coronavirus has affected Malaysia
According to Worldometers’ analysis, there have been 9,267 Covid-19 cases and 125 deaths in Malaysia.
Since early June the situation has stabilized in the country. With over 31 million people, the number of fatalities and cases per capita is relatively low in Malaysia.
The first cases of Covid-19 were detected in Malaysia on January 25th, 2020. At first, the government was not alarmed, but by March 10th, the Prime Minister asked people to maintain social distance. A nationwide lockdown followed on March 18th.
Malaysia imposed a strict quarantine policy that included asymptomatic patients. Anyone who came into close contact with a confirmed coronavirus patient was subject to being hospitalized. It also imposed mass testing early on, particularly in high-risk areas. Currently nationwide testing capacity stands at 20,000 tests per day.
Robust contact tracing teams and a relatively good public health system have also helped to keep the number of cases low.
Unfortunately, recently, a new strain of the coronavirus was detected in Malaysia. Health officials are concerned it may be more infectious than Covid-19. Called D614G, it was originally detected in 45 cases in the nation.
Rules for Medical Tourists in Malaysia
Currently, this is the only type of tourism allowed. Foreign visitors who would like to access Malaysian health care services must first contact the Health Ministry.
They will be required to register with the Malaysian Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) and download an app.
Prior to coming to Malaysia, they must pass a Covid-19 test. They will also be tested upon arrival. They must go directly into quarantine at the hospital or clinic where they will receive care.
If a medical tourist has a family member or guardian, then that person must also follow these guidelines.
It is believed that as Malaysia opens to other types of tourists, it will impose similarly strict rules upon them.
Which Countries’ Citizens Can Enter Malaysia?
On July 21st, the list of “green zone” countries whose residents are allowed to enter Malaysia for medical treatment include:
- South Korea,
- New Zealand
Malaysia and Singapore’s border
Prior to Covid-19, the border between Malaysia and Singapore was among the world’s busiest. There were over 29,000 flights between the two countries annually as well as 300,000 daily land crossings.
Because of the deep economic and social ties between the two countries, as of August 17th, Malaysia and Singapore entered into a Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) agreement.
This allows short term travel of up to 2 weeks for the citizens of these two nations. Those traveling will still be under strict health monitoring rules.
Check our post for more information about Singapore reopening borders with restrictions.
Why visit Malaysia?
If you go to Malaysia, you can choose between two very different experiences. You can either visit the Malay Peninsula, which has an ultramodern capital, Kuala Lumpur, and a blend of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and European cultures.
Or you can visit the Malaysian Borneo. Here you will find orangutans and remote tribes in the wild jungles as well as granite peaks, massive trees, and waterfalls. There are also beautiful islands, excellent diving, colonial towns to explore, and luxury resorts for those who seek to be pampered.
For those who seek pristine white beaches, Langkawi offers 99 islands to choose from. An archipelago in the Andaman Sea, it is Malaysia’s heaviest tourist destination.
Conservationists can visit the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation center, which was opened in 1964. Here they can meet rescued orphans, who are trained to survive in the wild. They are released into the adjacent sanctuary.
In Kuala Lumpur, meanwhile, you can visit the Petronas Twin Towers, which are the tallest twin buildings in the world. The Batu Caves near the city offer magnificent Hindu art and there are many beautiful Buddhist and Hindu temples within the city itself.
The Bukit Bintag shopping district offers both daytime bargains and trendy nightlife.
Thanks to the mix of cultures here, there are also some addictively tasty dishes to try!
It may be a while before Malaysia opens its borders. When it does, make sure your visit here encompasses both the highlights of the peninsula and the unique charms of Borneo.
Malaysia is a nation of contrasts – it has exquisite natural beauty and ultramodern skyscrapers. It also has a rich mix of cultures that make it very unique.