malaysia reopening

Malaysia To Reopen and Lift Travel Restrictions from Jan. 31 to Feb. 15

Malaysia started to gradually reopen from January 1. On November 29 it opened an air and land VTL with Singapore.

Visitors who do not qualify for a travel lane must observe a mandatory 7-10 days quarantine at a government-appointed facility.

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Disclaimer: Travel restrictions and governmental regulations can change rapidly and the information below might be outdated within a few hours. Therefore, double-check all information with your embassy or on official websites. Traveling Lifestyle does not take any responsibility for your decision to travel.

Singapore reopening borders – Latest Updates
Thailand Islands reopened for vaccinated tourists

Malaysia Reopening for Tourism – Latest Updates

January 21 – Malaysia to lift travel restrictions from Jan. 31 to Feb. 15

In preparation for the Chinese New Year (CNY), the Malaysian government has announced the relaxation of several COVID-19 related restrictions.

New rules established by the National Unity ministry include allowing house visits and reunion dinners from Jan. 31 to Feb. 15.

Such gatherings should be attended by “immediate family members” or “close relatives,” only. 

Authorities stated that during the celebrations there will be no travel restrictions

In fact, the country has resumed ticket sales for quarantine-free travel to Singapore.

January 10 – Malaysia is gradually reopening for tourism and “does not have plans to close again,” said government

Malaysia began reopening to international travelers last month with the launch of the Langkawi International Travel Bubble plan.

Malaysia’s Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Hajah Nancy Shukri, stated that the country’s high vaccination rates (78.5 percent as of today) and effective pandemic response will allow the country to continue reopening its borders to international tourists.

“We have no plans to ever close the borders,” Shukri told reporters at Expo 2020 Dubai. 

The country is opening in phases and “as of now, things are under control and we are still very cautious,” she added.

December 28 – Malaysia has lifted its travel ban on Southern African countries

Malaysia is the latest international destination to lift its travel ban on eight Southern African nations. 

South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho Namibia and Malawi along with Australia, India, Saudi Arabia, the UK and the US are now part of Malaysia’s high-risk travel list.

This means that visitors from these nations will be allowed entry but will face further restrictions upon arrival, confirmed the Health Minister on Dec 28.

Is Malaysia and Singapore’s border open?

The border between Malaysia and Singapore reopened for vaccinated people only on Nov. 29.

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.

Rules for Medical Tourists in Malaysia

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.

Which countries can enter Malaysia?

Foreign tourists can travel to Langkawi via Langkawi International Tourism Bubble (Inbound). For further information click here.

Can Americans visit Malaysia?

Only if they are eligible to travel under the Langkawi International Travel Bubble plan.

malaysia reopening in 2021

How the Coronavirus has affected Malaysia

As of January 21, Malaysia has recorded 2,820,927 cases and 31,853 deaths caused by the virus.

Why visit Malaysia?


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 is also a melting pot of cultures, with Malay, Chinese, Indian, and Europeans all living here.

Visitors to Malaysia can choose between two very different experiences. They can either visit the Malay Peninsula, which has an ultramodern capital, Kuala Lumpur, and a blend of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and European cultures.

Or they can visit the Malaysian Borneo. Here they 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 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, tourists can see 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.

Petronas twin towers

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 reopening border: Update Archives

December 16: Malaysia to launch Test & Go scheme with Thailand

Malaysia and Thailand have agreed to install Test & Go checkpoints at several border crossings starting in mid-January,

Agencies in both countries are working on building up a system to examine vaccine certificates, test tourists on their first day of arrival, and verify that all hotel venues fulfill each other’s COVID-19 protocols.

The exact launching date of the program is yet to be announced.

December 2 – Malaysia could ban flights from the UK, Australia, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands over the next few days

Malaysia is currently revisiting entry restrictions for travelers from the United Kingdom, Australia, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany due to concerns regarding the new Omicron variant. 

For now, passengers traveling directly from or passing through African nations where Omicron cases have been detected are barred from entering the country.

According to the Health Minister, Malaysia will issue daily updates to its list of banned countries. 

November 25 – Malaysia to reopen a -land- Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) on Nov. 29

Along with the -air- Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) Malaysia is also launching a –land– VTL on Nov. 29.

Visitors will be limited to using 32 VTL buses in the initial phase, and no quarantine on arrival would be needed. 

Those arriving by private vehicle or walking across the Causeway will be subjected to regular border control requirements, including serving a “7-day Stay-Home Notice.”

Both countries expect to see 1,440 passengers per day. 

November 19 – Malaysia to reopen for foreign tourists by January 1

Former Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who chairs a group entrusted with pushing Malaysia’s economic recovery, said the country will reopen its borders to overseas travelers by Jan. 1 at the latest.

For the time being, the nation plans to open a travel corridor with Singapore on Nov. 29.

On Nov. 15, the resort island of Langkawi reopened without quarantine to a limited number of travelers from selected countries. 

The exact reopening date is still being worked out by health and security organizations, according to Muhyiddin.

November 8 – Malaysia-Singapore quarantine-free travel lane to open on Nov. 29

Malaysia and Singapore will launch a two-way quarantine-free lane for fully vaccinated citizens starting Nov. 29, both countries announced on Monday.

The agreement includes flights between Changi Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

“It is timely to progressively resume cross-border travel between both countries, in a safe manner,” said Singapore and Malaysia’s prime ministers in a joint statement.

According to the leaders, the COVID border restrictions have separated families in both countries for many months and now it’s time to put an end to it. 

October 9 – Malaysia plans to resume international tourism on Dec. 1. 

Malaysia will reopen international borders as soon as the country manages to immunize 90% of its population, which is expected to happen by Dec. 1.

The country will make sure to restart interstate before it happens. 

“I believe the time for interstate travel is getting close, and I will immediately announce the resumption of interstate travel when the vaccination rate (for the adult population) reaches 90 percent,” Malaysia’s PM said.

To this date, the country has vaccinated 87% of its adult population.

Read our full post: Malaysia Plans To Reopen for International Tourism on December 1

October 24 – Malaysia would reopen international borders in November, says government

Malaysia plans to reopen borders to foreign tourists in November. Visitors from Singapore may be among the first to be admitted, according to the Malaysian tourism minister.

However, not all of the country would be accessible to tourists. Starting in November, only fully vaccinated travelers will be allowed into the resort island of Langkawi.

“That’s what we’ve proposed, we will have to wait for the announcement from the government… we hope that they will take it up from there … we’re very optimistic that they’re going to agree with that,” the minister told reporters this week.

September 22 – Malaysia reopened its paradise island Langkawi for local tourism on Sept. 19

Malaysia has been closed for international tourism since May 2020 and also has closed multiple islands for local visitors.

This week the country decided to reopen its paradise island Langkawi and hours later multiple flights landed with hundreds of tourists. 

“The main issue I see among the tourists is a lack of social distancing, especially on inbound flights to Langkawi,” said Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who represents Langkawi in parliament.

However, the Malaysian Association of Hotels board feels confident because, after seeing Thailand’s experience, they vaccinated all hotel staff on the island to be ready for this reopening.

Source: Nikkei Asia

September 6 – Multiple Malaysian states surpassed 90% ICUs capacity last weekend

Despite Malaysia being in a state of emergency for more than 7 months and in lockdown since June, Selangor, Johor and Penang ICUs have surpassed 90% ICUs capacity as the country reports a record high of 20,396 daily cases as of September 5.

Three states have already overflown ICU capacity. Kedah 123%, Perak 108% and Kelantan 103%.

According to Health Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah the overall national occupancy rate for ICUs exceeds 86% as per today. 

No additional restrictions have been announced yet.

Source: CNA

August 12 – Malaysia will no longer use the number of cases but COVID hospitalization rates to reopen

Malaysia is dropping the number of COVID-19 cases as an indicator to safely reopen.

From now, the COVID-19 hospitalization rate will be used to determine when a state can move to the third or four-phase of the plan and therefore, reopen. 

It would be great news if the number of patients permitted were not extremely low. The government will accept no more than 1.3 cases per 100,000 population to allow states to reopen, which would be one of the lowest hospitalization rates in the world.

Source: Bangkok Post

August 26 – The World Health Organization (WHO) warns Malaysia about its pandemic management 

Vaccines alone won’t control COVID, it’s the message (WHO) has sent to the recently appointed Malaysia’s new Prime Minister, Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

In the last 24 hours, the country reported 22,642 new COVID-19 cases bringing its total tally to more than 1.6 million since the pandemic began.

“It’s actually up to countries to carefully assess (…) the effectiveness of the intervention [But] it’s very important point for the Covid-19 response is not to rely on just one measure, but to make it as a combination,” said Dr. Kasai during the last WHO’s virtual press conference.


July 28 – Malaysia eased COVID-19 restrictions on July 20 but international travel remains banned

The government ended the enhanced movement control order (EMCO) and eased COVID-19 restrictions on July 20 in most areas of the country including the capital Kuala Lumpur and Selangor State.

Restrictions are still tough. Interstate travel remains banned and children under the age of 12 are allowed to leave home for essential reasons only. These include going to the doctor and other emergency situations.

International travel remains banned. In order to get an entry permit, visitors need to get a formal written approval from the Malaysian Government. Such permission can be obtained through My Travel Pass, a portal of Malaysian Immigration.

Source: U.S. Embassy in Malaysia

July 12 – Malaysia registered highest number of tourists in ASEAN countries in 2H 2020

Once the domestic lockdowns were lifted back in 2020, Malaysia recorded the highest number of domestic travelers among the 10 countries comprising the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

“Despite an enormous drop in bookings, the desire for Malaysians to travel is crystal clear across all regions of the country and we saw Malaysia’s destinations which never made it to our top 10 before, made it into that list,” said Agoda corporate development vice president Tim Hughes during the virtual conference Maybank’s Invest ASEAN 2021.

According to Hughes, the winning strategy has been focusing on creating flexible products appealing to local markets.

Source: The Edge Markets

June 28 –  Malaysia will remain under full lockdown after June 28, while business groups urge the government to reopen

On June 27, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced that the country will remain under lockdown after June 28, the day the nationwide restrictions were supposed to be lifted. 

Industries Unite (IU), an association that gathers 3 million businesses, has demanded the government to reopen the economy since the “full” Movement Control Order has not shown symptoms of helping flatten the curve.

“People are struggling to put food on the table, how many months of reserve can businesses be expected to have?” said David Gurupatham, coordinator for the IU coalition at a press conference. He also added that businesses “cannot last beyond the next couple of months”.

As of today, the government has not issued an official response. (Source).