South East Asia is the gift that keeps on giving throughout early 2022, as nearly the entire region has now reopened to tourists without quarantine. You can travel to any of Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines, or Indonesia with relative ease, as well as between each other.
In the latest round of exciting news from the region, Malaysia will joining the group as they fully reopen to international tourists beginning April 1, 2022.
Malaysia Travel Restrictions
Malaysia’s prime minister announced during a recent press conference that “citizens with valid documents can enter and leave the country as they did before the pandemic” – albeit with a few pre-arrival entry requirements in place.
All international arrivals are welcomed, provided they meet all vaccination and testing requirements.
How Can Canadians Enter Malaysia?
All of the following rules and requirements apply as of May 1, 2022.
Travellers are allowed to enter Malaysia by air, as well as by land. As of October 2021, when departing Canada by air, travellers are required to present proof of vaccination.
Travellers coming from Canada must fulfill present proof of vaccination in order to enter Malaysia. There is no test requirement.
Your Canadian COVID-19 proof of vaccination will suffice.
Malaysia’s entry requirements mirror European countries more than its neighbours in Asia, as there are no requirements for downloading an app, having pre-booked accommodation, insurance, or even an entry form.
This will be a very welcome recurring theme as we examine COVID-19 restrictions on the ground in Malaysia below.
Testing & Quarantine Upon Arrival
As of May 1, Malaysia has also removed all entry test requirements.
Testing & Quarantine Upon Return
As of April 1, 2022, a negative test is no longer required prior to travelling back to Canada.
If you need to find a test in Malaysia, it should be very simple to do so.
From a preliminary search online, there appears to be plenty of cheap antigen tests at least in the capital of Kuala Lumpur, and attaining one shouldn’t be a problem for the everyday traveller.
Current Health Requirements in Malaysia
In refreshing news, and again in contrast to its neighbours, you can expect life in Malaysia to be more or less “normal” – or at least as close as we get to normal these days.
Malaysia is moving towards treating COVID-19 as endemic, meaning more or less “living with COVID-19”. It makes sense that the country is moving in this direction, with 98% of the adult population fully vaccinated and 64% of adults already receiving a booster dose.
In the same press conference announcing the opening of the country’s borders, Malaysia’s prime minister has also said that there will no longer be enforced operational hours or capacity limits for businesses. Travel between states in Malaysia will also no longer require vaccination checks.
The only major COVID-19 prevention measure in place is mandatory mask-wearing in all public areas. This includes all indoor places, public transit, and cultural sites. As of May 1, masks are no longer mandatory outdoors.
There’s been mention of a government app to be used for contact tracing, but details are yet to be released.
How to Get to Malaysia
Within South East Asia, Aeroplan is usually the first program we look to, as it offers a fantastic sweet spot of 85,000 points one-way in business class as long as the overall routing falls under 11,000 miles in distance flown.
EVA Air is always a solid option, offering flights from Toronto, Vancouver, New York, Chicago, Houston, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
From the East Coast, a routing through Europe or the Middle East would cost the same amount of 85,000 points.
Those on the West Coast will want to stick to transpacific routings to keep the price at 85,000 points.
Finally, Malaysia’s national airline Malaysia Airlines belongs to the Oneworld alliance, so the more adventurous of us can look towards booking a British Airways multi-carrier award involving Malaysia Airlines between, say, London and Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia fully opening to international travellers without quarantine is great news, but I dare say the even better news is that Malaysia plans to treat COVID-19 as endemic, leading to a loosening of restrictions around the country.
The process for entering Malaysia is fairly simple, with only proof of vaccination and a negative RT-PCR test required. Since the test can be taken at most two days before departure, you’ll want to look for a testing centre that can offer quick turnarounds.
The speed at which countries in South East Asia have been reopening has been increasing since the descent of the Omicron variant, and allows us to remain hopeful as we glance further northeast at Japan, South Korea, and China.
As always, you can refer to our Travel During COVID-19 Resource for Canadians for the most up-to-date information on travelling in the pandemic era.