Malaysia Is Planning a Phased Reopening Starting Later This Month — What to Know

Malaysia reopen its borders to vaccinated international visitors by at least the beginning of next year, making it the latest Southeast Asian country to plan to welcome tourists again.

The reopening will come by Jan. 1 at the latest, a government advisory council said on Thursday, according to Reuters. A firm date for reopening wasn’t immediately clear.

However, later this week, the country will also begin a pilot program allowing fully vaccinated international tourists to visit Langkawi, a breathtakingly beautiful island off the coast of Malaysia. Travelers will be required to stay at least three days and must show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of their departure, but won’t be subject to quarantine restrictions, according to Tourism Malaysia.

Travelers will also have to obtain insurance worth at least $80,000 and undergo testing on arrival. Those who arrive via Kuala Lumpur will undergo rapid molecular testing, while those who go directly to Langkawi must take a PCR test on the second day after arrival. Travelers who stay for more than five days will have to take another PCR test on day five.

Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classifies Malaysia under its highest “Level 4” travel advisory, warning Americans to “avoid” traveling there. Countries are classified under “Level 4” if there are at least 500 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people.

Tourism Malaysia, however, said the plans to open to visitors come as more than 73% of the country’s population has been vaccinated as of Oct. 25. It also comes amid plans to reopen a vaccinated travel corridor with neighboring Singapore on Nov. 29, Reuters noted.

For its part, Singapore started welcoming vaccinated tourists from several countries last month, including the United States, requiring them to enter as part of the “Vaccinated Travel Lanes” [VTL] program.

On Nov. 1, fellow Southeast Asian country Thailand also lifted all quarantine restrictions for vaccinated American travelers after implementing its own pilot travel program in Phuket and Ko Samui.