Malaysia-Thailand VTL: Things to do in Thailand
Recently, Malaysia has collaborated with the Thai government to create a Malaysia-Thailand VTL, or Vaccinated Travel Lane, not unlike the Singapore VTL so fully vaccinated Malaysians are exempted from quarantine after testing negative for COVID-19 using an RT-PCR kit upon arrival in Thailand with one caveat which we will get to later. There are currently two routes between Malaysia and Thailand that fall under the Malaysia-Thailand VTL: Kuala Lumpur-Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur-Phuket, with a daily frequency of six and four flights respectively. Let’s take a look at what Malaysians interested in touring Thailand need to prepare beforehand, and what we can look forward to when we are there.
All information is true and accurate as of 24 March 2022.
Malaysians who wish to travel to Thailand via the Malaysia-Thailand VTL must be in Malaysia for at least 14 consecutive days immediately prior to their flight to Thailand. Although Malaysians who travel to Thailand under the Malaysia-Thailand VTL would not be subject to quarantine, Malaysians still need to book an Alternative Quarantine (AQ) or Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration Extra Plus (SHA Extra+/SHA++) certified hotel for at least one day (Day 1) where the RT-PCR test would be administered, including booking fees for 1 RT-PCR test, 1 ATK self-test kit and airport transfer.
Alternative Quarantine (AQ)
Alternative Quarantine (previously known as Alternative State Quarantine, or ASQ) hotels are hotels that have been approved by Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Defense that provide three meals a day, free WiFi, and private car transfer from either Don Mueang Airport or Suvarnabhumi Airport in addition to accommodation. A nurse would be on call 24/7 and you’ll have your temperature checked twice in one day. This was introduced at the beginning of Thailand’s border reopening on 1 November 2021. At the time, AQ hotels would offer packages of 7/14/21 day stays, though with the Test and Go programme introduced at the same time, tourists from countries that fall under this programme do not need to be quarantined as soon as they have tested negative for COVID-19 using an RT-PCR kit. Thus, it is not necessary for Malaysians to book accommodations at AQ hotels beyond the first day when testing is mandatory.
Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration Extra Plus (SHA Extra+/SHA++)
Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration (SHA) project is a collaboration between the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the Ministry of Public Health, and government and private sectors in the tourism industry. SHA certification requires venues and businesses to have public health measures in place for COVID-19, and those that have at least 70% of their staff fully vaccinated can receive the SHA Plus (SHA +) certification. A third level of certification, SHA Extra Plus (SHA Extra+/SHA++), was introduced for hotels that not only meet the level of certification for SHA Plus but have also partnered with certified hospitals for the RT-PCR test.
All Malaysian tourists planning to enter Thailand by air must also register and apply for a Thailand Pass at least 7 days before departure since the processing time for the Thailand Pass is between 3–7 days. Registration and application for the Thailand Pass, as well as recommended medical insurance for Thailand Pass registration, can be accessed at the Thailand Pass Registration System website.
Documents required for registration
1. Passport and Visa (if required)
2. Certificate of Vaccination
3. Insurance with minimum coverage of 20,000 USD for medical expenses (not required for Thai nationals / foreign residents in Thailand can use social security or certificate from their employer)
4. Paid Reservation Confirmation from SHA Extra+ / AQ Hotel for 1 night (Day 1). The price must include the fee for 1 RT-PCR test, 1 ATK self-test kit and airport transfer.
1. Upon submission of your registration, staff of your booked hotel will authenticate the reservation. Once verified/approved, your registration application will be sent to the Department of Disease Control (DDC) officials for further consideration (vaccine certificate etc.)
– The hotel will reject any incomplete or non-compliance documentation, and a notification email will be sent to resubmit the additional documents. For any inquiries at this stage, please contact your hotel directly.
* It is highly recommended that travellers book their hotel accommodation directly with the hotel to expedite the authentication process by hotels. *
2. After hotel authentication and approval, the Department of Disease Control (DDC) will verify your Certificate of Vaccination and the Thailand Pass QR Code will be sent to you via email within 3–7 days.
– The DDC will reject any incomplete or non-compliance documentation, and a notification email will be sent to you alongside the reasons why your registration is rejected.
MorChana is Thailand’s equivalent of MySejahtera. It is mandatory for all travellers to download and install the MorChana app on their phones. It is also used to record the Day 5 self-ATK result, which is required of all travellers who are planning to stay in Thailand for more than 4 days.
Travellers are advised to follow the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Newsroom for any imminent updates and advice.
Thailand is a popular tourist spot for shopping, especially Bangkok which is known to some as a shopping paradise. Apart from the massive malls and shopping complexes in busy cities, tourists should also visit small souvenir shops scattered about for more rustic and memorable things to bring home, not to mention the night markets in Thailand where it is easier for you to get closer to the local culture.
One particular product to look out for, however, is Thai silk. Queen Sirikit of Thailand established a strict quality control programme for Thai silk, carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MOAC) of Thailand using a peacock emblem to authenticate genuine Thai silk produced in Thailand, from green to blue to silver and gold, the type and quality increases in ranking. The highest specification, gold peacock, indicates premium Royal Thai Silk, which is a product of native Thai silkworm breeds combined with traditional hand-made production.
For a list of shops to visit recommended by the TAT, have a look at their website here.
There is no place more famous for street food than Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, also known as Bangkok. However, do take note that the majority of Thailand is not Muslim, and that fact is reflected in their food as well. You can refer to this list prepared by Have Halal Will Travel for a list of Muslim-friendly street food that you can look out for. The TAT has its own list of recommendations, and typing in the keyword ‘halal’ can help narrow down halal-certified restaurants throughout Thailand as well.
Those looking for SHA Extra+ accommodations for the sake of Day 1 testing can go for the hotels in this list that offer 1 Day Test & Go packages, based on the region you are planning to travel to. The 1 Day Test & Go packages include 1 RT-PCR Test for Day 1, airport transfer, 1-day accommodation, and 1 ATK Self Test for Day 5. The ATK Self Test is included in the package regardless of whether you are planning to stay in Thailand for more than 4 days. Another list can be found here, with more options beyond the mandatory SHA Extra+ hotels for Day 1 between SHA and SHA+ and also include listings for transportation, restaurants, tourist attractions, etc.
So those are some of the things Malaysian tourists to Thailand can look forward to thanks to the Malaysia-Thailand VTL! Which part of Thailand are you interested in visiting? What experiences in Thailand would you like to participate in? Let us know in the comments!
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