How to get to Kota Kinabalu as Sabah reopens to international tourists


Do you miss the perfect beaches, but the fear of quarantine puts you off? Rejoice as Kota Kinabalu reopens to international flights and arrivals are quarantine free.

Tourism in Sabah is on the verge of a massive renaissance thanks to the first international flight to Kota Kinabalu in over two years.

Prior to the closure of borders following the implementation of the Movement Control Order on March 18, 2020, Kota Kinabalu International Airport was the busiest in Malaysia after KLIA1 and KLIA2. It handled over 9 million passengers in 2019, with flights reaching as far as Shanghai and Seoul.

Tourists from South Korea and China formed the bulk of international passengers struck by Sabah’s natural beauty and Kota Kinabalu’s blessed proximity to crystal clear waters, desert islands and mountain peaks.

Image credit: Mix Miki on Pexels

International flights return to Kota Kinabalu International Airport when Sabah reopens:

The first international flight to resume will be operated by AirAsia from Singapore on April 16, while a second flight will land later in the month on April 29, also from Singapore on Scoot.

Additionally, Royal Brunei Airlines is returning to Sabah in May, offering twice-weekly flights, every Friday and Sunday, starting May 6.

Following the federal government’s decision to reopen the country’s borders, it has been reported that Sabah may implement its own border control process. However, as The Star reports, Sabah will reopen in accordance with the national directive.

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Your complete checklist for hassle-free entry to Sabah:

Before leaving for Malaysia, you must:

  1. Download, register and activate the MySejahtera app.
  2. Complete a travel declaration including vaccination information accessible via the Traveler icon in the MySejahtera app.
  3. Upload the results of your PCR test carried out two days before departure.
  4. If you have been infected with Covid-19 within 6-60 days prior to departure, you must upload the result of the RTK test performed two days prior to departure.
  5. Non-nationals must have both Covid-19 and travel insurance, as well as the address where they will be staying in Malaysia.

After completing the above, individuals will receive a traveler card on MySejahtera. For people who have not yet been vaccinated against Covid or who have not yet completed their vaccination, monitoring and observation instructions will also be issued via MySejahtera.

“For travelers who do not have a traveler card display or home monitoring order instruction, they are not allowed to continue their journey,” Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin warned, as reports The Edge.

Upon arrival in Malaysia:

You will go through thermal projections. If you are symptomatic, you can report to health workers for further examination.

If you are asymptomatic, you can continue to the immigration counters.

Within 24 hours of your arrival in Malaysia:

You must undergo a professional RTK test at a private health facility, either at the point of entry or outside.

The test result will be displayed on the MySejahtera app.

If the result is Covid positive:

Fully immunized travelers in categories one and two will receive a seven-day home monitoring order in your accommodation. Partially vaccinated or unvaccinated travelers will be granted 10 days of home monitoring order. If your disease falls under category three and above, you must be admitted for treatment.

If the result is Covid negative:

Fully vaccinated travelers are exempt from quarantine. However, partially vaccinated or unvaccinated travelers must observe the order of home monitoring for five days in the accommodation of their choice, as well as a PCR test on the fourth day or an RTK test on the fifth day.

“If the second test sample comes back positive, they will be issued a home monitoring order for five days from the date the second sample was taken. In the meantime, if the Covid-19 results are negative, they will be published,” he said.

What about children traveling to Malaysia?

Children aged six and under are not required to undergo both pre-departure Covid-19 screening and testing upon arrival.

Click here for the latest SOP updates related to Sabah.


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