Complete Guide: VTL Land (Bus) from Singapore to Johor Bahru

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DISCLAIMER

This guide is based on my personal experience in travelling by VTL Land from Singapore to Malaysia on 13 Feb 2022. I travelled as a tourist (short-term visitor) with a Singapore passport and I do not have any long-term pass in Malaysia.

Border requirements are ever-changing. ALWAYS check the latest information listed on Malaysia’s official website before your trip.

In this post, I will be sharing my experience in travelling by bus from Singapore to Johor Bahru, Malaysia via the Vaccinated Travel Lane (Land).

Key points to note about VTL

What is VTL?

Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) allows travellers to enter Malaysia/Singapore without quarantine upon arrival.

In other words: VTL = NO QUARANTINE

At the moment, Singapore and Malaysia are the only countries that recognizes this “VTL” system.

Who can travel on VTL Land?

To travel to Malaysia via VTL Land, you will need to be in Singapore for at least 14 days prior and be fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated children below 12 years old MUST be accompanied by vaccinated adults.

At the moment, only Singaporeans, Malaysians and long-term pass holders can enter Malaysia via VTL Land.

Click here for the full list of Frequently Asked Questions regarding VTL travel to Malaysia.

Click here for the official guide from Malaysia’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry.

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The entire process

Step 1: Renew passport, if required

Note: This process takes about 1 week

Let’s start with the obvious. Your passport needs at least 6 months validity to travel to Malaysia. Renew them early as there may be delays in processing passport renewals due to high demand at the moment.

If you have less than 1 year’s validity, it is probably a good idea to renew it NOW and not worry about it for the next 10 years.

Step 2: Download MySejahtera and upload vaccination details

Note: This process takes about 1 week

To enter Malaysia and visit places that only accepts vaccinated individuals (e.g. malls, restaurants), you will need to have your overseas vaccination details inserted into Malaysia’s system.

To do this:

  1. If you are vaccinated in Singapore, get your vaccination certificate at notarise.gov.sg
  2. Download MySejahtera mobile app on your phone
  3. Register for an account
  4. Upload your vaccination details by clicking on Helpdesk, Start, scroll down and click on option N “I have received my vaccination overseas and would like to obtain my digital certificate in MySejahtera”. Next, insert your details carefully and an image of your vaccination details.

Step 3: Purchase a VTL bus ticket

The most difficult part of this entire process is purchasing a VTL bus ticket. This is due to the quota that is in place and extreme demand for them.

At the moment, you can buy these tickets officially from Transtar and CausewayLink for $20 each, for the journey from Singapore to Malaysia. You can also buy these tickets from Transtar’s Shopee page.

VTL bus tickets go on sale every 1 or 2 weeks (no fixed pattern). Both bus companies announce on their social media pages when there are tickets going on sale. Facebook: Transtar, CausewayLink

I strongly discourage buying them from Carousell/black market as there are a lot of scammers looking to profit on desperate travellers. VTL bus tickets are non-transferable (name change not allowed).

You do not need to show a return ticket at Johor Bahru’s Immigration (see Part C, point no. 7). If you wish, you can book a VTL bus/flight back to Singapore or even take non-VTL modes back to Singapore if you are willing to spend 7 days of SHN at home (subject to border measures if you are not Singaporean).

HOT TIP: The easiest way to get VTL bus tickets is by joining the VTL Singapore – Malaysia Telegram group to receive alerts on random tickets that are occasionally released by Transtar.

How a Telegram alert looks like

Step 4: Buy travel insurance

If you are non-Malaysian travelling to Malaysia on VTL, you will need a travel insurance with a minimum coverage of RM100,000 (~S$33,000) for COVID-19-related medical treatment and hospitalisation costs.

I have compiled some travel insurance to consider in the table below, ranking from the cheapest to the most expensive. The prices reflected are for a traveller (under 70 years old) going to Malaysia for 21 days.

Click on the “Apply” links in the table to get the respective cash rewards.

Insurance
company
Plans (with
COVID-19
coverage)
Promo
code
Cash
reward
Total
(after
discounts)
Starr
TraveLead

(Apply)
Silver or
Gold
SSVTL35
(35% off)
$10 via
PayNow

(min. $30)
$25.10
MSIG
TravelEasy

(Apply)
AllAutomatic$10 via
PayNow

(min. $60)
$63.20
AIG Travel
Guard

(Apply)
All$83.00
NTUC
(Apply)
All$88.20
FWD
(Apply)
All with
COVID-19
add-on
TRAVEL10
(10% off)
$89.59
AXA Smart
Traveller

(Apply)
Essential or
Compre-
hensive
TSFB2210
(40% off)
$10 via
PayNow
$102.61

Step 5: Register on MySafeTravel

Note: This process is automated and almost instant. You can only register 7 days before your intended travel date.

Register for an account at MySafeTravel and submit your travel details and health declaration.

You will also need to upload a proof of vaccination (QR code from Step 2).

Step 6: Book a pre-departure ART test

You will need to get a professional ART test done within 48 hours from departure. The test certificate has to be notarised by the clinic.

The cheapest professional ART tests that you can find in Singapore right now are:

CompanyLocationsPrice
Kingston Medical
(video call)
Anywhere$12 + cost of
own ART kit
(notarised)
Doctor Anywhere
(mobile app)
Anywhere$12.84 + cost of
own ART kit
(notarised)
The Testing Pro6$25
(notarised)
Northeast Medical8$21.40
(+$5 to notarise)

Upon completing the ART test, upload the result on MySafeTravel.

Step 7: Apply for data roaming

If you do not have a Malaysian SIM card, you should apply for a data roaming package with your telco as you will need internet upon arriving in Malaysia to use the MySejahtera app.

I have been using M1’s Data Passport for just $12 a month for 10GB of data.

Step 8: Prepare for boarding

Boarding for Transtar buses is at Woodlands Temporary Interchange (Berth 4) and for CausewayLink, it is at Queen Street Terminal.

Check-in and boarding area for Transtar VTL buses at Woodlands Temporary Bus Interchange (Berth 4)

Aim to arrive 1 hour early. You know how difficult it is to get the bus ticket, so you REALLY don’t wanna miss it. 🙂

Things to prepare for registration before boarding:

  • Passport
  • Bus ticket (email or print)
  • Pre-departure ART test result (email or print)
  • Vaccine certificate on MySejahtera app
  • MySafeTravel submission ID (email)
Signs for VTL Check-in/registration

Registration took 5 minutes and I was given 2 stickers with my seat and bus number. I was also told to stick them onto my sleeve and on my luggage.

VTL sticker on my luggage

Step 9: Pay for arrival RTK test in advance (optional)

There are numerous QR codes near the boarding bay for you to scan and they will bring you to oat.entrypass.my.

QR code to pay for on-arrival testing

On this page, you can pay RM60 for the on-arrival RTK COVID-19 test that you will be doing at Larkin Bus Terminal. You may also pre-purchase 3 self-test RTK Saliva test kits for RM10 each (maximum 3 kits).

My total at oat.entrypass.my

You will receive an email with the payment confirmation immediately after payment has been made.

My payment receipt

Although it is optional, it is easier to pay for this test beforehand, instead of making the payment in cash at Larkin Bus Terminal.

If you are a travel-hacker like me, you’ll be happy to know that I received 4 miles per dollar and 1% cashback by using my Amaze card (linked with Citi Rewards) for this payment.

Step 10: Boarding

Boarding started 20 minutes before departure and the bus left right on time.

Transtar VTL bus
The bus was about 90% full

Step 11: Clear Singapore’s Immigration

Clearing Singapore’s Woodlands Immigration was fairly quick through the automated gate. I could leave my luggage in the bus.

This process took about 5 minutes.

Boarding the same bus after clearing Singapore’s Immigration

Step 12: Clear Malaysia’s Immigration

You have to bring along all your belongings to clear Malaysia’s Immigration and Customs.

Upon dropping off from the bus, look for one of the MySejahtera QR codes to check in.

QR code to check in (scan with MySejahtera app)

At the immigration counter, I had to show my notarised vaccination cert (step 2) and pre-departure ART test result, together with my passport.

This process took about 10 minutes.

The escalator wasn’t working, look for the nearby lift if you need it
Boarding the VTL bus after clearing Malaysia’s Immigration

Step 13: On-arrival RTK test

As mentioned in Step 9, there will be an on-arrival RTK test that you will have to take at Larkin Bus Terminal, before being released into the wild.

Upon alighting from the bus, there will be a counter to pay for the test in cash or have your pre-payment checked (email). This is also where you will collect the pre-paid test kit(s) if you have paid for them.

Next, you will head to the testing station to get your nasal test done by a professional. The result will be sent to your email address within 10 minutes. Show the result to a staff near the door and you will be free!

My test result received via email

Note: It took about 60 minutes from the time that my bus left Woodlands Bus Terminal until the time that I got my on-arrival test result at Larkin Bus Terminal.

Step 14: Daily testing in Malaysia

‼️ IMPORTANT UPDATE ‼️
3 March 2022

From 3 March 2022, travellers who arrive in Malaysia via VTL (Air or Land) are no longer required to do daily testing as described below.

Mandatory daily testing is required for VTL arrivals in Malaysia according to the schedule below:

  • Day 2: Self-test, report on MySejahtera app
  • Day 3: Professionally administered self-test
  • Day 4: Self-test, report on MySejahtera app
  • Day 5: Professionally administered self-test
  • Day 6: Self-test, report on MySejahtera app

Although you can go to a clinic for the tests on Day 3 and 5, I recommend using CLEA mobile app because it is easy and cheap (RM15). However, do note that you will need to prepare your own test kit.

If you are using CLEA, it will be good to prepare a total of 5 test kits for the daily tests. You can buy test kits easily in pharmacies like Guardian and Watson for RM5 to RM7.

Click here for the list of approved test kits in Malaysia.

Nasal or Saliva tests are allowed. I prefer a Saliva test because of how pain-free it is.

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Any questions or experience to share?

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15 thoughts on “Complete Guide: VTL Land (Bus) from Singapore to Johor Bahru”

  1. Date 25 Mar 2022

    Dear

    For driving to JB via Causeway on and from 1 April 2022,

    1. Do I need to submit MySafeTravel (which was the one pushed my digitised vaccination cert (issued my MOH) to MySejahtera

    2. Do I need to buy insurance?

    Thank you very much.

    Reply
    • Hi Lee, the requirements are not 100% clear at the moment. Please join the Telegram chat group to find out what others are experiencing. https://t.me/vtlsgmy

      Reply
  2. 1 .which non vtl bus can i take from jb to spore.?
    2. Have to show e bus captain e necessary document plus pre departure art right?

    Reply
  3. I just updated n uploaded My Sejatera with all my vaccination details (from Singapore)
    I am traveling to JB 2morow 14 march
    N i doibt the MySejatera App will be updated with my vaccination status (which says 5 days)
    Can i still proceed to go?
    If App not updated any issues ?
    Thanks

    Reply
  4. Hey there! I have done the Pre Departure ART test for my parents, but I can’t seem to upload the test results on their mysafetravel portal. Any ideas why? Can manual verification be done?

    Reply
  5. Hi, I have purchased a travel insurance from STARR, but I have selected the Bronze plan, may I know if this is eligible to meet the requirements for the VTL bus trip?

    Reply

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