a pool with palm trees and a body of water

There’s been a pretty simple formula to travel during the global pandemic: find a place offering incredible beauty, weather and outdoor activity, and get there as fast as you can. Good food, a plus.

The trend sent destinations like Hawaii and The Maldives into overdrive, and Mexico even set all-time visitor records, despite the global health situation. Now, great travel hopes shift East, as the slow and steady reemergence of travel to Asia continues.

Malaysia is the latest country cracking the shutters, with a “sandbox” style reopening of Langkawi, the idyllic island paradise. If that sounds like the greatest place on earth to be right now, here’s what to expect.

a pool with palm trees and a body of water

Malaysia Reopens Langkawi

Malaysia will reopen the island of Langkawi to international travel on November 15th from a variety of travel bubble countries. Initially, just 10 countries were expected to take part, but new rumors suggest all vaccinated visitors will be welcomed, provided they follow stringent protocols.

Initial visitors must stay at least 3 days, prove full vaccination and agree to a series of covid-19 tests, in addition to the purchase of at least $80,000 worth of covid-19 cover. This typically adds at least $50 per person to any trips.

Coconuts Malaysia also speculates that any Langkawi visitors will need to book their trips through approved government tour groups.

Travelers will be expected to undergo a PCR test before departure, again after arrival and once again within 72 hours of departure from the country. It’s not exactly smooth and easy sailing, but sitting on a beach in Langkawi eating utterly delicious Malaysian food sounds pretty stellar right now.

A Great Option For Luxury Getaways

Langkawi, despite rising popularity, has maintained exceptionally good value for visitors. Hotels can be as stunning as those found in the Maldives and other paradises, but at a fraction of the cost. The food is nothing short of exceptional.

Much remains to be seen about how efficient these travel packages to Langkawi will be, or how much of a price gouge will be pushed to justify reopening. There’s also real question about demand.

People continue to look near and “easy” for trips, out of fear over things like testing positive abroad and being placed into more than a week of guarded care.

a building on stilts in the water
The St. Regis Langkawi in Malaysia

Langkawi Is A Start For Malaysia

It’s exciting to see yet another country dipping its toes in the sand, and allowing visitors to come back and do the same. For socially distanced relaxation, Langkawi is a premier option, even with the hurdles.

Malaysia plans to use Langkawi as a sandbox of learning and testing of new protocols ahead of a wider reopening of the country in 2022. It’s fair to say that’s comforting and concerning, all the same.

However, if other countries are any indicator, it’s mostly good news. Thailand recently moved from a trial sandbox mode into full travel reopening, with the announcement of quarantine free travel from November 1st.

Early visitors to Langkawi may be test cases, but being among the first outsiders to set foot on these shores is pretty cool bragging rights.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

Join the Conversation


  1. I really hope they will open up soon. My fiancé is in Kuala Lumpur and I am desperate to see her. I have been triple jabbed so should be perfectly safe.

  2. Omg insurance traveling is 80 000 Dollar are you kidding.. sure no one will come. Just keep you country safe and people become poor. Either county already planning opening border you guys are doing this.

    1. It’s the amount of coverage, not what’s needed to pay. The coverage typically costs between $30-$150 depending on deductibles, additional coverages etc.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *