A network of new Vaccinated Travel Lanes is starting to open up around South East Asia as various governments find ‘safe’ ways to reopen their borders whilst still maintaining some precautions.

The move augers well for the commencement of direct flights between Hua Hin Airport and many locations within a 5-6 hour flight duration.  Announcements of these flights is now eagerly awaited.

The newly announced VTLs still fall well-short of the pre-Covid-freedoms of visas-on-arrival and no pre-approvals for arrival in destination countries. Still, the new VTLs and recently announced travel bubbles are a lurch forward as much of Asia starts to re-open to international travel.

Arrival procedures will differ between the various VTL destination countries with individual travellers needing to check with destination for details before booking tickets. Also, these arrangements may change without notice.

New air Vaccinated Travel Lanes will involve Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia that are set to go into effect from March 15 in joint efforts to reopen their international borders.

Malaysia’s Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong says that the key opportunity for travellers using the Vaccinated Travel Lanes is that people won’t be required to quarantine when they arrive in their new destination.

“These routes are expected to aid our mutual economic recovery from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly in reviving the ailing tourism industry.”

In reciprocal arrangements, the partnering governments will be schedule up to six flights daily. In the case of the Malaysia and Thailand arrangement, it will allow 6 flights between KL and Bangkok, and 4 flights between KL and Phuket. He added that the two sides could agree to add additional flights if the demands increased.

Other ASEAN governments are also looking to facilitate VTL routes where travellers from each country won’t be required to quarantine at either end. But a pre-flight PCR test and full vaccination will be required for travellers under the program.

This week a travel bubble was approved between Thailand and India. With this arrangement, Indian and Thai airlines are now permitted to operate flights between both countries, but only for selected travellers.