COVID-19: Malaysia Travel Updates

Malaysia during COVID-19 harith-irfan-wahid

Updated 23rd July 2021

See here for Southeast Asia Travel COVID-19 overview.


  • 23rd July – Cases surge to 15,000 a day as Malaysia remains in lockdown. The country has now been in renewed lockdown since 1st June 2021 with no end in sight. Source.
  • 6th July 2021 – Malaysia extends lockdown and restricts interstate travel. Schools and non-essential businesses remain closed. Source.
  • 28th June 2021 – Malaysian lockdown extended indefinitely until daily cases fall to below 4,000. Source.
  • 11th June 2021 – Malaysia extends the current lockdown until 28th June, although cases are now falling. PM says lockdown has helped to prevent a total disaster. Source.

Malaysia Travel Restrictions

Disclaimer: COVID-19 travel restrictions are changing daily. The following information reflects South East Asia Backpacker’s current understanding of the rules. We work hard to update this information as often and accurately as possible. However, we cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. We strongly advise you to contact the embassy of the country you are visiting for the latest information.

Can you travel to Malaysia right now? SUMMARY:

Entry into Malaysia for all foreign nationals is currently not allowed. There may be exceptions to this rule, for essential travel only, and for those with residency permits/family in Malaysia. The states of Sabah and Sarawak have their own restrictions, and you are only allowed to enter if you have permanent residency or an employment pass. Anyone wishing to enter Malaysia must seek permission from the Malaysian Embassy before travelling. Applications will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. 

Before you enter Malaysia, you will need to:

Anyone who has special reasons to enter Malaysia right now must complete an application on the MYTravel Pass online platform. All travellers entering Malaysia must download the MySejahtera app. (This is a track and trace app designed by the government to monitor and limit the spread of COVID-19 across the country.)

Quarantine Period: 

If you meet the special requirements of entry, upon arrival in Malaysia you are required to quarantine for 10-14 days at a designated government facility at your own cost. (List of countries and their varying quarantine periods can be found on the Ministry of Health website.)

Face Masks: 

You must wear a face mask in all public places, including in airports and on public transport (taxis also).

See here for recommendations on the best face masks for travel.

COVID-19 Tests Required: 

You must take a COVID-19 test in your country of residence and have a negative test result within 72 hours of getting on the plane to Malaysia. You must also take a test on arrival and at the end of your quarantine period. 

Internal Travel Restrictions in Malaysia: 

National lockdown extended until further notice meaning that only essential businesses can operate. The MCO (movement control order) is also extended. Source.

A national lockdown and MCO (movement control order) were declared by the Malaysian government on May 10th 2021 prohibiting all travel across Malaysia. Travel between states was prohibited and roadblocks were put in place at state boundaries. Source.

Once you are in Malaysia it is best to check government websites and newspapers for the latest information on restrictions and curfews as it is changing all the time. See the Royal Malaysian Police Department website for more information.


A curfew of 6am-12am is in place for all businesses, which includes restaurants, shops and bars. If you breach the curfew you can be fined.

Land Borders: 

Land borders into Thailand and Singapore (Peninsular Malaysia) and Indonesia (on the island of Borneo) are closed.


You are allowed to transit in Malaysia via KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport), but you must not pass through immigration checkpoints or leave the airport. You cannot move between terminal 1 and 2 of KLIA without specific permission.

Hotels and guesthouses: 

Hotels and guesthouses are open across Malaysia, though operating with fewer staff. It is likely that you will have your temperature checked upon arrival at any accommodation.

Public spaces:

All educational institutions are now closed and all social gatherings are banned due to the new national lockdown. Restaurants can operate from 6-10pm. (Extended from 6-8pm.)

Mask-wearing and social distancing are compulsory in all public spaces, indoors and outdoors. Your temperature will be checked before you enter many indoor venues.

On The Ground Traveller Reports:

I’m in Kuala Lumpur, which is back in lockdown. I’m living in the city centre right now but it doesn’t look like a lockdown. – Ashley, 14th May 2021

I’m in Sabah. The whole of Malaysia is back in strict lockdown until 7th June. In Sabah, Borneo the rules are not as strict but there is still a travel ban between districts. – Novi, 15th May 2021


Dave Noakes Bio Pic, with Nikki Scott
Nikki Scott | Founder & Editor

Nikki is the founding editor of South East Asia Backpacker. At age 23, she left the UK on a solo backpacking trip and never returned. After six months on the road, she founded a print magazine about backpacking in Asia. The rest is history.

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