With the recent establishment of the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme, those of us in Singapore will be able to travel, quarantine-free, to a total of 11 countries – Brunei (closed for leisure travel), Canada, Denmark, France, Germany Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Britain, the United States, and South Korea (from November 15 onwards).
As much as we’re all thrilled to travel overseas again, travelling will not be as easy of a process as it was pre-pandemic. With all the extra regulations implemented to ensure the safety of all travellers, the whole process to travel overseas can get understandably confusing for some. If you intend to travel using the VTL scheme and are in the midst of researching how it works, here’s a comprehensive guide on quarantine-travel to save you all the hassle and stress.
How the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme works
The VTL scheme applies to all those who are considered fully vaccinated, meaning that two weeks must have elapsed since you’ve received the full regimen of any vaccines on the World Health Organisation’s Emergency Use Listing (which includes Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna).
Under the VTL scheme, fully vaccinated Singaporean/PR travellers will no longer need to quarantine at the destination country and upon return to Singapore. Instead, you will be required to take a number of Covid-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) swab tests, depending on the regulations set by your destination country and Singapore.
While it is generally not required by most countries (with the exception of South Korea) to take a designated VTL flight to your intended destination, it will be mandatory for you to take a designated VTL flight back to Singapore in order to be exempted from quarantine upon arrival.
VTL flights available
To keep things simple, here’s a checklist of the obligatory tasks that you need to complete before your departure from Singapore:
- Ensure that you’re fully vaccinated (reflected in your HealthHub app)
- Remained in Singapore for at least 14 days prior to departure
- Take a Covid-19 PCR test within 48 hours of your departure at MOH-approved clinics
- Notarise your PCR PDT (Pre-Departure Test) certificate
Upon receiving a digital PCR-test results certificate issued to you by the clinic, you will need to digitally authenticate and endorse this certificate via https://www.notarise.gov.sg/ before you travel. This indicates that your result and certificate was legitimately issued and authenticated by MOH.
After notarising this certificate, a QR code of your digitally authenticated and endorsed test certificate will be e-mailed to you within 15 minutes. For those who have presented your NRIC at the clinic, your SingPass app will also have this QR code stored in your account. Present this QR code to foreign immigration and customs authorities to verify the authenticity of the digital certificate.
Arriving at your travel destination
Besides the mandatory pre-departure tasks, it also strongly recommended for you to check the MFA website for the latest advisories applicable to the country that you’re visiting, as well as to visit the embassy website of your destination country to keep yourself informed on the relevant health requirements imposed on travellers from Singapore (e.g. PDT or vaccination certificates).
Heading back to Singapore
As mentioned above, to complete the VTL scheme, you will need to book a VTL flight back to Singapore. Additionally, you will also be required to take 2 PCR tests to re-enter Singapore – one to be done 48 hours before departure to Singapore and the other done upon arriving in Singapore.
The pre-departure test to Singapore must be taken at an internationally recognised or accredited clinic, laboratory or medical facility. You should also obtain a copy of the test result that meet the following conditions:
- Is in English (or accompanied with an English translation),
- Contains the traveller’s name, Date of Birth/Passport number, and
- Reflects the date and result of the PCR test.
The on-arrival test in Singapore will cost $160 (including GST) each, and you are strongly advised to register and pay for the relevant tests via the Safe Travel Concierge (STC) website provided by Changi Airport. After this test, you must remain self-isolated until the result is confirmed to be negative. In this time, you should not take the public transport and avoid coming into contact with other household members who do not have the same travel history, arrival date and self-isolation requirement.
Children under 12
Children under 12 are ineligible for vaccination, and thus, have to be accompanied by a fully vaccinated adult who is also travelling under the VTL scheme. This is generally the guideline for the other countries, with the exception of South Korea, who does not allow children or people who are unvaccinated to travel under the VTL.
This information is valid as of October 20 2021.
With the long-awaited Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble launching this weekend, we share V&VPR’s favourite places to eat, sleep and play in the Fragrant Harbour to help you create your ideal itinerary.
Our favourite places to stay
The Upper House is an urban wellness destination nestled between Hong Kong’s skyscrapers with a 24-hour gym, yoga and fitness classes on a stunning lawn and in-room treatments using organic Bamford products. The spacious baths overlooking the city skyline is the ultimate cherry on top for a relaxing stay.
The Langham, Hong Kong is renowned for its trademark European Luxury and its great location in the heart of the city. The property features 498 stylishly appointed rooms and suites that exude an undeniable timeless elegance.
L’hotel Island South, Hong Kong’s first Geopark Hotel, brings guests to the quaint Southern District on Hong Kong Island, where the richness of nature serves a stunning backdrop to their contemporary ocean inspired rooms. Inspired by the style of the boutique hotel, the 37-storey modern Hotel offers 432 spacious guestrooms and suites that redefine conventional notions of comfort, service and style.
Soaring over Victoria Harbour, Rosewood Hong Kong is a new centre of gravity on the Kowloon waterfront; the crown jewel of the Victoria Dockside arts and design district. The 413-room vertical estate offers eight restaurants and lounges complemented by recreational facilities including Asaya, a fitness centre and swimming pool and standout meetings and event space.
Our favourite restaurants, bars and cafes
Located in Sino Plaza in Causeway Bay, chef Seth Rogan brings contemporary British cuisine to Hong Kong through his creative menus at Roganic. The restaurant first opened up in London and was recently introduced in Hong Kong in February 2019. Rogan’s classic British dishes are made from local, fresh produce from local farms and suppliers.
MANA! has been pioneering the sustainable market in Hong Kong. Serving “fast slow food” through inspiring vegetarian menus and operating a strict zero waste policy – MANA! Has saved over 100 tonnes of food waste by composting its vegetable-only scraps. Other eco-friendly iniatitives include sourcing biodegradable takeaway packaging, and hiring full time staff to sort and transport the food waste for composting.
A Modern European grand café of the 21st century, Café Gray Deluxe is a Hong Kong institution famed for killer views and locally inspired continental cooking. They also do some of the city’s best non-alcoholic cocktails, including Empty Pocket with black tea, lemon, passionfruit, elderflower and red dates.
Ranked 33rd in Asia’s 50 Best Bars, Lobster Bar & Grill offers a creative take on your usual non-alcoholic beverages. The Cranky Crusta is a blend of Lyre’s American Malt, Seedlip spice, fresh lemon juice, orange marmalade and pineapple gum syrup, while Reds Are Roses features Seedlip grove 42, Lyre’s Dry Vermouth, red rose shrub, chamomile tea and cherry syrup.
Nailing both their beans selection and café aesthetic, NOC Coffee Co serves up fragrant coffee and nutritious food at their impeccably-designed outlets in Sai Ying Pun, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay, Tin Hau and Whampoa.
Our favourite cultural and nature spots
Located on Po Fook Hill at Pai Tau Village sits one of Hong Kong’s most famous Buddhist temples. The temple was founded in 1949 by the Reverend Yuet Kai and completed in 1957, renowned for housing over 12,000 of statues of Buddha, with no two exactly the same.
A crossing of Victoria Harbour on a Star Ferry has been named by the National Geographic of Traveler as one of the “fifty places of a lifetime”. Take the trip at night to soak in the panoramic views of Hong Kong’s glimmering skyline.
For something relatively easy with stunning views, head to Dragon’s Back. Located in Shek O, in the south-east of Hong Kong Island, the Dragon’s Back meanders through Shek O Country Park, with gorgeous vistas of the beaches below and the South China Sea.
The highest peak in Hong Kong at 957 metres, Tai Mo Shan is renowned for its breath-taking sunrises. Head off before dawn to catch the sun’s slow ascent as its rays light up the city.
Ideal for more seasoned trekkers, this hike will take you along the east coast of Sai Kung Country Park past four stunning beaches: Sai Wan, Ham Tin Wan, Tai Wan and Tung Wan. You’ll be rewarded with uninterrupted views of turquoise clear waters, lush greenery and sparkling white sand.
Our favourite places for a workout
PURE Yoga is dedicated to serving the yoga community in Asia by offering diverse yoga practices – Vinyasa, Hatha, Hot, Wall Rope Yoga, Pre-Natal and more. Try a class with Patrick or Jenny and you can opt for a complimentary trial if you’re only in town for a few days.
H-Kore’s unique training methods will ensure that all your fitness needs are met. Try the MegaKore classes which are 45 minute Lagree Fitness classes performed on the state of the art Megaformer machine will strengthen and tone your whole body.
Asia’s first articulation of the new wave of indoor cycling, XYZ is the best spinning experience in the city, designed to help you escape the intensity of day-to-day life, reset your compass and engage with your sense of purpose.
Renowned for its sprawling vineyards, bustling markets and tasteful bars and restaurants, Perth positions itself as the quintessential holiday getaway just a stone’s throw away from Singapore by plane. Here are some of the V&VPR girls’ top picks for travellers making their first foray into this mesmerizing part of Western Australia.
WHERE TO GO
Located along the streets of Fremantle, this prominent weekend market has a rich history spanning more than a century since its humble beginnings in 1897. Open every Friday to Sunday, the market features a range of stalls selling unique and locally made gifts, products and souvenirs as well as a range of eclectic food offerings and fresh produce.
Cottesloe Beach comes alive in the summer with snorkelers, swimmers and surfers. This beloved seaside destination is a favourite for both locals and tourists alike, and boasts sapphire blue waters, stunning trails along the coast and beachside dining establishments with a view. Travellers making a trip down in March will be able to catch Sculpture by the Sea, a free exhibition on Cottesloe Beach with giant sculptures dotting the coastline.
Nestled in Caversham, Swan Valley – the oldest wine region in Western Australia, is Mandoon Estate, Western Australia’s most awarded boutique winery. Guests can take part in a private wine tasting in an underground cellar, tour the grounds of this iconic destination, or go on a 30-minute chopper flight over picturesque Perth. More adventurous travellers would enjoy the Bush Tucker Tasting, which will give them insight into the area’s history and culture whilst tasting local indigenous food.
Just 45 minutes by ferry from Perth city is a little island paradise. Surrounded by crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches, and an abundance of smiley, furry marsupials – namely the quokka – Rottnest Island brings together the best of both worlds for lovers of nature and wildlife. Guests can frolic on the beach in the summer, go whale-watching in the winter, glamping on the island’s beachfront estate, and meet friendly wild quokkas (who are apparently the world’s most photogenic animal).
3-hours from Perth city by car lies the Margaret River region, an area south of Perth that’s well known for its premium wineries, picturesque coastlines, and natural limestone caves. Travellers can stop at Canal Rocks along the cape-to-cape track taking in grand views of the swirling Indian Ocean; have lunch at Leeuwin Estate, an established winery with an international reputation; or go on tours of Lake or Mammoth Cave – natural limestone caves that formed thousands of years ago deep below Australian soil.
Right on the western tip of the African continent lies Cape Town, a city that offers some of the most breath-taking natural beauty in the world. With stunning beaches, towering peaks to climb, and remarkable vineyards, this idyllic locale city offers all that and so much more.
MUST SEES AND CULTURAL SITES
A place to start the tour of this city is a visit to the historic Bo-Kaap neighbourhood, which is famed for its bright and colourful houses. The area’s inhabitants are predominantly made up of Cape Malay who are descendants of Indonesian slaves from the 1650s.
The community is incredibly vibrant, and everyone is friendly. There are multiple stalls along the main street where different families sell a myriad of snacks – the koeksisters are a must (imagine doughnuts taken to the next level with a spiced infused honey with ginger).