#1: To be eligible for the VTL (Sea), travellers must fulfil a seven-day travel history requirement — ie. remained in Singapore or one or more of the VTL countries, including Indonesia, or a Cat I country/region in the last seven days prior to departure for Singapore.
#2: They must also be fully vaccinated, and present digital or physical proof of their vax status.
#3: Undergo a PCR test/professionally administered ART within two days before departure for Singapore. Ensure that your hotel in Bintan/Batam will make arrangements for this as it’s included in most travel bubble packages.
#4: Submit health declaration on the SG Arrival Card up to three days prior to departure. Find it here.
#5: Once back in Singapore, take a supervised ART at a Quick Test Centre (QTC) or Combined Test Centre (CTC) within 24 hours of arrival (find out where here). Travellers must remain isolated until they receive a negative test result.
#6: Book VTL ferry tickets with designated ferry operators. For Batam, book with Batam Fast to travel via Nonsapura International Ferry Terminal; in Bintan, book with Bintan Resort Ferries to travel via Bandar Bintan Telani Ferry Terminal.
#7: Only for short-term visitors:
- Apply for a VTP (Sea) at https://safetravel.ica.gov.sg, and obtain a visa if required.
- Buy travel insurance with a minimum coverage of $30,000 for Covid-19 related medical and hospitalisation expenses.
- Show proof of a hotel booking confirmation and payment for the duration of your stay in Singapore.
- Present a return ferry ticket corresponding to the duration of their hotel stay in Singapore.
- Download and use the TraceTogether app in Singapore.
- You do not need to apply for a VTP if you are a fully-vaxed Singapore citizen, PR or long-term pass holder (except work permit holders), or are aged 12 and below.
To go or not to go?
For most, the main consideration of a Batam/Bintan getaway now, as opposed to pre-pandemic, is the extra moolah you'll have to shell out for Covid-19 tests.
How many tests in total do you have to take for a trip to Bintan/Batam now, and how much will it cost?
Four, with a total cost of around $170. However, the two tests in Indonesia are usually already included under the travel bubble hotel packages.
- Test 1: In Singapore: PCR test 72 hours before departing to Bintan/Batam. Cost: From $94
- Test 2: In Indonesia: On-arrival PCR at Bintan/Batam. Cost: Around $30
- Test 3: In Indonesia: PCR/ART two days before departure. Cost: Around $30
- Test 4: In Singapore: Supervised ART at a QTC or CTC within 24 hours of arrival. Cost: $15
In a nutshell: The extra costs of the tests do add up, especially if you're going as a family, and the risk-averse may shun the idea of a trip altogether given the slight chance of testing positive on arrival in Bintan/Batam. But for those willing to splurge, the Bintan/Batam VTL is probably as hassle-free as it gets (for now anyway) in this new normal.
Photos: Bintan Resorts Ferries, Unsplash/Anil Nallamotu, Kharl Anthony Paica