• Lyfeportal

Best VTL places to travel in 2022

Updated: Aug 5

The world is reopening! Maybe not as fast as we’d hope, but it’s happening! To help ease the transition back into tourism, the Singapore government has created the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL), allowing quarantine-free travel from/to Singapore. Here are four amazing 2022 VTL destinations to consider for any wanderlust mode – solo, family or couple!



Photo by Mohamed Nashah on Unsplash


Maldives

Before departure checklist:

  • A mandatory confirmed booking in a tourist establishment registered with the Ministry of Tourism (see list on the Visit Maldives website)

  • Documentary proof of vaccination

  • 96 hours prior to the scheduled time of departure: Produce and hold a negative PCR test for COVID-19

  • Within 24 hours prior to departure:

  • Submit an online Health Declaration Form through the IMUGA portal

  • PCR test result should be submitted through the IMUGA portal

  • Lab results should be presented in paper or electronic format during the airline check-in

  • Transits

  • Initial PCR test will be valid if the transit does not exceed 24 hours

  • For transits exceeding 24 hours, passenger must repeat the PCR test within 96 hours prior to embarkation at the port of transit

For the latest travel requirements to the Maldives, check with the Maldives embassy

Solo: Interact with the locals One of the benefits of solo travel is the ability to separate your activities from more mainstream tourism, so get to know the locals! Stay at a local Airbnb and get to know your hosts, wander through the narrow streets and discover heartland shops, greet locals with “Haalu kihineh”, the informal Maldivian for ‘hello’, and partake in local snacks like Hedhikaa, delicious spicy titbits made with fried coconut.

You can also: Stargaze (check beforehand if your resort has telescopes!), Picnic at the Sandbank


Family: Go on dolphin safari

The Maldivian archipelago is known for its variety of marine life, especially manta rays and whale sharks, and this oceanic expanse is home to over 20 species of dolphins the likes of Risso’s dolphins, rough-toothed dolphins, spinner dolphins, spotted dolphins, and striped dolphins.


Between December to March, your little ones can experience them up close on dolphin-watching safaris. You can book these through dolphin safari on fishing boats, or dolphin watching boat trips. Obviously sightings are not guaranteed, but when they happen, these dolphins jump and frolic next to their visitor boats, delighting at the opportunity to interact with humans!


You can also: Check into Water Pool Villas, Local island-hop


Couples: Go treasure hunting

Maldives has a wonderful, albeit these days touristy, tradition of treasure hunting! The rich depths that is the Indian ocean is full of hidden wonders, and many resorts and diving providers will offer fun underwater expeditions designed to allow “hunters” to look out for astonishing finds.


You can also: Discover local history with guided tours, Charter a private yacht

Images courtesy of Unsplash

Korea

Click here for the Singapore-Korea VTL guide

Click here for Korea’s Covid-19 travel protocols (via Korean Air) In a nutshell, travelers into Korea must

  • Produce negative PCR test results issued within 72 hours before departure date

  • Undergo quarantine for a minimum of 10 days at own cost (unless exempt)

Solo: Hike Mt Bukhan and unwind with Korean-style spa

If you’re fit and looking for the fresh Korean outdoors, you can join a hike to the top of Seoul’s highest mountain, Mt Bukhan. This is an approximately 3-hour trek, depending on the group’s pace. Then, to wind down, soak your sore muscles in a “Jjimjilbang”, a traditional Korean spa that includes a full-body scrub, oil massage and face mask.


You can also: Take a Gangnam District tour, Go out with a local!


Family: Appreciate the greens in the city on hikes or walks

Seoul is an urban jungle, with apartment buildings, shopping malls and skyscrapers littered over approximately 605 km2 of land. Even so, Seoul has lush hidden gems of beautiful green parks, many of which are kid-friendly!


Take the kids to soak in the fresh air of the Ansan Mountain, Namhansanseong Fortress or Gyeongchun Line Forest, or appreciate the art and sculptures adorning the Anyang Art Park and Gimpo Sculpture Park,


You can also: Enjoy kid cafes, Explore numerous art stops


Couples: N Seoul Tower

The N Seoul Tower is a communication and observation tower located on Namsan Mountain in central Seoul, South Korea. Standing at 236-meter tall, the tower grants its visitors breathtaking views of the whole city. Watch the daily light-up as the tower illuminates in blue light at sunset, visit the “Locks of Love” to bear witness to the thousands of love declarations (or leave one yourself!), and send your best intents into the world at the Wishing Pond & Observatory.


You can also: Visit Seoul’s famous dating spot Lotte World, Have a lovely picnic at Seoul Forest

Images courtesy of Unsplash

Spain

Click here to review Spain’s Covid-19 travel protocol (via Spain’s official tourism site)


Solo: Look for hidden gems

Barcelona is not short of rustic, local destinations worth discovering for yourself, such as forgotten churches, or other lesser-known Dalí works. Some other recommended hidden gems include the Medieval Synagogue of the Gothic Quarter, the modernist architecture of Palau Macaya, and the open-air Roman Tombs of the Sepucral Romana.


You can also: Take a Barcelona food tour, Discover cosy bookshops with quaint local book selections


Family: Catch a live football match

If the kids have never caught a live sports event, what better way than to bring them to a football match in Spain! A near-religious experience for many true-blooded Spaniards, travelers visiting in the football season can watch matches live in various stadiums, with museums that celebrate respective home clubs featuring the team’s historical players and memorabilia.

You can also: Check out La Boqueria market, Ride the cable car at Montserrat Mountain


Couples: Castle-hop

Soak in the spirits of royal couples with a castle-hopping itinerary! With royal lineage and ancestry dating back centuries, Spain still has a reigning royal house today! Spain is littered with medieval castles across more than 2,500 locations. Or keep the castle-hopping to Central Spain, and catch at least the Castillo de la Mota, the Castillo de Coca, or the Alcazar de Segovia.


You can also: Go wine-tasting in La Rioja, Bask in the arts in Madrid

Images courtesy of Unsplash

Thailand

Click here to review Thailand’s Covid-19 travel protocols (via the Thai Embassay online)

In a nutshell, from 1 November 2021, all travelers must

  • Produce and hold a negative PCR test result issued within 72 hours of travel

  • Undergo two PCR tests in Thailand (one upon arrival, one between 6th - 9th day of stay)

  • Have medical insurance with a minimum coverage of USD$50,000

  • Undergo quarantine for a minimum of 7 – 10 days (unless exempt)

Solo: Get a Sak Yant tattoo

An absolute memento for the ages, a Sak Yant tattoo is a traditional Thai tattoo that is believed to be blessed. A monk studies you, decides what you will need for protection, and creates your protective tattoo with a metal rod. Obviously, you will be able to communicate with your monk about your preferences beforehand. You can get your Sak Yant tattoos done safely by legitimate companies in Ayutthaya, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Sukhothai.


You can also: Hike to Koh Phi Phi viewpoint, Get soaked at the Songkran Water Festival


Family: A plethora of outdoors and nature fun

Thailand offers a multitude of family vacation fun, from the beautiful beaches and lush islands of Phuket and Krabi, the myriad of outdoor activities in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, to the quaint, local riverside experience and amazing nature of Kanchanaburi. Go island-hopping, beach exploring, jungle trekking, waterfall discovering, rafting, kayaking, even cave exploring! Thailand is guaranteed to wear the kids (and you parents) out!


Couples: Learn Muay Thai together

Muay Thai boxing is one of the MMA world’s most beloved martial art forms, and what better way to learn, than in the land of Muay Thai’s birth! A lot of resorts and gyms across Thailand offer classes, so get adventurous (and competitive!) with your other half by signing up for couple’s short beginner classes.


You can also: Catch a movie under the stars (SALA Phuket every Tues and Sat nights), Admire the picturesque Ang Thong National Marine Park