Malaysian travellers planning to enter neighbouring Thailand are facing a more stringent of requirements in order to cross the border, reports the New Straits Times, and checks at the immigration, customs, quarantine and security (ICQS) complex in Bukit Kayu Hitam have found the checkpoint to be relatively quiet despite the reopening of land borders.

This was attributed to stringent requirements introduced by the Thai authorities, where inbound travellers are reportedly required to pay an entry fee of at least RM1,000, the report wrote.

According to local tourism player Ooi Jui Hu, the cost for four persons booking accommodation in Hatyai, Thailand amounted to RM5,000 for a seven-day stay, plus an additional US$20,000 (RM84,536) in insurance with a RM500 premium per person, he told the newspaper, adding that the compulsory RTK swab test priced at RM350 per person is to be paid for by the travellers themselves upon arrival at the hotel.

To leave, one must first enter, and there seem not to be that many crossing into Thailand since the re-opening, according to the locals

As of April 4, just 6,980 travellers have been recorded passing through the Bukit Kayu Hitam border checkpoint from Malaysia into Thailand, compared to 160,818 persons at the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar, Johor Baru checkpoint towards Singapore, the immigration department said in a statement last week.

There appears to be “no immediate impact” from the border reopening, as most travellers passing through the Bukit Kayu Hitam land border crossing seem not to be driving their own vehicles, cross-border insurance services provider Lee Ai Choo told the New Straits Times. “I think the number of travellers to Thailand will pick up once the Thai authorities ease the requirements imposed on inbound travellers,” she said.

Similarly, Napoh eatery operator Adbul Rashid Mohd Salam has not seen any economic impact from the border reopening as most of his clientele are lorry drivers and local residents. “That is why we have decided to only operate between 4pm and late evening during this fasting month,” he told the news outlet.

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