SINGAPORE: People planning on travelling from Singapore to Malaysia for next year’s Lunar New Year holidays need to be prepared as early as now to pay the price, literally. And by that, we mean at least double, if not more, of the regular price.

A quick check by The Independent Singapore on a flight aggregate site shows that a return flight from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur costs around S$89 in mid-January next year. By mid-February, however, the same flight costs S$304.

Flights to Ipoh are even pricier than usual for the second week of February. A one-hour and 13-minute flight to Ipoh from Singapore on budget carrier Scoot can cost as low as S$120 in January, but a month later, it comes close to $1000.

By Valentine’s Day (Feb 14), it appears that flight prices begin to go back to normal, so those unwilling to shell out extra may want to defer their travel plans until then. However, it would mean missing out on celebrating with family and friends.

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The Straits Times says the price surge is due to increased demand, as many people have booked tickets to Malaysia way in advance. ST added that not only are air tickets getting snapped up quickly and seeing price increases, but the same goes for bus tickets.

A bus operator has said that since Oct 10, when tickets to various destinations in Malaysia went on sale, three-fifths of the tickets have already been sold. Passengers, it seems, are unfazed that the normal prices of S$40 to S$55 have gone up to as much as S$190 per ticket on some bus lines.

Perhaps the surge is still revenge or rebound travel, the phenomenon that occurred after restrictions were lifted when authorities deemed that the COVID-19 pandemic was no longer a threat. The desire to roam free, plus the strong dollar against the Malaysian ringgit, means that for CNY 2024, people need to buy tickets earlier. 

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