SINGAPORE - Travellers planning to visit Malaysia for Chinese New Year by coach and have not booked a ticket may soon be out of luck.
Coach tickets to Malaysia on Feb 5 and 6 are almost sold out, said six coach companies. Popular destinations include Kuala Lumpur, Genting, Malacca and Penang.
Tickets were snapped up mostly by Malaysians hoping to make it home in time for the traditional reunion dinner with their families on Feb 7, companies said.
At some coach companies, tickets were sold out as early as November, despite the companies adding buses to meet the increased demand.
Chinese New Year falls on Feb 8 and 9 this year. Reunion dinners usually take place on the eve.
Tickets are sold out at least five to six weeks before Chinese New Year every year.
MR JOE LIM, executive director of Konsortium Express & Tours
Mr Joe Lim, executive director of Konsortium Express & Tours, said he has about 100 buses going to Malaysia on Feb 5 and 6, and all are full.
Such demand for coach tickets during this festive period is "normal", said Mr Lim, president of the Express and Excursion Bus Association. "Tickets are sold out at least five to six weeks before Chinese New Year every year."
Most of those travelling on the two dates are Malaysians, he noted. Singaporeans who head across the Causeway for a short getaway usually leave on the eve of Chinese New Year or on the first day of the new year, he added.
At Grassland Express and Tours, tickets for the two dates went on sale in October and were sold out within two weeks, a customer service officer said.
At Regent Star Travel, at least 12 coaches are heading to Kuala Lumpur on Feb 5, and at least 10 on Feb 6, compared with four coaches per day in non-peak periods.
Tickets are also priced higher. A return ticket to Kuala Lumpur on an 18-seater luxury coach costs $156 on Feb 5, compared with $95 on normal days, said Regent Star Travel operations executive Nancy So. The non-stop journey takes five hours.
Those opting to fly to Malaysia will also have to act fast.
A spokesman for budget airline Tigerair said it has seen "strong demand" for its flights to Malaysia over the Chinese New Year period.
The airline has added three flights to Ipoh, two flights to Kuala Lumpur and five flights to Penang to cater to the greater demand. It will cost about $400, including taxes, for a round trip between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur from Feb 5 to 9.
At Jetstar Asia, over 60 per cent of seats on flights to Kuala Lumpur and half of seats on flights to Penang over the Chinese New Year period have been sold. This is double the number booked in the same period last year, said spokesman Robin Goh. The airline has added eight services to Kuala Lumpur and nine to Penang in this period.