I’ve grown spoiled with China’s high speed trains, and I figured our trip to Singapore would be a quick one, given its proximity to Kuala Lumpur. I was wrong…
A few years back, Singapore cancelled the train coming directly from Malaysia’s capital, leaving only two options: bus or plane.
For this trip, I tried very hard to minimize the number of flights we booked. Flying is not great for the environment, but we aren’t left with many other options during our holidays in this part of the world. South East Asia doesn’t always have the best roads, so flying is often our best (and safest) option.
We ended up looking into both options and saw that although flights are generally very cheap going from KL to Singapore, they quadrupled over Chinese New Year. The buses were more expensive too but still cheaper overall, so we decided to take the longer (and more environmentally friendly) option for this trip.
We arrived a half hour before our scheduled departure, as recommended by the booking website (we used www.easybook.com). We were a little annoyed when we tried to board the bus with our full cups of coffee, only to be told they weren’t allowed. We drank as much as we could and left our half-full coffees behind, much to our chagrin.
The bus was clean and about half empty. With buses going to Singapore nearly every hour, I imagine they don’t often fill all the way up.
There are a lot of different bus companies making this trip, but we decided to go with The One Tours. They rated well online, while some of the other companies had awful reviews. Some bus drivers refused to even take passengers all the way into Singapore, leaving them stranded at the border. Aside from our wasted coffees, we were very happy with our experience and I’d recommend The One Tours without hesitation.
Because there is a border crossing, this trip into Singapore has a few stops (in addition to regular rest stops). The first stop is to leave Malaysia. You’re stamped out and sent on your way. The process doesn’t take long as long as you don’t have anything to declare. We had to put our bags through an x-ray machine but it wasn’t nearly as much of a hassle as at the airport.
After “leaving” Malaysia, you actually need to get back on the bus for a few more minutes until you reach customs on Singapore’s side. Here, you’ll get stamped in, asked a few questions and then be on your way!
I should note that each bus company does pick ups and drop offs at different locations. We were dropped off near a hotel in Singapore, where we were able to get onto WiFi to order a Grab (like Didi or Uber). It turns out that we could have gotten cheap roaming on our Malaysia Sim cards if we had done it before leaving, but once we were in Singapore it was too late, so of course, we had to get a Singaporean sim card too.
If you’re planning to take the bus out to Singapore, I can reassure you that it’s nothing like Laos or The Philippines . There will be no live (or dead) farm animals on your bus and the seats are comfy. Best of all, it’s a safe and reliable way to get around.
My next few posts are going to be long ones! I’ll be writing them on the bus ride back to Kuala Lumpur! Check back soon!