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How to Travel from Singapore to Malaysia?


Singapore and Malaysia, two adjacent countries in Southeast Asia, enjoy a close bond enriched by shared cultural and historical connections. The journey from Singapore to Malaysia attracts numerous tourists seeking to immerse themselves in the abundant diversity and cultural wealth of both nations. Traveling from Singapore to Malaysia can be done by various modes of transportation, such as air, road, rail, or sea. Travelers can tailor their journey based on budget, time constraints, and personal preferences. Whether you opt for air travel, bus rides, train journeys, car drives, or even ferry crossings, each mode of transportation presents its own set of advantages and considerations. In this article, we will delve into the merits and drawbacks of these various modes of travel, providing valuable insights and practical tips to enhance your overall journey experience.

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Travel from Singapore to Malaysia by Road

Embarking on a road trip from Singapore to Malaysia offers numerous advantages. Not only can you immerse yourself in the breathtaking scenery of the countryside, coastline, and cities along the route, but you also gain the flexibility to customize your itinerary with planned stops and spontaneous detours. This enables you to fully experience the diverse local culture, cuisine, and attractions found in various states and regions of Malaysia. Moreover, opting for a road trip allows for potential savings on airfare and airport transfers, particularly when traveling as a group or with family.

However, it’s important to consider the downsides as well. Traffic congestion, road closures, tolls, and checkpoints may cause delays, while differing driving rules and conditions in Malaysia can pose challenges. Additionally, if you lack a vehicle or a valid driving license in Malaysia, you may need to arrange for a car rental or hire a driver. Lastly, it’s crucial to acknowledge the increased risks of accidents, thefts, or breakdowns that come with being on the road.

Below are some of the primary routes you can choose for your journey, along with their approximate distances and travel durations:

North-South Expressway (NSE): This is the most direct and well-known route, connecting Singapore to major cities in Malaysia such as Johor Bahru, Kuala Lumpur, and Penang. The NSE runs alongside the western coast of Peninsular Malaysia and has several exits and tolls along its path. The distance from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur via the NSE is approximately 370 km, and it takes around 4 hours and 12 minutes to travel.

Second Link Expressway (SLE): This is an alternate route that avoids the congested Causeway and Woodlands checkpoints. It connects Singapore to Johor Bahru through the Tuas Second Link bridge and later merges with the NSE at Senai Interchange. The distance from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur via the SLE is approximately 400 km, and the travel time is around 4 hours and 34 minutes.

East Coast Expressway (ECE): This picturesque route stretches along the eastern coast of Peninsular Malaysia, passing through Terengganu, Pahang, and Selangor. The ECE provides scenic views of the South China Sea, lush tropical forests, and traditional villages. It begins from Kuala Terengganu and ends at Karak Interchange, where it connects to the Kuala Lumpur-Karak Expressway (KLKE) leading to Kuala Lumpur. The distance from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur via the ECE is approximately 600 km, and it takes around 7 hours and 45 minutes to complete the journey.

Bus Between Singapore and Malaysia
Bus Between Singapore and Malaysia

Travel from Singapore to Malaysia by Train

Road trips from Singapore to Malaysia are common, but for a scenic and comfortable alternative, consider train travel. Two services operate this route: the long-distance KTM Intercity and the short-distance Shuttle Tebrau.

The KTM Intercity service runs from Singapore’s Woodlands Train Checkpoint to various Malaysian destinations including Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh. The journey, lasting 6 to 12 hours depending on the destination, offers views of the countryside and onboard amenities. This service is perfect for those seeking a relaxing journey or aiming to visit multiple Malaysian locations.

The Shuttle Tebrau service, on the other hand, links Singapore’s Woodlands Train Checkpoint to JB Sentral in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, in just 5 minutes. This fast, frequent service with comfortable, air-conditioned seating is ideal for those wanting to visit Johor Bahru or avoid border traffic.

While train travel offers a unique, enjoyable experience, it requires careful planning due to less frequent services and the need for immigration clearance. Arranging transportation from train stations to final destinations may also be necessary.

Travel from Singapore to Malaysia by Plane

If you’re considering air travel from Singapore to Malaysia, there are various options available. Here are some essential details to keep in mind before you finalize your flight booking:

Since August 2022, Malaysia has lifted most of the Covid-related travel restrictions for Singaporeans, allowing for easier travel between the two countries. However, it is important to ensure that you fulfill the regular entry requirements, including possessing a valid passport, going through manned immigration counters, and obtaining passport stamps.

Starting from February 2023, Singapore has done away with the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) arrangement for Malaysia. Consequently, specific Covid-related regulations are no longer applicable when departing from or returning to Singapore. Nevertheless, it is still important to verify the entry requirements for re-entering Singapore based on your citizenship and residential status, and make sure to fill out the appropriate ICA Singapore arrival card.

The duration of your flight from Singapore to Malaysia will vary depending on your destination city and the number of layovers involved. For instance, a non-stop flight from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur usually takes around one hour, while a journey from Singapore to Penang with a layover in Kuala Lumpur may take approximately three hours.

Malaysia Kuala Lumpur International Airport
Malaysia Kuala Lumpur International Airport

Travel from Singapore to Malaysia by Sea

If you’re considering traveling from Singapore to Malaysia by boat, there are several options available to suit your preferences. You can embark on a ferry journey from Singapore to various ports in Malaysia, such as Desaru, Tanjung Pengelih, or Tanjung Belungkor. Alternatively, for a more luxurious and leisurely experience, you can choose a cruise ship that stops at multiple destinations in Malaysia, including Penang, Langkawi, and Kuala Lumpur.

  • One popular ferry route is from Singapore’s Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal to Desaru in Malaysia, operated by Batam Fast Ferry. This ferry operates five times a day, with a journey duration of approximately 50 minutes and a round trip ticket cost of around SGD 40. Tickets can be conveniently booked online through Direct Ferries.
  • Another ferry route is available from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal to Tanjung Pengelih in Malaysia, also operated by Batam Fast Ferry. This ferry runs six times daily, offering a journey duration of around 90 minutes and a round trip ticket cost of approximately SGD 50.
  • For a third option, you can take a ferry from Singapore’s Changi Ferry Terminal to Tanjung Belungkor in Malaysia, operated by Limbongan Maju. This ferry operates twice daily on weekdays and once daily on weekends, with a journey duration of about 50 minutes. The round-trip ticket cost is around SGD 30, and online ticket booking is available through Limbongan Maju.
  • If you prefer a more indulgent and relaxed voyage, consider a cruise ship that sails between Singapore and Malaysia. Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises, Costa Cruises, and Star Cruises are among the cruise lines offering various itineraries and packages. Onboard facilities, entertainment, and the opportunity to explore popular Malaysian ports like Penang, Langkawi, Kuala Lumpur, Malacca, and Kota Kinabalu await you. Cruise prices and durations vary based on the cruise line, itinerary, and season, providing you with a range of options to choose from.

See also How to Travel around Singapore, How to Get to & Travel around Malaysia

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