How to Travel from Singapore to Malaysia by Bus
In this Malaysia-Singapore travel post, I’m going to show you an inexpensive and pain-free way to travel from Singapore to Malaysia and then back to Singapore by bus. I wrote this post because the first time I was in Singapore, I struggled to find info online about how to cross into Malaysia, and I thought someone else might be struggling, too.
The best part about this post is that I’ll tell you what you need to do to avoid having your bus leave you at the border or having to pay a huge fine because you didn’t have your shit together when crossing into Singapore.
Singapore’s immigration is TOUGH and UNFORGIVING!
I’ll walk you through how I traveled from Singapore to Malacca (also spelled Melaka) and then from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore so you can let go of your anxieties and enjoy the ride.
So, grab your passport and camera, and let’s take a bus to Malaysia!
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8 Things to Know Before Traveling Between Singapore and Malaysia
Before we get started, we must cover eight very important points about traveling from Singapore to Malaysia and also from Malaysia to Singapore.
- You can’t show onward travel like a ticket to another country.
- They don’t like the way you look.
- You stay in Singapore for 30-90 days, leave for a few days, and try to return to stay another 30-90 days. Singapore immigration is onto this trick. There are countless sob stories online about people being detained and denied entry.
In the future, you might then never be allowedinto Singapore.
Written on every ticket I bought to cross the border were the words, “We will only wait for 30 minutes at immigration.”
I met a woman from Germany who got left at the border. She had gotten hung up at immigration because she couldn’t access proof that she had an onward flight out of Singapore. She had a ticket to Bali, but she had no internet service to retrieve her electronic ticket. Eventually, she got through, but her bus had already left.
However, as of
Looking for more info on traveling to Malaysia?
How to Get from Singapore to Malaysia
How to purchase bus tickets to Malaysia
Obviously, the first step is to buy your ticket. I prefer to use 12Go
I’ve also used Easybook.com. They have more bus listings than 12Go, but their site can be a nightmare to navigate for first-timers. I made a huge mistake once when booking tickets on Easybook that cost me due to the structure of their site and me being in a hurry. I’ll tell you about it later in this post.
Using 12Go Asia’s Booking Website to purchase bus tickets to Malaysia:
After you enter your departure, destination, and date of departure, you’ll get a list of many
The listings on 12Go
If you look at
There are a few things about the bus listing that can
At the time I wrote this article, 12Go Asia listed 4 bus departure points. They’re not really terminals since for some of them, they’re just a pickup point on the side of the road.
1. Golden Mile Complex – 5001 Beach Road, Singapore
3. City Plaza – 810 Geylang Road, #01-70 A Singapore 409286
4. Queen Street – Ban San Street, Singapore
12Go Asia lists 3 bus companies, whereas
When leaving Singapore, I used KKKL, but I don’t see it listed on either booking site anymore. From KL to Singapore, I used Billion Star. They showed up at the bus stop 30 minutes
You’ll often see the same bus company and the same departure time and point listed several times. The only difference is the
Step #2: Departing Singapore
I booked my ticket for Malacca (Melaka) the day before departure, which was a Sunday. Only three seats for the 2:00 bus were still available. All the buses leaving after 2:00 pm were full. It cost me S$21.20 (US$15.49).
I took a Grab from Chinatown to the Queen Street bus station, arriving 30 minutes before my bus was to depart as suggested by the bus company. My Grab cost S$9.
The Queen Street Bus Terminal is a tiny one-room building in a parking lot. That’s it. It’s easy to find. Passengers wait outside on the sidewalk. There are no chairs to sit on. You either stand or sit on the ground.
Both 12Go Asia and Easybook recommend arriving thirty minutes before departure. That seemed excessive given the fact that there were no places to sit and wait in Singapore or in KL.
There was a little slot in a window where I gave the bus company the print-out of your ticket voucher. 12Go Asia recommends printing it out as some places don’t accept tickets on screens. However, throughout my travels in Malaysia, I saw other people just show their phones. Later on in my travels, I also just flashed the ticket on my phone.
In exchange for my voucher, I got a scrap of paper with my seat number. Not the most professional.
The bus came a few minutes before the 2:00 departure. I put my bags under the bus and got on. No one asked to see my ticket.
It was a regular-sized bus; not a minibus. However, there were only nine rows, so everyone had ample legroom.
No loud music or television.
A very nice comfy quiet bus ride.
By the way, Malacca is the old spelling of the city and the one that bus companies still use. Melaka is the official spelling in Malaysia. Same city.
Step #3: Singapore Immigration
The bus drove to the border of Singapore and Malaysia. Everyone got out with their passport and left their luggage on the bus.
Here’s a SUPER important tip:
There are lots of busses, and they all look the same. Take a mental picture of your fellow passengers and stick with them so you can get back to the right bus.
Maybe you think I’m paranoid, but as a solo traveler, a bus leaving me behind is one of my greatest travel fears.
When I got to immigration, a machine scanned my passport. After that, it did the same with my fingerprints. My name came up on a screen allowing me to leave Singapore. Finally, I put the arrival card I got when I arrived in Singapore into a container.
Then I found my group of bus companions to wait for our bus to pick us up.
Busses cannot wait for
#4: Malaysia Immigration and Customs
When the bus got to Malaysia, everyone got off and took all their luggage with them to Malaysian immigration.
Get into the international passport line and not the one for Malaysians. The signage was unclear.
Try to avoid the lines for tour groups from China. Chinese tourists need to have a visa to enter the country, and this slows the line down. This happened to me. If I hadn’t gotten stuck with a lot of other passengers from the same bus,
Malaysian immigration only asked me how long I was staying in Malaysia.
Here’s another IMPORTANT tip that a passenger from Singapore told me. Make sure that immigration stamps your passport! She said that sometimes immigration forgets to do it, and when you try to leave Malaysia, you’re in big trouble. Double check that they do this!
Next, you’ll need to have your bags scanned at Customs. Malaysia has a few restrictions on what you can and can’t bring into the country on their Customs’ website.
Step #5: Arrival in Melaka
The bus stopped one time for a bathroom break for ten minutes. Bring toilet paper.
It took almost four hours to get to Melaka.
I was supposed to have gotten off at Melaka Sentral bus station, but the bus driver offered to drive me to my hotel for S$5. I thought this was a great deal!
The bus didn’t drop me off exactly in front of my hotel. I had to walk for about 10 minutes. Most tourists stay in Chinatown, the old area of the city with the shophouses and near the Dutch colonial buildings.
Getting cash in Melaka
When I got to Malaysia, I didn’t have any Malaysian currency. Ringgit. I thought it would be easy to use my American bankcard at an ATM. Wouldn’t you assume that the most touristy part of town would have tons of ATMs?
There is ONE ATM in all of Chinatown. ONE. It’s at a 7-11 store. And it didn’t accept my card. A pretty common occurrence for me in Malaysia.
It was late at night and I was really tired, but my hotel needed a security deposit (go figure!) and my stomach needed food. I had to walk for thirty minutes outside of the central tourist area along dark deserted streets looking for an ATM. I tried two before I got to May Bank.
Whenever you use the ATMs in Malaysia, you get an ominous warning message about paying attention to the people around you and protecting your money. Nothing happened, though. In the future, I’m not going to arriving in a new country at night without any of the country’s currency on me.
Bus from Malaysia to Singapore
I traveled from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore. Before leaving KL, I made sure I had a paper copy of my ticket out of Singapore. Because my phone was using a local Malaysian SIM card, I couldn’t access the
Step #1: Purchasing Tickets
I purchased my ticket several days before leaving for Singapore. Here are the three most common departure points in KL:
I bought my ticket from Billion Star Bus Company for a bus leaving in the late morning from Berjaya Times Square.
#2 Departing Kuala Lumpur
I was staying at the Backhome KL Hostel in Kuala Lumpur. It was about a five-minute ride with Grab to the bus stop. When I arrived, there were already lots of other people waiting for their busses. There were already
My bus arrived 30 minutes late. When it did finally come, the name of the bus didn’t match the name of the bus company (Billion Star) on my ticket. Confusing. If one of my fellow passengers hadn’t asked the driver, the bus might have left without us.
#Step 3: Drive to the border
The ride to the border of Singapore and Malaysia was uneventful. We stopped for a half-hour for lunch.
Ask the driver for a Singapore arrival card to submit to immigration upon getting to Singapore. Our driver didn’t have enough cards for everyone. Another reason not to take Billion Star.
Step #4: Malaysian Immigration
The bus will drop everyone off at immigration. Take your passport but leave your luggage on the bus.
The same bus will pick you up on the other side of immigration.
#5: Singapore Immigration and Customs
Take all of your belongings off the bus and walk to immigration. Sometimes the lines for international visitors are quite short, while other times they are super long and slow.
I had no problems passing through Singapore immigration. I had my onward ticket ready to show them, but they didn’t ask for it.
Don’t rely on your phone to show your ticket. You might not have
After immigration, you’ll need to pass through customs. If you have nothing to declare, go through the green line. If you do, head for the red line. Remember that you are forbidden from bringing in alcohol from Malaysia, chewing gum, and a few other things. Fines are steep and officials are unforgiving.
We had to wait for a long time for a few people to pass through immigration. It felt like
Step #6: Arrival in Singapore
When we arrived in Singapore, the bus stopped on the side of the road at the Golden Mile Towers, my destination. It took around 5 hours from KL to Singapore.
Check out these travel guides for Singapore
Where to stay in Singapore
I generally prefer to stay in hotels and small guesthouses when I travel but because they’re so expensive in Singapore, I stayed in hostels. If you don’t want to be in a dorm room, there are private rooms in hostels as well.
During my first trip, I stayed at the Adler Hostel in Chinatown. Lonely Planet raved about the place. While the location of the hostel was super convenient, the dorm rooms and bathrooms weren’t so nice for the prices they were charging. Breakfast wasn’t included either.
I also stayed at the Pod in Kampong Glam and had a better experience. This was a newer hostel with a cheaper price and the best free hostel breakfast EVER (no exaggeration here). The staff was very helpful and professional. The facilities were very clean. Showers were clean and super convenient to use. I would definitely stay here again.
You can read my detailed Singapore itinerary post with a full review and lots of useful tips for traveling in Singapore. For tips on how to travel more cheaply in Singapore, check out my post on How to Save Money in Singapore. There are tons of useful tips on the best way to get to the airport and lots of info on free tours.
Where to stay in Melaka
I stayed at the fabulous Aava Malacca Hotel along the river in Chinatown. Best hotel in Malaysia. Gorgeous hotel in a traditional shophouse. Infinity pool. Decent price and centrally located. I paid US$45.
You can read my review of the hotel in my Malaysia Itinerary and Travel Guide.
I also have a review of the hotel and a Melaka itinerary post with lots of useful tips for traveling in the city.
Where to stay in Kuala Lumpur
I stayed at one of the best hostels in Asia: Backhome KL Hostel. A gorgeous, centrally located hostel. Friendly staff. Clean facilities and a decent breakfast. Aweseom price.
Singapore and Malaysia are great places to visit. If you know where to buy bus tickets and what to expect when crossing the border, it can be a breeze.
Thanks for reading! ♥ Happy travels!
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Looking for more info on Malaysia and Singapore?
- How to travel from Singapore to Malaysia by Bus
- An Unforgettable 2-Day Melaka Itinerary
- Penang Itinerary: 3 Days of Street Art and Night Markets
- 10 Best Books about Malaysia: Read Before You Go!
- Singapore Itinerary: How to Spend 5 Days in Singapore
- How to Save Money in Singapore
- 10 Awesome Books About Singapore
- Hello Singapore Food Tour - Unbiased and Honest Review
- Review of Black and White Houses Tour
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your story is excellent my wife will be travelling from malaysia to singapore on the 13december the bus company called billion shuld not be used what other bus company in malaysia would you recommend the price is not a problim but if theirs assistance especially at the border post some bus company do assist what would you reccomend thank you
I have to admit that I’m not sure what other bus company to use. I’m not even sure that there is a bus company that would assist your wife. The driver doesn’t go with the passengers through immigration and customs. He/she goes through another gate and then meets the passengers on the other side of the border. Your best bet is to make friends with someone on the bus and/or follow the other passengers. Your other choice would be to join a tour group in which the guide goes with the passengers through immigration and customs. – Julie
My daughter and I are leaving for our first trip to Malaysia this summer. I read your blog and look forward to my trip! Thanks so much for your advices!
Your welcome! I hope you have a terrific time in Malaysia! I really enjoyed my time there!