I really had no idea how I was going to get from Singapore into Malaysia before the day of departure. Was I going to take the train or bus were the main decisions to make first of all. Secondly, is it cheaper to catch a bus to Johor Bahru (Larkin terminal) first and then change to a Malaysian bus or get a bus straight through from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur? After finding out where the bus to Johor Bahru departed from, I decided to give this option a lash!
The bus from Singapore to Johor Bahru in Malaysia, just across the border, leaves from the Queen St Bus Terminal right next to Arab St and very close to Little India. Look it up on google maps for the exact location. From here, there are a number of bus options all taking you across the border to Johor Bahru. Firstly there is the public bus 170 which picks up passengers along the way as it travels to the border. It costs $1.60, there is no space to store luggage and many people stand up for the journey. Secondly there are a few private bus companies charging $2.40. These buses also have no space for luggage, but because the buses travel half empty, you can just plonk your bags on a spare seat. These buses do not stop before reaching customs/immigration at the border.
The border has two aspects to it. Firstly you must clear the Singapore exit requirements on the Singapore side of the causeway. Everyone exits the bus here and takes all of their luggage with them as you will not be catching the same bus on the other side. You go through the normal immigration/customs procedures and look for a bus that looks similar to the one you departed 15 minutes before.
Once on the bus, this will take you through the no man’s land to the Malaysian border post. Here you will be required to take all your luggage off the bus again, fill out an entry card and clear customs/immigration. Once you have completed this process, you head back downstairs and try and find another one of your buses. My experience was that the private buses come much less frequently on this side of the border than the public ones. Still, I only had to wait about 15 minutes for a bus to turn up to take me to the Larkin terminal. It is also possible at this point to simply walk into the centre of Johor Bahru if you want to spend the night there.
At the Larkin terminal in Johor Bahru there are buses to all over Malaysia. Everywhere. And the buses are cheap. My 4 hour bus journey to Kuala Lumpur cost just Rm31 — less than $10. There are a range of food stalls here and a market so you can get a cheap bite to eat without any problem. Buses to KL leave 6 times every hour with a range of companies. One piece of advice: don’t purchase a ticket from a tout as they are notorious scammers. Just head to a window and buy a ticket. Transnational have a good reputation, but cost a little more than the rest. My Transnational bus was only 3 seats wide meaning I had plenty of room.
Arrival in Kuala Lumpur
You arrive in the outer suburbs of Kuala Lumpur approximately 13km from the centre of town. This isn’t much of a problem as for 50c, you can catch the train towards Masjid Jamek. Every bone in my body wanted to catch the train away from Ampang, but in reality, you want to head in the Ampang direction to get to the centre of KL. Where you want to get off the train is up to you, but be warned that information at the bus terminal/train station is very poor.
So there you have it. It’s easy and cheap to simply catch a few buses and a train to get to central KL. Forget going direct from Singapore for $30 by bus and forget the train unless you’re a train buff. Bus to Johor Bahru, then bus to southern KL bus terminal and then train to central KL is the way to go!