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You have a couple of different options if you want to cross the border from Singapore to Malaysia. While you can no longer walk across the causeway from Singapore to Malasyia, one options is that you can take a taxi from Singapore to Malasyia. It is important to note however that you must take a specially licensed taxi to Malaysia from Singapore. A cheaper alternative is to take a bus from Malaysia to Singapore or from Singapore to Malaysia, which is what we did. I will focus this Singapore to Malaysia border crossing article specifically on crossing the border by bus, as crossing the border by taxi is fairly straightforward, while crossing the border from Singapore to Malaysia by bus is slightly more complicated (yet still totally doable!) so a bit of pictures and documentation might be helpful to other travelers trying to cross the Malaysian border.
Crossing the border from Singapore to Malaysia (Johor Bahru) via bus
There are 3 different Singapore to Malaysia bus options, which is what we chose to do for our trip from Singapore to Malaysia. From our hotel (Conrad Centennial), it was a quick taxi ride to the Johor Bahru Express bus and terminal on Queen Street (it’s also only about a block away from the Bugis MRT/ subway stop).
The three different Singapore to Malaysia bus options to choose from – the SBS transit bus (Route 170), the Causeway Express, and the Singapore – Johor Express (SJE).
Based on information I found, it looked like the Causeway Express bus was the best bus option, so that is the one we chose. The buses are bright and yellow and conveniently, one arrived at the Queen Street / Bugis terminal right as our taxi dropped us off. Here’s what the Causeway Express Singapore to Malaysia bus looked like
Note the bright yellow color. The Causeway Express bus fare was S$3.30 per person. There was a man right out front of the bus with a table selling the tickets. He did not take credit cards (as far as I could tell – I didn’t try), but they did give change. I believe they also take the EZ Link transit pass – there was a card reader for it near the bus. Because we got there just as a bus pulled up, there was already a relatively long line waiting for the bus so by the time we got on it was fairly full, and so we did not have to wait for very long for the bus to depart towards the Malaysia border. There was extremely limited space for luggage on the bus – we each had a carry on sized piece of luggage and I was able to find a spot for one while Carolyn had to hold hers on her lap. The bus took off once all the seats were full, which was about 3-5 minutes after we boarded. It is very important that you keep your ticket with you even after you board the bus!
The Causeway Express bus is an express bus and does not make any stops before the Woodlands border crossing stop, just before you cross the border from Singapore to Malaysia. This is in contrast to the SBS Route 170 bus which does make several stops before you get to Johor Bahru (which is one reason we chose the Causeway Express bus, even though it’s slightly more expensive)
Once you get to the Woodlands border crossing station, the bus stops and you must get off with all your luggage. This is important as you will NOT be getting back on this bus. Go through Singapore exit immigration, and once you do, you’ll go down an escalator and queue back up for your bus. There are several different lines for the different bus companies – if you take the Causeway Link bus like we did, you’re looking for one that looks like this
A yellow Causeway Link Singapore bus came by every 2-3 minutes while we were down there. The first yellow Causeway Link Singapore bus left just as we got downstairs after going through Singapore immigration, the 2nd yellow Causeway Link Singapore bus filled up before we got to the front of the line, and we got on the 3rd yellow Causeway Link Singapore bus, which was fine with us (I’d rather be one of the first ones on a bus and get a seat than be one of the last ones on a bus and have to stand)
Here we are waiting in line for our Causeway Link Singapore bus
This is where you’ll theoretically need to show your ticket, though nobody was really checking them at least in our case. You should not have to pay anything extra (assuming you have your ticket). The Singapore to Malaysia bus ride across the causeway took about 5 minutes, and then you get BACK off the bus and go through Malaysian immigration and customs. Once you clear through there, you just follow the signs for JB Sentral to the Johor Bahru City Square, where you can get another bus or a taxi if you’d like.
You’ll cross over one road, then continue following the signs through a small shopping mall and cross on a pedestrian bridge OVER a 2nd street. You’ll be about to go through ANOTHER mall (I’ve found that SE Asian countries really like to use shopping malls as a method of transit!). The view will look something like this
When we were there, there was a Starbucks right in front of you and you could go either left or right. You want to go right (past where the Angry Bird is in my picture) and that should take you through the mall and back onto Jalan Wong Ah Fook, after which it’s a short walk to the Doubletree Hilton Johor Bahru (where we stayed)
Taking a taxi from Singapore to Malaysia
As I mentioned earlier, if you want to taxi from Singapore to Malaysia, only specially licensed taxis are allowed to go from Singapore to Johor Bahru. If you want to take a Singapore taxi to Malaysia, even the specially licensed taxis can ONLY go to Larkin Bus Terminal in Johor Bahru, at which point you would need to get another bus or taxi to take you elsewhere in Malaysia. You can ONLY pick these up on Ban San St., very near the Queen Street Johor Bahru Bus / Taxi terminal). If you’re going right from Queen Street in Singapore to Larkin Street in Johor Bahru Malaysia, the taxis wait till they are filled. It’s S$12 / person, and if you want to take the whole taxi, you can pay the full S$48. By law (regulation?) these taxis can ONLY go to the Larkin Bus Terminal in JB Malaysia, but if you get a Malaysian taxi (rather than a Singapore taxi), you can always negotiate with your driver if you’re going somewhere else.
Going from Singapore to Malaysia by car
You CAN also hire a private car / limousine to go from Singapore to Johor Bahru Malaysia, but be prepared to pay a pretty penny – this will likely run you AT LEAST S$100, and probably more, even if you’re just going into Johor and not very far into Malaysia. If you have your own car (rental or otherwise), make sure it’s allowed to cross the border, and then your border crossing should be fairly straightforward, though again, the queue to cross the border by car / taxi CAN be significant
If you have your own car, you might want to consider crossing the Malaysia border by the Second Link Expressway (at the Tuas checkpoint). This is a 2nd border crossing point, and even if it’s not directly on your way, the time that you save in going through immigration control may make up for it.
Best times to cross the border from Singapore to Malaysia
We crossed the border from Singapore to Johor Bahru Malaysia on a Friday. The concierge at the Conrad Centennial hotel in Singapore suggested to us that because there are many Malays that work in Singapore, the lines for border crossings on Friday afternoons get VERY crowded (and long!) We caught the Singapore bus from Queen Street at about 10:45 a.m. on a Friday and the entire process which included the bus ride, Singapore immigration, waiting for another bus, the drive over the causeway to Malaysia from Singapore and Malaysian immigration and customs took just under an hour.
In theory a taxi could be faster as you don’t have to get off/on a separate bus and you just show your travel documents, but the causeway traffic crossing the border on the Singapore Malaysia border causeway can get REALLY long. On our bus we zoomed past literally 100s of cars in the special “bus” lane.
I hope this helps you if you’re trying to cross the border from Singapore to Malaysia – any questions or additional thoughts, leave them in the comments!