Crossing the border from Malaysia to Singapore was fairly similar to crossing the border from Singapore to Malaysia, so you may also want to read that article as well for some additional background. Plus, Singapore and Malaysia are so close – so if you’re trying to cross from Malaysia to Singapore, there are better than even odds that you’ll need to cross from Singapore to Malaysia as well! As with crossing from Singapore to Malaysia, there are 3 basic options to cross the border from Malaysia to SIngapore – bus, taxi and car. I will focus mostly on the bus from Singapore to Malaysia as that’s what we chose to do.
How to take the bus from Malaysia to Singapore
Because we were staying at the Doubletree Johor Bahru (an awesome hotel BTW!) and within walking distance of the Johor Bahru City Square and customs / immigration checkpoint, we just reversed our walk of the day before and made our way through Malaysian exit immigration without a problem. After you go through Malaysia exit immigration and customs, you will walk down an escalator to a big bus loading area.
In our case, we were again planning on taking the yellow Causeway Express buses, and we had a bit of trouble finding out where those buses were supposed to load. You come down the escalator from Malaysian immigration towards the top right of the above picture on the OTHER side of the bus terminal – so you just need to cross over the road. Look for the yellow CW1, CW2 and CW5 bus signs (pictured in the middle of the above pic).
The interesting thing that I was not really sure about was that there appeared to be two lines (which you can see in the above picture). We were in the line on the right, which said “normal line” and I am not sure what the line on the left was. Even though the left line was shorter, when the bus came, it was only the “normal line” that moved to get on the bus, so it seems like staying there (in the line on the right) was the correct move.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Even though there are 3 different bus routes (CW1, CW2 and CW5), at this point it does NOT matter which bus you get on. The bus you get on here is ONLY going to take you across the causeway from Johor Bahru to Singapore, at which point you’ll have to get off and go through Singapore immigration. So just get on whichever yellow bus you can (assuming you’re taking the Causeway Express bus from Malaysia to Singapore like we were)
Tickets were RM$3.30 and they did NOT give change – all I had was a RM$10 note for the 2 of us, so I definitely lost some money there. AGAIN, JUST LIKE WHEN WE WENT FROM SINGAPORE TO JOHOR BAHRU, YOU NEED TO KEEP YOUR TICKET! When the bus arrived and the queue started moving, it became apparent that it was going to be tight for us to make the bus (especially given that we both had bulky carry on suitcases with us AND backpacks). When Carolyn got on she felt like she was the last person that was going to fit on the bus, but then 7 (SEVEN!) more people got on before they finally closed the doors.
The next stop after the relatively short bus ride from Malaysia over the causeway into Singapore is everyone gets back OFF the bus and goes through Singapore entry immigration. The immigration itself was not a problem, but one screw up we did was that after we were all through, I followed the signs for “Departure Hall”. That seemed to make sense because I was trying to depart, right? WRONG! That put me back in the room to go from Singapore TO Malaysia. Apparently though this happens often enough that there was an officer there that took us (and 3 other people who had made the same mistake) back into the correct place. We had to go through customs / bag scanning again, and this time we took the escalator down to the bus boarding area.
The Causeway Express bus from Johor Bahru to Singapore will be behind you once you go down the escalator (follow the signs for SBS / STS transit buses), and you’ll once again be greeted by a multi-line queue that looks something like this.
Here is where it IS important to get in the right line as now the buses will be going to different places. If you are going back to the Queen Street bus / taxi terminal, you want bus CW2 (which is the middle line). The queue was a decent size but buses came along frequently enough that we were only waiting about 10-15 minutes here. Then it was a 20-30 minute ride back to Queen Street, where you can get a taxi or take the Singapore metro from the Bugis stop to wherever else in Singapore you’re going.
Taking a taxi from Malaysia to Singapore
Once again, only specially licensed taxis are allowed to go from Johor Bahru to Singpaore. The taxis wait at the Larkin Bus terminal, which is a bit further into Johor Bahru than the JB City Square and are only supposed to go directly to the Queen Street bus / taxi terminal in Singapore. Again, the taxis wait till they are filled. It’s RM$20 / person, and if you want to take the whole taxi, you can pay the full RM$80. You have to wait in the regular causeway traffic but do not have to get out of your taxi to cross immigration on either the Malaysian or Singapore side.
How to go from Malaysia to Singapore by car
You CAN also hire a private car / limousine to go from Johor Bahru Malaysia to Singapore, but it will be very expensive – this will likely run you AT LEAST RM$250, 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
Another option if you have your own car would be to cross from Malaysia to Singapore by the Second Link Expressway (at the western or 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 Johor Bahru Malaysia to Singapore
We crossed the border from Johor Bahru to Singpaore on a Saturday morning. It was a little bit more crowded than our initial trip the day before into Malaysia (where the entire process took just about an hour), but I would say that going from Malaysia to Singapore still took us no more than 90 minutes, which for a border crossing felt like it wasn’t that bad!
I hope this helps you if you’re trying to cross the border from Malaysia to Singapore – any questions or additional thoughts, leave them in the comments!