For Filipinos, a full week trip to the Lion City is not complete without a side trip to Malaysia. And because my parents wanted every chance to get to see Kuala Lumpur in all its glory, I decided to tweak our itinerary a little to accommodate a day trip to the neighboring city.
So how easy is it really to cross the border? It’s quite manageable if you ask me. One thing you have to know is that there are no coach bus trips at night from SG to KL.
With the help of Easybook, we were able to score 4 roundtrip tickets at around Php1,200 each (this is quite a steal since most tickets cost around that price for a one-way fare).
Admittedly, it was hard at first to decide which bus company to pick. Everyone has their own share of horror stories that made me think twice about my decision.
In the end, we opted for one of the cheapest and earliest trip to KL through the Golden Coach Express.
Departure time was strictly at 8:30 A.M. from City Plaza Singapore which was conveniently located a few blocks away from the AirBnB apartment we were staying in for the week. If you prefer other pickup locations, there are other options to choose from (a quick visit to Easybook will help a lot).
Tip: Make sure to pick the earliest time possible to maximize the trip.
Okay, so here’s the thing: Golden Coach was reliable in terms of sticking to schedule unlike other bus companies which admittedly offers the same trip at half the price but it will take you sooooo long to get to Berjaya Time Square.
But before we go there, let’s talk about the actual crossing the border part. It was easy. You just have to make sure you know who you’re riding the bus with, which bus you’re riding, and who’s the driver you should always be on the lookout for.
There are A LOT of buses once you get to the Immigration border so stick to your group! Since Filipinos are not required to get a tourist Visa, you only have to fall in line in the non-Malaysian/SG passport holders lane and get your passport stamped. SUPER QUICK and EASY!
Then you ride your bus and the driver will take you to the Customs where you ought to bring your luggage and all that if you have any. We didn’t bring much so this was not a hurdle for our group.
Once this part is over, you’ll officially inside the Johor Bahru, Malaysia. We took a short stop and was gladly welcomed with various Malaysian delicacies on the side street! The Puto Bamboo (quite funny because it’s exactly like Philippines’ Puto Bumbong) was such a treat that we immediately regretted not buying more.
Fun fact: You’ll immediately feel richer in Malaysia because everything is like 1/3 the price of food in SG.
At exactly 3 P.M., we alighted at the Berjaya Times Square (BTS), a regular mall smack in the middle of the bustling city and near the metro station. We were a little behind schedule because my ETA is around 1 pm so we had to move a little faster.
Tip: If you can’t walk for miles just to see the infamous Petronas Towers, then don’t walk. Don’t risk the metro either. Go get a cab, it will save you precious time and energy.
We walked. The positive thing is we were able to go around KL on our own and see all of it up close. The negative side of it is we lost a lot of time walking around and by the time we got to the Petronas Towers it was little after 5 P.M already. We then took the bus on our way back and used up the remaining time inside BTS.
The Five Stars Tours (The One Travel & Tours) Bus arrived on time at 11:30 P.M. outside BTS to take us back to SG. This time, we decided to take the second-floor seats since it was a pretty neat double decker bus.
To tell you frankly, SG’s immigration people are stricter than Malaysia’s since they really do take quite an interest on your reason for travel and all the usual questions you get when you cross the border. Yes, even if it’s a little past midnight, you have to stay alert and answer.
Luckily, the driver on our way back navigates a little faster than our previous one and we got to SG’s Golden Mile Complex at around 5 A.M.
It was a pretty quick side-trip but it was enough to get a feel of Kuala Lumpur. So if you’re planning to add this to your SG itinerary then I say go for it! It’s doable and convenient and very worth the experience.
Feel free to leave questions on the comments section. Enjoy your trip!