Need to get from Singapore to Malaysia to visit Legoland, check out southern Malaysia, or get a cheaper flight out to KL? Well we’ve found the quickest, cheapest and easiest way there. Taking the bus from Singapore to Johor Bahru is easy and definitely the cheapest option across the border.
We needed to get the bus from Singapore to Johor Bahru to catch our flight to KL. We’d booked to fly out of Johor, rather than Singapore (Changi) Airport as we were planning to visit Legoland prior to flying out. After booking the flights it turned out that our plans had changed (as they often do) and we had to postpone Legoland until later in the trip, but as the flights were booked, we had no choice but to make our way across the border to fly out. This actually turned out OK as the flights are cheaper out of Johor than Singapore and although it was a little tricky with 5 kids and all our luggage, the journey wasn’t too bad, taking around 2 hours all up, including a taxi from Johor (Larkin Bus Terminal) to the airport (Senai).
We had only done a little research on getting across the border before the trip and found many buses and coaches with online booking at around $30 SGD per seat ($210 for our family), and there are taxi/car services ranging from $150-$200 SGD+ for a large MPV, 7 persons and luggage. After arriving in Singapore and asking around (the day before we were due to leave), we found out that actually the cheapest way across is the Causeway Link bus and there’s no need to book, you just buy your tickets on the bus.
There are several different Causeway Link services to Johor operating out of various locations across Singapore. Our closest was Queen Street Bus Terminal in Little India, so we made our way there, taking the local bus and a short train from our hotel, and joined the back of the surprisingly long queue. As you can imagine, we did get quite a few looks as we rolled up with stroller, 2 suitcases, carry-on bags and 5 excitable children.
As it turned out, the long queue wasn’t a problem as buses run every 15-30 minutes. Half the queue quickly disappeared as a bus arrived, then 15 minutes later the next bus arrived and we were good to go. I had to ask the driver twice when we boarded and he told us how much. “$13.20” he said. $13 for all seven of us to travel to another country by bus! Tickets are $3.30 SGD per seat but they just charged for 4 tickets and not for our 3 youngest kids. We were quite happy with that, especially compared with the other options that would have cost over $200. Sure, the bus wasn’t overly luxurious, it was basically an average city bus, and it was a bit of a struggle lugging in all the bags, folding up the stroller and apologising to dozens of locals as we squeezed on and off the bus, but hey for a $187 saving we can deal with that.
After getting through the initial pain of getting all of our stuff on the bus and finding a seat, we were on our way. We knew we had to go through some sort of security checkpoint/customs area at the Malaysian border but we weren’t quite sure how it all worked. When we arrived at the checkpoint, all the other passengers immediately got off the bus and headed towards the terminal, so we followed the crowd. Inside the terminal there were customs/immigration checks, much the same as you find in an airport. We queued for around 10 minutes or so, put all of our bags through the scanner, showed passports, and then followed the crowd again out to other side of the building. There we queued up again to wait for the next available Causeway Link bus. It’s basically first come first serve, and you don’t just get back on the same bus you got off, you just wait in the Causeway line and the buses keep rolling through every 15-30 minutes.
Around 20 minutes after getting off we were back on a different bus and heading for Johor Bahru. About half an hour later we arrived at the Larkin Bus Terminal and headed out to find our next bus to the airport. The whole process of getting from Singapore to Johor Bahru took approximately an hour and a half and although we had to deal with the usual ‘travel day’ whining, whinging and stressing from various kids (and Mum), we made it through without too much trouble.
Once at Larkin we boarded the next bus to the airport. I hauled up all the luggage and stroller, Erin struggled her way down the aisle to find seats, then I asked the driver how long would it take to the airport. “1 hour and one half.” he said. Sorry? An hour and a half? Senai Airport was around 27km away so I had assumed we would have plenty of time to get there on time by bus, but apparently not. Everybody off! So we all struggled our way back off the bus, much to the amusement of the other passengers and driver, and headed for the taxi rank.
Luckily there were about 50 taxis lined up and ready to go, so we hopped in the first one, crammed the luggage into the boot, kids on laps, and off we went. We arrived at the airport about half an hour later and all was well. The taxi cost 70 MYR (around $23 AUD) which was a bit more than the bus, but we were all a bit over it by then and just glad to be on time for our flight.
We usually try to avoid cramming all 7 of us into a small taxi for obvious reasons. We tend to look for larger taxi-vans when we have to use one, and lately we’ve been using Uber and Grab apps which have been great – Much cheaper and quicker service, and the option to book only a large 7-seater car, which is much more comfortable and safe. You can read our full post on Taxis In Asia With Kids… coming soon!
So all in all, the Causeway Link bus from Singapore to Johor Bahru worked well for us. It’s definitely the cheapest option to cross the border and if we can do it with 5 kids, anyone can!
We took the CW2 from Queen Street Bus Terminal to Larkin Sentral in Johor. There are several other Causeway Link drop off points including Sutera Mall, Legoland or just to the checkpoint- see website for details.
More information and bookings visit Causeway Link