Thursday, October 11, 2012

Crossing Boarders: The Johor Bahru, Malaysia Experience

Backpacking around Asia is part of our long bucket list and it's been our dream and ultimate challenge to travel the world without my trusty stroller bag haha. Although we weren't able to do it this year, our Singapore-Malaysia trip can serve as a pre-backpacking adventure--at least we got a feel of being boarder less in a day haha! 

To be honest, when we booked our Singapore flight, crossing to another country was not what we had in mind.  It was actually spontaneous! And through research, we learned that we can go to Malaysia (supposedly Kuala Lumpur but ended up in Johor Bahur due to time constrains) and so as Indonesia (forgot the name of the island!) by train,bus, or boat. However, we didn't push through with the Indonesian adventure because apparently, my Korean boyfriend is required to pay visa fees haha!--and yes I feel privileged to be a Filipino haha the perks of being part of S.E.A. country :P

So now, the question is how to get there?

There are 2 ways to get to Johor Bahru (JB) by land from Singapore:

1) MRT to Jurong East Station: 
-Go to Jurong East MRT station.
-Go down the MRT station and go to the bus station to your left. Look for waiting area of Bus no. 170 or 160. 
-Note that you can use your  EZ Link Card from Singapore to pay the buses. Make sure you have more than SGD 5 load because there are no loading stations in Malaysia.
-Both buses will head to Woodlands Checkpoint. Once reaching woodlands checkpoint, get off the bus and go pass SG Immigration. Get ready with your passport and departure form (filled out in Manila upon entering SG).
-Go down the escalator and look behind the escalator for a waiting area of Buses no. 170 or 160. Ride the bus again for 5 mins.
-You will then reach MY Immigration. Go through it and head towards JB Sentral (look for sign or ask around). Afterwhich, exchange your money from Singapore Dollars to Malaysian Ringgit in the area (a lot of money exchange and convenient store within the area). 
-Go down the escalator. When you finally see the food court on your left, go towards that direction then turn left again for the bus waiting area. 
-For Johor Premium Outlet Store, ride bus JPO1. Travel time is about 1 hour. FYI: Make sure you have exact change for the bus fare because a bus ride going to JPO will cost you MYR 4.5 and the bus driver will not give you change at all so if you don't have any small bills, buy some snacks or drinks beforehand :).

2) MRT to Kranji Station: 
-Follow all steps above, but instead of going to Jurong East station, ride MRT only until Kranji Station. Go down MRT and cross footbridge to other side. Ride bus no. 170 or no. 160 from there.

-It is better to go to Kranji Station since it's about 5-10 minutes faster. Total time for travel from SG to MY including immigration checkpoint is around 1 hour.
-However, Kranji route will be more confusing since it has no Bus station (only bus stop) so you might miss the bus stop, but for Jurong East there is a Bus station so easier to locate the bus.
-For return trips, follow the same guidelines.
-If you plan to go to Kuala Lumpur or any other city, it would take around 3-4 hours by bus. Look for bus station from JB sentral going to these places.
-Finally, it is ALWAYS better to leave earlier and avoid rush hours (Friday night, Sunday night, and Monday morning) if you do not plan to spend the night in MY because people travel back and forth to MY and SG due to work. 

Along the way, we saw some historical sites of JB. We initially planned to go to each of these buildings but our "pagka kuripot" (thriftiness) kicked in and decided not to haha anyway, we were able to pass by it for FREE! haha

Welcome to Johor Premium Outlets! 

We arrived just in time for the outlet opening hour. We were literally the first two customers there at that time. For a moment, I felt like I was Mrs. Imelda Marcos shopping exclusively for some luxury items haha! Stores are similar to Orchard Rd's but this time with around 30-70% off and some stores are similar to Paseo Greenfield in Sta. Rosa outlet stores but minus the luxury brands!
At the end of the day, of course we didn't buy anything! Well...almost! I almost bought a Michael Kors bag for I think less 30% and Gucci wallet BUT I resisted temptation!!! :) YES! discipline, discipline, discipline ;)

 I exchanged my MK bag and Gucci wallet for a Korean soccer jersey from Nike outlet store. I Bought it because 1) I FELT I NEEDED TO PURCHASE SOMETHING FROM JPO 2) it's a rare aka phased out design and 3) my boyfriend has one too back home so...couple jersey ang peg. 
Before heading back to Singapore, we made sure we ate some authentic Malaysian cuisine :) We ate Popia Otak (like pancake) for MYR 1.7, Crispy Popoa (like lumpia) for MYR 2 and huge yummy Laksa good for 2 for MYR 28.6 due to language barrier!!! haha I believe it should have only cost us MYR 7 but what the heck! It was yummy anyway.

Mission accomplished after almost 7 hours of traveling and crossing boarders! We were fast and we went back to SG by 2 pm. After this Johor Bahru Malaysia trip, we both felt happy, fearless, and like a boss--2 stamps in our passports baby! :) Humm... so what's next? audition for Amazing Race Philippines maybe? We'll see :)


  1. hello! your blog is really helpful since my friends and i are going to SG too. Stumbled upon your blog when i was searching for a sample itinerary for our trip and was glad that you also went to MY since we are also planning to go there too, Kuala Lumpur to be exact. ;) Hmmmm may i ask until what time the Singapore immigration is open? since i learned that travel time to KL from JB is almost 4 hours, travelling back and forth needs 8-10 hours plus going back to SG. i am afraid that immigration is already close by the time we are heading back to SG. please email me @ thanks much!

    1. Hello there! glad you appreciate and stumbled upon my blog!!! :)
      To answer your question regarding the immigration of SG... hummm I honestly do not know what time they close/open but I'm thinking they are open 24/7 just like any airports :) But this is just based on my intelligent guess hahaha! :)

  2. Already here in sg as of writing.. ;) we mught skip going to malaysia because of what is happening now.. hehe.. anyway I used your blog as guide to other spots in SG.. thanks much! ;)

  3. Feel like sharing this site, it's dedicated for S$-RM rate. no more searching around and being chopped :)

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  5. Thank you for your review! I just decided to stay hotel in JB side instead SG and I was worry about the money exchange in JB because I only have SGD right now ;) but I found out that I can do it after MY immigration :) It's really helpful! Thank you so much!

    1. hi justsomay, thanks for the nice words! :)

  6. Johor Bahru is indeed fast becoming the new premier travel destination in Malaysia and the rest of Asia. For your readers who are looking for transport to Johor, may I recommend our company

  7. Hi ^_^ i find your blog so helpful in our next travel in SG & KL, keep it up!!! Accordingly, I'm worried about our trip to KL from SG since our flight back to manila will be from KL and not SG. Is that ok with the Malaysian and Philippines immigration? I did a single route flight from MNL-SG & KL-MNL cz i think its practical, but as i check blog sites i didn't see anyone did the same way i booked our flight. Most return to SG. Please share your insights about this.Many Thanks! PS:this is our first time going to SG & KL ^_^

    1. Hi Carra, that's totally fine because backpacker travelers usually does that too! :) it's valid because that is a multi-city travel :) We did that when we traveled to Japan our route was: Manila-Osaka-then travelled via bus to Tokyo- Manila. :) You just need to bring both copies of your flight itinerary so there is clear proof that you'll be back in Manila :)

  8. Thank you so much!! Your insights took off all my worries..Hope my next travel will be Japan. I'm a reader of your blog and I find it very helpful.. May we blessed with more travels ^_^

    1. Hello Carra! Thank you for reading and leaving a positive comment!!! :) really appreciate it! and you're right..may we be blessed with more travels and adventure!!! *cheers*

  9. Hi ms. Thin, i just want to ask few questions about jb. Me and my officemates are going to sg this coming march, we will be having a 4d/3n stay in sg. We booked a travel agency to arrange our tour since we are a group. I want to go to malaysia to kl to be exact but i think i don't have enough time and we should stick in our etinerary. Our etinerary goes with this... 1st day arrival and rest at hotel, 2nd day whole day universal studio, 3rd day 2pm sentosa, 4th day 9am city tour. Is it possible that i could still visit malaysia even just in JB on our 3rd day since our sentosa tour would start at 2pm? Or i really need to have a whole day JB Tour? I still in the process of negotiating if we could change our etinerary to 2nd day morning city tour afternoon sentosa, 3rd day universal studio, 4th day free time. What do you think? Thank you


  10. Hello, did you buy the JPO ticket bus on the spot or there is a booth ticket (both at JB Sentral and Johor Premium Outlets)


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