Taking a bus from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia is an easy, inexpensive alternative to flying. Locals who cross back and forth frequently for business often prefer to go by bus.
Although changing countries by bus sounds potentially daunting, these buses aren't exactly rattletraps, and the highway is well maintained. Going overland to Kuala Lumpur is actually less hassle than dealing with airports and the stress of making such a short flight.
Sure, there is always traffic, particularly when coming into Kuala Lumpur, but many of the comfortable buses have entertainment systems, work desks, massage chairs, and even onboard Wi-Fi!
Taking a Bus From Singapore to KL
Singapore doesn't have a unified long-haul bus terminal, so companies aren't really consolidated under one roof. Instead, they depart for Kuala Lumpur from all over the city.
Although there are exceptions, many bus companies operate from the lot in front of a large shopping compound known as the Golden Mile Complex. A string of bus agencies occupy the front of the complex; buy your ticket at one of the counters inside.
The Golden Mile Complex is located south of Little India, not far from Arab Street. The nearest MRT stop is Nicoll Highway on the orange CCS line. Exit the MRT station, cross the pedestrian platform, then turn right onto Beach Road. The Golden Mile Complex is a short distance on the right; you must cross the road again at the elevated pedestrian walkway.
Aeroline, one of the more luxurious bus options, departs from Harbour Front Centre, a large mall by the Sentosa Gateway.
Prices and levels of luxury vary widely between bus companies. Tickets can be had for as cheap as S$20 or even less, however, these buses don't always take the more efficient route and add an hour or more to the journey.
The more comfortable buses can cost upwards of S$50 or more and come equipped with leather seats; some have personal LCD entertainment systems in the seatbacks so that you can choose your own movies. The more luxurious bus companies provide a snack, meal, or drink served on the way by an attendant.
Booking a Bus from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur
A few of the most popular bus companies offer online bookings, although visiting a counter at the Golden Mile Complex is still the safest and most inexpensive way to ensure a reservation. Always book in advance and know about the big festivals in Asia that could affect transportation.
Some of the popular buses running from Singapore to KL are:
Numerous bus companies use one portal for reservations: https://www.busonlineticket.com.
Around the Golden Mile Complex
Some of the premium bus companies have waiting lounges, or alternatively you can enjoy some cheap food in the food center directly opposite of Golden Mile Complex. The fourth floor of the food center contains a small market frequented by soldiers where travel, camping, and army equipment can be purchased.
If you have an abundance of time before your bus, consider walking south (turn left as you exit the Golden Mile Complex) along Beach Road for 10 minutes to Arab Street where you can sit in one of the many pleasant sidewalk cafes.
The Golden Mile Complex area is considered the "Little Thailand" of Singapore; this is the neighborhood for finding inexpensive Thai food and supermarkets.
Crossing the Singapore-Malaysia Border
Crossing the Singapore-Malaysia border by bus is straightforward, and the process is usually expedient enough. There are occasional delays during rush hour.
First, you will exit the bus to be stamped out of Malaysia; leave your large luggage on the bus but bring your purse, laptop bag, or personal item — this is routine. After being stamped out of Singapore, the bus will continue across the Causeway bridge for another 10 – 15 minutes, then you will exit at the Malaysian border to be stamped into Malaysia. For obvious reasons, this takes a little longer. Bring your luggage with you this time, as it must be screened before you enter Malaysia.
The same bus will be waiting for you on the other side of the border as you exit. Stick with your group if possible. If you or someone else is delayed, the bus will wait.
Tips for Crossing the Border
- Have your exit card ready and preferably marking the page in your passport that has your last stamp so that the border agent doesn't have to search for it.
- Take off your hat and sunglasses. Don't use your phone in the immigration area.
- Have your entry card for Malaysia completely filled out before getting into the immigration queue.
- Bring your daybag/valuables with you rather than leaving them on the bus while you wait in the queue.
- If coming from Malaysia into Singapore, remember that Singapore has very strict customs laws and restrictions for bringing in alcohol and cigarettes. You must declare whatever you are carrying or risk a big fine.
- Smile, be courteous, and answer any questions: the agent's stamp wields a lot of power!
Arriving in Kuala Lumpur
Some companies terminate the journey at Kuala Lumpur International Airport where you can take the KLIA Express train — or if time isn't an issue — another bus into the city. Buses from the airport to your neighborhood in KL will only cost around US $3 – 4, but traffic can be frustrating.
Other bus companies terminate the journey at Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (thankfully, often shortened to TBS), Kuala Lumpur's southern bus terminal located just outside of town. Once at TBS, you can take one of the many train lines (KTM Komuter, RapidKL, or KLIA Transit) into the city.
Alternatives Ways to Get to Malaysia
Although AirAsia flights can occasionally be found on sale, prices are surprisingly high for the 55-minute flight between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, especially after adding luggage charges. Taking a bus eliminates the hassles of navigating two airports, security, and baggage counters for such a short journey.
Extreme Budget travelers can save a little money in exchange for time and effort. Booking the bus in Malaysian ringgit rather than Singapore dollars is cheaper. Do this by taking a one-hour bus from the Queen Street Bus Station in Singapore across the Causeway bridge to Johor Bahru in Malaysia, then a book a new bus ticket in Larkin Station onward to Kuala Lumpur.
From KL to Singapore
Most of the same bus companies listed above offer two-way tickets (return), or you can book direct tickets for the many buses from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore.