Singapore is one of Southeast Asia’s busiest aviation hubs, so unless you’re traveling from Peninsular Malaysia or Indonesia’s Batam/Bintan, flying is the most convenient method to get there. Singapore is home to low-cost carriers Tiger Airways, Jetstar Asia, and Scoot, in addition to flag-carrier Singapore Airlines, which is widely considered as one of the world’s finest airlines in terms of customer care, and its regional subsidiary SilkAir.
Apart from Singaporeans, every Asian airline of any size flies to Singapore, with pan-Asian budget carrier AirAsia and Malaysian regional carrier Firefly running extensive networks from the city-state. Europe, the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, North America, and even South Africa all have direct flights. Singapore is a major stopping location on the “Kangaroo Route” between Australia and Europe, with airlines such as British Airways utilizing the city-state as a hub.
Changi Airport (IATA: SIN) is officially the ‘best airport in the world,’ as befits the country’s primary airport and significant regional hub position (see Skytrax). It’s spacious, comfortable, and well-organized, with immigration and luggage distribution moving at a breakneck pace. There are three major terminals at the airport (T1, T2 and T3).
The MRT is a quick 45-minute ride into town for less than $2, with trains operating from 05:31 to 23:18. Taxis are the quickest route into town, costing about $20–30 plus a $3–5 airport fee. From 00:01-06:00, there is an extra 50% fee.
Singapore’s first airport, Seletar Airport (IATA: XSP), was built in 1928 and initially utilized for civil aircraft in 1930. The Paya Lebar airport has been turned into a military airfield, although Seletar remains operational.
Seletar Airport is now mainly utilized for general aviation, thus you’ll most likely arrive here if you’re flying your own plane to Singapore. The only feasible mode of transportation to Seletar is taxi, which costs $3 from the airport.
Peninsular Malaysia is connected to Singapore through two land crossings:
The Causeway is a highly popular and, as a result, very crowded entrance point linking Woodlands in Singapore’s north to Johor Bahru’s center. While traffic isn’t as terrible as it previously was, the Causeway is still congested on Friday and Sunday nights (towards Malaysia) (towards Singapore). The Causeway may be traversed by bus, rail, cab, or vehicle, although it is no longer possible to do so on foot because Malaysia’s customs and immigration complex was moved 2 kilometers inland.
The Second Link, a second crossing between Malaysia and Singapore, was constructed between Tuas in western Singapore and Tanjung Kupang in western Johor state. It is utilized by some of the luxury bus services to Kuala Lumpur and is highly recommended if you have your own vehicle. It is much quicker and less crowded than the Causeway. Only Malaysian “limousine” taxis are permitted to cross the Second Link, which is only served by one occasional bus (and charge RM150 and up for the privilege). Walking over is likewise prohibited, despite the fact that there would be no practical way to continue the trip from either end.
Driving into Singapore with a foreign-registered vehicle is time-consuming and costly. Cars registered in Peninsular Malaysia must provide proof of current road tax and Malaysian insurance coverage. Vehicle Registration Certificate, Customs Document (Carnet), Vehicle Insurance bought from a Singapore-based insurance provider, and an International Circulation Permit are required for other foreign vehicles. All foreign-registered automobiles and motorbikes are allowed to drive in Singapore for a maximum of 10 days per calendar year without paying a Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) charge, but beyond that, a VEP fee of up to $20 per day is required.
To begin, go through immigration and get your passport stamped. Then take the Red Lane to the LTA office to purchase an AutoPass ($10). An LTA officer will check your car, road tax, and insurance cover note at the parking area and give you a little piece of paper to go to the LTA counter to purchase your AutoPass and rent an In-vehicle Unit (IU) for road pricing costs (or pay a flat $5/day price instead). Proceed to customs, where you will be required to open the boot for examination. Following that, you are free to travel anywhere you want in Singapore. When you leave Singapore, any VEP costs, road pricing charges, and tolls will be taken from your AutoPass. This is accomplished by inserting your AutoPass into the reader at the immigration desk while your passport is being stamped.
Driving into Malaysia from Singapore is very simple, but there are modest charges for both the bridge and the neighboring expressway (for the Second Link). Furthermore, cars registered in Singapore must have at least 3/4 of their gasoline tanks filled before leaving the country. Before crossing, be sure to convert some ringgit, since Singapore dollars are only accepted at the unfavorable rate of one-to-one. Additionally, expect lengthier lines since Malaysia has implemented a biometric system for foreigners seeking to enter the country.
In both ways, keep in mind that rental car companies often restrict or charge extra for crossing the border with their vehicles.
Direct flights to and from Malaysia The Woodlands Checkpoint and the Second Link at Tuas provide buses to and from Kuala Lumpur (KL) and many other Malaysian locations. Unfortunately, there is no central bus station, and buses depart from several locations around the city. The following are some of the major operators:
- Aeroline, +65 6258 8800. To Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya, luxury buses with on-board meals, power outlets, and lounge areas are available. The departure point is HarbourFront Centre. One-way tickets start at $47.
- First Coach, +65 6822 2111. The buses have no frills, but they have plenty of legroom and utilize the Second Link. Buses leave at Novena Square (Novena MRT) in Singapore and arrive directly next to the (KJ 16) Bangsar LRT in Kuala Lumpur, which is another selling factor. $33/55 for a one-way ticket and $33/55 for a round-trip ticket.
- NiCE, +65 6256 5755. From Kuala Lumpur’s historic train station, there are around 20 daily departures. NiCE 2 buses (27 seats) cost RM80, whereas NiCE++ buses (18 seats) cost RM88. Departures from Dunearn RdCopthorne .’s Orchid Hotel.
- Transnasional, +60 2 6294 7034 (Malaysia). Malaysia’s biggest bus company provides direct bus service from Singapore to the rest of the peninsula. Executive/economy buses RM80/35. Departures from Lavender St.
- Transtar, +65 6299 9009. With amenities like massage seats, onboard attendants, movies on demand, and even Wi-Fi, Transtar’s sleeper-equipped Solitaire ($63) and leather-seated First Class ($49) coaches are presently the finest available. SuperVIP/Executive buses are more plebeian and cost $25/39, with direct service to Malacca and Genting also available. Departures from Beach Rd., Golden Mile Complex (near Lavender MRT).
The more you spend, the quicker and more pleasant your journey will be. The most costly buses arrive on schedule, utilize the Second Link, and make no stops along the route; the cheapest buses arrive late, if at all, and take the constantly congested Causeway, making more stops. Book early for popular departure periods such as Friday and Sunday evenings, Chinese New Year, and so on, and allow additional time for immigration delays.
Making the short trip to Johor Bahru and catching domestic Malaysian long-distance express buses to different Malaysian locations from the Larkin Bus Terminal is an alternative to boarding a direct “international bus.” Because you will be paying in Malaysian ringgit rather than Singaporean dollars, fares may be cheaper. The disadvantage is the lengthy journey from Singapore to Johor Bahru and then to Larkin Terminal on the outskirts of town.
Since July 2015, Singapore has been the primary southern endpoint of Malaysia’s Keretapi Tanah Melayu (Malayan Railway or KTMB) network, with trains usually ending at Johor Bahru’s JB Sentral railway station. A new shuttle service between the Woodlands Train Checkpoint (in Singapore’s north) and Johor Bahru Sentral has begun. It’s just a 5-minute journey, but one-way tickets from Singapore will set you back $5, while the reverse would set you back MYR5. Before boarding, immigration procedures for both nations are completed from Woodlands. Malaysia immigration stamps you out before boarding at Johor Bahru, and Singapore immigration stamps you in when you arrive at Woodlands. When you include in the time it takes to pass immigration, the trip from Johor Bahru to Woodlands takes 30-60 minutes, and the trip back takes approximately 30 minutes.
Shuttle trains will leave JB Sentral for Woodlands at 05:30, 06:00, 06:30, 07:00, 08:30, 09:00, 11:00, 12:30, 15:30, 17:00, 19:00, 21:00, 22:15 and leave Woodlands for JB Sentral at 08:00, 10:00, 12:00, 13:30, 16:30, 18:00, 18:45, 20:00, 20:45, 22:00, 23:15. 30 minutes before to departure, the gate opens and shuts 10 minutes prior to departure. Commuters working in Singapore use the early morning departures from JB Sentral and the evening departures from Woodlands on weekdays, and tickets sell out as soon as they go on sale 30 days in advance. Morning departures from Woodlands and evening departures from JB Sentral are popular with day trippers visiting Johor Bahru on weekends, and both sell out a few days in advance.
The Woodlands Train Checkpoint and the Woodlands MRT station are unrelated. You may take a bus to the Kranji, Marsiling, or Woodlands MRT stations from the Woodlands Train Checkpoint. Fortunately, each MRT station’s bus numbers are plainly marked. To travel to Woodlands Railway Checkpoint from the MRT stations, make sure the bus goes through “Woodlands Train Checkpoint,” not “Woodlands Checkpoint,” which is a checkpoint facility for buses and other road vehicles that does not have direct access to the train checkpoint.
While ordinary Singaporean taxis are not permitted to cross into Malaysia and vice versa, specially licensed Singaporean taxis permitted to go to Larkin bus terminal (only) can be booked from Johor Taxi Service (+65 6296 7054, $45 one way), while Malaysian taxis, which can go anywhere in Malaysia, can be taken from the taxi terminal at Ban San St ($32 to charter, or $8 per person if shared with others). You may take Singaporean taxis from Larkin to any location in downtown Singapore ($30) or Changi Airport ($40), while Malaysian taxis can only take you to Ban San St. (MYR80). The primary benefit is that you don’t have to carry your belongings (or yourself) through Customs on both ends; you can just sit in the vehicle.
A combined trip from anywhere in Singapore to anyplace in Malaysia may be booked, but you’ll have to change cabs halfway through, which will cost SGD50 and more, payable to the Singaporean driver. The most costly alternative is to take a limousine cab, which is specifically licensed to transport people from any location to any destination. However, there are only a handful available, and they demand a high MYR150 each journey.
Singapore has ferries connecting it to the Indonesian province of Riau Islands and the Malaysian state of Johor. International ferries are handled by five ferry terminals in Singapore: HarbourFront (formerly World Trade Centre) near Sentosa, Marina Bay Cruise Centre in Marina Bay, Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal on the East Coast, and Changi Ferry Terminal and Changi Point Ferry Terminal at the island’s eastern extremity.
Getting to/away from the ferry terminals:
- HarbourFront FT is a restaurant located inside the HarbourFront Shopping Mall (alight at HarbourFront MRT station).
- Alight at Marina South Pier MRT station for the Marina Bay Cruise Centre. Alternatively, take bus 402 from Tanjong Pagar MRT station (Exit C).
- Tanah Merah FT: Take bus No. 35 to the ferry terminal from Bedok MRT station.
- Changi FT: There is no bus stop nearby; take a cab to Changi Village from Tanah Merah MRT station.
- Take bus No. 2, 29, or 59 to Changi Village Bus Port and walk to the ferry terminal from Changi Point FT.
To/from Batam: HarbourFront FT is used for ferries to/from Batam Centre, Batu Ampar (Harbour Bay), Sekupang, and Waterfront City (Teluk Senimba), whereas Tanah Merah FT is used for ferries to/from Nongsapura. At Harbourfront, you’ll find the following businesses:
- Penguin may be reached at +65 6271 4866 in HarbourFront, +62 778 467574 in Batam Centre, +62 778 321636 in Sekupang, and +62 778 381280 in Waterfront City. There are almost hourly boats between Batam Centre and Sekupang, but fewer ferries between Waterfront City and Batam Centre. Before taxes and fuel surcharges, one-way/return tickets are $16/20.
- Indo Falcon,+65 6278 3167, Indo Falcon There are ferries to Batam Centre every hour, but fewer to Waterfront City. This business does not travel to or from Sekupang. Ticket prices are comparable.
- +65 6546 8830, Berlian/Wave Master. There are 16 departures each day to and from Batu Ampar. The fares are comparable to those of the other carriers.
- Dino/Batam Fast, +62 778 467793, +62 778 470344 in Batam Centre, +62 778 325085, +62 778 3250856 in Sekupang, +62 778 381150 in Waterfront City, Dino/Batam Fast, +65 6270 0311 in Harbourfront, +62 778 467793, +62 778 470344 in Batam Centre, +62 778 325085, +62 778 3250856 in Sekupang There are also hourly boats between Batam Centre and Sekupang and Waterfront City, but fewer vessels between Sekupang and Waterfront City. Before taxes and fees, one-way/return tickets are $14/20.
To/from Bintan: The Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal is used by all ferries to and from Bintan. Tanjung Pinang has a total of 6 ferries each day, with the number rising to 9 on weekends. Before taxes and surcharges, one-way and return tickets are $25/35. Operators include the following:
Bintan Resort Boats, +65 6542 4369, runs five ferries from Tanah Merah FT on weekdays and seven on weekends for Bintan Resorts (Bandar Bentan Telani). Peak period: $34.60/50.20 one-way/return, off-peak period: $26.60/39.20 one-way/return, taxes and fuel fee included.
To/from Karimun: Penguin and IndoFalcon run ferries from Harbourfront to Tanjung Balai, with six boats on weekdays and eight on weekends. Taxes and fuel fee are included in the $24/33 one-way/return fare.
Ferries go from Singapore to southern Johor, making it easy to get to Desaru Beach Resort.
- Pengerang: Changi Point Ferry Terminal, 51 Lorong Bekukong, +65 6545 2305, +65 6545 1616, and Pengerang, a hamlet on Johor’s southeastern edge, are served by bumboats. Boats run from 7:00 to 19:00 and depart when the 12-passenger limit is reached ($10 per person, $2 each bicycle one-way).
- Sebana Cove Resort, Desaru: Ferries to/from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal operated by Indo Falcon, +65 6542 6786 in Tanah Merah, . Except on Tuesdays, there are three ferries each day. Taxes and fuel fee are included in the return price of $48 for adults and $38 for children.
Star Cruises departs from HarbourFront FT on multi-day cruises from Singapore to destinations across Southeast Asia. Malacca, Klang (Kuala Lumpur), Penang, Langkawi, Redang, and Tioman in Malaysia, as well as Phuket, Krabi, Ko Samui, and Bangkok in Thailand, are popular destinations. Every year, cruises to Borneo (Malaysia), Sihanoukville (Cambodia), Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), and even Hong Kong (for 10 nights) are offered. If you book early enough, an all-inclusive two-night cruise may be as little as $400 per person in the lowest cabin class, but be aware of the many fees and the fact that non-residents may be charged considerably higher prices.
Singapore is also a prominent port of call for round-the-world and major regional cruises, with ships arriving from Japan, China, Australia, Europe, and North America. Many of those cruises stop here to embark/disembark passengers, while others stop for port calls and dock at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre. For further information, contact cruise companies and vendors.