Kuala Lumpur is a great option for a family holiday. It’s relatively cheap and there is loads of cool stuff to see and do. Singapore is another great option for a family travel adventure. It’s not so cheap and there is heaps more to see and do. Why not combine the two into the same holiday? I mean, they’re only 350km away, how hard could it be?
In our latest holiday to Kuala Lumpur we decided to spend one week in Kuala Lumpur, then travel to Singapore and spend our second week there. Travelling between the two destinations presented heaps of different travel options. The three conventional modes of transport are train, bus or fly. It’s worth comparing all three because they all have some good points.
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Catch a train from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore
I really wanted to try the train because it sounds like such an interesting journey. I found the train journey quite difficult to research, mainly due to changing countries midway. And the fact that the Malaysian side is not well translated into English, it’s hard to figure out which stops are applicable.
After loads of research I discovered that a train journey actually meant catching a minimum of 4 trains to get from our Kuala Lumpur hotel to Singapore. That meant unloading our heavy baggage 4 times. Also finding our directions in 4 different train stations, which are notoriously difficult in Malaysia. No way! Although an interesting option, it is just too difficult to contemplate with heavy baggage and kids.
Fly from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore
Skyscanner is our favourite site for searching for cheap flights. Flights are ridiculously cheap for this particular journey, and all the budget carriers seem to offer flights. I’ve seen flights for as low as $23 per person one way, in fact this is extremely common. Add a further $15 for 20kg of check-in baggage, and it comes to a modest $38 per person!
Total cost to fly from Kuala Lumpur Singapore:
- $38 x 3 persons = $124
- $30 for taxi from KL city centre to KL International Airport
- $15 for taxi from Changi Airport to Singapore city centre
- $169 total
Time to fly from Kuala Lumpur Singapore:
- 40 minutes for taxi from KL city centre to KL International Airport
- 120 minutes arrival at KL airport before flight
- 65 minutes flight
- 60 minutes to clear customs and collect baggage at Singapore
- 30 minutes for taxi from Changi Airport to Singapore city centre
- Total 5 hours 15 minutes
Add $15 for taxi from Changi Airport to Singapore city centre
Catch a bus from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore
A bus did not sound very enticing to us. That’s because we have been on some very uncomfortable bus trips over the years. Let’s face it, a bus is not the first thought that comes to mind if you’re looking for a comfortable mode of transport. But a bus is well worth considering for this particular journey!
We used BusOnlineTicket.com to book our ticket, which cost S$20, or about A$19. These buses are seriously comfortable. They are so well equipped they feel more like a first class plane seat, complete with large recliner chairs and in-built entertainment systems.
Total cost to catch a bus from Kuala Lumpur Singapore:
- $19 x 3 persons = $57
- $10 for taxi from KL city centre to bus station (optional)
- $15 for taxi from Changi Airport to Singapore city centre
- $82 total
Time to catch a bus from Kuala Lumpur Singapore:
- 20 minutes for taxi from KL city centre to bus station
- 60 minutes arrival at bus station before bus
- 330 minutes bus trip
- 15 minutes for taxi from bus stop to Singapore city centre
- Total 7 hours 10 minutes
Fly versus drive comparison
The cost of catching a bus is about half the price of flying when you factor in taxis. A$82 versus A$169.
The time required to catch a bus is about 2 hours more, 7 versus 5 hours.
So is it worth the cost saving to catch the bus? Our recommendation is a resounding yes. The bus trip proved to be a comfortable option from start to finish. The bus terminal at both ends was well located, comfortable and convenient. Bus terminals both come with restaurants, ATM’s and convenience stores nearby. And the bus seats were clean, lovely and spacious.
The selection of in-flight movies good, and there was even on-board wi-fi. The road is high-speed freeway all the way and is quite safe. Overall it was a much better experience than a budget flight. The only negative aspect the journey was the Singapore immigration.
Malaysia immigration stop
About half way along the route you have to get off the bus to go through Malaysia Immigration. This is a fast and simple procedure, in about 10 minutes you should be back on the bus and on the road again.
Singapore immigration stop
You know you’ve reached the bridge to Singapore Island when you hit the traffic jam. It took the bus about 1 hour to traverse the final kilometer. It’s not that it’s uncomfortable waiting on the bus, it’s just that traffic jams near the bottom of our list of favourite things to do.
Then when you finally get to the customs and immigration building you have to get off the bus and line up for another half hour or so to clear customs counters. It was an overall unpleasant experience for us, however I feel the average traveller would not be as negative.
How to book a bus from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore
Here are some easy step by step instructions on how to do the entire journey by bus.
- Go to BusOnlineTicket.com and do an online booking. It’s similar to booking a flight, there are many buses to choose from. The bus company we used is called Transtar Travel. We highly recommend Transtar as safe and clean operator.
- Although you can get picked up at the hotel, I recommend catching a taxi to the bus terminal. The Transtar Travel bus terminal is located just around the corner from the popular Berjaya Square. I recommend travelling to the terminal (starting point for the bus) to remove any possibility of confusion.There are countless similar looking buses operating in Kualar Lumpur. How do you recognise which one is the one you’re supposed to get on? It’s much better if you go to the terminal, where they have a comfortable waiting room with coffee and TV. Taxis are very cheap in KL so it shouldn’t cost much to get to the bus terminal.
- Grab your drinks and snacks from the convenience store right next to the Bus Terminal for your journey.
- Sit back and relax on the bus. Watch a couple of movies.
- When you get to Singapore, everybody gets off at the same bus terminal. It has a taxi rank, convenience stores, restaurants, ATM’s and money changers. Like most transport infrastructure in Singapore it’s supremely well organised.
- Catch a taxi to your hotel. Taxis are surprisingly cheap in Singapore, you will most likely only have to pay $10-$15 if your hotel is centrally located.
We are glad we caught the overland bus. Airports tend to be fairly bland experiences don’t really add much to the holiday experience. The bus trip was comfortable and entertaining, and we got to observe the changing scenery along the way. We didn’t feel at all exhausted from the journey, and were quite happy to have saved a few dollars along the way. I would happily do this bus trip again and I do recommend you give it a try.
And here is a short video of exactly the same bus and route that we took, except in the opposite direction.
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