If Singapore’s just one stop on your Southeast Asian itinerary there’s a good chance your next destination is Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia’s cosmopolitan capital is located about 320km northwest of Singapore and is reachable by plane, train, or automobile.
There are over 25 flights per day connecting Singapore to Kuala Lumpur and, now that all the budget airlines fly this route, fares are often as cheap as taking the bus. One-way fares from AirAsia, Jetstar, and Tiger Airways can be as low as S$30 including taxes and fees. Flight time is only 45 minutes but remember you’ll need to check-in at least one hour before your flight, clear immigration at the busy Kuala Lumpur airport, and then take a one-hour bus ride to the city centre.
After flying, taking the bus is the next quickest way to reach Malaysia with the trip taking 5-7 hours depending on traffic and immigration. Singapore lacks one big centralised bus station, and Kuala Lumpur-bound buses can be found departing from various places around the island. It’s advisable to book in advance – especially on weekends and public holidays – and many bus companies now offer online ticketing.
Luxury buses depart from tourist spots like Orchard Road, Clarke Quay, and Harbourfront Centre. Fares cost S$40-60 for one-way travel, but the buses are very comfortable and offer features like personal TVs, massage chairs, and WiFi. Luxury operators include Aeroline, Luxury Tours & Travel, and Odyssey Express.
The majority of buses depart from Lavender Street Bus Station or the Golden Mile Complex (both walking distance from Lavender MRT) where one-way tickets cost S$23–35. There’s a bus to Kuala Lumpur roughly every 90 minutes from 07:30–23:30. Bus companies include Konsortium, Transnasional Express, and Starmart Express.
The cheaper option is to cross the Causeway into Malaysia using public transportation and go to the Larkin Bus Terminal in Johor Bahru where onward bus tickets to Kuala Lumpur cost half as much.
The KTMB train is the slowest way to get to Kuala Lumpur, but it’s a comfortable and scenic ride past kampongs (villages) and palm oil plantations. There are two day trains departing at 8:00 and 13:00 plus an overnight train at 22:30. The day train takes about 6 hours and the overnight one 8, but delays aren’t uncommon. Seats cost S$19-68 and sleeping berths S$40-139 depending on class. All trains currently depart from Singapore’s art deco train station near Tanjong Pagar MRT, but a relocation to Woodlands is scheduled for July 2011. Reservations for the train can be made online, in person, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Tanya Procyshyn
Last updated on 13th November, 2014.