2012 • 5 • 22
Aside from being one of the richest and most highly developed countries in Asia, Singapore is also a transportation hub, boasting a world-class international airport (Changi) and one of the busiest ports in the world. Its organized transport system makes it a good jump-off point to other destinations outside the city, particularly Malacca (Melaka).
Malacca, locally called Melaka, is the oldest state in Malaysia, thus the title, “The Historic State”. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is also one of the country’s most important tourist destinations. Its long history saw the rise and fall of the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British as they conquered the place, leaving long-standing structures and cultural influences that are still alive and visible and creating a melting pot of cultures that is truly one of a kind. Although this city is rapidly developing into an urban hub, at its core is a heritage area divided into two parts by the Melaka River. On the river’s eastern bank lies the Chinatown and on its western bank, the center of the European settlement during their rule.
The historic city of Malacca may be in the heart of Peninsular Malaysia but it is only 4-5 hours away from Singapore. This means that if you’re visiting Singapore, you may consider paying this magnificent destination a visit, too. Be it a day trip, an overnight stay, or a whole weekend, a stop in Malacca will surely prove to be an enlightening and rewarding experience.
The Singapore-Malacca route is one of the well-trodden backpacking trails in Southeast Asia; thanks to the ease of transport, relatively short distance, and tourist-friendliness of the two cities.
Here are some options on how to get to Malacca from Singapore.
WHAT'S COVERED IN THIS GUIDE?
This is the best and cheapest option. There are several bus companies serving the Singapore – Melaka route as many Singaporeans flock to Melaka on weekends for a quick getaway. There are normal buses and luxury buses.
The travel time is approximately 4 hours, depending on the traffic situation and the border-crossing process. The fare ranges from S$20 to S$50, depending on bus class and operator.
1. Purchase your ticket.
You can either buy from your chosen bus company ticketing office or book online through its website. Note: When you book online, take a screenshot or print the confirmation. You can also book via 12go here: SINGAPORE-MALACCA BUS!
You can also book here: Express Bus Singapore to Malaysia or EasyBook
Here’s a list of some of the bus companies operating the Singapore – Melaka route:
- KKKL Express Singapore
- Starmart Express
- Delima Express
- Golden Coach Express
- Golden Coach (S)
- Superior Coach & Tour
- Luxury Coach Service
- City Express
- 707 Inc
- Grassland Singapore
- Lapan Lapan Travel
- WTS Travel & Tours
- The One Travel & Tours
- Billion Stars
- Sri Maju Group
- Un Express & Travel
2. Go to the designated pick up point.
The pickup point varies depending on the bus company. Booking companies usually indicate and highlight the bus stop where you can catch the bus. You can also check with the bus company. But the usual bus stop/pick up point is one of the following:
- Queen Street
- Golden Mile Tower
- China Town
- Park Royal Hotel
- Concorde Hotel (Orchard Road)
- Bugis MRT Exit D
- Kovan Hub 206
- Boon Lay
- Big Box
Reminder! Be there thirty minutes before the indicated departure time of the bus, to be safe. We once booked with Easybook and arrived early but we later learned that our bus already left ahead of schedule. There was a glitch in the booking site and our booking had not been cascaded to the dispatcher; hence, they thought they got the right number of passengers when they dispatched the bus earlier than the indicated departure. This is why you need to take a screenshot of your booking confirmation, so the bus company can accommodate you should this happen.
3. Go through Immigration check at the border.
Less than 30 minutes into your journey, you will reach the Singapore-Malaysia border. Do NOT forget to bring your passport with you and have it ready. That also means you shouldn’t sleep immediately after boarding.
When you reach the Immigration checkpoint, you need to get off the bus and go through the immigration process. Take all your belongings with you. Remember how the bus and the driver look. Take note of the plate number so you can easily find it on the other side later.
- From Woodlands Checkpoint (Singapore), get on the bus to Johor Customs (Malaysia).
- You will have to get off the bus again to get your passport stamped.
- Find your bus and wait for the other passengers to be cleared.
The process can take about an hour but it depends on the volume of passengers. But try to be as quick as you can to avoid inconveniencing other passengers who might be waiting.
4. Get off at Melaka Sentral.
Normally, the buses (especially those coming from City Plaza) terminate at Melaka Sentral, which is, you guessed it, Malacca’s central station.
However, some buses have a different final stop, so check which stop is the closest or most convenient to your destination or hotel.
5. Take a cab or bus to your hotel.
When you reach the Melaka Sentral (Malacca Central Terminal), you may take a bus to the historic center, if your hotel is located there. Fare is RM 1.50.
You’ll also find a queue of taxis waiting for passengers. Tell the driver your destination and he can take you directly to your hotel. Note that they don’t use meters much (or at all?). Fare is usually around RM 25.
There’s no train operating directly from Singapore to Melaka. The nearest train station from Melaka lies around 40 kilometers away. Hence, the train is not the advisable mode of transportation. It is the slowest option and involves multiple transfers.
But if you still want to try this for whatever reason, this is how to get to Melaka from Singapore by train.
- Purchase a train ticket. You can book in advance at the KTMB website.
- Make your way to WOODLANDS TRAIN CHECKPOINT. Note that this is different from MRT Woodlands Station, which is located a bit far from the Woodlands Train Checkpoint. If you didn’t purchase a ticket in advance, you’ll find the ticketing office in the ground floor.
- Go through Immigration and customs checks. Take all your belongings with you.
- Take the KTM train (Tebrau Shuttle train) to JB (Johor Baru) Sentral Station. The fare is S$5 and travel time takes about five minutes.
- From JB Sentral Station, take a train to Tampin (Pulau Sebang) Station. There are only three schedules. The fares are MYR25 (adults) and MYR17 (children). Do not miss your train. Total travel duration is approximately five hours.
- From Tampin Station, you need to walk to the bus station and board a bus (No. 26) to Malacca. You can also take a cab but negotiate with the driver for the fare. Travel duration is about 45 minutes.
We can’t indicate in this post the specific departure and arrival times of these trains because they keep on changing. But you can check the updated schedule on this site: KTMB TRAIN TIMETABLES.
WHERE TO STAY IN MALACCA
- TheBlanc Boutique Hotel. Check Rates & Availability! ✅
- Modern Cave Boutique Stay. Check Rates & Availability! ✅
- The One Vacation Home. Check Rates & Availability! ✅
- 19straatheeren. Check Rates & Availability! ✅
- Once In Peninsula. Check Rates & Availability! ✅
- Nomaps Hostel. Check Rates & Availability! ✅
- Yote 28. Check Rates & Availability! ✅
Search for more Malacca Hotels!
Our Experience Taking the Bus
We booked a bus ticket for three with Golden Coach Express via Easibook.com using a credit card. We thought that was it.
On the day of our trip, we were already at the Keypoint Building Bus Stop, where the bus was supposed to pick up passengers going to Malacca. And then a series of unfortunate (but hilarious) events happened.
Our bus was scheduled to leave at 8:45am but we were already there at 7:30am. We waited and waited for the bus. We asked the driver of another bus where the bus to Malacca is parked. He answered with a heartbreaking, “It already left.”
Wuuuu. What we gonna dew???
The friendly bus driver suggested that we go inside the Keypoint Building and find the office of Golden Coach Express and maybe they could help. We did just that and we were entertained by two women from the bus company. They confirmed that the bus already left.
“But it’s only 8:25am,” we said. “That bus is scheduled to leave at 8:45am. We’re early.”
“The bus left already because we thought we were not waiting for any more passengers,” one of the women reasoned.
“Aw. But we booked via Easibook.com,” my friend Ces said.
“Yes, we already paid via credit card and we have a ticket.”
We showed them our ticket and they confirmed that it was a legitimate transaction. Apparently, our booking was not reflected in their system. The women apologized and said that it wasn’t the first time this happened. They were really apologetic but they were really nice. While one women made a few phone calls, the other (the Malaysian girl) was giving us tips. When the other woman put down the phone, she told us that we should just take the bus going to Kuala Lumpur and then transfer to the other bus going to Malacca when we reach the border. We agreed.
While on the way to the Malaysian border, my friends Astrid and Ces and I laughed off the entire thing. We even came up with a Plan B — should we fail to find the Malacca bus, we’d just go to Kuala Lumpur.
Before we knew it, we were already at the border as announced by the bus driver. We got off and passed through both the Singaporean and Malaysian Immigration. Our problem now was how to find the driver of the other bus, who was told to wait for us at the border. There was no sign or whatever so we began looking for the bus, which we couldn’t find either. After several minutes, a man approached Ces and Astrid. He was the driver and he led us to the bus, parked in a far side of the area.
The first thing we noticed was that the other passengers were so mad at us for “returning to the bus late.” They thought we were with them when they came here and that it took us forever to get through the Immigration. Apparently, the bus driver did not explain the situation.
We endured the entire five-hour trip with other passengers bitching about it. It was really uncomfortable. We couldn’t blame the other passengers. It was not their fault. But it was not ours, either.
All is well as soon as we reached Melaka Sentral, though. Whenever my friends and I talked in Tagalog, someone always asked us “Tagalog? Tagalog?” Turned out that there were many Filipinos working in Malacca but most of them are from Mindanao (Zamboanga and Sulu) according to one guy who worked at the terminal that we met. He said they usually asked whether someone spoke Tagalog or Cebuano when they know that person is Filipino. He’s from Sulu and he’s such a sweet guy.
Malacca locals are very friendly, too. The taxi drivers we talked to while trying to find the buses to Chinatown were very welcoming, throwing jokes here and there to make us feel at home. They also shared tips and stories about their Filipino friends.
Additional words by Asta Alvarez
You’re so cheery and have such a great positive attitude! I would have been mad/stressed at the mix-up and I am a fairly seasoned traveler. Definitely not very professional that the bus company’s records did not reflect your booking..
I need to get to my rellies in Malaysia, family emergency. Trying to decide which coach company to go with. Golden Coach Express would not be my first choice based on your experience. But it is the earliest bus time so don’t think I have a choice…
Thanks for your write up!! At least I am pre-warned about the meeting point and I will ring up the company to make sure my booking is received!
Haha, thanks Belinda! Cheery perhaps because I was with very cheerful friends. I would have reacted differently had it been just me, though. :P
Thanks for this post. I just booked using golden coach site. but payment seems to be redirected to busonlineticket.com.
I will take note not to wait on the wrong side :D I am really slow in directions so I might just drop first the sales office to confirm booking then ask them again for directions before going to the bus stop :)
Yay! I think that’s the best way to do it! Good luck and have a safe trip! :)
Almost hit by Golden Coach driver !!!
I would like to tell the awful experience we’ve just had with Golden Coach on August 7th 2012.
We first had a wonderful honey moon with my wife in Malaysia, Sumatra and then in Singapore before returning to France from Kuala Lumpur.
So, in Singapore we looked for a bus going to Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). In Golden Mile Complex, almost every travel tour propose bus ride to KL in Puduraya bus terminal. But we found only one who could take us to KLIA, which is Golden Coach. Their bus takes you at Puduraya and then you change bus automatically (that’s what they say!) to take another one to KLIA.
The lady asked us when was our flight from KLIA to Paris. It was at 10:30 pm. So we had to be at 08:30 at the airport. Then she proposed us to take the bus at 01:15 pm taking normally between 5h 30min to 6hours. Everything seemed ok at this time…
But once we paid and were in the bus, all what have been promised have been forgotten! The driver passed his time doing phone calls and laughing with friends. So, he was driving slowly. He stopped once at a petrol station during 20 min, going for a coffee, making phone calls, etc.
So, the trip was slow until I asked him if he would be able to make it at the promised time because we had a flight to take! He said that we would arrive at 07:30 pm (instead of 06:45pm !!!) and then to 1,5 hour trip to KLIA!
But things changed totally…
First, we arrived at Puduraya terminal before 08:00 pm! Then the driver said to us to step out of the bus and see another guy who would take us to KLIA. But contrary to what Golden Coach said, the change of bus was not automatically and there was a bus every 30 minutes! So the next bus was at 08:15 pm and would arrive at 09:30 ! With the traffic-jam, who knows what the real arrive time would be ! So, anyway it was too late for us. But when we complained the 2 drivers did not care at all and just said to call the Office in Singapore! They refused to call Golden Coach. They refused to listen to us. The first bus driver knew that he didn’t respect the initial plan and just shouted at us that our problem was not his problem! So we were just stuck in the center of Kuala Lumpur with 2 drivers who even refused to listen to us! We paid for nothing!
And then everybody was really excited and we had no Malaysian ringgit left!
The first driver did not want to listen to anybody! He got back to his bus and closed the doors and began to leave! Then, I desperately hit the door with my hand to try to stop him. But the big guy step out of his bus with a huge stick. He was angry, coming towards me and my wife, shouting and showing that he wanted to hit us!
We had a flight to take and no time to argue with this kind of person! We calmed the situation and were forced to take a cab urgently and pay him much more to go to KLIA. Thanks to him, he drove very fast for us, even if we almost had a car accident!!
So, my advice: NEVER TRUST GOLDEN COACH when they tell you that you’ll make it for your flight! Never argue with their drivers!
And, generally, do your planning yourself and not according to what the travel agents will say to you!
Thanks for sharing this! At least our readers can’t say they hadn’t been warned. :)
we are also doing the SG-Melaka-KL trip this november. someone suggested that it would be cheaper to take a bus going to Melaka in Johor. any idea on that? thanks
Haven’t been to Johor. :(
Have you ever tried entering Singapore and leaving from Malaysia ? Would that be such a hassle ? Immigration wise?
Ps. FAn of your blogs. Really helped me whenever I travel
Hi Marian, yep, tried it a couple of times pero medyo matagal na. Very typical border crossing lang din. Iwas lang talaga pag rush hours.