Booking a Bus Trip from Singapore to Malacca

7/20/11

Living in Singapore has made us pretty spoiled when it comes to choosing travel destinations in Southeast Asia. But sometimes things like a busy work schedule prevent us from taking time off to fly somewhere for a long weekend.

Jeff and I were in need of a getaway recently, so we decided to take a trip to Malacca because it is only a 3-4 hour bus drive away from Singapore. The bus trips to Malacca are easy, frequent, direct in some cases and way cheaper than a plane ticket. In fact, our entire trip to and from Malacca on nice coach buses cost less than SGD45 each.

You can read my previous Malacca posts here and here.

Booking your ticket: 
You can book your bus tickets in person or online.

If you want to book in person, you can go to the bus company's ticket counter. Delima Bus Service, the bus company we used for our trip to Malacca, has a counter at City Plaza. Our return trip was on StarMart, which has a service counter at Golden Mile Complex.

For online bookings, you can go directly to the website of one of the bus companies traveling to and from Malacca or use a site like Bus Online Ticket. This is a pretty helpful website because it allows you to book your bus tickets online from various bus companies all in one place. This allows you to compare fares and bus types. The homepage also lists all the places their bus companies travel to, estimated travel times, and a list of resourceful links related to traveling by bus in Singapore and Malaysia.

Have your credit card and passport or driver's license number handy when booking your ticket.

Checking in for your bus trip:
We arrived 30 minutes prior to departure time to check in and pick up our actual tickets. The Delima ticket counter at City Plaza isn't much more than a desk located at #1-72A. There is no public announcement telling you that your bus is here; you can ask the person behind the ticket counter when your bus is coming and they'll show you where to go.

Our return trip from Malacca was similar. Since I booked our tickets online, my printed ticket confirmation said to go to counter #2 30 minutes prior to our departure to check in and pick up our tickets. I didn't actually pick up tickets at the StarMart counter; the attendant simply stamped my printed ticket confirmation, which I showed to the bus driver. If your print out or ticket doesn't tell you which bus to board, the attendant can tell you.

Arrival:
Our bus dropped us off at Melaka Sentral, Malacca's bus station. From here we took a cab to our hotel. When we returned to Singapore, our bus dropped us off at Golden Mile Complex, where we caught a cab to our apartment. Easy peasy.
Bus company ticket counters at Melaka Sentral


What can you pack:
We only brought a backpack each for the short weekend, but I noticed some people had big suitcases with them. I asked if there was a limit to the size or quantity of luggage I could bring on the bus, but wasn't given a definite answer. You have to bring your luggage through customs when entering Singapore, so pack wisely. Don't forget to bring snacks on board for the ride and something to keep yourself entertained if you plan on staying awake.

Customs & Immigration: 
When you leave Singapore to enter Malaysia, you will have to go through the Tuas Checkpoint (or Woodlands Checkpoint, depending on which way your bus will go). The bus will drop everyone off to go through the checkpoint. Don't forget your passport and/or FIN/NRIC card. You will then hurry out to your bus; make sure you know what your bus looks like or memorize the license plate number. I saw several people running around frantically because they couldn't remember what bus they were on.

You'll then go through the Malaysian checkpoint, where you'll have your passport stamped for entry. Some people have their bags checked, but it didn't seem compulsory to bring all your luggage off the bus. Ask the bus driver if you have any questions.

When you enter Singapore, you must take all your belongings off the bus and go through security. Don't get caught bringing in anything illegal or contraband.

Everyone seems to be in a rush to get through the checkpoints and back on the bus. The faster we were all on board, the sooner we could head off to Malacca. I think people were also worried the bus would leave without them!

Tips:
  • Although the Delima bus service got us to Melaka Sentral safely, we probably won't use them again. Their bus was old, freezing, and smelled like cigarette smoke. The air conditioning unit dripped on Jeff's arm a few times, too. The company we used for the return trip, StarMart, had a fabulous bus which was extremely comfortable and cost just as much as the Delima ticket. 
  • Bring a sweater if you think you'll be cold on the air-conditioned bus. 
  • Keep an eye on your personal belongings. Don't leave anything valuable or important on the bus while getting off at the customs and immigration checkpoints.
If you found this post helpful, please leave a comment or share it with a friend! 

7 comments:

  1. The bus rides were not bad at all. One more piece of advice though: if you don't want to wait in loooooong immigration lines, plan the timing of your bus rides accordingly.

    If you leave Singapore on a Friday evening and come back on a Sunday evening, you'll be waiting in long bus queues at the checkpoints.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You didnt take a picture of the bus~ Try a trip up to Genting Highlands. And make sure you book yourself a trip with one of those with super luxurious double-decker coaches!

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  3. I know, wish I took photos of both buses. It is definitely worth upgrading to executive class on these bus rides.

    I have always wanted to go to the Genting Highlands.

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  4. Never a better time if you ask me... the heat wave in recent weeks have been relentless~ As long as you avoid the school holiday crowd, Genting is a great place to chill out~

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