An Unexpected Weekend Trip…

19 October 2009

I woke up at five in the morning last Saturday; hurriedly packing my backpack for a quick weekend getaway out of Singapore. The destination was Tioman Island in Malaysia.

It has already been a while when I started dreaming of spending a weekend under the sun in this island. It was just this time that we decided to give it a go. Armed with my backpack and a 200 SGD budget for two persons, we headed out of my apartment at around 6:30 AM; it was still a bit dark then.

We boarded one of the earliest trips out of the Orchard MRT station; inclusive of walking and the waiting time, it took us approximately an hour to reach the Kranji MRT Station. From there, we waited a bit for the SBS Bus # 170 to take us from there to the Larkin Bus Terminal in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

Orchard MRT at 7 in the morning...

Orchard MRT at 7 in the morning...

The SBS Bus # 170 is the cheapest way to get to Malaysia from Singapore. The ride from the Kranji Station will drop us to the Woodlands Checkpoint to clear past Singapore immigration. Bad news early on as there was a very heavy traffic going to the immigration building in Woodlands; it was so bad that it took us more than 40 minutes for a ride that would normally takes less than 5 minutes.

Inside the Woodlands Checkpoint was not good either as it took us more than 15 minutes to clear past the supposedly ultra efficient Singapore immigration.

We boarded the next SBS Bus # 170 that was available and from there we headed out of Singapore Island via the Johor-Singapore Causeway, the next stop being the Sultan Iskandar Complex. Another traffic jam clogged the Causeway, which took us at least 30 minutes to reach the Malaysian side of immigration.

very heavy traffic jam in Malaysian soil

very heavy traffic jam in Malaysian soil

The Sultan Iskandar Immigration Complex is very clean and very huge; I was in fact more impressed by it than the checkpoint in Singapore. I was bummed out however by the sea of people who were there to clear past immigration as well. Picture taking is prohibited in most immigration facilities in the places I’ve been to however I managed to snap the below image during the 20 minutes I waited.

lots of people wanting to enter Malaysia

lots of people wanting to enter Malaysia

Another SBS Bus # 170 waited for us upon clearing past Malaysian Immigration, thankfully the traffic was no longer that heavy on our way to the Larkin Bus Terminal, The ride took less than 10 minutes. It was 9:45 AM when we finally reached our destination albeit more than two hours late.

queuing up for the bus to Larkin Terminal

queuing up for the bus to Larkin Terminal

Wasting no time, we started looking for the bus to Mersing. The next trip is not going to leave until 11:30 AM, from there it will be more than a 2 hour ride before we reach the jetty port in Mersing. It would take at least another half hour waiting time for the ferry to Tioman plus another two hours for the ferry ride, we expect to reach our destination at 4 PM the earliest. It was here that we decided to cancel out our trip to Tioman Island as time simply was not enough for us to enjoy and relax considering that we need to be back the following day.

front of the Larkin Bus Terminal

front of the Larkin Bus Terminal

Definitely we do not want to go back to Singapore; it was then I suggested on visiting again Malacca, a place where I have been to twice already in the past. Since the next bus leaves at 11 AM, I wasted no time and got us tickets. Much to my surprise, I was very glad to find out that the tickets here cost way cheaper than in Singapore. The ticket cost us just 19 MYR (roughly 8 SGD) versus the Singapore – Malacca bus that would cost around 25 SGD on the average. True that it was not that convenient as compared to getting a direct trip from Singapore but if you were on a tight budget, it would make sense to take this route.

a pair of tickets to Malacca please...

a pair of tickets to Malacca please...

The bus arrived on time and we were already onboard ten minutes before departure. Although we postponed our trip to Tioman Island indefinitely, I was more than happy to visit Malacca again than go back to Singapore…

onboard for an uninterrupted ride to Malacca

onboard for an uninterrupted ride to Malacca

22 Responses to “An Unexpected Weekend Trip…”

  1. flipntravels Says:

    we want o go back to malaysia and singapore really soon!


  2. nina Says:

    You’re so lucky you can just hop on a bus and go to Malacca. I want to go back there.. our 5 hours there wasn’t enough!

  3. rastarigo Says:

    brilliant storytelling! did u know tioman is one of the places in malaysia i would like to visit one day. your great tips here deserve to be placed in for the benefit of same-minded traveling people like you. my member name there is rastarigo, hope i can join in one of ur misadventures haha

    • thanks for dropping by rastarigo and for your kind comments… yeah, I could probably do that since I do use virtualtourist also sometimes as well. thanks for your suggestion!! 🙂

  4. TSB Says:

    Tioman looks so nice. Wanna go there next time.

  5. carry Says:

    lets all go to Tioman together and have fun!

  6. rastarigo Says:

    can u also cook a trip to perhentian islands?

    • Yep, it is in the works… Just need to plan in advance my leaves. This will happen next year as the monsoon season here in Singapore/Malaysia will kick in and the resorts in Perhentian will temporarily close.

  7. You’re lucky not caught taking snapshots of the immigration hall. In some countries, they’ll confiscate your camera and be subjected to interrogation.

  8. Aileen Says:

    Hi. Stumbled on your very informative blog when I was searching for Malacca. I hope you don’t mind if I ask you some questions to help us plan our trip to Singapore this January 🙂 We want to go on a day trip from Singapore to Malaysia, can you suggest where in Malaysia as we really have no idea where to go. probably near the border so travel time is not that long as we will be traveling with my 79 year old father-in-law? Thanks so much in advance!

    • Hello Aileen,

      I hope my reply is not too late… The closest place that is interesting which I can think of is only Malacca. It is only around 4 hours away by bus. Stay away from KL! 🙂

  9. I reckon Melaka is not a bad consolation price at all. Love the sights there, not to mention the sedap food.

    Next time you find yourself behind schedule going to Tioman, swing by Tanjung Resang, a gorgeous beach just north of Mersing with a winderness hinterland that is too spectacular to be missed. We’re located smack in the middle there, cant miss us Malaysia Sea Sports.

    Drop by some time?


    Bryan Norman

  10. I will right away clutch your rss feed as I can not to find your email subscription hyperlink or e-newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Kindly allow me realize in order that I may just subscribe. Thanks.

  11. Wikia…

    Wika linked to this site…

  12. This blog is greatest!

  13. Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this post and the rest of the site
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