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Daytrip to Malaysia

Daytrip to Malaysia

Old Nov 2, 19, 7:46 pm
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Daytrip to Malaysia

I will be in SG for a long weekend at the end of November and was hoping to venture to Malaysia for one day. I will have a hotel in SG for my entire stay, so not looking for an overnight trip. I have been to SG many times before, but never to Malaysia. Since KUL airport is so far from the city, I was considering other places I could reach in less time. I am sure any sane and rational person would just suggest to do the easiest and most obvious option by going to JB. My only concern is that it will be either a Saturday or a Sunday, so I anticipate very long lines both ways at the border (I should have e-gate access, but that probably will not help since almost everyone else crossing will be SG residents). Also, there is really not anything in JB that I really care to do (maybe check out Hello Kitty town, but that seems difficult to reach?)

The other two options are flying to Penang or Kuching. I would have 8 hours in either place, which is at least enough to walk around and get a feel for the place (my first visit to Paris was not much longer, and I still found it to be plenty of time to at least get a taste of the town). I like the idea of going to Kuching, as it may be my only chance to ever visit Borneo, but it is quite remote. Penang certainly has more to offer, but it is also a place I would likely visit later on (with more time to explore).
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Old Nov 3, 19, 12:35 am
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Penang and Kuching are a flight away and you would most probably spend most of the day in airports and on the plane rather than see anything if you plan for just a day trip. If you're planning a day trip to Malaysia, I recommend Malacca, and there should be buses that would drop you off in town and pick you up from there, your hotel concierge should be able to point out the bus companies. Otherwise some travel agencies in Singapore might have day tours to Malacca.

Another alternative is the beaches in Desaru in eastern Johor, and that is quite close to Singapore as well.
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Old Nov 3, 19, 12:50 am
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Originally Posted by quirrow View Post
Penang and Kuching are a flight away and you would most probably spend most of the day in airports and on the plane rather than see anything if you plan for just a day trip.
It takes longer by land to Melaka on a weekend, than by air to Kuching or Penang... I would even argue that it would be faster to reach Melaka by flying into KL, and taking a bus from KLIA.

I haven't been to Kuching, but OP is right, Penang is worth more than a day-trip
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Old Nov 4, 19, 9:28 am
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I've been twice in Penang, 5 times in Malacca and three times in Kuching and several dozen times in JB.

Weekend trip to JB via Woodlands/CIQ has caveats and they are following:

- If you do not want to spend 1.5h on MY side waiting in immigration line, you need to be at Singapore side before 8AM sharp. Better to be there at 7:30AM.
- Even if you clean Singapore immigration quickly, you might then have 20-60 min wait time for bus and the equal amount inside the bus, usually standing to travel 1.5km in the traffic. That's in addition to wait time at MY immigration
- The same situation is in reverse on Sunday evening. If you do not want to spend 3 hours crossing borders, you need to be at MY side before 3PM. On Saturday evening border crossing times on both sides are OK.

As mentioned before, the obvious place to visit in Malaysia is Malacca. One day is sufficient to see the central part, assuming that you arrive there before noon and leave around 6PM. In this case you will have enough time couple of museums (Peranakan museum is must), walk around city and see historic churches, eat at one of locally recommended places and head back.

Even if you decide to do it on Saturday, it is duable, assuming that you arrive at Woodlands by 7:30 and around 9AM you are at Larkin Bus Terminal (take Grab from CIQ/City Square) to take bus to Malacca. You can hop to the bus from Malacca which takes you directly to Singapore and most likely drops off at Golden Mile complex.

But above plan means that you will spend 3h in each direction on bus, plus 1h-3h crossing border. So in worst case scenario it is 9h spending just to get there and back. You will spend less time going to Changi, flying to Kuching and come back.

However I can suggest you an alternative, which most people have not heard of. Karimun Island. It is not in Malaysia but in Indonesia. There is direct ferry from Harbourfront twice a day in each direction. Earliest departure is around 7AM and you can come back with 5PM return ferry. The trip will cost SGD $60 but will give you a true experience of using time machine and going back 60 years or more. That place is not a touristy destination but again, gives some idea what 'laid-back place' looks like.
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Old Nov 4, 19, 5:09 pm
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I did a day trip to Penang a few years ago. It was great and gave me a feel for the place, which I'm happy to return to later this month.

One caveat - it was pretty hot/humid. It's a great walking around/exploring area in the historical section. However, because it was so warm and humid, I missed having a hotel to retreat to for cooling off/relaxing before heading out again. Instead, I'd find a cafe to get something cold to drink and avail myself of their air conditioning. It was a bit tiring overall to do in one day.
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Old Nov 5, 19, 1:27 pm
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Originally Posted by invisible View Post
As mentioned before, the obvious place to visit in Malaysia is Malacca. One day is sufficient to see the central part, assuming that you arrive there before noon and leave around 6PM. Even if you decide to do it on Saturday, it is duable, assuming that you arrive at Woodlands by 7:30 and around 9AM you are at Larkin Bus Terminal But above plan means that you will spend 3h in each direction on bus, plus 1h-3h crossing border. So in worst case scenario it is 9h spending just to get there and back. You will spend less time going to Changi, flying to Kuching and come back.

However I can suggest you an alternative, which most people have not heard of. Karimun Island. It is not in Malaysia but in Indonesia. There is direct ferry from Harbourfront twice a day in each direction. .
I would love to visit Melaka; if only there were a ferry from SG to MY to avoid that horrible crossing at JB. I was also looking at Karimun, but I have spent a fair amount of time wandering all over ID in the last two years and really hoped to finally make it to MY on this trip (stupid and meaningless goal, I know).

Originally Posted by OskiBear View Post
I did a day trip to Penang a few years ago. It was great and gave me a feel for the place, which I'm happy to return to later this month.

One caveat - it was pretty hot/humid. It's a great walking around/exploring area in the historical section. However, because it was so warm and humid, I missed having a hotel to retreat to for cooling off/relaxing before heading out again. Instead, I'd find a cafe to get something cold to drink and avail myself of their air conditioning. It was a bit tiring overall to do in one day.
At least there are places to cool off. My one day trip to AMD this year really kicked my backside because I could not find a single place in the city center with A/C. I have never in my life been so desperate to come across a 7/11 (and of course, there were none to be found). I usually do OK with tropical heat, but that city really beat me down bad.

Unfortunately, my only flight options to Kuching involve returning via JHB on Saturday evening or returning on a late night (22:00) flight on Sunday. I would not mind the latter, but I fly back to LAX on Monday and I would hate to get stuck in Kuching overnight on Sunday if the only flight were to be cancelled for some reason. It looks like my dream of Sarawak laksa will need to wait a bit longer. This leaves PEN and KUL in the running, as the JB situation just sounds horrible.

How is the immigration situation at PEN? I assume it is not nearly as bad as KUL or CIQ. If I do go to KUL, I would have the business class priority immigration for my flight back to SIN, but not for my arrival (KLIA1).
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Old Nov 5, 19, 6:31 pm
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OK, I would suggestion Kuching but with you correct assessment of flight situation it is not the case.

Penang has less problem with lines, at least when I was there. I personally would not go to KL because simply there is not much thing to do. Please note that KUL is like 60km away from the city and fastest way to get in/out is via KILA Express and it is not cheap for MY standards.

You have one more option, actually two - Langkawi and Ipoh. To me they are interesting as well and Langkawi is MY version of Hawaii. If you can find early departure/late return flights, you can have one good day combined with nature, beaches and good food.
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Old Nov 10, 19, 7:33 am
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OP's KL caveat seems to be based on the city being so far from the airport, therefore precluding a visit.
The KLIA Ekspres train runs every 10 minutes or so and takes 30 minutes to hit KL Sentral station

Don't discard KL as an option (for a first time Malaysia visit) just for the distance from airport. Can see a lot in KL in one day by using the train
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Old Nov 12, 19, 4:23 pm
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I bit the bullet and booked a flight from XSP to SZB on Sunday. I thought it would be fun to try out the new airport in SG that I had not even heard about until I stumbled across it while looking for flights. Its too bad they do not have any evening flight in reverse, so I will need to suffer through KLIA once.

My options for a return flight are Air Asia at 22:00 from KLIA 2 or Ethiopia at 23:00 from KLIA M. Any guesses on which will have a shorter immigration line late on a Sunday night? I am *G for Ethiopia, but it looks like the two real *A lounges close at 21:30/22:00.
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Old Nov 17, 19, 7:55 am
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I would say KLIA 1 immigration line will slightly better for foreigner. But still to arrive at least 3hours.
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Old Nov 17, 19, 8:03 am
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OP is doing this trip today I think? Looking forward to a Trip Report
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Old Nov 18, 19, 10:28 am
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Originally Posted by seavisionburma View Post
OP is doing this trip today I think? Looking forward to a Trip Report
Not until December 1. I really should start doing trip reports, especially for my Thanksgiving weekend getaway trips. Went to CTU last year and JNB the year before, all on a 5 day weekend from LAX. That would make for an easy trip report.
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Old Dec 8, 19, 9:54 pm
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There are huge queues at the immigration between Singapore and the Malaysian border if chinese tourist groups are crossing the border at the same time as you.
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Old Dec 10, 19, 3:22 am
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Originally Posted by Nana34 View Post
There are huge queues at the immigration between Singapore and the Malaysian border if chinese tourist groups are crossing the border at the same time as you.
And if you're unlucky, the bus will not wait for you, as happened to us on our way back at TUAS crossing. Luckily it was on our way back and getting from TUAS to downtown was not a problem.
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Old Dec 13, 19, 2:04 pm
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Originally Posted by Nana34 View Post
There are huge queues at the immigration between Singapore and the Malaysian border if chinese tourist groups are crossing the border at the same time as you.
The Malaysian immigration officials are the most apathetic Iíve encountered, and would rather watch videos on their huaweis than do their jobs.

I try to avoid that country, specifically for the laziness (re: long layovers), and generally because whatever they have can be found with less aggravation (and less sourpuss attitudes) in other regional countries.
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