If you’re planning to cross the border overland between Singapore and Malaysia with kids, the process is very straightforward. You don’t have to sit for hours in long queues among hundred of other cars. Follow this simple suitcases&strollers travel advisor and you’ll be on your way to a fabulous family holiday destination in no time via the overland Singapore and Malaysia border crossing, rather than having to get on a plane.

Timing Is Everything

·  You must be clever about when you cross the border. Do not cross at peak times in the day. Many Malaysians drive into Singapore for work so coming across from Malaysia to Singapore at 9am will cause you a headache. Ditto for going back to Malaysia. In general, very early mornings are the best time to cross as there is very little traffic since both Malaysians and Singaporeans tend to be late risers.

·  Timing is particularly crucial if there is a public holiday on either side of the border. Then you really must be at the border crossing by 8am. Try any later than that and you will risk spending several hours stuck in traffic. This is particularly true if you are trying to come back to Singapore from Malaysia in the afternoon at the end of a long weekend. Be prepared for several hours wait.

·  Avoid public holidays if you can. This doesn’t mean you can’t travel during a long weekend. Instead, cross the border to go out on the day before and come back one day earlier (or later) than everyone else.

Always Cross at the Tuas Second Link

Unless you specifically want to go through Johor Bahru township, avoid Woodlands at all costs. Even if it means you will have to drive a longer circuit to get where you want to go, the Tuas Second Link is ALWAYS the smoother and easier crossing.

Be Pedantic About Your Paperwork

As you hand over your passports at each immigration checkpoint on both sides, be sure to keep a sharp eye on your paperwork. When it’s handed back to you, be kiasu and check every single person’s passport has a stamp before you drive off. If you discover an error later you can expect some serious questioning (and maybe even worse) by immigration officials.

Pack For Unexpected Delays

Carry some drinks, snacks and toys with you to entertain the kids just in case you still manage to encounter bad traffic. If you have newly toilet trained toddlers, carry some spare emergency nappies too, just in case.

Even if you don't plan to spend any money on the other side of the border, make sure you have some cash in both currencies with you. You never know when you will need a few extra ringgit or Singapore dollars. 

The Singapore/Malaysian Border Crossing By Car

·  By far the easiest way to cross the border is from the comfort of your own car. Have a pen with you so that you can easily fill out the immigration forms and remember that you will have to pay a toll on the Singaporean side of the border both ways with your NETS CashCard. In Malaysia you will also incur frequent road tolls that are automatically deducted from your PLUSMiles card (which can be purchased and topped up just after immigration). 

·  When you exit Singapore beware of the petrol restrictions and ensure you have at least three quarters of your gas tank full before you exit the country. It is rare, but sometimes they do check.

·  The Singaporean authorities will also check inside the trunk of your car as well as in the passenger cabin when you come in from Malaysia. If you are thinking it might be a good idea to buy some fake DVDs while in Malaysia, think again! Alcohol and cigarettes from Malaysia into Singapore are also subject to heavy duties, so don’t think you can smuggle them under your seat and not get caught.

Taxis From Singapore To Malaysia

Only specially licensed taxis are allowed to carry passengers between the two borders. You can book these through SMRT or www.sgmytaxi.com. You should pre-negotiate the exact price before you start your journey.

Buses from Singapore to Malaysia

·  There are many bus companies that run shuttle services between Malaysia and Singapore. Some of the bigger companies include AerolineFirst CoachGolden Coach and Starmart Air Asia Liner. This is the cheapest way to get from Singapore to Malaysia (or vica versa) and most come with reclining seats, toilets and televisions.

·  The major inconvenience when traveling with kids is that you will be beholden to the bus timetable. You will be picked up and dropped off at one central location (that you can’t choose), the bus only stops on schedule and your kids will need to be able to follow this schedule.

·  Pack light. You have to exit the bus with all your bags at the crossing to queue for customs, so be kind to yourself and compact all your travel gear into a couple of big bags instead of multiple small ones.  

Right near the border of Singapore and Malaysia are the theme parks LEGOLAND Malaysia and Puteri Harbour Theme Park. To read more about them, see the suitcases&strollers story Theme Parks In Asia

For more ideas on what to pack for long car trips with kids, see the suitcases&strollers story here