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How to travel from Singapore to Johor Bahru by Train (KTM Shuttle Tebrau)

How to travel from Singapore to Johor Bahru by Train (KTM Shuttle Tebrau)

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If you are planning to travel from Singapore to Johor Bahru (JB) but you hate the traffic jam along the causeway, you should consider taking the train to JB! The train journey is only 5 minutes long and the ticket price is really affordable.

In case you need an introduction, KTM stands for Keretapi Tanah Melayu, which can be translated to Malayan Railways. There are many types of KTM Train (such as KTM Intercity, ETS, Komuter, etc), but the train that serves Singapore <-> Johor Bahru route is called KTM Shuttle Tebrau.

In this article, I will share the full detailed guide on how to take train from Singapore to JB, as well as from JB to Singapore.

Train Schedule

SG to JB Train NumberSG to JB DepartureJB to SG Train NumberJB to SG Departure
7208:306105:00
7409:456305:30
7611:006506:00
7812:306706:30
8013:456907:00
8215:007107:30
8416:157308:45
8617:307510:00
8818:457711:30
9020:007912:45
9221:158114:00
9422:308315:15
9623:458516:30
8717:45
8919:00
9120:15
9321:30
9522:45

Train Ticket Prices

If you purchase the tickets separately, the train ticket from Singapore to Johor Bahru costs SGD5 and the ticket from Johor Bahru to Singapore costs RM5.

However, if you purchase a return ticket, the price will follow the first leg of the ticket. For example:

  • If you purchase a return ticket of SG-JB and JB-SG, the total cost is 2xSGD5 = SGD10
  • If you purchase a return ticket of JB-SG and SG-JB, the total cost is 2xRM5 = RM10

Booking the train ticket online

The first step you need to do is to purchase the train ticket. You can purchase it from the counter located at Level 1 of Woodlands Train Checkpoint Building or you can book it online. I highly recommend that you book online because the train ticket gets sold out very early, especially the evening tickets and weekend tickets.

Registering for an account

If this is your first time making an online booking for KTM train, you need to register a new account. Go to KTM Shuttle Tebrau website, and click “Login/Signup” link located at the top right corner of the screen. Then, fill up your particulars.

KTM Shuttle Tebrau (1) - Register New Account
Register a new account

After that, you will receive an email from KTM with a link to activate your account.

KTM Shuttle Tebrau (2) - Activate New Account
Activate your account

After activation, you can now login to your account on KTM website.

Purchasing train ticket online

Go to KTM Shuttle Tebrau website and login to your account. Once logged in, you are redirected to ETS/Intercity booking platform, which is NOT what we want. You need to click on “Shuttle Tebrau” link at the top menu.

KTM Shuttle Tebrau (3) - Booking Platform
ETS/Intercity Booking Platform, which is NOT what we want
KTM Shuttle Tebrau (4) - Booking Platform
KTM Shuttle Tebrau Booking Platform

Now, you can choose your route, date and number of passengers.

By the way, children below 4 years old can travel for free, but you need to register at ticket counter before departure. Upon registration, you will receive a physical ticket for your child. Ticket counter at Singapore is located at Level 1 of the Woodlands Train Checkpoint building. Meanwhile, ticket counter at Johor Bahru is located at JB Sentral building Level 2, which is right in front of the train departure/arrival gate.

Pro-Tips:
1. If you start your journey from Singapore and you want to purchase two-way ticket (Woodlands -> JB and JB -> Woodlands), don’t purchase them together because you will be charged S$5 for each way (total S$10 for 2-way tickets). Instead, purchase both tickets separately and you will only pay S$5 for SG-MY and RM5 for MY-SG route.
2. If you start your journey from Johor Bahru and you want to purchase 2-way ticket (JB -> Woodlands and Woodlands -> JB), do purchase them together because you will be charged RM5 for each way (total RM10 for 2-way tickets). If you purchase separately, you will be charged RM5+S$5.

KTM Shuttle Tebrau (5) - Booking Train Ticket
Select the time slot that you want

After selecting your route, you will need to key in your particulars in the next page. Make sure your passport number is correct because you will check-in with your passport and not your ticket.

KTM Shuttle Tebrau (6) - Booking Train Ticket
Fill up your details

Next, you will be prompted to make payment. The acceptable payment methods are: KTM Wallet, Credit Card (Visa/Mastercard), Debit Card / ATM, Touch ‘N Go e-wallet, and Boost.

KTM Shuttle Tebrau (7) - Paying for Train Ticket
Make your payment

Lastly, you will be directed to a ticket confirmation page. You will also receive an email of you ticket, but it takes some time for the ticket to arrive at your inbox, please be patient and don’t panic (mine took 5 mins).


PART 1: SINGAPORE TO JOHOR BAHRU

Make your way to Woodlands Train Checkpoint

On the day of your departure, make your way to Woodlands Train Checkpoint building. Do arrive at the building at least 30 mins before departure because boarding starts 40 mins before departure, and the gate will be closed 20 mins before departure.

Here are the ways to get to Woodlands Train Checkpoint:

By taxi or ride-hailing: Simply tell the driver or key in your ride-hailing app “Woodlands Train Checkpoint”. You will arrive right in front of the Woodlands Train Checkpoint building.

On foot: From Marsiling MRT, walk 1.5km along Woodlands Centre Road. Here’s the route.

By bus:

  • From Woodlands Bus Interchange, take Bus 856 (Berth 11) and alight 6 stops later at W’lands Train Checkpoint. In my opinion, this is the best bus to take.
  • From Woodlands Bus Interchange, take Bus 903 (Berth 4) and alight 10 stops later at W’lands Train Checkpoint.
  • From Woodlands Bus Interchange, take Bus 911 or 911T (Berth 12) and alight 6 stops later at W’lands Train Checkpoint.
  • From Woodlands Bus Interchange, take Bus 912 or 912B (Berth 12) and alight 11 stops later at W’lands Train Checkpoint. Not recommended.
  • From opposite Kranji MRT Station, take Bus 178 and alight 5 stops later at W’lands Train Checkpoint.
  • From opposite Marsiling MRT Station, take Bus 856 and alight 3 stops later at W’lands Train Checkpoint.
Bus to Woodlands Train Checkpoint (1) - Bus 856 at Berth 11
Bus 856 at Berth 11
Bus to Woodlands Train Checkpoint (2) - Bus 911 and 912 at Berth 12
Bus 911, 911T, 912, 912B at Berth 12
Bus to Woodlands Train Checkpoint (3) - Bus 903 at Berth 4
Bus 903 at Berth 4
Woodlands Train Checkpoint (1) - Bus Stop
Bus stop at Woodlands Train Checkpoint
Woodlands Train Checkpoint (1) - Bus Stop
Bus stop information
Woodlands Train Checkpoint (4) - Walkway
Follow the direction to Woodlands Train Checkpoint
Woodlands Train Checkpoint (3) - Taxi Stand and Pick Up Point
Woodlands Train Checkpoint
Woodlands Train Checkpoint (5) - Train
KTM Shuttle Tebrau Train at the Train Station

Go through both immigrations at Woodlands Train Checkpoint

Enter Woodlands Train Checkpoint building and go up to Level 2. You will soon see signs for train boarding. Join the queue for boarding and prepare your passport. Your passport will serve as your boarding pass. Based on my experience, there is no need to print out your ticket because it isn’t checked for boarding.

After entering the departure gate, you will be required to clear Singapore immigration, followed by Malaysia immigration. Both countries’ immigration are located at Singapore side. You must clear both immigration before boarding the train.

Photography and videography are not allowed inside Woodlands Train Checkpoint building, hence I’m unable to show you any photos.

Take the train from Singapore to Johor Bahru

After clearing both immigration, you can now enter the train platform and board the train!

Woodlands Train Checkpoint (6) - Train

Seating: It is free seating, so you can sit at any available empty seat. In each carriage, half of the seats are facing one direction, while the other half are facing the opposite direction.

KTM Shuttle Tebrau
Train interior

If you’re prone to motion sickness, you should choose the seat that’s facing the same direction as the direction the train is moving to. How to check the direction of the train? Well, simply use the compass in Google Maps. If you happen to board a crowded train and there aren’t many available seats left, don’t sweat it. The train journey is just 5-min long, it’s not long enough to induce severe motion sickness.

Luggage storage: Luggage and bags can be stored at the overhead compartment.

KTM Shuttle Tebrau
Overhead compartment for storage

If you’re lucky to score the front-row seat, you’ll get extra legroom which can be useful for tall people, or people with many bags and luggage.

KTM Shuttle Tebrau
Front-row seats get extra legroom

Toilets: There are toilets in the carriage (1 squat and 1 sit-down), but personally I would not use them because… erm, let’s just say that they’re not as clean as toilets in Singapore or Malaysia shopping malls.

KTM Shuttle Tebrau
Toilet

Sights along the way: There are 2 types of sight you can expect from this train ride. When facing Johor Bahru from Singapore, the seats on the left side will have the view of train platforms and the causeway (i.e. the road connecting Singapore and Malaysia). Meanwhile, the seats on the right side will have the view of water pipes and the Straits of Johor.

KTM Shuttle Tebrau
View of the Causeway
KTM Shuttle Tebrau
View of water pipes, Straits of Johor, and JB buildings

Arriving at JB Sentral

Once the train arrives at Johor Bahru, take the escalator or staircase up. Follow the “Exit” direction and you will soon arrive at JB Sentral building. From here, you can simply walk to City Square or take taxi/bus to other parts of Johor Bahru.

JB Sentral (1) - KTM Train Platform
KTM Train Platform at Johor Bahru
JB Sentral (2) - Exiting Train Station
Follow the Exit direction
JB Sentral (3) - Inside JB Sentral
Then, you will find yourself at JB Sentral
JB Sentral (4) - KTM Counter at JB Sentral
KTM Counter at JB Sentral if want to purchase future train tickets

PART 2: TRAIN FROM JOHOR BAHRU TO SINGAPORE

Make your way to JB Sentral

On the day of your departure, make your way to JB Sentral building. Do arrive at the building at least 20 mins before departure because boarding starts 30 mins before departure, and the gate will be closed 10 mins before departure.

JB Sentral (5) - JB Sentral Building
JB Sentral Building
JB Sentral (6) - JB Sentral Building
JB Sentral Building – Taxi Stand and Drop-off/Pick-up Point

Here are the ways to get to JB Sentral:

By taxi or ride-hailing: Simply tell the driver or key in your ride-hailing app “JB Sentral”. You will arrive at Level 1 of JB Sentral. Go up to Level 2 and walk to the departure gate.

On foot: JB Sentral is within walking distance from City Square shopping mall, JBCC Komtar, R&F Marina Place, Holiday Inn Johor Bahru City Centre, Amari Johor Bahru, Jalan Wong Ah Fook, and JB CIQ.

By bus:

  • From Larkin Sentral (Bus Terminal): Take Bus 227 or P101.

Go through Malaysia immigration at JB Sentral

When you arrive at JB Sentral building, make your way to Level 2 and walk towards to departure gate located at the north side of the building (i.e. near the exit towards CIQ and City Square).

JB Sentral (7) - Going to JB Sentral Building
If you’re coming from City Square, just follow the direction to JB Sentral

There are 2 gates: Gate A and Gate B. There is a monitor that indicates which gate the train is departing from. Usually the train departs from Gate A.

JB Sentral (8) - Inside JB Sentral - Entering Gate
Train Departure Gate at JB Sentral
JB Sentral (9) - Train Departure Information
Train Departure Information

About 30 mins before departure, passengers will be allowed to enter the departure gate. You will need to scan your passport at the gantry.

JB Sentral (10) - Scan Passport to go to Departure Gate
Scan Passport to go to Departure Gate

Then, you will arrive at the immigration section of Malaysia’s side. After clearing the immigration, you will need to join a queue for train boarding.

JB Sentral (11) - After Malaysia Immigration
After Malaysia Immigration, you need to queue to board the train

Based on my experience, they only allow people to board exactly at the time the train is supposed to depart. For example, if your ticket is for 5pm departure, they only allow people to board the train at 5pm. Hence, you can expect about 10 to 15 mins delay from the scheduled departure. This only happens in Johor Bahru and not Singapore (in Singapore, you can board the train as soon as you clear the immigration).

It’s quite frustrating if you are carrying heavy/bulky items. Furthermore, the space after immigration is quite small, it gets really packed and stuffy during peak period when the train is at full capacity. I really hope the Malaysian operator can look into this matter and allow passengers to board early.

Unlike SG-JB route where you clear both countries’ immigration before boarding the train, in this JB-SG route you clear only Malaysia’s immigration before you board. Then you will clear SG immigration when arriving at SG.

Take the train from Johor Bahru to Singapore

After the boarding starts, make your way to the train platform by going down the escalator or staircase. It is free seating, so you can take any available empty seats.

JB Sentral (12) - Train Platform
Go down to Train Platform
JB Sentral (12) - Train Platform
Train Platform at Johor Bahru
JB Sentral (14) - Train Platform
Leaving Johor Bahru, going towards Singapore
KTM Shuttle Tebrau
View of the Causeway, going towards Singapore

The train’s interior is exactly the same as the train in the SG-JB route, you can scroll up to “Take the train from Singapore to Johor Bahru” section to read my review of the train.

Go through Singapore immigration at Woodlands Train Checkpoint

After arriving at Singapore, you will enter the Singapore immigration area. If you’re a Singapore citizen or resident, you can choose to go through the Automated Clearance or Manual Counter. If you’re a foreigner, you have to go through the Manual Counter.

After clearing the immigration and baggage check, you will find yourself at Level 2 of Woodlands Train Checkpoint Building. To get out, simply walk the staircase or take the elevator down to Level 1.

Getting to other parts of Singapore

To get to other parts of Singapore from Woodlands Train Checkpoint, here are the transportation options:

By taxi: There is a taxi stand right in front of Woodlands Train Checkpoint building.

By ride hailing: Alternatively, you can book ride-hailing. The pick-up point is in front of Woodlands Train Checkpoint building.

By bus:

  • To go to Kranji MRT: take Bus 170
  • To go to Marsiling MRT: take Bus 950
  • To go to Woodlands Bus Interchange/MRT: take bus 178, 903, 911, 912
Woodlands Train Checkpoint (8) - Bus stop
Bus stop at Woodlands Train Checkpoint

Conclusion

Taking KTM Train to Johor Bahru from Singapore is much fuss-free compared to taking bus. You don’t have to worry about being stuck traffic jam, or being stuck for hours in an extremely crowded immigration hall. You’ll also be able to store your luggage and bag in the overhead compartment (most cross-border buses don’t have luggage storage area).

But there are cons as well. Firstly, if you plan to travel during peak period (eg: SG->JB Fri evening, SG->JB Sat morning, JB->SG Sun evening, JB>SG Mon morning), it’s extremely difficult to get a ticket because they’re sold out months in advance, so it’s only possible to take train during off-peak period. Secondly, you still need to spend a considerable amount of time clearing immigration, so you still need to spend at least 1 hour to cross the border.

If you want to learn how to take bus to cross the border, here’s my guide on how to travel from Singapore to Johor Bahru by bus.

train to jb

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