How to travel from Singapore to Johor Bahru by Bus

How to travel from Singapore to Johor Bahru by Bus

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As someone who stays and works in Singapore, I am constantly looking for short getaways to neighboring countries. Since the nearest city from Singapore is Johor Bahru, Malaysia, I found myself frequently cross the border from Singapore to Johor Bahru.

There are many ways you could travel from Singapore to Johor Bahru, such as by public bus, by shuttle tebrau train, by taxi, by hired car or by driving. And nope, there is no flight between Johor Bahru Senai Airport and Singapore Changi Airport.

In this post, I’ll share with you about how to go from Singapore to Johor Bahru by public bus, as well as how to travel back from Johor Bahru to Singapore by bus.

How to pay for the bus fare?

Public bus fare can be paid using EZ-Link, ManjaLink (only Causeway buses) or by cash. If you pay bus fare by cash, please pay with exact money because no change will be given. After paying cash, you will then be given a ticket that you must keep throughout the journey until you reach your destination.

If you don’t have exact cash, for Causeway (CW) buses, you have the option to pay at the counters which are usually available at every starting point of CW buses’ routes. However, for other buses, there are no counters, hence no change will be given.

What is the travel duration?

The travel duration from Singapore to JB depends greatly on traffic condition. It could take 1 hour during off-peak (weekdays afternoon), but it could take as much as 4 hours during peak period (such as the eve of a long weekend or eve of a Public Holiday).

Most of the time, it takes me about 2 hours to cross the border in the evening or on the weekend. 

Since it’s difficult to estimate the exact travel duration, it’s better to allow more buffer for the journey, especially if you need to catch another bus or flight from Johor Bahru to other cities.

Understanding 2 Border Checkpoints

There are 2 Border Checkpoints between Singapore and Johor Bahru. The main and older one is SG Woodlands CIQ & JB CIQ; this is also commonly referred as “Causeway” or “First Link.”  The building name for JB checkpoint is “Sultan Iskandar.” For simplicity, I will use the terms Woodlands Checkpoint and JB Sentral Checkpoint.

The second and newer one is SG Tuas CIQ, and JB Second Link CIQ; this is commonly referred as “Second Link” or “Tuas.” The building name for JB Second Link checkpoint is “Sultan Abu Bakar.” For simplicity, I will use the term Tuas Checkpoint and JB Second Link Checkpoint.

Both checkpoints are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Which border and which bus you should choose? To answer this, you need to consider your final destination in JB.

If you are planning for shopping, cafe hopping, food hunting, mall hanging out, you may choose to go to JB Sentral Checkpoint via First Link. From JB Sentral Custom, you can literally walk to Johor Bahru City Square, Komtar JBCC, JB Sentral Bus Terminal, Jalan Wong Ah Fook, and Jalan Dhoby.

If you are planning to go to Larkin Terminal to take other buses to continue to other parts of Malaysia, you may choose either First Link or Second Link.

If you are going to other parts of JB that are near Second Link (such as Legoland, Johor Premium Outlet, Bukit Indah, Iskandar Puteri), you may choose Second Link.

Woodlands Checkpoint
Woodlands Checkpoint

Which Border has Less Traffic?

The traffic tends to be heavier at Woodlands, but during peak period such as Public Holiday, both borders are equally heavy.

Even though first link is usually more congested, it doesn’t mean that I will choose second link over first link all the time. What I usually do before crossing the border is checking the traffic cameras at both checkpoints and checking Google Maps for estimated traffic condition.

The traffic cameras are updated every minute so it’s pretty accurate. If you see a traffic jam, do investigate whether it’s traffic jam on car lanes or bus lanes. Sometimes, the car lanes may have heavy traffic but the bus lane is literally empty.

What traffic cameras can’t show you is the traffic condition at JB Checkpoint, because these cameras are installed by Singapore side, not Malaysia. So, if you see a clear bridge, don’t be too happy first. Instead, check the traffic condition at Google Maps, maybe there’s a traffic jam at Malaysia side.

How to check traffic condition in Google Maps? Choose “traffic” function in Google Maps. On mobile, it’s located at top right corner, under the search bar, within the drop-down menu. On desktop, it’s within the drop-down menu located at top left corner.

The traffic function will show you traffic condition in colors. Dark red means extremely heavy. But again, heavy traffic refers to car traffic, not bus traffic. There’s a lot of guestimate when trying to predict bus traffic.

Can you walk across the border of Singapore and Malaysia?

Some people do walk across the border between Woodlands Checkpoint and JB Sentral Checkpoint on rare occasions, such as when the traffic jam is too horrible and they are at risk of arriving late at their workplace. However, please do not walk because it is extremely dangerous; there is no pedestrian footpath and the vehicles don’t give way to pedestrian.

And, nobody walks across the border between Tuas Checkpoint and JB Second Link Checkpoint. Curious why? The distance between the two checkpoints is 5km! Similar to first link, there’s no pedestrian footpath and vehicles don’t give way to pedestrian. So, for safety reason, please wait patiently for the bus no matter how urgently you need to get to your destination.

List of Buses from Singapore to Johor Bahru

1. From Kranji MRT Station

At Kranji MRT Station, take exit C to the bus stop. Money changer with reasonable rates is available here, as well as a food court. On weekends, expect huge crowd so leave your house early.

Location of Kranji MRT on Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/q4FY7AB3AkTQm5vRA

Bus 170x, cw1 from kranji singapore to johor bahru
Boarding bay for bus 170x blue plate. Meanwhile, boarding bay for CW1 is further behind.

From Kranji MRT, there are 2 buses you can take:

1. SBS Bus 170X (formerly called SBS Bus 170 blue plate). 
Fare: S$ 1.43 by EZ-Link card; or S$ 2.10 by cash.
Route: https://www.transitlink.com.sg/eservice/eguide/service_route.php?service=170X
Operating Hour from Kranji: 5.40am to 11.30pm. 
Operating Hour from JB Sentral: 6.10am to 12 midnight.

SBS Bus 170X will bring you to Johor Bahru via Woodlands Checkpoint (First Link). The last station for Bus 170X is JB Sentral Bus Terminal, which is within walking distance from JB Sentral Checkpoint. So, usually after clearing the immigration at JB, nobody takes bus 170x anymore because people who are going to JB Sentral simply walk from the Checkpoint.

For information, there are 2 types of SBS Bus 170: red plate and blue plate. Blue plate (or 170X) leaves from Kranji and ends at JB Sentral Bus Terminal with only a few stops in between. Meanwhile, Red plate (bus 170) leaves from Queen Street Terminal (see point #3 below) and ends at Larkin Terminal with many bus stops in between (not recommended due to long journey).

2. Causeway Link Bus CW1. 
Fare: S$ 1.50 by cash; or by ManjaLink.
CW1 Route: https://www.causewaylink.com.my/view-local.php?route=CW1&iframe=true&width=720&height=400
Route of ALL CW buses: https://www.causewaylink.com.my/singapore-bus
Operating Hour from Kranji:
6.30am to 11.30pm.
Operating Hour from JB Sentral Checkpoint: 4.10am to 10.40pm. 

Bus CW1 only have 4 stops: Kranji MRT Station, SG Woodlands Checkpoint, JB Sentral Checkpoint, and Larkin Terminal.

My personal favorite way to go to JB is to taking SBS Bus 170X from Kranji because I need to take MRT from my house to Kranji and I use EZ-Link. If I take an SBS/SMRT bus after alighting from MRT, it’s considered as transfer and I can get discounts if the transfer is done within 45 mins. To understand about the transfer, you may visit here.

However, I would choose CW1 when there is a long queue for 170X but there is little or no queue for CW1. 

2. From Woodlands Temporary Bus Interchange (Walkable distance from Woodlands MRT Station)

From Woodlands MRT station, you need walk to Woodlands Bus Interchange (follow the signs to Bus Interchange) which is located just beside MRT Station.

Location of Woodlands Temporary Bus Interchange on Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/rD6PoXEWtiJdEKv16

Bus 950 from woodlands singapore to johor bahru
Boarding bay for bus 950 at Berth 9
Bus 950 from woodlands singapore to johor bahru
Bus 950 departs from Berth 9 at Woodlands Interchange

From Woodlands Bus Interchange, there’s 1 bus that you can take directly to Woodlands Checkpoints, which is the SMRT Bus 950. Here are the details:
Fare: S$ 1.47 by EZ-Link card; or S$ 2.30 by cash.
Route: https://www.transitlink.com.sg/eservice/eguide/service_route.php?service=950
Operating Hour: 5.30am to 11.30pm.

SMRT Bus 950 will bring you to Johor Bahru via Woodlands Checkpoint (First Link). Then, it continues to JB Sentral Checkpoint and JB Sentral Bus Terminal to pick up passengers before coming back to Singapore. 

SBS bus 950 is my 2nd personal favorite (after 170X) because it is nearer to where I stay, and because I have options to take other buses if SMRT Bus 950 has long queue and I’m in a rush, especially during peak period (weekend or evening).

Wait, but you said there’s only 1 bus from Woodlands??

Yes there’s only 1 direct bus to the Checkpoint. BUT, there are a few other buses that go to Woodlands Train Checkpoints. From the Train Checkpoints, it is about 10 minutes walk to Woodlands Checkpoint. So, it’s a good alternative if you don’t mind a lot of walking.

Here are the buses that goes to Train Checkpoint:

  • Bus 856 (6 stops to Train Checkpoint). My recommended bus because it’s a short journey and it’s more frequent than 950.
  • Bus 903 (10 stops to Train Checkpoint). 
  • Bus 911 (6 stops to Train Checkpoint), but you need to take the one that goes to West Loop, not East. It’s quite confusing to figure out which is which, so it’s best to ask the driver if he goes to Train Checkpoint.
  • Bus 912 or 912B (11 stops to Train Checkpoint), but you need to take the one that goes to West Loop, not East. It’s quite confusing to figure out which is which, so it’s best to ask the driver if he goes to Train Checkpoint. Not recommended.

3. From Queen Street Terminal (Nearest MRT stations: Bugis and Rochor)

Queen Street Terminal is about 15 mins walk from Bugis and Rochor MRT stations. It is located at Queen Street, between Arab Street and Ban San Street.

From Bugis MRT, take exit A or B, walk along Victoria Street until you meet Arab Street, and turn left. From Rochor, take either exit A or B, walk towards Ophir Road, turn left to Rochor Canal Road, then turn right to Ban San Street.

Location of Queen Street Terminal on Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/p2MXmrS5jitFm2YK7

There are 3 options of buses from Queen Street Terminal:

1. SBS Bus 170 (formerly called Bus 170 red plate).
Fare: S$ 1.94 by EZ-Link card; or S$ 2.60 by cash.
Route: https://www.transitlink.com.sg/eservice/eguide/service_route.php?service=170
Operating Hour from Queen Street Terminal: 5.20am to 00.10am. 
Operating Hour from Larkin Terminal in JB: 5.20am to 00.30am. 

SBS Bus 170 leaves from Queen Street Terminal and ends at Larkin Terminal with so many bus stops in between, including Rochor Stn, Opp Little India Stn, Newton Stn, Stevens Stn, Botanic Garden Stn, Tan Kah Kee Stn, Sixth Avenue Stn, King Albert Park Stn, Hillview Stn, Opp Bukit Panjang Stn. I do not recommend bus 170 from Queen Street because it stops at too many locations that you are wasting too much time on the road.

2. Causeway Link Bus CW2.
Fare: S$ 3.00 by ManjaLink, S$ 3.30 by Ez-Link, S$ 3.50 by cash
CW2 Route: https://www.causewaylink.com.my/view-local.php?route=CW2&iframe=true&width=720&height=400
Route of ALL CW buses: https://www.causewaylink.com.my/singapore-bus
Operating Hour from Queen Street Terminal: 6.30am to 11.45pm.
Operating Hour from JB Sentral Checkpoint: 4.00am to 11.00pm. 

Bus CW2 has only a total of 4 stops: Queen Street Terminal, Woodlands Checkpoint, JB Sentral Checkpoint and Larkin Terminal. Now, you can use EZ Link, Manjalink or cash for CW2 bus. If you use cash, remember to buy your cash token before queuing.

Tip for CW2: if you don’t mind standing on the bus for the entire journey (could take up to 1 hour plus in the evening or weekend), you can skip the long queue and go to the front of the queue. There, wait until the bus is almost full and nobody in the queue boards the bus anymore. Then board the bus.

Yep, most people in the long q will not board if there are no more seats, they don’t want to stand and would rather wait for the next bus, so this is your chance to take the bus without queuing (but you pay the price by having to stand the entire journey).

Do note that if you take CW2, once you got your passport stamp at Woodlands Checkpoint, you could board any CW buses to go to JB Sentral Checkpoint. Just show your ticket to any CW bus driver and they’ll let you in.

3. Singapore-Johore Express Bus / SJE (Fare: S$ 3.30 by cash).

Bus SJE route is exactly the same as CW2. Seats for SJE bus are more comfortable compared to CW2. As for frequency, it is hard to predict because there isn’t any app that you can use to check the departing schedule for bus SJE and CW.

If I were to choose between CW2 and SJE, I definitely prefer CW2 because at Woodlands Checkpoint, I can continue with any CW buses. With SJE, I have to wait for SJE.

Queen Street Terminal Singapore
Queen Street Terminal
Queen Street Terminal entrance
Queen Street Terminal
SBS Bus 170 red plate
SBS Bus 170 red plate going to Woodlands Checkpoint, but passing through many stops in between
Bus CW2 and SJE at Queen Street Terminal
Bus CW2 and SJE at Queen Street Terminal

4. From Jurong East Temporary Bus Interchange (Walkable distance from Jurong East MRT Station)

From Jurong East MRT, take exit A, and follow the direction to Bus Interchange.

There is 1 bus that goes to JB via Woodlands Checkpoint which is SBS bus 160 (Fare: S$ 1.84 by EZ-Link Card; S$ 2.50 by cash), but there are 3 buses that go to JB via Tuas Second LinkCheckpoint: CW3 (Fare: S$ 4.00 by cash to Larkin), CW4 (Fare: S$ 4.00 + RM 4.20 by cash to Pontian Bus Terminal) and CW4S (Fare: S$ 4.00 + RM 4.80 by cash to Sutera Mall).

SBS Bus 160 ends at JB Sentral Terminal. I personally do not recommend you to take bus 160 because it passes through many stops before Woodlands Checkpoint. The full route and fare can be found at http://www.transitlink.com.sg/eservice/eguide/service_route.php?service=160. Meanwhile, CW buses do not have too many stops, but they only go to Second Link, not Woodlands.

Location on Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/9SdpTXd7ihjTc5ND6

Bus 160 from jurong east singapore to johor bahru
Boarding bay for bus 160

Bus CW3 ends at Larkin Terminal by passing through SG Tuas 2nd Link Checkpoint, Gelang Patah Bus Terminal, Taman Bukit Indah, Perling Mall, Taman Tasik). The full timetable can be found in CW website.

Bus CW4 ends at Pontian Bus Terminal by passing through SG Tuas 2nd Link Checkpoint and Gelang Patah Bus Terminal). The full timetable can be found in CW website.

Bus CW4S ends at Sutera Mall by passing through SG Tuas 2nd Link Checkpoint, Gelang Patah Bus Terminal, Lima Kedai, Taman Sri Orkid, Taman Ungku Tun Aminah). The full timetable can be found in CW website.

Bus cw3, cw4 from jurong east singapore to johor bahru
Boarding bay for bus CW3, CW4

5. From Newton Food Centre (Walkable distance from Newton MRT Station)

From Newton, you can take Causeway Link bus CW5  to Johor Bahru. This bus only has 3 stops: Newton Food Centre, SG Woodlands Checkpoint, JB Sentral Checkpoint. It is the best choice if you are staying/working near Newton/Orchard and going to JB Sentral only. 

Fare: S$ 3.50 by by cash
CW5 Route: https://www.causewaylink.com.my/view-local.php?route=CW5&iframe=true&width=720&height=400
Route of ALL CW buses: https://www.causewaylink.com.my/singapore-bus
Operating Hour from Newton: 6.30am to 11.30pm.
Operating Hour from JB Sentral Checkpoint: 5.00am to 10.30pm. 

From Newton MRT, take exit B. It is about 10-minute walk from Newton MRT Station to CW5 Bus Stop. Getting there can be quite confusing because the traffic is quite heavy around Newton MRT and there isn’t pedestrian crossing.

Basically you have to find your way to Newton Food Centre, then walk across the open-air carpark. Then, you will find CW5 bus stop.

Location on Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/C7UQtsJyaQX7oZbz6

Bus cw5 from newton singapore to johor bahru
Bus stop for bus CW5

6. From Boon Lay MRT Station

From Boon Lay, you can take Causeway Link bus CW6 via Tuas 2nd Link. This bus has a few stops: Boon Lay, Tuas 2nd Link Checkpoints, Taman Bukit Indah, Giant Nusa Bestari, Taman Tasik, Larkin Terminal. 

Fare: S$ 4.50 by by cash
CW6 Route: https://www.causewaylink.com.my/view-local.php?route=CW6&iframe=true&width=720&height=400
Route of ALL CW buses: https://www.causewaylink.com.my/singapore-bus
Operating Hour from Boon Lay: 7.30am to 10.40pm.
Operating Hour from TF Value Mart: 5.00am to 9.30pm (Mon-Fri) and 6am-9.10pm (Weekend, PH). 

From Boon Lay MRT, take exit B, walk straight until the main road (Boon Lay Way), then turn right, and you will see the bus stop. Refer photos below.

Location on Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/UkzJJNXw7ubGoKHq6

Bus cw6 from boon lay singapore to johor bahru
From Boon Lay MRT, take exit B and you will see this. Walk straight and then turn right.
Bus cw6 from boon lay singapore to johor bahru
After you turn right, you can see the bus station from which CW6 departs. Notice there’s a long queue.
Bus cw6 from boon lay singapore to johor bahru
This is the bus stop that CW6 departs from. There is a CW counter here as well if you’d like to ask for more information.

7. From Changi Airport (Terminal 2 and 4)

From Changi Airport, you can take Transtar Bus TS1 from Terminal 2 and Terminal 4. Fare: S$ 9.00 by EZ-Link; S$ 10.00 by cash (pay when you board the bus). The bus starts at Terminal 2, Terminal 4, several stops in between, and eventually ends at JB Sentral Checkpoint. The full routes, schedule and fares can be found at http://www.transtar.travel/cross-border-services/. If you have questions when you’re on the ground, just approach the counter at Terminal 2, Level 1. Sometimes, timing or boarding bay may change, so it’s best to check with the counter.

Coach Bay at Terminal 2 Arrival Hall, Changi Airport
Follow directions to Coach Bay at Terminal 2, Level 1, Arrival Hall
Bus TS1 at Changi Airport Terminal 2 going to Johor Bahru (JB)
Bus TS1 departs from Terminal 2
Bus TS1 Counter at Terminal 2, Level 1, Arrival Hall
Bus TS1 Counter at Terminal 2, Level 1, Arrival Hall in case you have any questions

8. From Resort World Sentosa (Nearest MRT station: Harbourfront)

From Harbourfront Station, you can wak throgh “Boardwalk” to Resort World Sentosa, or take Sentosa Express Monorail from Level 3 of Vivocity and alight at Promenade Station.

At Resort World Sentosa, take the escalator down to Basement and follow direction to “Coach Bay.”

Here, you can take Transtar Bus TS8 from Basement Coach Bay. Fare: S$ 6.00 by EZ-Link; S$ 7.00 by cash. The bus ends at JB Sentral Checkpoint. The full routes, schedule and fares can be found at http://www.transtar.travel/cross-border-services/. If you have any questions when you’re on the ground, just approach the counter at the Coach Bay. Sometimes, timing or boarding bay may change, so it’s best to check with the counter.

Location on Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/UBjRCzTN3UYiV7ub8

Escalator to coach bay for Bus TS8 from resort world sentosa singapore to johor bahru
Take this escalator down and you’ll find coach bay right away
Escalator to coach bay for Bus TS8 from resort world sentosa singapore to johor bahru
Otherwise, you can also take this escalator down and walk towards Coach Bay
Direction to coach bay for Bus TS8 from resort world sentosa singapore to johor bahru
This is the view near casino. Just follow the direction to Coach Bay.
Transtar counter for Bus TS8 from resort world sentosa singapore to johor bahru
At Coach Bay, you can see this Transtar counter where you can ask information about bus TS8 leaving to JB
Bus TS8 from resort world sentosa singapore to johor bahru
Bus TS8

Alternatively, you could consider another bus provider from 707 travel group. The counter for 707 is just nearby Transtar counter. The price is slightly cheaper than TS8 but the timing is not so frequent, and I am not sure whether this is a direct bus or with some stops in between.

Bus from 707 travel group, from resort world sentosa singapore to johor bahru
Bus to JB from 707 Travel Group

9. From Yishun Temporary Bus Interchange (Walkable distance from Yishun MRT Station)

From Yishun MRT station, take exit C. You will need to take the escalator in front of NTUC Fairprice down to the tunnel, then take escalator up to Northpoint Shopping Centre. Inside Northpoint, follow direction to the bus interchange.

At Yishun bus interchange, one can take bus AC7 to JB Sentral Checkpoint, passing through many stops in between. Fare: S$ 2.20 by EZ-Link Card; S$ 2.50 by cash. More information on the full routes can be found here and here.

Location on Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/rUppiHtCk3TBgqyp8

Bus AC7 from yishun singapore to johor bahru
Bus AC7 leaves from Berth 8 at Yishun temporary bus interchange
Bus AC7 from yishun singapore to johor bahru
Berth 8 at Yishun, from which bus AC7 departs

10. From Marina Square (Walkable distance from Promenade MRT Station)

Bus TS3 brings you from Singapore CBD (Central Business District) to Johor Bahru CIQ via first link (Woodlands) and vice versa. It’s suitable for Johoreans who work in Singapore but stay in Johor Bahru, as well as tourists who stay at CBD or Chinatown but wants to visit Johor Bahru on a day trip. Take note that the bus only operates in the morning and evening.

To get to Pan Pacific Hotel, you can take MRT to Promenade and then walk for 450m. You can also board the bus from Downtown MRT Station, Clarke Quay and several other bus stops. You can find bus TS3 full route and schedule here. The price is SGD 6 by EZ-Link; and SGD 7 by cash. The exact fare is to be paid on board; no change will be given.

Location on Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/Jps3ru5dLm9ahWbD7

Bus TS3 - Singapore to Johor Bahru
Bus TS3 (Photo: BusInterchange.net)

11. From The Star Vista (Walkable distance from Buona Vista MRT Station)

Bus TS6 is an alternative of bus CW3. Typically, residents who stay and work in the west part of Singapore would go to Jurong East (see point 4 above) and take bus CW3/CW4/CW4S to Johor Bahru via second link. Now, people who stay/work near Buona Vista MRT, One Nort MRT, Kent Ridge MRT, Jalan Ahmad Ibrahim, Gul Circle MRT, Tuas West Road MRT, Tuas Link MRT can save time by taking TS6.

Bus TS6 terminates at Gelang Patah Bus Terminal, from which you can catch another bus or ride a Grab (sign up for Grab here and use my code “GRABTREVALLOG” to get discounts for your ride) to other parts of Johor Bahru. You can find bus TS6 full route and schedule here. The price is SGD 4.5 by EZ-Link; and SGD 5 by cash (similar price with CW3). The exact fare is to be paid on board; no change will be given.

Location on Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/wJFYXKVcR3cXTVDt5

Bus TS6 pick up point from Buona Vista
Photo: Transtar Travel
Bus TS6 - Singapore to Johor Bahru
Photo: Transtar Travel

12. From Tuas Link MRT Station

Tuas Link MRT station is the westernmost MRT station. It is really near Tuas Checkpoint, however, you can’t walk to Tuas Checkpoint from here. Instead, you need to take Causeway bus CW7. It costs $4 by cash, $3.8 by EZ-Link and $3.5 by Manjalink. When using EZ-Link do note that you need to tap on the card reader located at the counter, not inside the bus. Also, EZ-Link can only be used in Singapore, not in JB. If you’re using cash and Manjalink, you can do so inside the bus.

To go to the bus boarding point, take the Exit A at Tuas Link MRT Station.

Location on Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/akWF2hg35eSagu9i8

Bus CW7 from Tuas Link Singapore to Johor Bahru

When to Tap In & Tap Out?

If you’re using EZ-Link, here’s the general rule about taking public bus in Singapore: You need to tap in every time you board a bus, and you need to tap out every time you alight from a bus. It doesn’t matter whether it’s your final destination or you’re doing a transfer of bus, you have to tap in and tap out every time you enter and exit the bus.

Here’s a step-by-step procedure:

  • Tap-in when you enter a bus from, for example, Kranji
  • Tap-out when you exit at SG Woodlands checkpoint
  • Get your passport stamped
  • Queue at bus station below the immigration
  • Tap-in when you enter the bus at Woodlands Checkpoint
  • Tap-out when you arrive at JB CIQ
  • Get your passport stamped
  • If you’re going to Larkin Terminal, go to bus station below immigration at JB CIQ. Wait for your bus. Tap in when you enter the bus. When you arrive at Larkin, tap out again.
  • If you’re going to JB Sentral or City Square, just walk and follow the direction

At Singapore Woodlands Checkpoint

When you arrive at SG Woodlands Checkpoint, go up the escalator, queue at the counters and get your passport stamped. Once you get out, go down the escalator, make a U-turn and you will find the queue for the bus. If you have taken SBS bus to Woodlands Checkpoint, you may board any SBS buses to go to JB Sentral Checkpoint. Likewise, if you have taken any CW bus to Woodlands Checkpoint, you may board any CW buses to go to JB Sentral Checkpoint. Just observe which bus comes first and go for it 🙂

Bus 160, 170, cw1, cw2 from singapore woodlands checkpoint to johor bahru
Boarding bay for buses at SG Woodlands Checkpoints

At Johor Bahru Checkpoint

When you arrive at JB Sentral Checkpoint, make your way to the counter and get your passport stamped. No immigration card is required to be filled for entry into Malaysia. Once you are done with passport, get out from the counter area and walk straight. You will then have 2 choices: go to the bus stop at Basement and continue to other parts of JB with a bus; or walk to JB Sentral and enjoy your getaway. Just follow the signs along the way.

Bus 160, 170 from johor bahru checkpoint to larkin terminal or jb sentral terminal
Boarding bay for bus 160 and 170 at basement of JB Checkpoint
Bus SJE, CW from johor bahru checkpoint to larkin terminal or other part of JB
Boarding bay for bus SJE and CW at JB Checkpoint

At SG Tuas Checkpoint & JB Second Link Checkpoint

Crossing  border at Second Link is similar to that at Causeway. Once you get your passport stamped at Tuas Checkpoint, proceed to bus boarding area and board bus to go to JB Second Link Checkpoint. Once your passport is stamped at JB Second Link, proceed to bus boarding area and board the bus that will bring you to your next destination.

Travel from Singapore to Johor Bahru by Bus
Boarding bay for buses CW3, CW3L, CW3S, CW6, CW7, JPO2, SL1 (click photo to enlarge)
Travel from Singapore to Johor Bahru by Bus
Boarding bay for bus CW4, CW4S, CW4G, CW3L (click photo to enlarge)

How to Cross Border at Midnight When Public Buses Don’t Operate?

First of all, I don’t recommend crossing the border between 12 midnight to 5am when the public buses don’t operate because it’s just too risky. But if you really really have to do so, I recommend you take taxi/grab to the Woodlands Checkpoint (not Tuas). After your passport is stamped, go the the bus waiting area. Chances are, you’ll find Bus Pekerja or inter-city buses.

If there are many people waiting for bus, join the queue. Bus Pekerja usually charges around RM 1 to RM 2 for the short ride between the checkpoints. If there are not many people waiting for bus, approach the bus drivers and ask them whether they can allow you to join their bus to JB Checkpoint. Prepare cash in advance because these buses don’t accept EZ-Link or cards.

What if there are no bus at all? I hate to suggest this but you have 2 options: wait until there’s a bus or walk across the bridge (which is a terrible and dangerous idea).

Going to Singapore from JB Larkin Terminal

If you are going to Singapore from Larkin Terminal, you can board SBS Bus 170, SJE bus, CW1, CW2, CW3 to JB Checkpoint; and CW6 to JB Second Link. The fare for CW buses is significantly cheaper if you board in JB compared to SG. Check CW website for more info on the fare.

Since Larkin Terminal is undergoing renovation in 2017 and 2018, the platform for buses is not fix yet. One day, you can find SBS/CW buses in platform D, other days they’re are at other platforms. So, just look around or ask people!

Travel from Singapore to Johor Bahru by Bus
Temporary platform for CW buses (2017)
Travel from Singapore to Johor Bahru by Bus
Temporary platform for SBS and SJE buses (2017)

Going to Other Parts of Malaysia from JB Larkin Terminal

From Larkin Terminal, you can board other buses to go to other parts of Malaysia. You can buy the tickets from ticket counters that are located inside the building. DO NOT buy bus ticket from the men who approach you when you walk around Larkin, most of the time they are trying to sell you expensive tickets on buses that have many stopovers.

At the moment (Dec 2017), there are 2 ticket counter location at Larkin. The first one is the Centralised Ticket Counter. However, now this Centralised counter only sells ticket for CERTAIN bus only. You can find tickets for more buses when you go further inside the building. Follow the arrow that says “tiket kaunter.”

buy bus ticket from larkin station
Centralised ticket counter that only sells ticket for CERTAIN buses (Dec 2017)
buy bus ticket from larkin station
More ticket counter inside Larkin terminal (Dec 2017)

You can also buy bus ticket online from platforms such as easybook.com or busonlineticket.com. Some bus operators require you to check-in at bus counter to get your seat number. If you come from Singapore to Larkin, you can’t predict what time you arrive at Larkin due to traffic so it’s risky to buy online.

However, for PEAK period (Christmas, New Year, Chinese New Year, National Day, etc), bus tickets will be sold out early, so it’s better to buy online or buy in advance from the counter.

Last updated: 18 March 2019

Disclaimer: All information is correct as of the time of writing. Any subsequent changes might not be reflected here. 

PS: Have any questions regarding traveling in Singapore, Malaysia or Southeast Asia? Join Trevallog Community on Facebook where we discuss about traveling in Southeast Asia.

How to travel from Singapore to Johor Bahru by Bus

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This Post Has 145 Comments

  1. Ai Lim

    Hi Eva

    Thanks for the information.
    I have a question. Should I choose to take bus 950 from Woodlands or 170X from Kranji. Do these buses wait for passengers to stamp their passports at Woodlands checkpoint? If not waiting, do we have to catch the next bus? Does that mean, I need to pay for the fare once more even if using EzLink Card?

    Thank you in advance.

    1. Eva

      Hi Ai Lim,
      You can choose whichever closest to you. These buses don’t wait for passengers to stamp their passport. After the bus drop passengers at departure area, it will continue to pick up passengers who have passed through immigration. So you just have to catch the next bus.
      If you’re using EZ-Link, you need to tap in and tap out every single time you enter and exit the bus. Whether you’ll be charged with new fare or not, it depends on how long you spend at the custom. If the period between your tap-out from 1st bus and your tap-in at the 2nd bus is less than 45 mins, your trip will be considered as 1 continuous trip, so you won’t be charged twice the amount. The system will calculate the fare automatically, so what you need to do is to tap in and tap out every time you enter & exit from the bus. I hope my explanation makes sense 🙂

      1. Fiza

        Hello eva. I just want to say thank you. I just scroll to see if i can find my late father photo at causeway link bus. I saw at your post. My dad wearing specticles with yellow uniform sitting while talking to passanger with purple shirt. Thanks ya

        1. Eva

          Hi Fiza,
          I’m sorry to hear about your dad’s passing. Stay strong and keep fighting.

  2. Aya

    Hi Eva, I’m planning to take the CW2 bus because I’m going to Bugis from JB. I saw that I can just get on any other CW bus that are waiting. I’m planning to do this trip with my family and it’s going to be a long trip for us so we’re going to bring a few suitcases with us. should I just take my suitcase with me when I exit the bus at immigration? And is there another way beside using bus to cross the border? Using train for example. Oh and one more thing. Is there a possibility that the bus will be overly full that we won’t be able to go? We’re planning to go just before this Christmas season. Thank you so much!

    1. Eva

      Hi Aya, you HAVE TO take your suitcase with you when crossing the immigration, and you won’t be able to take the same exact CW bus after you clear the immigration, because CW, SBS, SMRT, bring customers on first-come-first-served basis.
      Yes there are other methods. Option 1: you can take train (Shuttle Tebrau), which is faster than bus but it has limited seat per day, so you need to book a few days or a week in advance (you can book through easybook.com). Option 2: use cross-border taxi, which is more expensive than regular taxi. You can find these taxis at Queen Street Terminal in Bugis, the same place CW2 depart from.
      Yes there is possibility that CW2 is full especially after 5pm, so it’s better to take CW2 in the morning or early afternoon. As much as possible, avoid travelling on Xmas eve, the morning of Xmas day. Hope it helps!

  3. Leesa

    Eva, you’re a gem! You’re de details in all of it, thx alots !

  4. nadia

    Hi Eva! Thank you for the most extensive coverage of getting from SIN – MAL, you have certainly helped so many people. I wish I could DM you instead for this question.

    I am a worried mother who will be travelling next week with 5 other fam members including an Autistic child. Our flight from Senai airport is at 11am and ideally we would like to be at the airport by 9am. As travelling with a special needs child is a little bit complicated, I was wondering if you could advice on the most “comfortable” way to get into JB Sentral (or Senai) from any MRT station in Singapore. The nearest MRT station to our hotel in SIN is Ferrer Park Station.

    Hope to hear from you. Thank you.

    1. Eva

      Hi Nadia,
      To be honest, I think it’s quite risky to take public transport on the same day as your flight. If possible, I suggest that you stay overnight at JB.

      If not possible, I suggest that you leave your hotel around 6am or latest by 6.30am. Take taxi (you need to order a large taxi or 2 small taxis) to Woodlands Trains Checkpoint. At Trains Checkpoints, go inside the building, go up to the bridge level, cross the bridge to Woodlands Checkpoint and get your passport stamped. The walking duration is about 10 minutes. Then, take any bus to JB Checkpoint. After clearing immigration, walk to JB Sentral and order Grab to Senai Airport (order either 2 small Grab car or 1 big Grab).

      You might be thinking of taking public transport from SG instead of taxi. I had wanted to suggest that you take CW2 or SJE bus from Queen street terminal since it’s the closes bus terminal from your hotel, but the first bus departs at 6.30am, which I think is too late.

      Hope it helps! Let me know if you have further questions!

      1. Nadia

        Hi Eva, thank you for your timely reply. I think we have to forgo the bus/MRT idea to get to Woodlands due to timing/convenience. Like you said it’s safer to just Grab it to Woodlands (there are Grabs at 6am, though, right?) I’m leaving the hotel at 6am so that i have ample time for queues at Woodlands and be at JB Sentral latest by 8am. In Woodlands itself I’ll be hanging on to your directions to get our passports stamped then tackling the attempts to get a bus to JB checkpoint. My concern now really is crossing the border to get to JB Sentral from Woodlands as I imagine we’ll be up against people rushing to work on a Monday morning. So can we just hop on any bus and buy tickets inside the bus/kiosk/counter beforehand? If so, which bus would you recommend as we’ll be dragging 2 cargo size luggage and Im sure some buses won’t have luggage area. REALLY appreciate your expert advice, Eva!

  5. Dani

    Hello Eva,
    Just want to tell you that your tips works like magic during our stay at Sg and Johor. Thanks for all your answer in comment section, it help A LOT.
    Keep posting!

    1. Eva

      Hi Dani,
      Great to hear that! Take care!

  6. Roshan Lokuthotahewa

    Dear Eva,
    I am Roshan from Sri Lanka..Thank you for this informations..Is it worth to stay in Johor and cross to Singapore to see attractions..I got multiple entry visa to Malaysia and no visa required to Singapore…

    1. Eva

      Hi Roshan, if you’re willing to spend 1.5 to 2 hours of commute each way, then it’s worth it 🙂 Say, you’re only visiting Singapore for 1 day only and spend most of your holiday in Malaysia, then it’s worth it to stay in JB. Also, bear in mind that the traffic flow in the evening is heavy from SG to JB around 6pm-8om, because a lot of Malaysians stay in JB but work in SG. So, after spending a whole day in Singapore, when you go back to JB, you might encounter busy checkpoints.

      If you’re planning to explore Singapore for 3 days or more, it’s more convenient to stay in SG I think. Again, it depends on your budget and willingness to commute to save money 🙂

  7. Clara

    Hi Eva, thanks so much for Yr replies! Somehow I can click reply under my comment o. Mobile 😅 thanks on e again!

  8. Dani

    Dear Eva,

    Thanks for your answer.

    1 more question..if i take Transtar, do i have to booked online or not? i prefer if i can buy directly at ticketing booth

    because i really not sure what time to go to JB..we arrive at changi at 3 pm, but my wife wants to see Changi Jewel first..and only God know how much time we need with all that stores..LOL

    Thanks again, Eve

    1. Eva

      Hi Dani,
      You don’t need to book online, but if you take evening bus, it’s better to book early because who knows if there are many people who pre-book the bus in advance. Alternatively, at 3pm, you can go to the counter to buy the ticket first. I suggest that you don’t wait until last minute to buy the ticket. Hope it helps!

  9. Clara

    I forgot to ask – when I board any train from Woodlands CIQ to go to JB Sentral, i pay cash in SGD, or Ringgit? Can use Ez-link also?

    1. Eva

      Hi Clara, at Woodlands CIQ, you need to pay by SGD. Yes can use ez-link only for bus 170, 160 and 950. For bus CW, you need to use cash or manjalink.

  10. Clara

    Hi Eva,

    Thanks for such a precious write up on how to take a bus to JB from SG! It helps for someone like me who is totally clueless. Even in SG i rarely take the bus/MRT so you can imagine how nervous I am now trying to figure out how to go to another country by bus! I have kinda sorted out the process based on what I read here. Would you please confirm/advise some of the questions I have below please?

    1. I intend to just take Grab from home to Woodlands CIQ directly. QUESTION – Woodlands CIQ, is there a different CIQ or area for Train and Buses?

    2. So I understand once reach Woodlands CIQ, I hv to go up level 2 to clear SG custom. I understand there is an automated self-checking system, and also a queue for manual stamping. – Am I Right? Me and mom most likely would need to queue for manual stamping because we always have problem with our thumbprint!

    3. After clearing, I understand I have to go down the floor again to the bus berth to wait for the bus. QUESTION – at this stage, can I board any of the buses going to JB Sentral? 950, 170, CW1, CW2, CW5? I understand I will have to pay cash when I board the bus, just tell driver I’m going JB Sentral and pay the fare to him and collect my ticket. Is this correct?

    4. When reach JB Sentral, I have to proceed to ceal Malaysia Custom – which is manual stamping. Is this correct?

    5. After that I am free as a bird to go anywhere I like. Correct? lol

    Thank you in advance please! 😀

    1. Eva

      Hi Clara,
      I’m so glad my post can help you cross the border by bus for the first time!
      1. Yes. Taxi can only bring you to Woodlands Train Checkpoint, not Woodlands CIQ. But don’t worry, from the train checkpoint, you can enter the building and just walk to Woodlands CIQ (you can just follow the crowd, many people are doing this everyday).
      2. Yes level 2. Yes there are automatic clearance and manual clearance. There are special counters for Singapore Citizen if you are a Singapore Citizen.
      3. Yes you can take any bus to JB CIQ. If you have ez-link, you can use it for 950, 170, 160. For CW, you need to pay by cash or manjalink. If you decide to pay by cash, yes you can tell the driver you are going to “JB” or “JB Custom” or “JB Sentral.” Yes, after you pay, collect your ticket.
      4. Malaysia custom has automatic clearance for Malaysian citizens. For non-Malaysians, only manual stamping is available.
      5. Yes, you can just walk out of the immigration building and go wherever you want! The nearest building will be JB Sentral. JB CIQ and JB Sentral are connected by pedestrian overhead bridge, so you don’t even have to go down to Level 1, the bridge is at Level 2. After walking past JB Sentral, you’ll arrive at City Square Shopping Mall.
      Hope it helps 🙂

      1. Sean

        Hi Eva,

        Currently if I were to go to Bukit Indah Aeon, I would go via Jurong East Interchange and take the CW Bus there to the Tuas link checkpoint and then onwards to Bukit Indah.

        I am exploring whether it is feasible for me to take MRT to Tuas Link MRT, take CW7 and then transfer to CW3 in JB second link checkpoint to go to Bukit Indah Aeon. Can I check with you do I have to pay again during the transfer to the CW that goes to Bukit Indah at JB second link checkpoint? Also would you even recommend I explore this new route? Thank you.

        1. Eva

          Hi Sean,
          Yes it is feasible to take CW7 from Tuas Link to Tuas Checkpoint, then change to CW3 at JB Second Link. Regarding payment, I’m sorry I’m not sure if you can pay for the entire journey when you board CW7, perhaps you need to check with CW staff.

          Personally, I think I prefer this route (CW7 followed by CW3) because from my limited experience with CW7, there are not many people taking CW7. So I don’t need to worry about the bus being full and having to wait for the next bus. But again, I didn’t take CW7 during peak hour so I don’t know how crowded it is in the evenings and during weekends. Hope it answer your questions!

  11. Dani

    Hi Eva,
    Thanks for your very detail information about bus trip between SG and JB, but i still need expert advice from you :
    – Me and my family (3 person) are going to JB from Changi on Oct 17, maybe around 8pm, do you think we should take MRT to Kranji and SBS 170X to JB; or we should take Transtar Bus from Changi?
    – We are going back to SG on Oct 19, is it gonna be crowded or not? any suggest what time should we take for less crowded trip?
    Thanks again, Eva

    1. Eva

      Hi Dani,
      1. You can do either one. If you go to Kranji first, you will spend more time on the journey compared to direct Transtar bus. But it’s cheaper to go through Kranji; you’ll spend max $5. If I have to make recommendation, I suggest that you take Transtar because it’s more convenient as you don’t have to change from MRT to bus. But do note the schedule of Transtar. It is leaving at 7.15pm and 9.15pm from T2. If you arrive at Changi Airport at 8pm, the next bus you can take is 9.15pm.
      2. Oct 19 is a Saturday, I doubt there will be any heavy traffic jam. Most Malaysians come back to SG on Sunday evening. Anyway, I suggest you come back to SG before 7pm because those people who are going to JB for a day trip usually come back to SG in the evening so traffic at night will be heavier than afternoon.
      Hope it helps! And have a good trip!

  12. Son Nguyen Phuoc Nam

    Hi Eva, On 04 Oct I and my friends will go to Universal whole day and may come back to our hostel near Farrer Park MRT at 07pm. I want to ask how long will it take us from Farrer Park to Kranji MRT. if we on board MRT at 8PM could we reach to Larkin Bus Terminal around 10pm-11pm. I need your advise to fix our schedule.

    1. Eva

      Hi Son,
      4 Oct is a Friday, so the immigration and buses will be very crowded because there are many Malaysians who go back to Malaysia for the weekend. There will definitely be traffic jam at both borders, especially after 7pm when people finish work.

      You can allocate 4.5 hours for the entire journey from your hostel to Larkin. If I were you, I will take TS bus from RWS to save time and avoid headache. When you’re in USS, you can keep your luggage at RWS locker for certain fee.

  13. Scott

    hello Eva, On 4th October we will go to Universal all days and may come back to our hostel near Farrer Park MRT at 6pm. We want to catch a bus from Kranji to Larkin Terminal for catching midnight bus from Johor to KL. how long for go from Farrer to Kranji to catch bus and What time do we need to leave our hostel?

    1. Eva

      Hi Scott, you can just take MRT from Farrer Park to Kranji. From Farrer Park to Kranji, you can assume 1 hour. Then, from Kranji to Johor Bahru, it’s very hard to predict because 4 Oct is Friday, so there will definitely be traffic jam. You can assume crossing the border takes 2 to 2.5 hours. From Johor Bahru Immigration to Larkin is about 45 minutes if you take bus, you can take Grab to get to Larkin faster. I suggest you allocate 4.5 hours for the entire journey from your hostel to Larkin.

      If I were you, I would take the bus from RWS to save time and avoid headache. When you’re in USS, you can keep your luggage at RWS locker for certain fee.

  14. Calvin

    Hi,
    I remembered last time we could take those blue buses at the causeway to go over.
    Those buses with ‘bus kilang’ or bus scokolah printed on them.
    The are empty school or factory workers ferrying buses making some extra cash.
    Can we still do that?

    1. Eva

      Hi Calvin, yeah they’re still around! My advice is to get on Bas Kilang only if the q for SBS/CW is terribly long. Because some Bas Kilang only leaves when it’s full, so if everyone goes to SBS/CW, it might take some time for Bas Kilang to be full. Just my opinion.

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