This half-day self-guided trip from Singapore is possibly the easiest way to get a Malaysia stamp on your passport conveniently, without having to endure the massive bus lines at the border.
Make your own way to Singapore Woodlands Train Checkpoint (H17 taxi stand) for your 1230pm (GMT+8) train to the Malaysian town of Johor Bahru. Relax in cool air-conditioned comfort onboard a special direct locomotive train service across the Singapore/Malaysia border.
Download and print your personalized walking map before departure to ensure a smooth border experience. Upon arrival at Malaysia Johor Bahru (JB Sentral) train station, walk across the connected overhead bridge to City Square Mall, and feast over optional Chinese dumplings at the Michelin-star awarded Din Tai Fung restaurant.
After lunch, walk over to one of the oldest Hindu temples in Johor Bahru - the Arulmigu Raja Mariamman Temple, which was originally built in December 1911. Based on the Dravidian architecture of Southern India, you will see beautiful Hindu art and carvings on some of its exterior walls. The main pyramid Gopuram tower at its entrance is painted in light pastel cream tone with colourful deities surrounding each of the five tower tiers. The temple is located next to the 4.28km long Segget River, which is one of the most important waterways in Johor Bahru.
Next, stop by Gurudwara Sahib Sikh Temple which was first constructed in late 1921. The Sikhs settled in the State of Johor in the late 19th century when they were mostly employed as a police officer, or as a guard of the Johor Sultan royalty.
A few steps away, you will find the Old Chinese Temple of Johor Bahru. This 130-year old temple is the symbol of unity among the five different Chinese dialect groups (Teochow, Hakka, Hainanese, Hokkien and Cantonese). Each of these 5 dialect groups worship 5 different deities, and you will find these 5 deities in the temple. You will also find Kwan Yin (Goddess of Mercy), which is a very commonly worshipped deity by the local Chinese community.
Finally, head back to City Square Mall and pop in to the local shops to find famous Malaysian crackers, also affectionately known to the locals as Keropok. Keropok is typically sold in various seafood flavours such as prawn, squid or fish.
Feeling weary? End the day with an optional foot and body massage to sooth your weary muscles.
Return to Malaysia Johor Bahru (JB Sentral) train station in the evening for your 0545pm (GMT+8) train back to Singapore. You will arrive back in Singapore Woodlands Train Checkpoint at about 0600pm (GMT+8).
Insider tip: Feel free to schedule a separate side visit on your own to the Singapore Zoo and Singapore Night Safari as they are only a mere 10-min taxi ride away from Singapore Woodlands Train Checkpoint.
Singapore Woodlands Train Checkpoint (H17 taxi stand)
12:30pm (train check-in strictly closes 30 minutes prior) (GMT+8)
All sales are final and incur 100% cancellation penalties.
I booked the self guided tour. When a friend wanted to join there were no spots available so she purchased a train ticket online for about 1/3 of the price. The self guided map left off a few local sights that were easy to see. The recommended itinerary for lunch and massage was well worth the visits and quite affordable. I wold do the trip again but next time just buy the tickets online myself and save money.
Forget about the massive bus queues at the border, get into Malaysia with ease in a couple of minutes from Singapore via a special direct cross-border locomotive train service. Johor Bahru City Centre is a small and easily-walkable Malaysian town, but visiting on a group tour can mean unnecessary stops and limited time to explore. This half-day self-guided tour offers the best of both worlds, with round-trip transport by train, plus plenty of free time to take in the sights that interest you most. Remember to download and print your personalized walking map with attraction details before departure to ensure a smooth border experience.