The road to Melaka was easy. As I’ve mentioned here, I booked our bus tickets through Redbus.sg and used my BDO debit card to pay for the tickets. I choose to book our tickets with Redbus because I noticed they were giving 20% discount for all ticket purchases. Even if its just a few dollars, it’s still savings.
I booked us a 7:30AM trip with Starmart Express. The ticket said the bus would fetch us at the Golden Mile Tower. The Golden Mile Tower is located beside the Golden Mile Complex in Beach Road. The Golden Mile Complex is the more popular pick-up point for buses that our Uber driver took us there first. Because we were staying at Pasir Ris, we left early and arrived at the pick-up point around 6:30AM and still dark. There were already people waiting for their buses to arrive. We checked in at 7:00AM. There’s a StarMart Express office inside the building.
Because we still had time before our bus arrives, we decided to buy breakfast from Coco Eatery located at the left side of the building if you are facing the building. It was the only eatery open at that hour. I bought 2 pieces luncheon meat, 2 pieces fried egg, 1 plain rice, and 2 cups kopi-o and paid SG$8.0. My sister bought a spicy noodle dish and kopi-o and I can’t remember how much she paid in all.
I booked our bus tickets in July (which was one month from our date of travel). I took precaution and booked ahead because I read from TripAdvisor that there are days when buses are full.It must have been true because when I booked for my cousins’ tickets about 13 days before our travel date, there were no more bus trips with the Redbus.sg website. Better safe than sorry, book ahead.
On the way to Melaka, our bus was not full. There were only 10 or less passengers. I saved a total of SG$9.00 (P306) through Redbus. The original ticket price for Singapore – Melaka is SG$25.00 x 20% = SG$20.00, while the original ticket price for Melaka – Singapore is SG$20.00 x 20% = SG$16.00. I also wondered why the Melaka-Singapore ticket was cheaper. I’m not sure why.
Our bus left Golden Mile Tower at exactly 7:30AM. This was when the bus driver told us there would be no eating inside. Bummer. We arrived at the Tuas immigration point around one hour later. There were not much people in the immigration so it only took us about 10 minutes to get back to our bus. We brought all of our bags with us. Make sure you bring your passport with you as Melaka is in another country, Malaysia. 🙂 We reached the Malaysian border in a matter of minutes and I saw that there was a traffic jam at the opposite side of the bridge (from Malaysia to Singapore).
At the Malaysian immigration, I was asked to show my return ticket. I thought he meant my return bus ticket. He meant my return ticket to Cebu. I was glad I brought all tickets with me. It is best to bring small amount of baggage as you will be hauling all bags to the immigration office for checking.
We waited for more than 1 hour inside the Starmart Express bus. We thought there was a problem because we could not locate our bus driver. The elderly Singaporean with us was already looking for him probably because it was already late. Turned out, the bus driver was waiting for more passengers. I do not know the reason behind this. But there were around five new passengers with us from the immigration to Melaka. The buses run at 110kph. The highway we were traversing was super straight and on flat land. I was awake the whole time because I was hoping to see Malaysian communities or villages along the way. All I saw were palm trees, few coconut trees, and more palm trees. It was like a super highway.
The bus was very comfortable with wide seats and leg room. You can recline the seats to make it into a semi-bed. I am fond of sleeping while traveling by bus but I was still looking for the Malaysian villages that I hardly blinked the whole time. My sister, though, slept all the way and her verdict was it was a super smooth ride. The Malaysia super highway was super smooth (superlatives there!) that I was able to work while on the bus. There was no wifi though.
There were no designated bus stops, but we did stop somewhere, I think when we were 1 hour near Melaka. It had toilets and I had to rush through my peeing for fear of being left in the Malaysian super highway with no habal-habal in sight. Finally, at almost 12 noon, we arrived at Melaka Sentral (bus station). We asked if the bus will go to the city but the bus driver said our bus tickets indicated that we would only be dropped off at the bus station. As soon as we arrived, we had a few pesos converted to ringgits and we looked for a place to eat lunch.
There was a McDonald’s in the bus station but we decided to eat local so we went to the eatery with the most number of people. The truth is, I almost fainted after getting the first bite from my food. Good thing there was Coks. I paid RMB6.5 for this sweet and sour fish and rice dish. The fish tasted like chicken or flour. And the food tasted a little off. I can’t properly describe it but the rest of my companions said their food tasted okay. My original plan was to eat at Nando’s as soon as we arrive in Melaka. I should have stayed with that plan.
After eating lunch, we looked for a taxi. We were hoping there would be a taxi stand with regular rates. Turned out, the taxis do not have meters. We settled with two elderly taxi drivers for RMB25.00 each taxi. Our taxi driver was quite friendly, asking us where we’re from, and, upon knowing, we were from the Philippines, asked if we knew Jericho Rosales. My brother was asking him about beef rendang and the driver said it’s a dish reserved for special occasions and a dish best served with rice cooked in bamboo. The driver also made mention that many young people are leaving the rubber tree farms that corporations are taking over. Same story anywhere.
We ended up paying RMB30.0 for each taxi. My cousin said we got scammed but I would just let it pass as tourist price. Melaka Sentral is far from the city center and I would gladly pay the additional RMB5.00 just to get to the city center. Anyway, the drivers knew where we were staying and we arrived there safely. Our taxi ride from the city center to the bus station the following day was only RMB20.00, but our cousins, who was picked up at the guesthouse at 6:30AM because their bus leaves at 7:00AM paid RMB30.00 because of a night charge.
On our trip back to Singapore, we learned that there are few bus schedules from Melaka to Singapore and most of these buses were from Kuala Lumpur. It’s like a connecting trip. I learned that the bus schedules are 7:30AM, 10:00AM, 11:00AM (our trip), and 1:00PM. I’m not sure if there are buses after 1PM. TIP — Because we already have the luxury of booking online, it is best to book two-way tickets in advance because our bus to Singapore was almost full. Our bus to Singapore took us to Johor Bahru, one of the states of Malaysia. Johor Bahru is where Legoland is located. The trip from Melaka to the Johor Bahru immigration was about 3 hours. Crossing the Causeway Bridge from Johor Bahru to Tuas in Singapore took us 1 hour. There was a traffic jam. And we lined up at the immigration in Tuas for almost four hours.
We did not know the reason why we got stuck at the immigration for almost four hours. There were a LOT of tourists, few immigration officers, and slow processing of passports. All was well though when it was my turn because there were no questions asked. I guess the immigration officer was also already tired. FYI — No picture taking inside the immigration. One young man was detained because he was caught taking a video. ALSO, leave any dutiable items (e.g. cigarettes) if you don’t want to pay duties and prohibited items (drugs) if you don’t want to get jailed or punished to death. It is best not to test how the Singaporean Government works. We asked our friends in Singapore and they said it might have been because there were suspicious people caught by the immigration weeks before. Many of the tourists, mostly Chinese, were already fighting because many wanted to get ahead of the line as most of them had flights that night.
At almost 8:00PM, we were already out of the immigration. We rode a Causeway Link bus (the yellow bus located at the right side of the immigration exit (if you are facing out). Pay in cash for SG$2.50. This bus will take you to the Jurong East station. We walked to the nearest mall and found a Pizza Hut. We paid almost SG$70 (P2,380) for one pizza, one pasta, one soup, one garlic bread, and two drinks. Thank heavens, the restaurant manager was a Filipina and she gave us unlimited water for free.