Kuala Lumpur (KL) is a popular weekend getaway destination for many Singaporeans. You can choose to travel by bus or by flight.
However you may ask, “Which is a better option?”
Is taking a bus to KL cheaper than flying to KL?
And if it so, how much cheaper?
Let’s do a quick comparison on the total cost and time required to travel from Singapore to KL by the different modes of transport available.
Bus to Kuala Lumpur from Johor Bahru
This is the DIY-route: take a bus into Johor Bahru (JB Larkin Terminal) by Malaysia’s Causeway Link. Bus services that go into JB are yellow Causeway Link buses (CW1 and CW2) or Singapore bus 170. The trip costs about S$2.50 one way. After clearing immigration in both Singapore and Malaysia, continue on the bus to Larkin Terminal. Here, you can get coach transfers to a number of destinations within Malaysia. I have seen prices as low as RM29.50 to Kuala Lumpur from Johor Bahru.
Travel Time: Arrive at Larkin terminal 30 minutes before departure (have some time to eat breakfast – there’s a Dunkin’ Donuts here!) + Singapore to Larkin travel time 1 hour + coach travel time varies, from 4.5-8 hours depending on number of stops to be made.
Cost: Under S$50. Can go as low as S$20 for return trip + transfer from bus terminals to final destination.
Express Bus to Kuala Lumpur from Singapore
Express buses are the dedicated coaches that take between 20-40 passengers per coach. Prices are competitive and you may check out these express bus/coach companies:
Each company has their own arrangements for drop-off and pick-up in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, so factor this in when selecting the bus company. Some buses might drop off at your hotel destination, but few will guarantee, unless previously stated.
Travel Time: Arrive bus pickup point at least 30 minutes before departure + coach travel time 6-8 hours
Cost: Between S$30 and S$90 return. One-way express bus ticket starts as low as S$10 and averages S$45 for return ticket.
Luxury Coach to Kuala Lumpur
Luxury coaches are separate class from express buses; these luxury coaches feature plenty of comforts such as designated supersized, ergonomic massage-chair seats, meals, Wi-Fi, entertainment system (video-on-demand). They also take fewer passengers per coach, and typically have more or centralized pick-up/drop-off locations. Go check out Aeroline and Transtar Solitaire.
Travel Time: Arrive at least 30 minutes at designated pick-up point + coach travel time 5-6 hours.
Cost: S$55 – S$80. Coach fares typically average between S$100-S$150 for return trip + transfer from pick-up/drop-off to final destination.
Low Cost Carriers and Cheap Flights to Kuala Lumpur
There are always cheap flights to Kuala Lumpur offered by Air Asia, Jetstar, Scoot and etc., especially if you book early. These are no-frills flights: you’ll pay extra for checking-in baggage, for changing flights, for a drink, and so on. Be mindful of all the “add-on” charges – they can add up and make your air ticket not so low-cost!
Total Travel Time: 90 minutes before flight + 45 minutes flight + 15 minutes Immigration clearance + 33 minutes by KLIA Ekspres to KL Sentral = 3 hours 3 minutes.
Cost: Between S$50-S$100. Airfares can go as low as S$35 (including taxes) but averages S$75 (including taxes) for return flight + airport transfer to final destination.