MALAYSIA,  SINGAPORE,  TRAVEL

The AEROLINE experience: a 6-hour bus ride from KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA to SINGAPORE

My very first international trip was way back 2012 going to Singapore with my family. I was still a student that time and I think this is what triggered me to say “yes” to going on adventures. I even thought of wanting to live here but didn’t materialized. Fast forward to 2017, I was able to go back to this amazing place with my beautiful wife and even repeated it recently past March of 2018.

Contrary to my 2012 trip in which we arrived and departed at Changi Airport, my wife and I arrived in this country through a different approach… twice.

 

IS IT POSSIBLE?

I remember a family friend based in Singapore whom are touring us around the country (the same person who recommended us to stay in Furama Hotel in Bukit Bintang) told us that it’s possible to reach Malaysia from Singapore through land travel and vice versa. It was still way back 2012 and my ignorant self only knew that we can only reach one country to another through flying (LOL!) especially upon finding out that we had to go through the immigration and had our passports checked. Ah! Such innocence.

Albeit this idea was possible for us, having 6 days and 5 nights in Singapore, we weren’t able to do it for several reasons. It was rumored that the state in Malaysia located beside Singapore was unsafe (if I could remember correctly, it was Johor Bahru). My parents, whom can easily persuaded by those rumors, decided that we stay in Singapore for the rest of the trip. Also, I know that they can’t tolerate long trips (LOL!).

Fast forward… again, being in-charge of planning for our honeymoon trip, this same idea flashed on my mind again and was able to decide how we’ll be spending it. I booked a one-way ticket from our home airport in Manila going to Kuala Lumpur dated February of 2017, a month after our wedding and officially the 4th year of my wife and I being together. I did some research about doing land travel from Kuala Lumpur going to Singapore and even asked the same “family friend” how to reach Singapore from KL and if it was really unsafe travelling to Malaysia as per the rumor I heard years ago. He said that it was possible but also said that it pays to be cautious when going there.

That thought, being something normal for me, decided to book the return ticket from Singapore going back to Manila.

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CHOOSING AEROLINE

I searched the wide world of the internet how will I be able to reach Singapore thru land travel if I’m coming from Kuala Lumpur and I saw that numerous bus companies were offering trips daily 24/7. Booking can be made in advance thru some online booking sites such as Easybook, BusOnlineTicket.com, CatchThatBus, RedBus.my, 12go.Asia and many more with prices ranging from MYR 45.00 to MYR 95.00 (approx USD 11.00 to USD 23.00 or PHP 600.00 to PHP 1300.00) depending on the pick-up point, drop off point, time of departure, and various services that they could offer to you. Here as some of my screen caps from Easybook about their usual trip schedule, pick-up and drop off point, fare:

Source: Easybook.com

 

Typical pick-up points include the

  • Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (or TBS), Kuala Lumpur’s largest inter-state bus terminal;
  • Berjaya Times Square in Bukit Bintang;
  • Imbi Area which is nearby the Royal Selangor Club and;
  • 1 Utama Shopping Center in Petaling Jaya (in Selangor but nearby Kuala Lumpur).

All which are accessible through RapidKL Train Network.

Source: RapidKL

 

Usual drop off points in Singapore include:

  • Woodlands,
  • Kitchener Complex,
  • Golden Mile Complex,
  • etc. 

You may choose where would you want to be dropped off depending on where are your accommodation is. I don’t have an idea but some of these drop-off points may be nearby the MRT Stations.

When I’m looking for these usual schedule back in 2017, I’m honestly not familiar with how to go to our accommodation in Clarke Quay from these drop-off points. I may have chose those whom were picking up at Berjaya Times Square which is nearby our accommodation. But, my indecisive self made it more complicated.

As the day that we need to leave KL came and go to Singapore, I finally decided to ask Ramir (the same person I’ve been asking about this trip to Malaysia and Singapore) for the nth time which bus he recommends for this trip.

That’s how Aeroline came and the rest were history.

As this post goes by, I would state the reason(s) why would he recommended it.

 

HOW MUCH? HOW TO BOOK?

Well technically, what he only provided was the website on where can we find the information about this bus along with how much could the ticket be. I decided to check its website for details on where possibly can we buy our trip ticket.

As the website states, its office in Kuala Lumpur was located in Corus Hotel in KLCC which is few blocks away from Avenue K, in front of the Twin Towers.

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During our 2017 trip, a day before our planned voyage to Singapore, we decided to give it a visit. My wife and I happened to be around KLCC Park just chilling around and at the same time, still anxious if we can be able to ride to The Lion City knowing the we could’ve booked in advanced or online. Of course, if we’re not able to ride, the rest of our trip may be ruined. But we’re quite glad that there’s still tickets and our walking didn’t went in vain. We’re able to purchase a ticket for MYR 79.00 (approx USD 19.55 or PHP 1,050.00) per person. Also, we chose the 10:00 AM schedule during that time in order to be able to make it to check-in time which is 2 in the afternoon.

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We did the same thing again during our 2018 trip. Bought the ticket on the same hotel, one day before our planned departure. But found out that the price went up to MYR 95.00 (approx USD 23.50 or PHP 1,250.00). I honestly found it unusual since almost same time a year ago, the price were much lower. I asked the agent how did it happened and he told us that we may be able to buy their ticket during their promo. By that, we decided to still buy the ticket. Besides, it was already proven and tested for us. One other thing is that the bus will be stop at Harbourfront, a place that was somehow familiar for me since the first time I went there.

Contrary to last year, we don’t want the pressure of being too early and we wanted to somehow, maximize our check-in to our amazing home stay in KL. So although the 10:00 AM trip was still available, we chose the 3:30 PM trip. 

 

THE ROAD TRIP

NOTE: What I’m going to narrate below is our expedition to Singapore from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last 28th of March 2018 in order to give a more comprehensive guide about riding this bus (maybe the same with other buses).

 

1100H – Checkout and lunch.

Upon checking out from our homestay, my wife and I hired the resident driver to take us to KLCC for MYR 50.00 (good for both of us). We could’ve rode the train like what we usually do but our luggages made us decided not to. Well, a lesson that we’re currently working on: packing light.

(Read: REGALIA RESIDENCES and the rest of “Where to stay in KUALA LUMPUR?”)

We’re advised to be at the pick-up area at least half an hour before the departure. Of course, learning from huge consequences of arriving later than the call time, we decided to check-out really early and just hang out somewhere nearby the pick-up point which is at KLCC.

KL Collage 18

We took our lunch at the “Food Junction” located at the 3rd floor of Avenue K Mall then ordered some milk tea at Chatime which is also located at the same mall.

 

1430H – The AeroKL lounge

My wife and I decided to go straight to Corus Hotel to wait for the departure time after hanging around the mall. Aside from our remaining amount of Malaysian Ringgit running out, we don’t want to end up exchanging our already budgeted Singaporean Dollars. We just wanted a place to sit around so maybe, why not wait to the place where the bus will pick up its passengers.

It was a relief to find out that AeroKL had a lounge for those people who had to wait for a certain time before riding the bus which is located along the cafe-restaurant of Corus Hotel. Another thing was, they have a complimentary self-service coffee or tea for the departing passengers which is again, a relief, since I’m aware that dining at their restaurant may cost us our budget to Singapore. I don’t know if it were allowed to have more than 1 cup of coffee or tea but I can’t remember how many I took during that time.

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What a nice way for those books eh? Or some writings?

 

1530H – Boarding and departure

As far as I can remember, it was only few minutes before the scheduled departure when the ticketing agent started calling all those whom are waiting at the lounge. The exact words are already on the tip of my tongue but it’s something like “3:30 PM to Singapore.” Of course, upon hearing those words, my wife and I packed our things (only my laptop and our notebooks that we used while waiting) then already went outside the hotel where the bus was parking; placing our huge luggages on the compartment underneath the bus before finally entering and landed on our assigned seats.

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Note that seats are being chosen/assigned upon booking.

The bus had reclining seats of approximately 26-30 sets which I felt like flying in a first class (or a business class) ticket which I personally didn’t experienced yet.

Before the bus took off, a man whom I presumed to be the conductor, gave each passengers a card which I also presumed to be required when we entered the Malaysia – Singapore border.

Image Source: https://www.jcu.edu.sg/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/5256/DE-Card.pdf

 

Like a cabin crew on the airlines, he also gave some information that we’ll be able to use throughout the trip which includes filling out of the form he just gave; how long before we arrive on their usual rest stop, the Malaysia-Singapore border, and the final stop; and some features of the bus like the reclining seats, individual TV screens where passengers can watch saved movies or listen to the saved music and, the toilet where passengers can only pee and the rest aren’t allowed.

As the driver is starting to shift his gear and step on the pedal, the conductor is also starting to distribute huge headphones, blankets, and small travel pillows for each passengers to use. Indeed, it’s like flying on a business class but on land (LOL!).

While the bus is currently moving along the Malaysian freeways, which both the driver and the conductor are minding their own businesses, I decided to plug in my headphones to the built-in TV at the seat and navigate through its storage to look for some interesting movies to watch. Well, my wife did the same thing so why wouldn’t I?

Looking for some options to cure my boredom as I somehow find it hard to fall asleep, I also saw that this tablet-like TV had its stored music (they also had Hollywood music), podcasts (not familiar so decided to skip), and even some games for kids. In the end, I still pushed through with some movies just to help me fall asleep and be able to rest until we’re arrive at a rest stop. The movies that I watched both during 2017 and 2018 were still fresh on my mind: Miss Peregrine’s home for peculiar children during the former and Geostorm during the latter. Also during 2018, as a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I decided to check out also Spiderman Homecoming but for some reasons, I wasn’t able to finish. This was throughout the trip since I pause the movie every now and then though.

For almost half an hour, I’ve already got my sleep momentum when I was suddenly woke up to the footsteps coming from the stairs (I almost forgot to tell that it’s a double decker bus). The conductor is starting to distribute packed rice meals and bottled water which for another time, I forgot to mention that they’re included in the bought trip ticket. So I guess that the MYR 95.00 was a reasonable price for the trip after all. The conductor even made us choose between coffee or hot chocolate as our complimentary drink.

Still a little groggy after that very quick nap, I wasn’t able to take any photos of the meal served. But as far as I know, there’s a cup of rice, fried noodles (termed as “pancit canton” for Filipinos like me), and few fried chicken strips.

About the food, it’s honestly not bad yet I don’t find anything special about it either. Just something to get through the trip. Quite common for in-flight meals eh? My thoughts about it were either “meh” or “so-so.” I could grade it 7 out of 10 with the latter as the perfect score.

We haven’t reached the official rest stop yet but I remember having a stomachache for reasons I can’t recall. It’s either the food that we just ate or the coffee and milk tea that I consumed during the earlier time were starting to take its toll on me. Frustration and anxiety is starting to come which can only be resolved once I already went to the toilet and did my “thing” which aren’t possible to be done while the bus is moving given that urinating is the only thing allowed to do on its built-in toilet. Following the advice given by the sign written on the toilet door, I asked the conductor to stop on the nearest toilet in which they’re more than willing to do but is still half an hour away from where we are currently. Well, the last option that I have left is to wait for the bus to arrive there. I’m glad that I was able to hold it in for the next 30 minutes until arriving at the “emergency stop.” 

I still laugh to myself whenever I remember that situation. I could save myself from embarrassment by keeping this secret to myself but still narrated it for the sake of informing everyone who reads this what to do in case the same situation could happen to them: ask the driver nicely to stop on the next freeway rest stop.

 

1800H – 30-minute stopover

After that “little emergency” that just happened to me, we’re now back to the usual flow of the voyage to Singapore; for approximately 30 to 45 minutes I supposed. The bus started to exit the Malaysian Freeway and went to the place where they usually do their stopovers. The conductor allowed us to do whatever we wanted to do within 15 to 30 minutes in which all passengers agreed. As common sense implies, if we didn’t made it back to the bus, we may be left behind and of course; my wife and I don’t want that.

As the other passengers either used the public toilet, ate or drank coffee at the food court and some other restaurants, or shopped around; my wife decided to just use the toilet, went back to the bus quickly, then tried falling asleep. Well, I did the total opposite.

KL Collage 20

I decided to stay outside for several minutes then took some photos of the place; reminiscing the first time my wife and I were able to have a stopover on the same place. Another reason would be to have receipts and contents for blog posts.

KL Collage 21
2017: Blue Skies 2018: Almost Sunset

I haven’t been able to consume all the 30 minutes the conductor had given to each passengers. If I could recall, I still have 10-15 more minutes before I decided to go back to the bus and spend the remaining free time there before the trip continues.

Upon finding myself sitting on those reclining chairs, I saw passengers gradually filling the empty chairs of the bus and after the last one sat down, the bus driver revved up the engine, pressed the gas pedal, and went on our way. We left at least 5 minutes before the conductors 30 minute break rule ran out.

 

2030H – Arrival at Malaysia-Singapore border (and involved processes)

It was already dark when the bus exited the freeway; speed was slowing down then completely stopped at a very familiar place. We’ve been here before; more than a year ago to be exact. It was confirmed when the conductor instructed us to exit the bus, bring our backpacks and our passports, and go through the immigration process. We’re now on the process of exiting Malaysia and entering Singapore. 

I can still remember the first time we entered this border last year. It was afternoon when we arrived and there are lots of tourist and public buses, and private vehicles trying to go through the tedious process of entering the Lion City. Well, I’m thankful that God’s favor came upon us when we went through. The only problem we encountered that time was when my wife almost argued with an immigration officer asking people to fix the queuing lines. I understand though given that she’s pregnant during that time.

Albeit it’s not our first time here, I can’t help it but feel anxious upon remembering an article that I read weeks ago prior to this trip about the worst experience that can be encountered at this very place. Well, I even felt the same level of anxiety back at our home airport in Manila wherein I also read stories about passengers being offloaded for various amount of reasons.

“If we’re able to go through our immigration in Manila, then maybe we can also get through here. Besides, it’s not our first time.” I thought to myself. Then already went to the queue.

(Related Link: TripZilla’s Crossing the Malaysia-Singapore Border: My Worst Nightmare)

The process were quite at ease in the Malaysian immigration. The officer just stamped our passports then let us go on our ways. The only difference from last year was the volume of people on queue. Compared to last year, we’re the only tourist bus around during that time so things were much quicker. We’re able to go through within 10 minutes.

We rode back the bus and left as soon as all the passengers are inside then arrived at the Singapore Immigration after a several minutes.

As expected, the immigration and the customs area were much more strict compared to Malaysia. But compared to last year, we’re able to go through the border within less than 10 minutes. The officer just asked the usual generic questions like “Where are you going to stay?” or “How long?” then just returned the passport with stamp. We also had our bags go through their scanner then voila, everything’s done and we’re officially on Singapore.

The total time we spent at the borders were approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour. We we’re able to go back to the bus really quick. But we had to wait longer because of what I assumed to be a problem encountered by a family riding the same bus as our. I honestly don’t know what it is but given that they were able to ride the bus, I guess things were resolved now.

Now, we’re on the last part of this semi-long roadtrip.

 

NOTE:

***Taking of photos aren’t allowed in ALL IMMIGRATION and CUSTOMS AREA in MOST COUNTRIES so the least thing that I can do is narrate our experiences.

***Please note that IMMIGRATION and CUSTOM experiences vary from time to time so I can’t assure you that your experience will be smooth. But in order to mitigate common problems, I suggest that you bring complete documents (eg: passport, RT ticket, accommodation, itinerary, bank statement, etc) whenever you travel overseas.

 

2200H – Arrival at Harbourfront Centre, Singapore

Although we’re now on Singapore, the trip going to our drop off point still took approximately 45 minutes to an hour given that it was approximately 36 kilometers (22 miles) from the border. The trip was smooth and not a single traffic congestion was encountered during the trip.

It was past bedtime when we really arrived to a place which, for me, is something really familiar and came to for the nth time now: The Harbourfront Center.

As we walk towards the VivoCity Mall, I remember lots of memories spent here. It’s the 3rd time that I’ve went in this place (2nd time for my wife). I even recognized the Starbucks branch we hanged out to before going straight to Changi Airport.

KL Collage 19

Yet a little tired of this roadtrip, we decided to just take our dinner on the food court nearby then took the MRT going to Chinatown Station where the home stay I booked was located.

 

OTHER MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION

  • FLIGHT: The fastest and the most convenient way to the Lion City (from Kuala Lumpur) is by plane. The travel time from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) to Singapore Changi International Airport (SIN) or vice versa usually takes 1 hour and 5 minutes with prices usually starts at USD 78.00 one way depending on when you’re going to book.
  • TRAIN: As far as I know, Singapore can also be reached thru train. As someone who would rather choose taking the train, I didn’t. Primary reason is I wasn’t really able to familiarize myself with their existing train network as well as wasn’t able to purchase advanced tickets online and a day before the trip. Somehow anxious of not being able to reach Singapore due to late booking, I decided to find an alternative. Upon searching further about this mode of transportation, I was able to conclude the I chose the right thing riding the bus. I found out that aside from the immigration border in Johor Bahru, there are lots of transferring to other train networks involved. I wasn’t able to experience this so I can’t provide much more details about it.
  • PRIVATE CAR: Compared to riding the bus, driving would be faster and more convenient. But comes with a price. I can only advice this type of transportation if travelling in large groups and if you know someone living there already (and is eligible to drive). Since of course, you must research first about their rules about drivers’ licenses.

SOME FINAL DETAILS:

I did cite most of the things to take note on as this story goes but if I missed something, you can ask me and I’m willing to answer questions answerable within my power. But you may also check out their official website.

(LINK: Aeroline KL Official Website)

However, I may also leave the following for you to ponder on about this road trip:

  • What I narrated is our trip going to Singapore from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and the trip experience may vary for vice versa.
  • If you’re looking for the cheapest ticket, I personally don’t recommend taking this bus. Although, the trip fare may vary from time to time. But convenience-wise in terms of the pick-up and drop-off point, the reclining seats, and food; taking this bus would be a nicer idea.
  • Overall Rating: 8/10.
  • Thank you very much for reading! Hope you can share your experiences in the comment section in case you follow our experiences here.

 

DISCLAIMER: This post wasn’t in any way, sponsored by or affiliated to AEROLINE SINGAPORE or other brands cited. Also, this post wasn’t intended in any way to offend or spread hate to the said company. However, all thoughts and words are my own and were based only on our actual experiences. 

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