Nicolas Bouliane

Crossing Singaport/Malaysia border on a bicycle Posted on

On February 10, I crossed the border between Singapore and Johor Bahru on a bicycle. This is how it went. This post is meant for people about to do the same; it’s not an exciting story.

Before you go

To cross into Malaysia, you must fill the Malaysia Digital Arrival Card. It only takes a few minutes, but the website would not load on my phone. It only worked when the border agent let me use his phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot. You can fill it up to 3 days in advance, so do that.

Consider skipping Johor Bahru. Getting out on a bicycle was extremely dangerous. I had to ride for a long time on the highway, because it was the only way out. This was illegal and very unpleasant. I did not see anything in Johor Bahru, because my hotel was surrounded by a wall of highways.

If I had to do it again, I would use the eastern border crossing, which another cyclist confirmed you can use. This might give you a chance to see the failed and semi-abandoned Forest City.

Approaching the crossing

If you’re starting from the central neighbourhoods, I strongly recommend going along the Green Corridor. It’s a former railroad that was turned into a quiet, green cycling path separate from car traffic. You will find plenty to eat along the way, as well as one or two public toilets. The last third of the route is a lot quieter, as the bustling city fades into residential then industrial areas.

There is no bicycle or footpath across the border. You must follow the motorcycles, and bike some distance on a car bridge.

Start here and go north, up the ramp.

Crossing into Malaysia

On the Singapore side, follow the motorcycles in the narrow left lane, and stop at the first booth. I went to another booth and they sent me back. Give your passport, take it back, keep going. Super simple stuff.

Stick to the left of the road and follow the motorcycles all the way to the Malaysian border. It’s all the way across the bridge.

On the Malaysian side, stop at the first booth again, give your passport, and get ready to show your entry form. I didn’t get asked any questions.

Leaving the border crossing is non-trivial. You will come out directly onto the highway. The traffic is fairly slow, but there is no bicycle/motorcycle lane, and no shoulder.

What’s next?

In general, Johor Bahru is a hostile place for pedestrians and cyclists. I rode a solid 10 kilometres on the highway to leave the city, as there were no other options. It was dangerous and deeply unpleasant. As I gather, it was also illegal. In my opinion, I took the wrong route. If I did it again, I would hug the coastline, as the highway seemed more avoidable there.

If you’re worried about spending the rest of your bike trip along the highway, worry not. The national routes have motorcycle lanes that are suitable for cyclists. You’re still biking in traffic dust and diesel fumes, but at least you don’t fear for your life.

Along the coast, it gets a lot more pleasant. If you can, take any of the parallel roads. It’s slower but much more pleasant. If you follow the gravel trail about 20 metres from the sea, you might get to see large bands of monkeys. The smaller roads also have a lot of classic Kampung wooden houses, and scenes of daily life that you won’t catch on the main road.

Waiting time

I crossed on February 10 2024, the first day of the Chinese New Year. There were a lot of cars waiting, but as a cyclist I did not wait at all. It was very easy. Motorcyclists didn’t wait either.

Cycling in Malaysia

I wrote a detailed post about my bicycle trip across Malaysia. If you’re thinking of doing the same, it’s worth a read.