I have to accept that backpacking is fun but sometimes it is a bit annoying when I always have to take flights at funny time. Most of the time it is around mid-night and super early morning. No complain. It can teach me how to spend my time in the airport and how to manage with public transportation 🙂 Good skill that you cannot gain when you travel with normal flights like Vietnam Airline or Singapore Airline. I am glad experiencing some (so far)
From PI, we arrived at Changi International Airport, Singapore, aka SinCity at 1:00AM. I was there many times and custom officers are very friendly to tourists. We planned to take a MRT to the bus station as soon as we could. Boo! I could not get through custom process to enter SinCity. What the fcuk? The lady looked at my passport. She scanned it. She stamped on it and she kept it longer than usual. I asked her whether anything was wrong and she needed to see my return ticket. She told me nothing was wrong and I should not worry because it was a random check. Was it? When I was in the line waiting for my turn, I saw two Filipino women was asked to leave the line and follow a female custom officer and I thought probably they needed some special help. Wrong! I saw them all in a small glass-wall room after they zipped my passport in a plastic folder. Woah! I was kept by SinCity Gov. Scary! honestly, I was not that scary, but totally tired. I did not sleep that well. I was hungry. Nobody told me what was going on, but asked me to wait for them. Ok, wait – why not? I took a short nap like 15mins in that room. What did I suppose to do there? One middle-aged lady woke me up and took me to another room. I asked her the same questions and hoped to receive other answers. Nope, you were wrong, Angie. They repeated the same thing. Okie lah. I did not do anything wrong. I did not care. They got my thumb-finger print. They took a photo of me. They asked for my visit purpose and they AGAIN asked me to wait in that room. Oh gosh. Ok wait and wait and I took another short nap as well 😛 I was the first person leaving the room and officially entering SinCity after 30mins being locked. Their behavior was very polite. No violence. They annoyed me because they did not give me a reasonable explanation and I believe I have a right to know why I was locked. It was not a random check as they told me. They just keep Asian women at that time. Any special reason there? Oh well, sooner or later such a thing could happen on my trips. First lesson is precious always.
After figuring out all departure time for MRT and buses, A and I moved to Terminal 3, where we could take MRT at 5:35AM, the earliest one. A was sleeping on the Terminal 3’s floor while I was wondering around. Look back at 4 years ago when I arrived at Noi Bai International Airport in Ha Noi, Viet Nam. It was mid-night and security guards kicked my ass out of the terminal because of its safety and at least 10 international passengers waiting outside until 4:00AM to get inside and process their check-in. So ridiculous. In SinCity, nobody kicked you out. Cameras were everywhere. Passengers’ safety is IMPORTANT as well. I found a kid play-yard there and I made a lot of drawings. It was so good drawing again. I stop to do that for a while. My stupid card did not work again so I could not buy any Tshirt for my family. We stayed in SinCity that time for around 5 hours, the shortest trip ever in my life, haha. Well, I guess I can say it is a transit place 🙂
Because of lacking money, we had to choose public transportation to go to Malaysia. A and H had plan of going to Mersing, state of Johor Bahru, about 4 hours from SinCity by bus. From Mersing, they planned to take a ferry to Tioman Island for diving and beaches. That was a plan and we could not make it. That sucked.
How could we manage to exit SinCity and catch a bus to Mersing? We took a train from Changi MRT Station to Kranji MRT Station. There, we took a bus 170 or 160 to Larkin Bus Terminal, Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Note: when you arrive, you should cross the street. Otherwise they will take you back SinCity 😛 You can find more info about crossing the border here. After many walking and check-in at the Immigration Dept of both sides, we approached Malaysia side and spent 15mins (I think so) waiting for the bus to Larkin bus terminal. If you do not want to spend much time guessing which bus is yours, please ask around. Local people there crossing the border everyday and I think there is no reason to waiting and looking like being got lost when we can ask 😛 Ok technically here were what we did
– get a MRT to Kranji Station. Go to the other side of the street. Take bus 160 or 170 to the border. Ticket: SIN$1.90/person
– Singapore side: get off the bus. Keep your bus ticket. Go through the line to exit Singapore
– Get out of the Immigration building, turn right then there is a bus stop with many lines. Get on the bus 170 (not the same one). Show them your ticket. Pass the Causeway.
– Malaysia side: get off the bus again. Keep your bus ticket. Go through the line to enter Malaysia. Fill in the Immigration Form as well.
– Go downstairs and look for the side for Larkin Bus Terminal. Get on the bus. Show them your bus ticket again.
Pretty cheap. around least than SIN$3. It takes a long time than taking a tourist bus. I was glad doing it 🙂
When we were in Johor Bahru state at the bus terminal, we rushed to get a ticket to Mersing which departed at 8:00AM. Ticket is around R11/way/person. Everything seemed on time. We did not miss any bus so far. 4-hour bus ride was totally fine for me. I slept until the bus stopped. I woke up and thought we arrived. We did not. The bus stopped on the way because it was raining hard and flood around. Woah. Not good weather to go to the island. It reminded me of monsoon time in Phu Quoc island, Viet Nam. Finally, we arrived at Mersing Bus Terminal, where we could get ferry tickets to Tioman island. Let’s see how much I had left in my pocket at that time: around less than 50R while the ferry tickets costs more than that. Back-up plan?!? Should we go to the island or head to KL or any where? The ferry left at 11:30AM and we had to go back KL on the next day. Was it worthy doing that? I guess if we had enough money, we would have made the trip. Bummer!
We had a good nasi ayam at a local restoran. It rained all the time until we left Mersing.
We made our decision: going to Melaka, which is 4 hour from Mersing. Ticket is around R11-12/way/person. A long day for us. Flight and buses. We made it to Melaka around 7:00PM. Exhausted. Not much money in the pocket. I will never forger that day 🙂
Singapore – Johor Causeway – facing to Malaysia side
Mersing Town, Johor Bahru, Malaysia