There’s something hugely fun about throwing your stuff in the boot of your car and heading off on a road trip to somewhere new and exciting, right? But how many of us have thought “Let’s head off to Malacca for an impromptu long weekend ahead of a public holiday!”, only to change our minds at the thought of crossing the dreaded border? We’ve all heard the horror stories of endless tailbacks between Singapore and Malaysia, but play it right with these handy tips and you could be sitting on the beach, cocktail in hand on the tropical island of Rawa before you know it. And with local school hols officially kicking off today, and a lovely extra day off from work next week for Hari Raya, now is definitely the perfect time to read our guide to acing that border.
Whether you’re crossing at Tuas or Woodlands, it’s fair to say the traffic at both can build up to spontaneous combustion levels, so plan ahead, folks. Download the Checkpoint.sg app, free for both iPhone and Android, and check the live video stream of the causeway BEFORE you leave home. You’ll also be able to check estimated time for crossing and the weather at both crossing points. Happy days. And while you’re downloading, also pop Beat the Jam onto your phone. This nifty little tool can compare traffic flow at both crossings, and will even give you current exchange rates, fuel prices, toll fares and a handy guide to acing customs.
Like all good Scouts tell us, it’s always best to be prepared! Even with those essential apps, there is still the chance that you’ll set off on your merry way and something unexpected will crop up that delays you despite your best efforts. And we all know that kids need a constant supply of decent snacks and entertainment at the best of times, so bring bag loads of your kiddos’ fave edibles along (and stash some lollies for when delays get really serious). Definitely download a few fun and educational TV shows and kid-friendly apps for when the going gets really tough. It’s probably best to bring them some headphones for the little darlings: no one wants to have Baby Shark stuck on a loop in their head for the days to come… Bring water too (of course), but try to limit drink intakes: being trapped in a car with a kid who is desperate for a wee is no fun for anyone.
Know where the toilets are!
And talking of needing a wee, know in advance where the loos are! Our advice would be to stop off Singapore-side for a toilet break where you’ll find, erm, cleaner bathrooms stocked with toilet roll and hand soap as opposed to the ones the other side of the causeway. If you do need to stop Malaysia-side, just bring some tissues and hand sanitiser with you: experience has taught us this well.
Have your documents ready and your car filled with petrol
Have your passports and ID cards ready to hand over for when it’s your turn at customs. And check BEFORE you head out that your passport is in date! You will need at least six months validity on it to be allowed to cross into Malaysia. Do also check if you need a visa to get over to Malaysia, as this will need to be applied for ahead of time (have a look at this handy list to see whether your nationality is visa-free or not).
If you are driving across in a car with SG license plates, you must make sure your petrol tank is at least three-quarters full. It’s not one you can leave to chance either: drivers who do not meet the rule may be prosecuted in court and fined up to S$500! You’ll also be made to turn back to Singapore to fill up before you can try and cross again.
And don’t forget to get your Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) (20MYR) before your journey. You can do this online, and is essential if you are making the crossing in a car that does not have Malaysian license plates. Got all that? In short:
- Passport (six months validity)
- Visa (if applicable)
- ID card
- Three quarters of a tank of petrol
- Vehicle Entry Permit
And that is you all good to go. Enjoy, and tag us in your adventures over on HoneyKids Insta!
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