Friday, May 09, 2008


After visiting Singapore American School we made our way by train and bus to the border control between Singapore and Malaysia. Upon completing the departure formalities for Singapore we decided to walk across the bridge/causeway in the mid day heat – not the best move! Next time we will take the bus. We were pleased to have walked this time though since it gave us a chance to see the contrast with Singapore in terms of the debris in the water.

This was one of our less memorable excursions - made even less memorable by a man presenting himself about ½ km inside the border as a ‘helper’. After lots of drivel about being an engineering graduate from Auckland University he attempted to ‘help’ us get a taxi to one of the big shopping malls. Why he thought we needed his help to do what was pretty obvious was beyond us. However we remained courteous and let him join us in a taxi which (presumably at his direction) seemed to take the scenic route to where ever!

After several reminders and questions from us about the location of the shopping plaza we duly arrived where we wanted to be.

We were expecting it and weren’t disappointed when he announced that the fare was R90 (about $NZ40). I had to deliver the bad news to him; that we wouldn’t be paying anything like that price since the ride we ordered should have cost no more than about $NZ4.00. When he asked about the ‘tour’ part of the ride we had to disappoint him by telling him we didn’t order the tour; left $S10.00 (didn’t have anything less) on the seat and departed to the sound of him cursing loudly!

Jahore Bharu has some lovely aspects to it such as sweeping, curved streets/roads and lovely green areas. In the very limited time we spent there – about 4 hours – the most lasting impression we got was that the city is in need of much infrastructural work - town planning, roads and paving in particular. The whole place could do with the same dose of medicine Singapore took in the mid 1960s.

For future reference: take a bus after completing the formalities on the Singapore side, ride it to the Malaysian border control, complete their formalities and continue with the 170 bus to the main bus depot. From there take another bus or taxi to where ever you want to be.

For the return journey catch the 170 bus from the main bus depot (cost 1.4 Ringat). The bus lets you off at the Malaysian border control to complete departure formalities. You go down the stairs and board the 170 bus again and that takes you across the causeway to the Singapore border control post. There you complete an entry card, pass through the control point and make your way down the escalator. At the bottom turn right to join the queue for the bus (you can use your Singapore travel/bus/MRT card) to the nearest MRT – in our case, Marsilin.

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