Pack your bags ‘cos you’re in for a ride. Travel from Singapore to Malaysia and discover culture, art, shopping and food along the way.
Making full use of long weekends and taking a short break from Singapore is always a great idea. What’s not so great is packing for airport security, trudging through airports and the possibility of hanging around waiting rooms because your flight is delayed. That’s why we love a good ol’ adventure on the road! Time to go old-school travel and drive across the causeway for a road trip from Singapore to Malaysia.
But first! Some travel reminders
Make sure you pack smart:
Packing for a road trip is a lot more liberal. No liquid restrictions in small 100ml bottles! Still, that doesn’t mean you won’t look dodgy travelling to Malaysia with a trunk full of knives and assorted sharp objects. You do still have to make it through immigration…
Be the hostess with the mostest:
Load up on snacks and water to keep you and your companions hydrated and the opposite of peckish. Although there’ll be a lot of food stops in Malaysia you can make along the way…
Don’t forget to fill in your arrival card within three days before your return to Singapore. You’ll need to present this at the checkpoint on your way home. Also, this might seem trivial, but when you’re crossing the border to Malaysia from Singapore, always make sure the immigration officers have stamped and inked your passport (and that it’s visible to the naked eye!). Otherwise, coming back to Singapore will be difficult. Believe us: we’ve learned this the hard way.
Put these destinations in Malaysia on your map…
This Malaysian state may be a little further from others on this list, but that shouldn’t deter you from visiting it. Terengganu is known for traditional craftsmanship, such as batik art and wood carvings. It’s home to the Terengganu State Museum, which carries a vast collection of keris (asymmetrical Javanese daggers), royal regalia, and ancient artefacts. There’s also the Islamic Civilisation Park, where you’ll be taken on a journey of Islam’s history through replicas of famous mosques, monuments, and art. Don’t forget to check out the iconic Crystal Mosque – it’s wholly made of steel, glass, and of course, crystals! If you need a break from the city, set aside a day or two and take it easy at Perhentian Islands.
If you love food, larger-than-life murals, and an old-world charm that’s hard to find within the concrete jungle of Singapore, this is the destination for you. First, tuck into delicious nosh at Ipoh’s street stalls! Think assam laksa and shredded chicken hor fun, washed down with a cup of fragrant Ipoh white coffee. Take the most Insta-worthy pics at the coolest murals along Ipoh’s mural art trail, or explore its quirky museums and cave temples. It’s a good six-hour drive from Singapore, but you can stop by Johor Bahru, Malacca and Kuala Lumpur to do some shopping and sightseeing in between.
This area of Malaysia holds many hidden gems that’ll surprise you. If you’ve already conquered all of the hiking trails in Singapore, take things up a notch with the gorgeous ones in Muar. It’s also a stone’s throw away from some breathtaking waterfalls – check out the Lembing Rainbow Waterfall, which casts stunning rainbows in the sky in the early mornings. If you’ve got kids in tow, consider taking them to the Donhu Jurassic Garden. It’s no Jurassic Park, but it has plenty of cool, realistic dinosaur sculptures scattered across its grounds (and entrance is free)! Book accommodation near the Muar River for charming sunset views in the evening.
This sleepy colonial town is a gem with lively laneways and heritage buildings waiting to be discovered. The best way to get around? By foot! A little like Singapore, Malacca is a small coastal town rich in heritage and culture. A four- to five-hour road trip from Singapore, Malacca’s a great place if you’re looking for a quick respite from city life. Stay in or near the Jonker River to immerse yourself in the hustle and bustle. While in Malacca, you must try the chicken rice balls (and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!).
5. Kuala Lumpur
If you need to be near a swish mall, nice restaurants and tall buildings, Kuala Lumpur is the city across the causeway for you. A drive from Singapore will take you five to six hours, but brace yourself for the traffic in KL when you arrive. It’ll be worth it when you hit the food havens of Jalan Alor (get those roasted chicken wings!) and Petaling Street. Next, shop up a storm from Bangsar to Bukit Bintang, and check in to a snazzy hotel like Aloft KL Central, Chaos Hotel, Else Retreats, or the rustic Sekeping Backlane.
6. Cameron Highlands
Hills and greenery for miles, fresh clean air, chilly weather… you don’t have to go so far. Cameron Highlands is just a road trip away! Go strawberry-picking, stroll through eucalyptus trees, check out tea plantations, and generally take it slow because there’s always time for tea in Cameron Highlands. Check into Tudor-style resort on the hill, The Lakehouse, or the French chateau-inspired Cameron Highlands Resort for that true away-from-the-city vibe.
Listed as a Unesco World Cultural Heritage Site in 2008, the island of Penang has no shortage of cultural sights and natural scenery. With soft, sandy beaches and great food all around, Penang is also known for its vibrant street art. The quaint nooks and crannies of Georgetown and the Tropical Spice Garden – the only spice garden in South East Asia – as well as Penang’s many flea and night markets, are must-sees for visitors. Stay in a cosy B&B for an authentic Penang experience.
8. Johor Bahru
Enough with the day trips to JB! Technically a drive (not a road trip) away, it’s about time you check in to a fab hotel for a weekend and explore the capital of Johor’s cafes, night markets, heritage shops and more. It’s no secret: JB’s our favourite place to pop over for cool little cafes, authentic Malaysian street fare and shopping at those designer outlets.
Add these destinations to your travel itinerary, and get to road tripping in Malaysia!