Guide on how to drive into Malaysia

If you are like a lot of Singaporeans, then you like to visit Malaysia to get your groceries, shop, eat and more since a lot of things are much cheaper there than they are over here. For those who are lucky enough to own a car, they have the ultimate convenience of driving into Malaysia anytime they want, and can return back to Singapore at their own timing as well.

But like a lot of Singaporeans, not everyone is lucky enough to own a car. As current statistics point out, there were about 500,000 private cars on Singapore roads in 2017, while the population of Singapore stood at 5.612 million in the same year. 

With some simple math, we can conclude that there is 1 car for every 11.24 people here, or about 89 cars per 1,000 people. To put that into perspective, car ownership rate stands at about 839 cars per 1,000 people in New Zealand, and about 747 cars per 1,000 people in Australia. 

So if you don’t have a car, worry not ! It’s perfectly normal here in Singapore 🙃

Ok - back to topic. How do you enjoy what Johor Bahru has to offer without a car? 

Firstly, you can take a bus. Second option would be to take the train. 

Third option is to rent a car and drive in (which is more expensive, but also more convenient especially for bigger families)

And that’s what we’re gonna talk about. How do you rent a car to drive into Malaysia, what cars can be driven in, and what is the process like?

I’ll answer your questions one by one. 

Firstly, we do have some rental cars that can be driven into Malaysia. For example - the most popular choice would be the Toyota Alphard. Other cars would include the Audi A4 and BMW 5 Series. 

Yes, you can rent a luxury car from us to drive into Malaysia 😎

Now, how do you rent a car from us? You can check out our car rental guide here. 

On to the fun part - actually driving into Malaysia.

How do you do drive into Malaysia?

As you are already aware - there are 2 land checkpoints to drive to Malaysia, namely Woodlands and Tuas Checkpoint.

Of the two land checkpoints, Woodlands checkpoint is more and extremely popular, which results in massive jams on a daily basis. If you are not willing to face the jam, we’d highly suggest Tuas checkpoint. The distance to Tuas may be further, but at least you’re moving ;D

Before you go, ensure the following :

  1. You have brought your passport

  2. You have a Touch n Go card

  3. Your cashcard has sufficient balance

  4. You have Data Roaming (for using Google Maps/Waze in Malaysia)

  5. Your fuel tank is at least 3/4 full

  6. You have brought your passport (yes, we repeated it)

Why we mentioned passport twice is because we have encountered occasions where people were so sure they had their passports with them, only to find out it’s been left on the dining table back home 😓

If you don’t have your passport with you and you have already arrived at the checkpoints, the ICA will escort you to make a u-turn back to Singapore, and it will waste both your time and money. Not to mention it will also ruin your mood. 

Ok, so once you have ensured that you have all the above items, you can start driving into Malaysia. Again, from experience - we feel that Tuas checkpoint is typically faster as compared to Woodlands, means you spend less time stuck in the jam. However, this also depends where you are going. 

If you are going to the western part of JB (Bukit indah, Gelang Patah, Legoland etc.) then Tuas is a better choice as it’s nearer. 

Once you are at the woodlands/tuas checkpoint, ensure that your cashcard has enough balance as you’ll have to pay a toll by inserting your cashcard into the machine at the passport scanning counter.

Toll rates for Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints can be found here. 

Once you have paid your toll and scanned your passports, you can proceed to the drive towards the Malaysian checkpoint where you are also required to pay a toll of about 20rm. 

You will also be required to give your passport here again for the Malaysian authorities to chop a stamp as proof of entry. Do check that the date on the entry stamp is correct, as there have been cases of Singaporeans being questioned upon return to Singapore due to having a different date on the stamp.

If you are new to driving into Malaysia, you need not worry that much about getting lost or entering the wrong lane, since there are signs to help guide you, plus there are many Singapore cars there as well who are also entering Malaysia, so you can use them as a guide on where to go. One question i personally get from those who have never driven into Malaysia before is “is it confusing” or “how do i know I’m in the right lan?” 

Again, just follow the cars in front of you if you are unsure - and don’t worry too much about which lane you have to follow. Yes, some lanes are faster to clear than others, but you need to get familiar with driving into Malaysia first before trying to find the fastest lane. It takes time to learn how the checkpoints work. 

How much does it cost to drive into Malaysia? 

If you go by Woodlands checkpoint, it costs about SGD 8.63 

Price breakdown : 1 SGD + 20 RM (VEP) + 2.90 RM (charges are the same for peak vs non-peak hours)

If you go by Tuas checkpoint during peak hours (5am to 10am and 3pm to 11pm), it costs about SGD 14.16

Price breakdown : 2.5 SGD (departure toll) + 20 RM (VEP) + 7.5RM (plaza toll) + 2.5 SGD (return toll)

If you go by Tuas checkpoint during non-peak hours (11pm to 5am and 10am to 3pm), it costs about SGD 10.60

Price breakdown : 1.3 SGD (departure toll) + 20 RM (VEP) + 4 RM (plaza toll) + 1.3 SGD (return toll)

(assuming 1 SGD = 3 RM)

Where can I get a touch n go card?

You can buy it from petrol stations, plaza toll, supermarkets and some convenience stores across Malaysia. 

Pro Tips for Driving in Malaysia : 

- don’t park your car where you can’t see it

- if you park in malls, use a steering wheel lock

- be gracious and respectful - you are in a foreign country 

- be sure to have enough SGD or RM in cash, as it can be troublesome to withdraw money 

- don’t leave your valuables in the car. Bring your passport everywhere you go 

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