Only 5 Minutes to Malaysia: How to Travel By Train to JB, Including Guide on E-Gate

Kendra Tan

Kendra Tan

Last updated 20 October, 2023

Avoiding jams and queues when going into Johor Bahru (JB) is every Malaysia-loving Singaporean’s dream. Here’s how to get there in the shortest time possible.

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Singaporeans love Malaysia. But if there’s anything stopping us from enjoying the 3.42:1 exchange ratio, it’s the terrifying jam at the causeway. 

If sitting in your car for hours or jostling with the crowd to take the public bus into JB scares you, there is a solution — KTM trains. 

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What are KTM trains? 

The only train that you can take to and fro Singapore and JB is called Shuttle Tebrau, operated by Malaysia’s national train operator, KTM (Keretapi Tanah Melayu). 

The KTM train services the Woodland Train Checkpoint (Woodlands CIQ) and Johor Bahru Sentral Railway Station (JB Sentral) route.

Entering JB via train immediately eliminates all the stress and waiting of traffic jams and queueing up at customs — there is virtually no queue on the train tracks, and there is a separate immigration for train passengers. After boarding, the trip itself takes only about 5 minutes to reach JB Sentral. You can book your tickets here.


Price of KTM Train Tickets from Singapore to Johor Bahru and Back to Singapore

  • From Woodlands Train Checkpoint to JB: MYR 17.20 (~S$5)
  • From JB to Woodlands Train Checkpoint: MYR 5 (S$1.46)
  • Two-way: MYR 34.40 (~S$10)

💡 Pro-tip: Buying two one-way tickets (RM22.50 = S$6.58) is cheaper than buying a return ticket (RM34.40 = S$10). 

Because the KTM tickets are transacted in ringgit, consider using either a multicurrency card like Instarem amaze or a miles card to reap that higher earn rate on overseas spend. 

For example, if you're opting for Instarem amaze, we encourage you to tag your Citi Rewards Card to it to stack miles (4 mpd) and extra rebate (1% cashback) together for the ultimate double-dipped savings!

Read also:
Multi-Currency Card vs Credit Card vs Cash
Credit Card or Multi-Currency Card For Overseas Spending?


KTM train schedule from Singapore to JB

The first train from Singapore to JB departs at 8.30am, while the last train leaves at 11.50pm. There are a total of 13 departures a day. 

Shuttle Service Departure Time Arrival Time
ST72 08:30 08:35
ST74 09:45 09:50
ST76 11:00 11:05
ST78 12:30 12:35
ST80 13:45 13:50
ST82 15:00 15:05
ST84 16:15 16:20
ST86 17:30 17:35
ST88 18:45 18:50
ST90 20:00 20:05
ST92 21:15 21:20
ST94 22:30 22:35
ST96 23:45 23:50

KTM train schedule from JB to Singapore

The first train from JB to Singapore departs at 5am, while the last train leaves at 11.50pm. There are a total of 18 departures a day. 

Shuttle Service Departure Time Arrival Time
ST61 05:00 05:05
ST63 05:30 05:35
ST65 06:00 06:05
ST67 06:30 06:35
ST69 07:00 07:05
ST71 07:30 07:35
ST73 08:45 08:50
ST75 10:00 10:05
ST77 11:30 11:35
ST79 12:45 12:50
ST81 14:00 14:05
ST83 15:15 15:20
ST85 14:30 14:35
ST87 17:45 17:50
ST89 19:00 19:05
ST91 20:15 20:20
ST93 21:30 21:35
ST95 22:45 22:50

Both schedules contain the latest KTM train timings according to the KTM website.


How to buy KTM train tickets

There are two ways you can purchase your KTM train tickets. 

#1: Online via the KTM website

#2: Over the counter at the KTM train station at Woodlands Checkpoint 

#1: Online via the KTM website

This option is much easier and will be better at helping you secure a ticket on your travel date.

1. Visit the KTM Shuttle Tebrau booking website

When you reach this page, you will be able to check the dates and timings available for the purchase of tickets. However, you won't be able to check the price until you sign up for an account. Do note that the price of a ticket from Singapore to JB is usually more expensive than the price of a ticket from JB to Singapore.

2. Sign up for an account or log in

If you haven't created an account before, you'll need to create one in order to purchase your tickets. Simply complete the sign up process by filling in your particulars. And don't worry, you don't have to store your credit card details.

 

3. Select your date of departure and complete the payment process

Once you have an account, select your date of departure and click on "I am travelling one way", even if you need a return ticket back. By purchasing individual tickets, you'll be able to save some money. Thank us later!

Confirm your timing and dates and proceed to fill in your details, including your passport number. Note that you aren't allowed to change your passport number after purchasing your tickets, so make sure your passport is renewed before you buy your JB train tickets.

Select your mode of payment and proceed to complete payment. 

4. Rinse and repeat for your JB > SG ticket

Do the same for your ticket from JB to SG ticket and you're done! 

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How to save money purchasing KTM train tickets online 

Great news for cashback/rewards/miles lovers — your KTM train tickets can be paid via Mastercard and Visa. If you’re paying in Ringgit, simply use the aforementioned Amaze card to avoid FCY fees. 

For cashback, you can try using the OCBC Frank Card (8% cashback on FCY spend) whereas for miles, you can try using the UOB Lady's Card (6 mpd), DBS Woman's World Card (4 mpd) or UOB Preferred Platinum Visa Card (4 mpd).

Credit card
Rebate earn rate
Details
OCBC Frank Cardocbc_card_Frank-1
 
Up to 10% on online spend:
- 8% on local online and FCY spend

- Extra 2% if eligible green merchant
Min. S$800 monthly spend

S$100 cashback cap (per calendar month):
- S$25 per category

UOB Lady’s Card
uob ladys card new
10X UNI$ per S$5 (4 mpd) spend on Transport*
 
1X UNI$ per S$5 (0.4 mpd) on all other spend
S$1,000 spend cap (per calendar month)

Equivalent to 2X UNI$ per S$1 spend:
- UNI$ are rounded down to the nearest whole number
 
*Please refer to T&Cs to check whether KTM tickets falls under travel or transport category

Card T&Cs
DBS Woman’s World CardDBSWomansWorldMasterCard
10X DBS Points per S$5 (4 mpd) on online purchases
 
3X DBS Points per S$5 (1.2 mpd) on overseas purchases
 
Extra 5% cashback on overseas shopping and dining
S$2,000 spend cap (per calendar month)

10X DBS Points consists of:
- 1 base point
- 9X bonus points

Equivalent to 2X DBS Points per S$1 spent

Bonus miles only awarded in next calendar month

Card T&Cs
UOB Preferred Platinum Visa (PPV) Carduob-preferred-platinum-visa-card-472x332-e1598324543137-300x191
10X UNI$ per S$5 (4 mpd) on online spend, including entertainment and ticketing*
S$1,000 spend cap (per calendar month):
- Online spend
- Mobile contactless spend

UNI$ are rounded down to the nearest whole number
 
*Please refer to T&Cs to check if KTM tickets fall under ticketing category

Card T&Cs

#2: Over-the-counter at the KTM train station at Woodlands Checkpoint 

If, for whatever reason, you’re unable to purchase your KTM tickets online (although we highly recommend you do so because these tickets get sold out ridiculously fast), you can always try your luck over the counter at the KTM train station at Woodlands Checkpoint. 

Here’s how to get there and how to buy tickets over the counter:

1. Take a bus to Woodlands Checkpoint (bus stop number 46069)

There are buses available from Marsiling MRT station that brings you straight to teh Woodlands checkpoint. Once you've reached, turn right upon alighting and walk down past the taxi stand.

Climb up to level two and follow the crowd down a walkway. You'll see the ticket office.

2. Buy a ticket

Queue up, and when it’s your turn, show the counter staff your passport and make payment in cash. Do note that ticket sales stop 20 minutes before train departure

We personally wouldn't hold up much hope to buy tickets over the counter because they’re usually sold out. If that’s the case, you can always walk to the usual non-train checkpoint and catch a public bus (or even walk 30 minutes, if the jam is really bad) across the causeway instead. 


D-Day — travelling to JB via Woodlands Train Checkpoint

So, you’ve gotten your tickets and are going into JB via train. Now what? 

Head to Woodlands Train Checkpoint 

As mentioned earlier, take a bus down to Woodlands Train Checkpoint. 

Address: 11 Woodlands Crossing, Singapore 738103
Nearest MRT: Marsiling station (Red Line / North-South Line)
Available Buses: 170, 178, 856, 903, 911, 912, 913, 950.

Alight at Woodlands Train Checkpoint (Bus stop number: bus stop number 46069). We like to use gothere.sg for directions. 

Upon alighting, head upstairs to level two, and join the queue of train passengers waiting on the left of the walkway. Once the gates open, have your e-ticket or hard copy of your KTM train ticket ready for scanning. The boarding gate will close 10 minutes before departure. 

See also: EZ-Link vs EZ-Reload vs SimplyGo: Which One Should You Use? 

Clear immigration at Singapore and Malaysia customs

Be sure to arrive at least 30 minutes before your train departs to clear immigration on both Singapore and Malaysia sides before boarding the train. 

You’ll go through Singapore customs first. All you have to do is scan your passport and fingerprint and pass the automated gates. After that, walk a couple of steps to the Malaysia customs to get your passport manually chopped (be sure to check for the stamp before leaving!)

After you’ve cleared both sides, put your belongings through the scanning machine and board the train.

Selamat datang ke Johor Bahru

Congratulations, you’re in Malaysia within five minutes of boarding the train. 

Planning for your trip and wondering what to do/eat/buy?

Read more:
Where To Shop In JB? Best Shopping Malls (and Thrift Stores) In Johor Bahru
14 Cheaper Things To Buy In JB Besides Food, Groceries And Petrol 
Cheap Shopping in Johor Bahru: A Bargain Shopper’s Guide 


Coming back from JB to Singapore 

If you’ve booked your ticket back to Singapore, again, be sure to reach 30 minutes before your train departs. Same as when you first came in, the boarding gate closes 10 minutes before train departure.

Unlike going into JB where you’ll have to present your ticket, you simply have to whip out your passport when coming back to Singapore. 

From October 2019, KTM has made it super simple for Singaporeans coming home from Malaysia. All you need to do is scan your passport at the self-service gantry before entering the gates. Oh and don't forget to purchase travel insurance for a better peace of mind. Have fun!

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E-gate for Singaporeans

The great news is that you no longer have to rely solely on KTM tickets to avoid the snaking immigration queues. From 20 January 2023, Singaporeans can also apply for the automated gates at both the Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints!

How to apply:

  • Step 1: Submit the Malaysia Digital Arrival Card (MDAC) within 3 days of your arrival in Malaysia. This means you can apply on your phone even when you reach customs. Note that you have to fill this up every time you enter Malaysia, and not just for the first time. 
  • Step 2 (first-timer only): Enter Malaysia via the manual counters and your e-gate application will be complete. You don't have to tell the officer anything, as this is done automatically. We recommend going in on a weekday to avoid long queues.
  • Step 3 (first-timer only): Since you got the manual stamp when you came in, you should also leave via the manual counters so there are no discrepancies on your passport.
  • Step 4: Enter the automated gate for your subsequent trips. Make sure that the mode of entry and exit is the same. For example, if you enter Malaysia through the e-gate, you should also leave with the e-gate.

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Avid promo code hunter and haggler. Kendra doesn’t like paying full price for anything. She’s the best person to bring along if you’re travelling on a budget. Have an interesting story to tell? E-mail her at kendra.tan@singsaver.com.sg

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