We spent five days for our do-it-yourself trip to Singapore and Malaysia.
We spent the first three days in Singapore and then crossed over to Malaysia on the second part of our trip.
From the Philippines, we took off from Clark International Airport, Pampanga and arrived in Changi International Airport, Singapore.
On our third day, we crossed the Malaysian border at Johor Bahru and took a bus to Melaka for an overnight “stop over.”
We continued our journey early morning the next day to Kuala Lumpur and took a side-trip to Putrajaya before the flight back to Manila.
Here’s our full Singapore and Malaysia overland DIY trip itinerary:
Day 1: Travel to Clark Airport
- 6:00AM – Drive to Clark International Airport (Diosdado Macapagal International Airport) in Angeles City, Pamapanga via the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX). It took us 3 hours land travel (private transport) from Taft Ave., Manila City to get to Clark Airport (taking a breakfast stopover along the NLEX). Commuting to Clark should take 2-3 hours (or more depending on traffic conditions) from Metro Manila. Philtranco bus line has a direct service to Clark International Airport from SM Megamall or their terminals at Pasay and Cubao (P300 bus fare from Pasay and P350 from SM Megamall/Cubao)
- 8:40AM – Arrival at Clark International Airport, also known as Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA)
- Flight Check-in Procedures at DMIA
- Airline / Flight #: Cebu Pacific Flight 5J537
- Terminal Fee: P600 (for international flights)
- Philippine Travel Tax: P1,620 (for outbound Philippine passport holders)
- Clear Philippine immigration. Prepare travel documents, necessary items include:
- Valid Passport (No travel visa needed in Singapore and Malaysia for Philippine passport holders)
- Return flight ticket
- Enough cash on hand (seemingly discriminatory, but Philippine immigration officers would sometimes like to make sure that you’re financially capable to travel). Always exchange my money to US$ for convenience before flying out (Philippine pesos usually have lower exchange value abroad).
- 11:40NN – Final boarding for Cebu Pacific Flight 5J537 bound for Singapore
- 12:10NN – Clark to Singapore Flight via Cebu Pacific
Aerial of Clark International Aiport and Angeles City, Pampanga
Arrival in Singapore
- 3:40PM – Arrival in Changi International Airport (Budget Terminal), Singapore. Same time zone (+8 GMT) as Manila, Philippines.
- Clear Singapore Immigration and Customs. Always secure the white arrival card (don’t lose it).
- Claim check-in baggage
- Exchange US$ to SG$. Just enough to get to the City Center.
- Ride free airport shuttle (parked outside the arrivals building) from the budget terminal to terminal 2. The (Changi Airport) MRT station is located at the basement level between terminal 2 and 3.
We actually discovered a bit late that our travel in Singapore coincided with the F1 Weekend (Formula 1 Night Race / Singapore Grand Prix). It took us a while to secure room reservations because some of the hotels/hostels were already fully booked.
- 4:40PM – Ride MRT (East West / Green Line) to Bugis Station – SG$1.90 (visit Singapore MRT website for ticketing and fare details). SMRT has an unlimited tourist pass like Hong Kong’s MTR but we calculated the fares and discovered it was cheaper to buy single trip tickets instead.
- Walk to Backpacker Cozy Corner Guest House, North Bridge Rd from Bugis Junction exit. We had earlier planned on staying at SEA Hotel (also walking distance from Bugis station) but they were fully booked.
- Check-in at Backpacker Cozy Corner Guest House. We had a room (good for 4) reserved online but they gave out our room to another group because we arrived at the hostel later than the time we specified in our reservation. Luckily, they still had they dorm-type beds available (SG$18 per bed per night for the aircon room and SG$13 for the non-aircon).
Singapore Merlion and Marina Bay at Sunset/Dusk
- 5:20PM – Walk to Bugis (EW12) MRT Station
- Ride MRT to Raffles Place (EW12 / NS26) MRT Station (same Green Line) – SG$1
- 5:40PM – Walk to Merlion (passing by Fullerton Hotel and One Fullerton). Found out that the major roads around Marina Bay were closed off for the F1 race. We had to take tiring detours to move around.
Singapore Night Safari
- Walk back to Raffles Place MRT Station
- 7:30PM – Ride MRT (North South / Red Line) to Ang Mo Kio (NS16) Station
- 8:50PM – Dinner at a random fastfood store in AMK Hub. Dining in Singapore is a bit more expensive than other South East Asian countries. A typical meal in McDonalds, for example, costs around SG$5-10.
- 9:10PM – Ride Bus#138 to Singapore Zoo – SG$1.41 fare. Alight at Singapore Night Safari (Singapore Zoological Gardens) Bus Stop.
- 9:40PM – Arrive at Singapore Night Safari
- 9:40PM to 11:00PM – Singapore Night Safari sightseeing- SG$32.00 (Admission + Tram Ride). We actually missed the Creatures of the Night show because we arrived too late, better to go there earlier (see show schedule). We only did the tram ride and a bit of the walking trails.
- Ride shuttle to Little India. We saw this bus on our way out so we decided to hop on (not sure if Bus#138 still operates this late at night but I was worried that the MRT system might be closed already). Told the driver to drop us off where we could find another way to get to Bugis. I forgot the exact street (where we dropped off) but we somehow managed to end up along Rochor Canal Rd (thanks to my handy map). It was a long walk but we managed to get to Backpackers Cozy Corner (by following Rochor Rd and taking a turn at North Bridge Rd).
- Late Dinner at food shops outside Cozy Corner. There’s a lot of side-street type stalls in the area. A meal costs SG$3 and up. Electrical outlets in Singapore are mostly the British type 3-pin plug “Type G” (see photo). If you didn’t bring one, you could buy a plug adapter at 7/11 stores. Singapore uses the same 230V (as the Philippines).
- Sleep: Cozy Corner Guest House – $13 per night (dorm-type bed non-aircon)
Day 2: Sentosa Island and Marina Bay
- Free breakfast at Cozy Corner Guest House. Menu is very simple: Bread + Spread & Coffee.
Went out at around 9AM. We actually planned on visiting the Botanical Gardens in the morning before heading out to Sentosa Island but we forgot to change more SG$ the day before. It was a Sunday and the money changer at Bugis Junction was still closed. We went to a money changer near City Hall MRT Station but it was also closed. Bummer! We decided try our luck finding one at VivoCity Mall, which is along the way to Sentosa Island.
- Ride MRT (East West / Green Line) from Bugis to Outram Park. Switch to (North East / Purple Line) and alight at Harbourfront Station – SG$ 1.50 fare.
- Walk to VivoCity Mall – Lobby L, Level 3 and buy (return) tickets on the Sentosa Express (monorail) – $3 all-day fare and admission
- 11:10AM – Ride Sentosa Express to Waterfront Station
- Walk to Universal Studios entrance
- 11AM to 3PM – Universal Studios Sightseeing – SG$72
- Walk back to Sentosa Express. Ride monorial to beach station.
- Ride free beach tram to Palawan Beach.
- 3PM to 4:30PM – Palawan Beach sightseeing
- There’s a foodcourt in Palawan Beach. Food is more affordable compared to the restaurants in Sentosa.
- Ride beach tram back to Sentosa Express Beach Station.
This is the part when I messed up. My camera batteries were already running low since I forgot to charge them the night before. I had to go back to Cozy Corner for a quick charge while my group continued to visit more sights in Sentosa Express. I used the same (MRT) route on the way back and arranged to meet up with the group near the Merlion.We actually didn’t utilize our second day in Singapore very effectively so I’ll skip the details. The F1 race was a major set back since we couldn’t move around more freely. I was hoping to have a sunset walk along the Singapore River / Esplanade … possibly end up at the Double Helix Bridge even at the SkyPark of the Marina Bay Sands, then watch the fountain show at Suntec City. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen for us. We spent our time in the Esplanade area then walked the whole mile around Marina Bay to the Link Mall in Marina Bay Sands then to Suntec City Mall (the fountain show was already over by the time we went there) and then back to Bugis.
- Sleep: Cozy Corner Guest House – $13 per night (dorm-type bed non-aircon)
Day 3: Singapore River and Chinatown Walking Tour
- Breakfast at Cozy Corner
- 9AM – Went out of hotel
- Walk to Bugis Station. Ride MRT to City Hall Station – SG$1
- 9:15AM to 1:30PM – Walking tour of Singapore River, CBD, and Chinatown. This is a pretty long walk, I included the route we took in the google map below:
We actually only planned to do a walking tour of Chinatown on our last day in Singapore but we decided to include Singapore River since we haven’t really explored much of it. The long walk looks tiring even just looking at the map. We made sure to take a hearty breakfast and made a lot of (photo) stops along the way.
Singapore River Historical Area. We started at the St. Andrew’s Cathderal (just outside the City Hall MRT exit) and made our way to the Singapore Parliament House and Museum, City Hall, Old Parliament Buildings. Then headed towards the river and followed the riverside promenade until the Esplanade (passing by the Raffles Landing Site, Asian Civilization Museum, Cavernagh Bridge. and Esplanade Park)
Singapore CBD. From the Esplanade, we crossed the Esplanade Drive Bridge towards the Fullerton Hotel and walked through the main central business district / financial center of Singapore.
Singapore Chinatown. Our first recognizable landmark that we were near the chinatown area was the Indian Chamber of Commerce Building. We followed the Telok Ayer St., passing by Nagore Durgha Shrine (Muslim), Thian Hong Keng Temple (Taoist), Al Abrar Mosque, took a left turn and entered the covered pathways of Ang Siang Hill. From the other end of Ang Siang Hill, we followed Club St. and made our way to the Chinatown Complex, where we had our lunch (at the 2nd level foodcourt). After lunch, we passed by the Sri Mariamman Temple (Hindu) on our way to Pagoda St., which is the touristy center of Chinatown. We took the MRT (back to bugis) at the Chinatown Station located at the other end of Pagoda St.
- Ride MRT to Bugis Station (interchange at Outram Park Station) – SG$1.30
- Quick visit to Sim Lim Plaza (Walking distance)
- Check-out at Backpacker Cozy Corner Guest House
Border crossing at Johor Bahru, Malaysia and Overland travel to Melaka
- Ride MRT to Kranji Station – SG$2.3
- Cross overpass bridge to other side of the road
- 4:20PM – Ride Bus 170 to Johor Bahru – SG$1.60
- Bus will drop you off first at Woodlands. Be sure not to lose your bus ticket.
- Clear Singapore Immigration at Woodlands. Present white arrival card together with stamped passport.
- Ride bus again to get across (the causeway bridge) to Johor Bahru, Malaysia
- Walk up to immigrations counters, get a card to fill up.
- Clear Malaysian Immigration
- Ride bus #170 going to Larkin Terminal. Make sure that the line you’re in is for the bus going to Larkin Terminal.
We actually boarded Bus#160 from the Kranji station. We switched to bus#170 after clearing the Malaysian immigration. Good thing the driver does not check the bus #.
- 5:20PM – Arrive at Larkin Terminal. Exchange currency to Malaysian Ringgit (RM). Changed all of my SG$.
- Ride bus to Melaka (3 hours)
- 8:30PM – Drop-off (end of route) at Melaka sentral bus terminal
- Ride Melaka Town Bus # 17, Green bus (30 minutes) - RM1.50. Go to intercity buses area. Last bus leaves the terminal at 8:30PM (lucky we caught it!). Drop off at Discovery Cafe, located at the right side of the bus. It’s one block before Christ Church Melaka, so if you see the church (or the clock tower), just drop off the bus and retrace the road.
- Check-in at Discovery Cafe. Their guest house is located across the road (from the cafe) passing through a narrow alleyway. We got the aircon room good for 4 persons - RM90/room
- Sleep: Discovery Cafe & Guest House
Day 4: Melaka Walking Tour
- 8:00AM – Went out of Guest House
- 8:00 AMto 9:30AM – Quick walking tour of Melaka (mostly along the riverside)
- Melaka River and the Old Buildings along the riverside
- Christ Church
- Clock Tower
- St. Xavier Church
- Kota Melaka Fort
- Dutch Windmill
- Spanish Galleon
- 9:30AM – Free breakfast at Discovery Cafe
- 11:00AM – Check-out at Discovery Cafe
Bus travel to Kuala Lumpur
- Walk back to the Clock Tower, bus#17 has a stop right infront of the tower.
- Ride Melaka intercitybus #17 to the Melaka sentral bus terminal RM1.50
- 12:30NN – Arrive in Melaka Terminal
- Lunch at Melaka Terminal
- Buy bus ticket to Kuala Lumpur – MR10 fare. Ask around to know which bus will leave the soonest.
- 1:30PM – Ride bus to Kuala Lumpur (2.5 to 3 hours). We expected to be dropped off at Puduraya terminal in KL. Turns out Puduraya station was being renovated. We were instead dropped off in Bukit Jalil Terminal, which basically looked like the parking lot of their National Sports Stadium (located at the outskits of KL). Good thing the local vendors were very helpful. They pointed us to the red Rapid KL? bus (forgot the number), which goes to Puduraya.
- 3:30PM – Arrive in Bukit Jalil Bus Terminal
- 4:00PM – Ride Rapid KL Bus to Puduraya – ? Fare (forgot, but it was just minimal)
- Dropped off at a bus highway intersection walking distance to the PlazaRakyat RapidKL (Elevated rail) station.
- 4:30PM – Ride RapidKL Ampang/Sri Petaling “Yellow/Green” Line from Plaza Rakyat to Hang Tuah RapidKL Station (ST3) – RM1.20
- Interchange to KL Monorail “Orange” Line
- Ride KL Monorail from Hang Tuah Station (MR4) to Bukit Bintang Station (MR8) – RM1.20
- Walk to Agora Hotel
- Check-in at Agora Hotel – RM168 (aircon room good for 4)
- Walk to Bukit Bintang Station
- 5:25pm – Ride KL Monorail “Orange” Line from Bukit Bintang to Bukit Nanas Station (MR8) – RM1.2
- Interchange to Rapid KL Kelana Jaya “Pink” Line (approx. 300m walk)
- 5:40pm – Ride Rapid KL “Pink” Line from Dang Wangi (KJ1) to Gombak Station (KJ12) – RM2.3
- Ride taxi to Batu Caves (20 minutes) – RM10
- 6:25pm to 7:10pm – Batu Caves Sunset Tour
- Ride taxi back to Rapid KL Gombak Station – RM10
- 7:30PM – Ride RapidKL “Pink” Line from Gombak to Dang Wangi Station – RM2.3
- Walk to Bukit Nanas Station (KL Monorail “Orange” Line)
- Ride KL Monorail to Bukit Bintang Station - RM1.2
- Walk to Agora Hotel. Rest.
Petronas Towers Nightshots
- 9:00PM – We were met my our Aunt and Uncle based in KL. We had dinner at Crystal Jade Kitchen (Chinese) in Pavillion Mall. We then walked to Suria Mall in KLCC, which is basically the ground floors of the Petronas Towers.
- 11:00PM to 11:30PM – Petronas Towers Nightshots
- Walk back to Agora Hotel
- Sleep: Agora Hotel
Day 5: Kuala Lumpur Day Tour
Petronas Towers Skybridge Tour
We had planned on taking the skybridge tour of the Petronas Towers. Our aunt offered to line up for the tickets, which was great because we didn’t have to wake up too early.
How to Get Petronas Towers Sky Bridge Tickets: Ticket booth is at the Concourse, Underground Level of Suria Mall. Best to line up as early as 6AM because they only give out a limited number of tickets per day and the line usually swells at around 7AM. Admission is free. One person can reserve up to 5 tickets. Our aunt was already in line when we got to Suria Mall at around 9AM, she has been on queue since 7AM.
- 10:00AM – Breakfast at Suria Mall. At this point we had been carrying all our baggage.
- 11:10am to 11:40nn – Petronas Towers Skybridge Tour. You will have to leave your bags at the baggage counter of the skybridge tour concierge.
Merdeka Square, Central Market, and Chinatown Walking Tour
- 12:25pm – Ride RapidKL “Pink” Line from KLCC (KJ10) to KL Sentral Station (KJ15) – RM1.6
- Left Baggage at Madame Keepers (Sentral Station) – ? (forgot how much it was, but I remember it was minimal)
- 12:40pm – Ride RapidKL “Pink” Line from KL Sentral (KJ15) to Masjid Jamek (KJ13) – RM1.3
- 1:10pm – Lunch at Typical Noodle House in Masjid Jamek area (forgot the place)
- 1:50pm – Walk to Merdeka Square
- 2:00pm to 3:00pm Merdeka Square Tour
- Walk to Central Market
- 2:55pm to 4:25pm – Central Market Tour and Shopping
- Walk to Chinatown
- 4:25pm to 5:25pm – Chinatown Tour and Shopping
- Ride Ride RapidKL “Pink” Line from Pasar Seni (KJ14) to KL SentralStation (KJ15) – RM1.0
- Claim baggage at Madame Keepers
- Meet with Taxi Driver at KL Sentral (The driver was my aunt’s contact, I forgot to ask for his mobile number)
- 5:55pm – Ride taxi to Kuala Lumpur International Airport with a side trip to Putrajaya – RM100
- 6:35pm – Arrive in Putrajaya
- Pass through Seriwawasan Bridge
- 6:35pm to Putrajaya Taxi Tour
- 6:38pm – Seri Wawasan Bridge (Stop #1)
- 6:45pm – Putra Bridge (Stop #2)
- 6:55pm – Pink Mosque (Stop #3)
- 7:15pm – Iron Mosque (Stop #4)
- 7:30pm – Perbadanan Putrajaya (Stop #5)
- 7:45pm – Seri Gemilang Bridge (Stop #6 )
Departure at Kuala Lumpur International Airport
- 8:16pm – Arrive in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) Main terminal building
- Dinner at McDonalds in KLIA
- 10:10pm – Ride bus to Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) – RM2.5
- 10:40pm – Arrive in LCCT
- Check-in for Cebu Pacific Flight 5J502
Day 6: Kuala Lumpur to Manila
Our trip actually took 6 days. The 6th day was due to the early morning flight back to Manila from Kuala Lumpur.
- 1:20AM – Kuala Lumpur to Manila International Aipport ( NAIA T3 ) via Cebu Pacific 5J502
- 5:00AM – Arrival in NAIA Terminal 3
Singapore and Malaysia Budget Summary
- Still have to review my travel expenses but it was well under P20,000 per person … around the P12,000 to P16,000 range.