This year’s CNY journey back to JB from Singapore was one of the smoothest in years. For the past almost-20 years, I’d travelled with the husband to JB for the annual reunion lunch at Grandma’s house every first day of the CNY. 90% of those journeys were by bus. On good years, the queues at the immigration checkpoints were good; on not-so-good years (like last year), we queued for more than 3 hours just to clear the Malaysian checkpoint. With kids in tow, this is not funny at all. This year, we resolved to avoid that at all costs. So, I decided that we should take the shuttle train to JB instead. Taking the train meant that we would clear immigration just before we board the train, and the queues would definitely be much shorter. The only downside was that it costs S$5/pax (which is affordable and cheap, but just more expensive than taking the bus, of course), and you need to arrive 30 minutes before scheduled train ride & bear with the waiting time. Our train left 30 minutes after the scheduled time. That’s 1 hour of additional time for 3 minutes of train ride across the causeway. If those are all acceptable to you, taking the train is a perfect way to get to JB, sans the long queues during peak seasons.
Getting Your Train Tickets
Getting the tickets is easy – Either buy them at the ticketing counter at Woodlands Train Checkpoint (Located at Woodlands, opposite the road from the old Woodlands bus interchange), or you can purchase them online at https://intranet.ktmb.com.my/e-ticket/login.aspx. You get to select the seats online as well, but for us, when we arrived, the officers told us that the train was free-seating. In any case, it’s a mere 3-minute ride, so it doesn’t matter at all.
Arrive At Least 30 Minutes Before Scheduled Ride
This is a requirement stated by KTM. I later realised that it’s necessary too, because you need time to clear two immigration checkpoints (Singapore’s, then Malaysia’s). The entire journey was via air-conditioned walkways, so it’s comfortable and easy. This also means that you would clear both checkpoints before you even board the train, and once you alight at JB Sentral station, you can leave immediately to get to your next destination.
Enjoy The Ride!
The KTM trains are not exactly new, but that’s what I really like about the experience. It almost felt like I was transported back in time when I was a little kid. For my kids, it was a refreshing experience to be in such a vintage and rugged train. The whole journey was very comfortable. It would be perfect if there were vendors walking through to sell food & drinks – That would certainly complete the whole experience!
Looks like the shuttle train would be our choice of transport every CNY from now on. :)
P/S: Taking the shuttle train from JB back to Singapore is only RM5!