But since Johor Bahru is so near to Singapore, I decided to extend my stay at the hotel for another 2 nights so that I can make a one-day trip to the island republic. At only RM138 per night, staying in this hotel was way cheaper than staying in a similar standard hotel across the causeway, don't you agree?
Besides, the hotel is just within 3 minutes walking distance to the City Square shopping mall and 5 minutes to the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex (CIQ) so it's pretty convenient.
The Christmas decoration in City Square Mall
The City Square Mall has many restaurants and cafes. I also found a currency exchange shop that offered better exchange rate compared to the ones in PJ and KL. So yes, I bought some Singapore Dollars here.
One of the cafes I dined in was the Breeks Cafe.
I enjoyed this place as it provides free wifi and I could sit at this corner and have a good view of the mall's main concourse.
Their tomato pasta was delicious! And it's only RM10.90. Not bad eh?
From the City Square Mall, you can walk across to the CIQ via two bridges.
Below are some of the photos I took while walking across to the CIQ with my friend Jim in the morning.
Crossing over to Singapore from the CIQ is a breeze. Except that, you need to fill in the immigration card. Wonder why we still need this, Singapore? Malaysia had already done away with the card with the introduction of the biometric system.
On the card, you will be required to fill in your address, the place you will be staying in Singapore, the number of days staying in Singapore and the place you come from before entering Singapore.
In my case, my address is 'Petaling Jaya', the place I will be staying is 'Marina Bay' (I'm not staying in Singapore but that's the place I'm heading to), the number of days is '1 day' and place I came from is 'Johor Bahru'.
Upon completing the card, go through the immigration counter. For Malaysians, you can use the auto passport scanner instead of queuing at the counter.
After passing through the immigration, take the escalator or lift down one floor to the bus platform below. You need to take a bus to the Singapore customs at Woodlands. No one is allowed to walk over to Singapore on foot if that's what you have in mind.
There are many buses that can take you to Singapore, but the main ones are SBS 160, SBS 170 and SMRT 950. If you have the EZ Link Card, you can use it on these buses, otherwise pay in cash, which I did since my EZ Link Card had already expired.
At the Woodlands immigration, you go through the usual stuffs that is, scanning of your luggage or bags and checking of passports. After that, you again go down the escalator or lift to the bus platform below to take a bus to wherever you want to go in Singapore.
In my case, I took bus SBS 160 to the nearest MRT Station, which is Kranji MRT Station. Singapore is pretty easy to get around using the MRT, so I depended mostly on it. That's why the EZ Link Card is so useful! You can use it on both MRT and buses.
And since I did not visit Singapore for quite some time, my old EZ Link Card (left) was no longer valid. I had to buy a new one (right) at the Kranji MRT Station.
A new EZ Link Card costs a minimum of SGD12 - the card costs SGD5 and the minimum amount to upload is SGD7.
That's clearly not enough for me, so later I went to a machine to add another SGD10. That's the minimum amount for top up using the machines. So I had SGD17 worth of travel money in my card which should be able to last me for a day at least.
From the Kranji MRT Station, I took the MRT to Marina Bay. Jim and I had planned to visit Gardens by the Bay and Marina Bay Sands.
Later that evening, I returned to Kranji MRT Station, walked up the overhead bridge to the other side of the road and took the same bus to Woodlands Checkpoint and back to Johor Bahru. From the CIQ, it took me just 5 minutes to reach my hotel. Perfect.
Coming Up Next : Gardens by the Bay