Road trip travel guide: From Singapore to Malaysia

Stop by Ipoh and explore its mural art path! Photo: Mega Caesaria via Unsplash

Pack your bags, because you’re going for a ride. Travel from Singapore to Malaysia, discovering culture, arts, shopping and food along the way.

Taking a short break from Singapore is always a good idea to make the most of a long weekend. Not so good is packing for airport security, trudging through the airport, and possibly hanging out in the departure lounge because your flight is delayed. That’s why we love having a good adventure on the road! Time to travel old school, drive across the causeway and start your road trip from Singapore to Malaysia.

But first!some travel reminders

On Covid-19:
Check your passport carefully before you go. Many of us have not traveled in a while, and if your passport has expired, you will not be able to travel to Malaysia. You also need to be fully vaccinated, so make sure you get all of them. Remember to download and register the MySejahtera app on your mobile so you can access shops, malls and dining venues.

Make sure you pack it properly:
Packing for a road trip is a lot more liberating. 100ml vial with no liquid restrictions! Still, that doesn’t mean you won’t look dodgy traveling to Malaysia with a trunk full of knives and all kinds of sharp objects. You still have to go through immigration to do that…

Do the most hostesses:
Eat plenty of snacks and water to keep you and your companions hydrated and avoid starvation. While there will be plenty of food stops in Malaysia, you can make…

Immigration Matters:
Do not forget to complete your arrival card within three days before returning to Singapore. You will need to show this document at the checkpoint on your way home. Also, this may seem trivial, but when you’re transiting from Singapore to Malaysia, make sure your passport is stamped and inked (and visible to the naked eye!) by immigration officials. Otherwise, it will be difficult to return to Singapore. Trust us, we’ve learned this the hard way.


Put these destinations in Malaysia on your map…

1. Ipoh

If you like good food, legendary murals, and an old-world charm that’s hard to find in the concrete jungles of Singapore, then this is the place for you. First, go to the street stalls in Ipoh to feast on! Think assam laksa and shredded chicken hor fun, paired with a nice cup of Ipoh white coffee. Take an Instagram-worthy photo of the coolest murals along Ipoh’s Mural Art Trail, or explore quirky museums and cave temples. It’s a six-hour drive from Singapore, but you can make stops in Johor Bahru, Malacca and Kuala Lumpur for shopping and sightseeing in between.

2. Diarrhea

Road trip from Singapore to Malaysia | Muar | Xiuyuan Koh on Unsplash
Book your accommodation near the Muar River to enjoy these beautiful sunsets. Photo by Xiuyuan Koh on Unsplash

This part of Malaysia has many hidden gems that will surprise you. If you’ve conquered all the hiking trails in Singapore, take it to the next level with those gorgeous ones in Muar. It’s also just a stone’s throw away from some breathtaking waterfalls – check out Lembing Rainbow Waterfall, which casts a stunning rainbow in the sky early in the morning. If you have children, consider taking them to East Lake Jurassic Garden. It’s not Jurassic Park, but it has tons of cool, realistic dinosaur sculptures scattered across its grounds (and entry is free)! Book your accommodation near the Muar River to enjoy the stunning sunset in the evening.

3. Malacca

Singapore to Malaysia Self-Driving Travel | Malacca
Cafes like this can be found everywhere in quaint old Malacca. Photography: Chunyi Kwek

This sleepy colonial town is a gem with lively laneways and heritage buildings waiting to be discovered. Best way to get around? walk! Melaka is a bit like Singapore, a small coastal town with a rich heritage and culture. Melaka is a four to five hour road trip from Singapore, and is a great place if you’re looking for a quick break from city life. Stay on or near the Jonker River and immerse yourself in the hustle and bustle. When you’re in Malacca, you must try chicken rice balls (and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!).

Weekend Getaway from Singapore | | Alternatives - Lodge & Kitchen via Facebook

4. Kuala Lumpur

Singapore to Malaysia Travel | Kuala Lumpur
We never tire of city life. Photography: Wengang Zhai via Unsplash

If you need to be close to trendy shopping malls, nice restaurants and high-rise buildings, Kuala Lumpur is the place for you. It takes five to six hours to drive from Singapore, but when you arrive, be prepared for traffic in Kuala Lumpur. It will be worth it when you get to Jalan Alor (buy those grilled chicken wings!) and the foodie haven of Petaling Street. Next, shop to your heart’s content from Bangsar to Bukit Bintang before staying at trendy hotels such as Aloft KL, Chaos Hotel or the rustic Sekeping Backlane.

5. Cameron Highlands

Road trip trip from Singapore to Malaysia | Cameron Highlands
Tea gardens in Malaysia are abundant!

Miles and miles of hills and greenery, clean air, cold weather…you don’t have to go that far. Cameron Highlands is only one drive away from the hotel! Go strawberry picking, walk the eucalyptus trees, visit the tea plantations, and usually take your time because there is always time for tea in Cameron Highlands. Stay at The Lakehouse, a Tudor-inspired resort on the hill, or the French chateau-inspired Cameron Highlands resort for a true escape from the city.

6. Penang

Road trip trip from Singapore to Malaysia | Penang
There are many murals worth seeing in the laneways of Georgetown, Penang. Photo: Louis Bavent via Flickr

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008, Penang Island has many cultural attractions and natural scenery. Penang, with its soft sandy beaches and ubiquitous food, is also known for its vibrant street art. The quaint corners of George Town and the Tropical Spice Garden – the only one in Southeast Asia – and Penang’s numerous flea markets and night markets are must-sees for tourists. Stay in a comfortable bed and breakfast for an authentic Penang experience.

7. Johor Bahru

Road trip trip from Singapore to Malaysia | Alternatives - Lodge & Kitchen via Facebook
Photo: The Replacement – ​​Lodge & Kitchen via Facebook

A day trip to Johor Bahru is enough! Technically within driving distance (not a road trip), it’s time to check into a great hotel for the weekend and explore the Johor state capital’s cafes, night markets, heritage shops and more. It’s no secret: Johor Bahru is our favorite place to visit for cool little cafes, authentic Malaysian street food and shopping at designer outlets.

Add these destinations to your travel itinerary and start your Malaysia road trip!

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