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Published: January 15th 2016
Did I ever tell you how much I like Singapore?
I crossed into Singapore with a sense of relief, though getting here was a pain in the ass. I admit that Saigon exhausted me; the constant whine of motorbikes, the air pollution from all the motorbikes, the broken sidewalks full of motorbikes with no place to walk.
In the past I have always entered Singapore through Changi Airport which is an absolute model of comfort and efficiency. I have landed in Changi, deplaned, gone through customs and Immigration, changed money, and been in the back of a taxi, all within twenty minutes.
Entering Singapore by land from Johor Bahru, Malaysia is nothing like that. I had a good reason – which turned out to be a crummy reason – to go through Malaysia when I made my travel arrangements, but at least I know not to do that again.
I got a bus from Senai Airport in Johor Bahru to JB Sentral, the train and bus terminal in central Johor Bahru, to cross the Causeway. The bus wasn’t too bad; clean and fairly comfortable. But after sitting in a traffic jam for almost
half an hour when we got into central Johor Bahru, I started to wonder what I had been thinking when I decided to do this. At one point the bus had not moved in twenty minutes and someone from the bus company came onboard and said we might as well get off and walk to JB Sentral since it didn’t look like the congestion was going to clear anytime soon. Fortunately we were only a couple of hundred yards away from the terminal.
And then another slow bus across the causeway to get to Singapore (with me muttering to myself “What was I thinking?”) and I was in.
One of the many things I like about Singapore is their outstanding public transportation system. You can get just about anywhere on the island quickly and in relative comfort with public transportation. The bus across the causeway lets you off at the Kranji MRT. I could have taken the train from here into town – for a whopping S$2 (about $1.40 US) but I was hot and tired and taxis here take credit cards, so I did exactly that.
The first thing I noticed was how
much cleaner the air was. The second thing I noticed was that the sidewalks were wide, the pavement was unbroken, and there were NO motorbikes on the sidewalk. Woo-hoo! In fact, even though it was late afternoon and people were leaving work, there wasn’t much traffic at all. This is due in part to the public transportation system, and due in part to the onerous cost of owning, much less driving, a car in the city. Possibly Useful Information:
All European Union citizens plus Norway, Switzerland, and the United States do not need a visa for visits of up to 90 days. Much of the rest of the world, including Australia, Canada, and all of South America do not need a visa for visits of up to 30 days. For a complete list of requirements see http://www.ica.gov.sg/
The Causeway Link Bus Company runs a shuttle from JB Sentral in Johor Bahru to Kranji MRT station in Singapore for about RM 2 – less than US$ 1. They also run a shuttle from JB Sentral to Senai Airport. www.causewaylink.com.my
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