Best Times to Travel to Johor Bahru From Singapore

timing-travel-jb

From eating to shopping and getting a massage, Singaporeans visit JB for all sorts of fun things. But the one thing that we can all agree on that is not fun, is the long queues at the customs checkpoints. 

If you go at the right time, the journey into JB can be as fast as 45 minutes. But during peak time, you could be caught in a jam that may last up to 7+ hours.

Whether you’re driving, taking a bus, or hopping on a train, you can be strategic about your trip to avoid the crowds. Here’s our guide on the best times to go to JB.

 

Best Times to Travel to JB by Car

Driving to JB offers flexibility and convenience, but it can be affected by traffic congestion at the border checkpoints. 

Here’s when you should plan your trip to avoid long waits:

Weekdays

The best times to drive into JB are before 8 am, in the afternoon (12 pm – 5 pm) or after 8 pm. During these times, the traffic is usually lighter, making the border crossing quicker and more pleasant. Skip weekday peak hour traffic (7 am – 9 am, 6 pm – 8 pm) on both sides of the border as the Causeway and the Second Link are jam-packed during morning and evening rush hours when everyone’s commuting to and from work. Avoid Friday evenings and nights too as many Malaysians return home for the weekend. 

Weekends

Avoid travelling on Saturday mornings between 8 am and 11 am as these are the hours with the heaviest traffic when the weekend warriors all head out. Instead, plan to leave early in the morning before 7 am or later in the afternoon from 1 pm onwards. 

When coming back from JB, most people drive back after having dinner, so if you want to avoid the jam, come back before 6 pm or late at night from 11 pm on Saturday. 

On Sundays, the jam may start from as early as 11 am – 2 pm, and gets especially bad from 5 pm to 11 pm, as that’s when everyone returns. Going back after midnight or early morning before 8 am might be your best bet if you want to avoid waiting in line. 

Public holidays

Travel during public holidays can be particularly congested. If possible, plan your trip to start a day before the holiday or early in the morning of the holiday itself to avoid the rush. 

With the comfort of a car, you have the advantage of avoiding the peak timings and still getting to the places you want to go quickly since you have your own vehicle. 

ALSO READ: How to Drive Into Johor Bahru From Singapore

 

Best Times to Travel to JB by Bus

Taking a bus to JB is a popular and cost-effective option. Buses depart from various points in Singapore and can take you directly to JB’s major locations. Here are the best times to catch a bus:

Weekdays

The first buses usually depart at 5 am. Catching an early bus can help you avoid the heavy traffic and reach JB in good time. This is especially useful for those planning a day trip, as it allows you to maximise your time in JB. Early morning buses are less crowded, and the immigration checkpoints are generally less busy, leading to a smoother journey. 

Similarly, avoid travelling during peak hours (7 am – 9 am, 6 pm – 8 pm) when folks on both sides of the Causeway go to and from work. 

Another tip is to go during the midweek if you happen to have a day off. It helps you avoid the weekend rush and those who extend their JB stays on Monday or Friday. 

Weekends 

On weekends, the best times to travel to JB by bus are early in the morning before 8 am or late at night after 9 pm. These periods help avoid the heavy traffic and long queues typically seen during mid-morning and early afternoon when many weekend warriors head to JB. Early Sunday mornings (before 11 am) and late at night (after 10 pm) are better as the bus services are less crowded and the border crossing is quicker.​

Hot tip: The CW2 bus is 24 hours between Queen Street Terminal and JB CIQ, with a 15 – 20 minutes interval before 11 pm and 45-minute interval from 11 pm – 4 am, so if you have time to spare and want to avoid the crowds, you can take this bus.

Public holidays

Basically, just don’t do it. But if that’s the only time when you’re free, you’ll have to expect to be stuck in traffic and long customs lines, especially during festive periods such as Chinese New Year and Hari Raya. Those visiting family tend to leave either the day before or early morning to avoid the crowds. If you’re just going into JB for a day to shop, avoid the festive holidays. 

ALSO READ: How to Take the Bus From Singapore to Johor Bahru

 

Best Times to Travel to JB by Train

The train offers a quick and efficient way to travel to JB, especially with the KTM Shuttle Tebrau service that takes only 5 minutes between Woodlands Train Checkpoint and JB Sentral. 

The only catch with the train is that you have to book tickets in advance and seats on the weekends or public holidays at non-ungodly hours tend to sell out quickly. There’s no best time as the trains are all scheduled but popular times such as weekend mornings and evenings sell out quickly. 

The best chances of securing your train tickets are: 

Weekday afternoons

On weekday mornings, most train tickets would’ve been taken up by those who commute between Singapore and Johor for work. Same with the evening slots. The best chances of being able to get tickets are between 12 pm – 5 pm, or 9 pm onwards. 

Saturday afternoons

Most morning (8 am – 11 am) and mid-afternoon/evening slots (from 5 pm – 10 pm) would’ve been taken up by the day trippers trying to go into JB as early as possible and coming back after a day there. 

Sunday mornings

Going into JB on a Sunday morning by train is usually ok. Coming back to Singapore from JB, however, is a different story. From late morning, tickets are usually snapped up by the weekend warriors returning to Singapore.  

For ease of planning, you can check the KTM website to see the train timings and also see when tickets are usually sold out. 

Want to try a different way of travelling to JB? Check out The Ultimate Guide to KTM Ticket Prices, Train Schedule, and More (2024).

Whether you’re driving, hopping onto a bus, or taking the train, planning how and when you get there can help reduce your time being stuck at the Causeway. To prepare yourself, check out resources like One Motoring’s real-time traffic conditions at Woodlands and Tuas Checkpoints, or download apps such as Beat the Jam and Checkpoint.sg.

 

If you know anyone planning a quick getaway in Johor Bahru, share this article with them!