Sole Sister: Malacca Mania

My crazy story crossing the border from Singapore to Malaysia

My crazy story crossing the border from Singapore to Malaysia featured on We Are Sole Sisters

That awkward moment when you forget your passport. What do you do? Take a cab, pick up your passport and beat the bus to the border!

Malacca Mania is my first contributor article for We Are Sole Sisters. It’s about my crazy entry into Malaysia from Singapore. It was also the first trip I planned entirely by myself and for friends. So, I learned a lot of lessons along the way (albeit the hard way haha!)

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When travelling, the unwanted guest is always Murphy. He creeps in unexpectedly, at the worst possible time, without even the courtesy to even apologize for his unruly presence.


Last October I met him during the Hari Raya long weekend. When my alarm clock rang he blasted, “Anything that can go wrong will” at 7:00AM. I was still groggy, slightly hung over from a Halloween party the night before, with only thirty minutes left to catch my 7:30AM bus to Malacca, Malaysia from Singapore.

‘No worries,’ I told myself reassuringly. Good thing I showered before I slept so all I had to do was change, catch a cab and be on my way!

In one last attempt to salvage my morning (and make myself feel better) I called my friend to ask where exactly the bus was located. My plan was to gain back the time I lost for being irresponsible and find my bus right away. But I spoke too soon.

Ah, Murphy. We meet again. And he’s worse the second time around.

Ideally, before a trip it’s best to think ahead and prepare for the worst. So my contingency plan for waking up late is to shower the night before (which I did.) However, before Plan B, I unknowingly forgot to prepare Plan A: my passport!

Philippine passport
Photo Credit: JMParrone

What’s worse is that I sent that reminder to all my friends the night before.

I felt like slapping myself for being careless. Luckily, resourcefulness can be born from idiocy. So, I did the next best thing: take another cab, pick up my passport then race against time to meet the bus to the Singapore-Malaysia border. I felt like I was on Amazing Race with no partner to bicker with but Murphy who kept nagging me like my mother. I had no prize to win but reclaim my pride and a long overdue trip over the holidays (which is always motivation.) There was no way I would let Murphy prevent me from winning.

When I arrived at the Tuas border of Singapore-Malaysia, my cab driver advised ‘When you get down just keep walking.’ The road was deserted and he could not drive me any further. In front of me was a fork in the road – a pathway straight ahead and a bridge above. Where would my bus be? It was my first time here so I didn’t know.

But I followed my instinct and began brisk walking, with one hand holding onto my fedora, and the other clutching the iPhone over my ear. “We’re five minutes away from the border,” my friend said when I called her.

Malacca Mania 11

I was hoping there was an opening alongside the road so I didn’t have to explain having to climb over a railing to border security. While that would have made an interesting story, luckily it didn’t resort to that.

I made it to the border with minutes to spare!
Finally, after that hectic morning I entered my bus. The conductor asked the riders, “Whose friend is this?” referring to me, the girl trying to catch her breath.

I wanted to blame it on “Murphy,” but I knew that in truth Murphy was my own wors enemy; my absent minded alter ego: me. While he’s not exactly my favourite travel companion, he always reminds me to be more careful the next time.

Malacca Mania 12
Afterwards my friends reassured me that forgetting our passport is the classic traveler’s story. It’s like a rite of passage or initiation into traveling smart with Murphy as that wise-cracking ‘big brother’ or ‘big sister.’

Indeed traveling is carefree, but more importantly Malacca has taught me the importance of planning. While being careless can be expensive, when it happens just charge it to experience. Remember to never let Murphy ruin the ride – by bus or otherwise.

Malacca Mania 7How to make this trip happen:

-If you’re coming from Singapore, the bus takes around 3-4 hours (depending on how long immigration takes.)

-Visit http://www.busonlineticket.com/ to book a coach to Melaka Central

-Pick a bus with the most convenient bus terminal to your location. Some are nearer to the border. But since we were a big group, we decided to pick one that departed from the city.

-There are two check points along the border: Tuas and Jurong. Different buses go through different check points.

-If you’re taking a day trip, take the earliest bus (around 7AM) because you’ll end up spending most of your time on the road. The last bus out is around 7PM so I recommend staying over night to see the sites at night.

-Bus tickets are around 45 SGD (about 73 USD) round trip.

-And remember, don’t forget your passport! ;)

Have you had some trips where Murphy’s law took center stage! Do share and make me feel better!

See original entry on We Are Sole Sisters.

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