Transportation from Singapore to Johor Bahru Malaysia

To travel from Singapore to Malaysia there are several options, nearly all use the two bridges that connect Singapore to Johor Bahru.

Taxis can be caught at Queen Street to go to Johor Bahru. The taxis cost $40 to go to the dropoff point in Johor Bahru CBD. The taxi will wait for 4 passengers (making the charge $10 each) or you can pay the full taxi fare ($40) to have your own taxi. To go to a specific location in Johor Bahru the cost will be $50, or more.

Buses are also an option (see my post about taking the bus from Johor Bahru to Singapore). You can catch buses at the same Queen Street station with the taxis or at the Kranji MRT (subway) stop. You can catch long distance buses in Singapore or Malaysia to further points in Malaysia.

Taking a car is another option.

Here is a webcam to show you the current status of any backups at the causeway bridge (in either direction) and Tuas bridge. The connections between the cities get very backup up on major holidays and (especially the causeway) during evening and morning rush hours and weekend traffic (leaving Singapore on Friday and Saturday morning and returning to Singapore Sunday night).

Singapore residents travel to Johor Bahru for many reasons. Two of the most popular reasons are to shop and eat at the excellent and cheap (compared to Singapore) restaurants.

You can also catch the train (which goes over the causeway bridge).

And finally you can catch a plane to further away points such as Penang, Kuala Lumpor or Kuching.

Singapore and Malaysia have announced a subway which may connect 5 subways stops (to be built) with the Singapore MRT by 2020.

Related: Johor Bahru Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine Complex (CIQ)Singapore to JB bus servicesSingapore and Iskandar MalaysiaChez Papa French Bistro in JB CBDRosmarino Italian Restaurant in JB CBD

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Singapore and Iskandar Malaysia

Singapore’s economic development foresight has been tremendous for decades. Economic development is something where you need to think of the long term. Then you see what routes are available to get there you to the goal. Each country and area has different strengths and weaknesses and those need to be worked with and improved to develop most effectively. What will benefit Singapore 20 years from now is not the same thing that benefits them today. And what worked to boost the economy in 1970 and 1990 are not the same strategies that will work today. This is especially true when your economy is rapidly evolving (as Singapore’s is).

To maximize today, you cater to those currently in power. But to prosper over the long term you need to think ahead. The economic landscape changes rapidly (compared to lifetimes). Look at the Singapore of today versus that of 1970 and 1990. Look at China today versus 1990.

Clayton Christensen has one of the few essentially new management ideas in the last few decades (usually management authors just rewrite old ideas and sell them as new. He has several books on the Innovators Dilemma. It is essentially about how new products and services destroy old profitable businesses. You can chose to hope and fight against it, but it won’t work (see people like the entertainment and publishing industry today – fighting against technology just like they fought against videotape then DVDs… they are just incapable of understanding business). Smart businesses will seek to disrupt their own, current profit centers. Because if they don’t someone else will. But this is hard. Christensen has an excellent book on this: The Innovator’s Solution.

Singapore’s situation is very much like this, I believe. And the government seems smart enough to realize this (which is very rare for governments). Singapore knows the world continues to evolve. And hoping that the economy they have today will just be fine 20 years from now is not going to work. They need to be willing to lose some things today to prepare for tomorrow. It will be messy and certainly political pressure will interfere. It is harder to do at the government level than at a corporate level (and most corporations can’t do it). But I believe, Singapore understands they build the most economic prosperity and stability by partnering with Iskandar and Indonesia incredibly closely. And also partnering with China… Iskandar is the economic development zone in Malaysia, just over the straits from Singapore (connected by 2 bridges).

So I am betting Singapore will make the smart short term moves that means some losses today but great gains over the years. Malaysia is in the nice position today that they will really both gain today and gain tomorrow. It isn’t often you get to enjoy that. There will be some special interests who might lose in the short term or, more likely, might think they are not getting enough of the current benefits and want more. But essentially Malaysia’s trade offs are easy. Singapore’s will mean disrupting current profit centers. But they don’t really have a choice. If they just try to ignore the realities then Malaysia and Indonesia and Vietnam and India and China will disrupt those conditions Singapore currently benefits from and Singapore will not only lose what they have today, but not be in place to benefit from what can be created from the disruption.

Related: Manufacturing in Malaysia: Bahru Stainless Starts ProductionIskandar Housing Real Estate Investment ConsiderationsResidence Pass for Talented Expats

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Paintings From the Museum D’Orsay at the National Museum of Singapore

As I wrote previously the Dreams and Reality exhibit from the Museum D’Orsay at the National Museum of Singapore is excellent. Here are some more photos of a few of the paintings included in the exhibit.

photo of paining by Paul Cézanne: The Bay of Marseille seen from L'Estaque

The Bay of Marseille seen from L'Estaque by Paul Cézanne, 1879

photo of painting by Paul Gauguin: Les Alyscamps

Les Alyscamps by Paul Gauguin, 1888

There is an interesting story behind this painting by Guaguin. Following months of correspondence, Paul Gauguin joined Van Gogh in Arles, France in October 1888. Both were intent on depicting a non-naturalist landscape. The two artists painted some identical subjects to compare their work with each other and chose the site of the Alyscamps to paint and compare.

The painting portrays an ancient Roman cemetery, “Les Alyscamps” or “Elysian Fields” which were located south east of the Roman city walls. It appears that the two men worked together at Les Alyscamps between October 28 and 31, 1888. Van Gogh painted four views, the Les Alyscamps pair and the pair of Falling Autumn Leaves paintings. Gauguin produced two paintings.

Related: Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia in Kuala LumporMetropolitan Museum of Art, New York CityBoston Museum of Fine Arts

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Singapore’s Green Corridor

The 26 km railroad corridor was decommissioned earlier this year. What is left is becoming an enjoyable visit to nature. As in many other countries there is great interest in turning the former railroad into a nature recreation trail. Singapore continues to make very good urban planning choices. It will be interesting to see the decisions the government makes in the next year for the future of the corridor.

Related: Fort Canning ParkMegazip Adventure Park, Sentosa Island

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Jumbo Seafood Restaurant

Jumbo Seafood is a well respected restaurant in Singapore. I have been several times and have found that respect well earned. The food is great. The service is decent but not as good as I would hope for.

Recently I enjoyed a very nice set lunch at S$38 lunch on Clarke Quay (I also took in the Dreams and Reality exhibit at the Singapore Art Museum, that day). Not cheap, but very good value for the cost in my opinion. The meal started with a set of 3 appetizers including chilled jellyfish which interested me. If someone told me the jellyfish was just noodles I would not have know the difference. I can’t say the jellyfish was very tasty, but it was nice to have tried it.

photo of jellyfish and two other appetizers

Jellyfish and two other appetizers at Jumbo Seafood

The corn soup with fresh fungus, and other appetizers where very tasty. The Lobster was also excellent.

photo of lobster tail entre

Lobster tail - which was great.

I realized after I left I never received my Mango pudding (which was suppose to come with the meal). As I mentioned service leaves a bit to be desired. Still the food is easily worth the visit and I look forward to returning.

Related: Chez Papa French Bistro (Johor Bahru)The Village Briyani Cafe (Johor Bahru)

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Dreams and Reality: Museum D’Orsay Exhibit at the National Museum of Singapore

photo of gallery in the Singapore Art Museum, temporary D'Orsay exhibit

Room in the Singapore Art Museum D'Orsay exhibit. All photos are by John Hunter.

The Dreams and Reality exhibit at the National Museum of Singapore (now until 5 February 2012, it opened a few weeks ago) is excellent. Musee D’Orsay is one of my favorite museums; it is located in Paris, with many other great museums including the Louvre.

photo of Edgar Degas painting showing dancers climbing a staircase

Dancers Climbing a Staircase (1886-1890) by Edgar Degas, one of my favorites.

The exhibit includes many exceptional paintings by artists including Van Gogh, Monet, Manet, Degas, Rousseau, Pissarro, Mondrian, Cézanne, Gauguin and Renior (multiple paintings by many of them). I must say I don’t think the Monet and Manet paintings are their best work, but really who am I to judge them. This exhibit is definitely worth a visit for any art lovers in Singapore. If you are traveling to Singapore before February 2012, plan on stoping by to enjoy the paintings.

Related: Curious Cat Travel Photos: museumsCurious Cat Travel Photos: PaintingsTake Action to Your Dreams Come TrueThe Met Museum in NYC

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Don’t Leave Your Dreams Hidden Away, Make Them Come True

Great post by Benny Lewis on why why you (yes, you) can be live overseas and travel. Benny, from Ireland, has been traveling for 8 years now and started with no cash. Another of his posts explains why you don’t have to be rich to travel the world.

This isn’t the life for everybody, but if you want to do it, you can. The challenge is mainly being willing to accept the challenge. I certainly would put the difficulty below what most of our ancestors faced in their lives. At least for me, right now the nomad part is a bit too much. But if you want to give being an expat in Singapore, go ahead and try. Or if you are in Singapore and want to try elsewhere, do that.

Everyone just wants validation, love, security, enjoyment and hopes for a better future.

I believe this. Not only across cultures but across generations. Quit all those posts about generation x,y,z, a, b,c. He has many great points:

Deferring your happiness to the future is a terrible idea…
Spending time exclusively with people who agree with you on everything would never challenge you and allow you to learn so much more…
There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know”…
The Internet is the greatest tool ever available to us, but daily use must be capped…
Don’t take anything for granted. I couldn’t afford to pay for accommodation one night and had to sleep outside on a rock because of it. Ever since then I appreciate having a bed, couch or hammock, no matter how small or where it may be, because I know what it’s like to not have one…
Make sure that every day you have someone (family, friends, lover) to remind you that you are special. If you postpone this part of your life until later, after you get or do that thing you want to do, you will continue in that lonely path indefinitely…

Lots of great stuff. Ok, he is just crazy on some things like capping the amount of internet use; unless he means capping it at about 20 hours a day 🙂 Seriously read this entire post. And think about taking on the challenge of living abroad. It isn’t the easiest thing to do. But our lives our not very long. The value this can bring to your life is huge.

I lived in Singapore and Nigeria as a kid and travelled a great deal with my family. It was wonderful. It was also a big pain at times and I sure complained about it. Now I am living in Malaysia and looking at Singapore out my window. Getting settled has been a bigger hassle than I imagined but I am very happy. And I look forward to traveling around: Singapore, Thailand, China, India, Australia

Finally, living overseas is not going to be something a majority of the people reading this blog do (your kids though, I think a majority may well live outside your country for more than 5 years of their lives – the world is changing). Most of these ideas can be applied in a life where you live right where you are now.

Related: Singapore Ranks Highly as an Expat DestinationNew Graduates Should Live FrugallyHow About Only Enforcing Copyright in a Country if the Owner Allows Citizens Access

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Singapore Marina Bay Sands Skypark

I just realized I can see Marina Bay Sands Skypark from my condo in Johor Bahru. Yes, it is basically a tiny image in the distance still I think it is funny I didn’t notice it until now. It is true when the air quality is not great or heavy rain showers are underway it isn’t visible.

view of the Singapore Sands Skypark in the distance

Distant, 30 km, view of the Singapore Marina Bay Sands Skypark

Since the photo is not exactly perfectly illuminating I’ll add that the skypark is shaped like a giant ship sitting atop 3, 55 story sky scrappers. It tops the Marina Bay Casino in Singapore. Less than 2 years ago Singapore opened 2 casinos (the other is the Resort World Sentosa Casino), those 2 casinos already are more profitable (I believe, if not they are close) than Las Vegas and Macao making it the most profitable gambling mecca in the world.

The skypark costs S$20 to visit. The 340 meter long SkyPark with a capacity of 3,900 people. There is a 150 meter infinity swimming pool pool but it is only available to hotel guests.

Related: Megazip Adventure Park, Sentosa IslandFloating Houses in the Straight Between Johor Bahru and Singapore

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Megazip Adventure Park, Sentosa Island

For those looking for adrenaline rush, Megazip Adventure Park is the best place to go. Featuring various activities that offer different levels of extremity push yourself to the limit and try any one or all the activities in store for you.

Located at the top of Imbiah Hilltops, the park creates a unique and challenging adventure for tourists with guidance from specialists in this field.

This is considered Asia’s most extreme adrenaline pumping zip line experience for adventure hungry tourists. Slide from the top of Imbiah Hill through the jungle canopy of 75 meters high and 450 meters sliding at a speed of 50 kmph.

MegaZip Adventure Park

MegaZip Adventure Park by alantankenghoe

This consists of high rope course where visitors need to cross while at 15 meters above the ground. Cross from one Eucalyptus tree to another while crossing through various rope courses.

Megazip on 26 March 2011

Megazip by 24seven Communications

Overcome your fear of height and fear of falling. The Parajump is developed in UK where visitors will climb up 50 feet from the ground for the dropoff point for the Parajump.

Test you skill in climbing wall with the 16 meter wall climb considered the highest challenging wall climb in Singapore.

Megazip on 26 March 2011 by 24seven Communications

Watch the video to have an idea of what Megazip Adventure has to offer.

Related: Resort World Sentosa, SingaporeBattlestar Galactica: Human vs. Cylon (Universal Studios Park – Sentosa)Fort Canning Park

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Strong Singapore Dollar

The Singapore dollar has been very strong. This is a sign of a strong economy. But it also brings challenges for an economy when its currency appreciates. Competing against companies internationally is more difficult as those wishing to buy Singapore products and services have to pay the increased prices due to the currency appreciation. Often companies will absorb part of the currency increase but that reduce their profit (or forces them to reduce costs – which can mean layoff and reduced pay). Those making Singapore dollars though get the benefit of being able to buy more for the same price – the same S$100 buy 10% more if the currency has risen 10%.

Many countries try to devalue or at least prevent increases in value in their currency as this is often easier for politicians to do than helping move the economy to a new reality. Singapore however has taken serious steps (as you would expect, taking smart economic steps for decades is why their economy is so strong and currency has done so well) to accept that as they will have a stronger currency (especially when they see what Europe and the USA are doing – acting irresponsibly and making it hard to have faith in their currencies).

Here are some charts of the Singapore Dollar (SGD) versus other currencies over the last 12 years.

chart of the Singapor Dollar v. US Dollar 1999-2011

From 1999 to 2011 the Singapore Dollar (SGD) is up 37% v. the US Dollar. And just since January 1st of 2009 it is up 19%.

See the current SGD to USD chart on yahoo. Such a rapid accent in the currency makes it difficult for companies and individuals to react.

chart of SGD v Euro from 1999 to 2011

From 1999 to 2011 the SGD has risen 11% versus the Euro. Since January 1st of 2009 the SGD has risen 15%.

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