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Madness at the Singapore/Malaysia Border

By on June 15, 2015 in Malaysia, Singapore

Living only 5 – 6 miles (7 – 10 km) from the Singapore border is great if you want to ‘pop’ over to Singapore for the weekend (we used to pop over for decent back bacon and cheese), plus it has the advantage of cheaper lifestyle in Malaysia. However, getting across that border can be a real pain, and over the last three years I have experienced crossings that have taken only 30 minutes (two immigration checks and one lot of customs), and other crossings that have taken 3 to 4 hours. The real problem is you never know how long it will take and so planning your trip to meet people (e.g. for dinner, or an airport pickup or drop-off) can be almost impossible. By what time do you need to set out?

Today, I encountered something that I have never seen before. I was entering Singapore via the Woodlands Crossing (this is the old original causeway crossing), and for some reason, Singapore Customs had decided to funnel eight lanes of cars down to one, and this caused huge tailbacks and untold stress to drivers. These delays weren’t due to staff shortages as there were lots of staff scanning cars as they exited customs. Why do this? I can only assume that they were looking for someone or something.

Actions like this by the Singapore customs make life difficult as you can never plan for your crossing. Will it take 40 minutes? 90 minutes or 4 hours?

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Nick's continued wanderings can be followed on Twitter: @nickswanderings.
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