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singapore to kl driving guide

Ultimate Singapore To KL Road Trip Guide – Where To Stop & What To Do Along The Way

Guide to driving from Singapore to KL

So you’re itching for an adventure, but aren’t keen on going through the hassle of air travel. You’ve got your car and your loved ones, and you’re yearning for the open road. A road trip to Kuala Lumpur, it is. 

Whether you frequently head up to the capital city of Malaysia or just want a road trip experience close to home, we’ve got you covered. This road trip guide to driving from Singapore to KL will help get you started.

– Things to know before driving from Singapore to KL –

Can I drive my Singapore car to Malaysia? 

4 people in a car

Yes, you can! Even if you don’t own a car, it doesn’t mean you can’t experience what it’s like to drive from Singapore to KL. 

For one, you can rent a car in JB, and then drive up to KL. Or, rent a car in Singapore itself to drive up. Some services such as Tribecar, WhizzCar, and myCarriage allow you to rent cars to drive to Malaysia. Although, you’ll find it cheaper to rent a car in JB. 

What should I prepare for a road trip to Malaysia?

1. Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP)

Vehicle Entry Permit RFID tag
Stick your VEP onto your windshield.
Image credit: @francispeh via Instagram

First off, you have to get a Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP). Simply apply for a VEP online and pay the RM10 (~S$2.87) registration fee and RM30 (~S$8.61) service fee

You’ll then have to wait for a confirmation email from The Ministry of Transport Malaysia (Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan Malaysia), with details on how to get your VEP RFID tag. You can choose to collect it in Johor, or have it delivered to your home in Singapore which costs about RM15 (~S$4.31). The tag will be valid for 5 years, so go ahead and register for a VEP well ahead of your trip.

P.S. Be sure to apply for a VEP by 1st October 2024 as you may be denied entry into Malaysia otherwise.

2. Touch ‘n Go (TNG) eWallet or card

Touch 'n Go eWallet
Image adapted from: Touch ‘n Go

Once that’s done, download the Touch ‘n Go (TNG) eWallet and link your VEP account to it. Each time you enter Malaysia, you’ll need to pay a Road Charge (RC) of RM20 (~S$5.75). So you can prepare by topping up your TNG eWallet beforehand. Note that if you do this, you should also be able to use the RFID lane for tolls on Malaysian highways. 

We recommend topping up your TNG eWallet with at least RM80-RM100 (~S$22.90-S$28.65) to pay for the RC and tolls as the toll charges to KL are about RM50 (~S$14.35) each way. You may also need enough balance to go through toll gantries around KL. 

You can also get a physical TNG card that’ll be very useful to pay for parking charges at shopping malls. The card costs RM10 (~S$2.87) and does not contain any credit, so you’ll have to top it up to use it. You can buy one at select petrol stations, 7-Eleven outlets, and Cheers outlets in Singapore – though, it’s unclear exactly which ones stock them. You can also order one at slightly hiked-up prices on eCommerce platforms like Shopee, Lazada, and Carousell. 

3. Singapore Driving License

If you hold a Singapore Driving License, the good news is that you can use it to drive around Malaysia. As long as you’re not staying in the country for more than 90 days, you don’t need an international driver’s license. 

4. Passport 

Singapore Passport

This one’s pretty obvious. As with any trip outside of Singapore, do ensure that your passport has a validity of at least 6 months when you enter Malaysia. 

On that note, if you frequent Malaysia by land, consider applying for Malaysian e-gate access. It’ll allow you to go through the auto-gates for speedier clearance. 

How long is the drive from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur? 

Screenshot of the driving route from Singapore to KL
Screenshot from: Google Maps

If you’re planning to drive straight from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, the most straightforward route would be the North-South Expressway (Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan). This route is about 350km long, and takes about 4-5 hours on average, depending on your driving speed and how many stops you make. 

Note that during festive seasons and public holidays, there may be heavy traffic on the highway which may result in a longer travel time. 

– Driving from Singapore to KL –

Rest stops between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur

singapore to kl driving guide - rest stop signboard
Image credit: Skudai R&R

It’s recommended to stop at least every 2 hours if you’re driving over long distances. Each stop should entail a break of at least 30 minutes to freshen up, walk around, take a bathroom break, and fuel up on some grub. The good news is that there are plenty of well-equipped rest stops and petrol stations en route to KL and back. 

Here are some to take note of: 

1. Petronas Toll Skudai Northbound

If you’re not stopping in Johor Bahru and heading right down the highway from Woodlands Checkpoint, you’ll encounter the Skudai rest stop about 1 hour into your journey.

  • Location: About 25km from Woodlands Checkpoint (~45-minute to 1-hour drive depending on traffic).
  • F&B: Burger King and Starbucks.
  • Notable facilities: EV charging stations

Be sure to also stop at the Starbucks Skudai R&R DT (South Bound) rest stop on the way back from KL to Singapore. It’s got a huge Family Mart housed in a glasshouse, and eco-friendly toilets.

2. R&R Gelang Patah Arah Utara

singapore to kl driving guide - gelang patah rest stop
Image adapted from: Kay Azman via Google Maps

For those heading in from Tuas Checkpoint, the northbound stop at Gelang Patah is perfect for those who want to have a cup of coffee and fuel up on breakfast before their long drive ahead. 

  • Location: About 8.4km from Tuas Checkpoint (~15-minute drive). 
  • F&B: Burger King, local food, snacks, and fruits.
  • Notable facilities: TNG reload kiosks, simcard booths, myNews convenience store, and a playground.

3. R&R Machap Utara Northbound

With its long row of local food stalls, the Machap rest stop is a popular one. If you’ve got restless kids in tow, you’ll find some respite at the handicraft shop and playground. You might also want to stop here for a short break if you plan to detour to Kluang.

  • Location: 80.5km from Gelang Patah rest stop (1-hour 4-minute drive) and 60.7km from the Skudai rest stop (~1 hour drive).
  • F&B: Ramly burger, local food and snacks, and Baskin Robins, and Daily Fresh waffles, corn, and ice cream.
  • Notable facilities: A handicraft store, simcard booths, TNG reload kiosks, and a playground.

4. R&R Pagoh Northbound

singapore to kl driving guide - pagoh rest stop
Image adapted from: Md Hafiz Selamat via Google Maps

By the time you reach the Pagoh rest stop, you’ll be about halfway through your journey towards KL. You may want to stop here for a break if you plan to exit at Malacca. 

  • Location: 71.8km from Machap rest stop (~50-minute drive)
  • F&B: Local food stalls.
  • Notable facilities: Fresh fruit stalls and a playground. 

The southbound Pagoh rest stop en route back to Singapore has much more facilities to offer. Consider stopping here to get your final dose of Ramly burger, KFC, Pizza Hut, and Baskin Robins before driving back to Singapore. 

5. R&R Ayer Keroh (Northbound)

You’ll encounter the Ayer Keroh rest stop after passing Malacca. It’s got plenty of options for local food if you need to fuel up for the journey ahead. 

  • Location: 63.8km from Pagoh rest stop (~1-hour drive).
  • F&B: Local food stalls and restaurants.
  • Notable facilities: Pay-per-use massage chairs.

6. R&R Seremban Northbound

Ramly Burger
Get a freshly-prepared Ramly Burger at this rest stop.
Image for illustrative purposes only.
Image credit: Eatbook

You’re almost in KL! The city centre is just about an hour’s drive from the Seremban rest stop. So, no surprise that this stop is decked out with more food options than the rest. 

  • Location: 62.8km from Ayer Keroh rest stop (~40-minute drive).
  • F&B: Ramly burgers, McDonald’s, A&W, Burger King, Pappa Rich Express, Daily Fresh ice cream and waffles, and an onsite Indian Muslim restaurant.
  • Notable facilities: Fresh fruit stalls, Burger King drive-through, EV charging stations.

Consider stopping at the equally happening southbound Seremban rest stop for more A&W before you drive back to Singapore. 

Tips & things to take note of when stopping at rest stops

singapore to kl driving guide - driver looking out open car window

Driving up to a rest stop and stepping out to stretch your legs may seem like a no-brainer, but there are some things to take note of when you’re taking to the roads in Peninsular Malaysia. 

For one, NEVER leave any handbags, backpacks, laptops, and valuables on your car seats or within the view of passers-by. It’s safest to stow them in your boot before you leave your previous destination. Do also park your car at a more visible spot, if you can. And obviously, ensure your car doors are locked.

Besides the major R&Rs, there are also smaller rest stops along the highway, however, they may not have petrol stations. Note that these stops are often quieter, with fewer staff and travellers present, so do be wary of your surroundings at all times. 

Note that some washrooms might require an entrance fee of about RM0.20-RM0.50 (~S$0.5-S$0.15). 

Lastly, rest stops are fantastic for stocking up on snacks for your roadtrip. You can likely find a great selection of local fruits, curry puffs, and keropok to munch on. 

How many days do you need in Kuala Lumpur? 

singapore to kl driving guide - batu caves
Batu Caves.

The world is your oyster, really. But if we had to pick a number, we recommend spending at least 3 days and 2 nights in Kuala Lumpur. That gives you more than enough time to shop to your heart’s content at malls in KL, feast your way through all the great local food in town, wind down at a spa, visit the famous Batu Caves, and fill your schedule with the many things to do in KL.

Of course, if you’re planning to find things to do outside of KL, you could very well spend more than 4 days in the city. Since you have a car at your disposal, consider continuing your road trip northwards to Ipoh and Penang. 

Where should I stop between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur? 

If you’ve got time and an adventurous spirit, you might want to turn your drive from Singapore to KL into a weeklong road trip. There’s plenty to see and do along the way, besides Johor Bahru and KL itself. Here are some options to consider:

1. Kluang – Farms & coffee

Life in Singapore can get hectic, so we don’t blame you if all you’re looking for is some peace and quiet. Known for its farms and local coffee, Kluang is well-equipped to help you forget all your stress. 

Talula Hill Farm Resort outdoor view
Talula Hill Farm Resort.
Image credit: @n.a.n.i.h.a.n.a.n.i via Instagram

Stay a night or two at Talula Hill Farm Resort to wake up to the sight of rolling hills and the sound of bleating goats. Other farms worth visiting are Zenxin Organic Park to see how fresh veggies are grown and UK Farm for its friendly goats and ostriches. 

A must-visit, though, is The Original Kluang Rail Coffee for authentic kopitiam eggs, toast, and coffee. Coffee lovers can also see how their favourite beans are processed at the Kluang Coffee Powder Factory

For more inspiration, consider these other road trip destinations in Johor

Recommended duration: 1-2 days

2. Malacca – Historical sites & markets

A stop at Malacca is a no-brainer when it comes to road trips from Singapore to KL. After all, this historical city is right smack in the middle of your journey. 

View from The Shore Sky Tower
The Shore Sky Tower.
Image credit: @tatiksrirhyu via Instagram

That said, a visit to Jonker Street for cendol, chicken rice balls, and souvenir shopping is an easy one to check off your list. Besides walking through historical sites, another great way to see the city is from the observation deck of The Shore Sky Tower. Just prep yourself if you’re afraid of heights because there’s a viewing platform that’s made almost completely of clear glass.

Animal lovers can also pen down a date with friendly doggos at The Huskitory, a husky cafe with the most adorable residents you’ll ever meet. 

Check out these hotels in Malacca while you’re there.

Recommended duration: 1-2 days 

3. Port Dickson – Beach & outdoor activities

The sleepy coastal town of Port Dickson isn’t quite on everyone’s radar, but it’s a good detour if you like being in the great outdoors. 

For one, it’s got a handful of beaches that are great for picnics. Besides the main beach, Pantai Bagan Pinang, there’s a quieter beach Pantai Bayu that’s nice for strolling around – there’s a mangrove boardwalk that links to a small island and watch tower here.

View from the peak of Tanjung Tuan Recreational Forest
The view from Tanjung Tuan Recreational Forest.
Image credit: @mannequion via Instagram

A hidden gem here, though, is Tanjung Tuan Recreational Forest. You’ll find hiking trails that lead to a lighthouse, the ruins of an old well, and vantage points for killer views of the surrounding sea. 

For vacay vibes, check out these hotels in Port Dickson.

Recommended duration: 1-2 days

4. Putrajaya – Glossy capital with modern architecture

Those with an appreciation for beautiful architecture will have plenty to see in Putrajaya, the federal administrative centre of Malaysia. Some notable buildings include the Iron Mosque and the Putra Mosque, made all the more dramatic with the Putrajaya Lake in the background. 

Astaka Morocco in the Putrajaya botanic gardens
Astaka Morocco in Taman Botani Putrajaya.
Image credit: @malaysian_2020 via Instagram

The Taman Botani Putrajaya (botanical gardens) is also a popular spot for wedding photoshoots. Take a stroll around to admire the manicured lawns and pavilions inspired by traditional architecture.

Recommended duration: 1 day  

Plan a road trip by driving from Singapore to KL

If you’ve ever had the chance to take a road trip in other countries such as Australia and Europe, then a road trip from Singapore to KL won’t be disappointing. Take it from those who’ve driven up – the highways and major rest stops are well-maintained, and you’ll get glorious views of greenery and hills en route. 

Plus, if you wish to make it a longer trip, there are towns you can explore on the way. All you have to do is bookmark this guide, and you’re good to go. 

Here are more articles to help you plan for your KL trip: 

Article originally published on 24th November 2023. Last updated on 30th May 2024.