Woodlands Vs Tuas Checkpoint: Which Is Better For Singaporeans Entering Malaysia?

Tuas vs Woodlands Checkpoint

If going to Malaysia were an Olympic sport, Singaporeans would win Gold. Think about the last time you went to Johor Bahru: shopping malls and JB cafes would certainly come to mind. But chances are, so would the notorious traffic jams.

Asking other Singaporeans not to go is out of the question, obviously. So the real question is: how can you avoid the jam otherwise? Apart from avoiding peak hours, you can also play it smart by choosing the right causeway to use. Here’s the breakdown of Tuas vs Woodlands Checkpoint.

The case for Tuas Checkpoint

Also known as the CIQ 2nd Link, Tuas is the less frequented causeway but could still be the superior choice for you, depending on your destination and whether or not you choose to drive.

Less traffic jam

Image credit: Jalan Now

The maths is simple. Tuas is ulu, and ulu = less crowded. Ask any frequent traveller to JB and they’ll tell you that Tuas often has less traffic congestion. It’s clearly the better choice if you just want to get across without spending hours sitting in the car – keyword is “just”.

For those planning to visit JB’s many malls, the city centre is about a 30 minute drive from the CIQ 2nd Link – quite a bit of a distance! If you’re coming via this causeway, we’ll recommend exploring the myriad of things to do in Gelang Patah instead.

Public transport options are much fewer here with Causeway Link (CW Link) and Transtar (TS) buses being the main options:

Tuas Link MRT station: CW7 (to Hotel Ramada)
Jurong East Private Bus Pickup: CW3 (to Perling Mall), CW4 (to Pontian Bus Terminal), and CW4S (to Sutera Mall)
Boon Lay MRT Station: CW6 (to Taman Nusa Bestari)
Star vista: TS6 (to Gelang Patah Bus Terminal)

Quicker immigration clearance

You’ll know the horrors of standing in immigration for hours on end if you’ve ever tried crossing Woodlands Causeway during peak hours. Ever tried the journey on a Public Holiday eve? That’s 3-6 hours of being on your feet in a very crowded room.

The good news is that the footfall at Tuas is lower, meaning less standing in line which could be a great option for those with weak knees, or easily-tired legs.

Bigger lanes for bikes

For the few among us heading up by bike for the first time, the immigration lanes are much wider at Tuas. For bikes with wider wheels, you’re better off using Tuas Checkpoint, which has lanes that are easier to drive through without any hobbling and bobbling.

Here’s the JB CIQ (Woodlands) lane, notorious for being extra narrow and difficult to get through:

Narrow lanes at JB CIQ.
Video adapted from: ZWC via Youtube

Besides, as of August 2023, Tuas Checkpoint has 30 new automated lanes added on weekday mornings, with immigration reported to be cleared 25 minutes faster. 

Better for going to other parts of Malaysia

Clearer roads once you cross the causeway.
Image credit: Vlog Cuộc Sống Quanh Ta via Google Maps

There’s a reason why most SG-Malaysia tour buses choose to use the Tuas Causeway. Once you enter Malaysia, the roads aren’t as congested as the ones around JB CIQ, making it a smoother drive to the highway and onwards.

For those heading up to destinations like Genting Highlands, Kuala Lumpur, or Malacca, using this causeway can mean a smoother journey.

The case for Woodlands Checkpoint

Cheaper entry cost for cars

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a charge for crossing the Causeway. Woodlands Checkpoint is the cheaper of the two at S$6.50 for a return trip. To travel through Tuas Checkpoint, it costs S$9.90 for a return journey.

Woodlands Checkpoint cost: S$6.50
Singapore to Malaysia: S$0.80 + RM20(~S$5.70)
Malaysia to Singapore: Free

Tuas Checkpoint cost: S$9.90
Singapore to Malaysia: S$2.10 + RM20 (~S$5.70)
Malaysia to SIngapore: S$2.10

It doesn’t affect your budget much if you’re doing a 1-time trip but you may want to take it into consideration for more frequent journeys. 

Easier & quicker access to JB’s key attractions

Skyscape – located a short walking distance from the Woodlands Causeway. 

Once you’ve crossed the border into Malaysia, you’re basically in the heart of JB. There are many things to do near the causeway that you can explore even on foot. Hotels, massages, restaurants, and hair salons are largely within a 30 minutes’ drive away. 

Despite the higher likelihood of traffic jams, some JB vacationers still say they’d rather use the Woodlands Checkpoint. The extra time in line can be comparable to the longer time needed to drive from Tuas to JB city centre. 

The better choice for non-drivers for JB trips

Image credit: Land Transport Guru

If you don’t have a car, Woodlands Causeway definitely takes the cake. While a handful of public buses go through Tuas Checkpoint, Woodlands offers both the KTM Shuttle Tebrau train service and a wider range of accessible bus services with pickups available across Singapore including CW Link, SBS, and SG-JB buses you can book on Grab, .

Not to mention, once you cross immigration, you’ll be a stone’s throw away from JB Sentral where you can easily call a Grabcar or take a local bus to get to you your desired destination. 

Is Woodlands or Tuas checkpoint better for Singaporeans?

As much as we’d love to give a straightforward answer, it really depends. Let’s break it down into 2 case studies:

Case Study A

Say you’re Specimen A called Natalie, who loves to go to JB every once in a while with her friends. She stays in Tampines – on the other side of the country from Tuas. Natalie’s itinerary involves cafe hopping – Keijometo is a must – and swinging by a nail salon in KSL City Mall. To top it all off, she doesn’t drive and also doesn’t have a friend she can tompang a ride with.

Answer: If you’re like Natalie, definitely choose Woodlands Checkpoint. Book a KTM Shuttle Tebrau train in advance, or take a bus – the popular CW Link picks you up from locations like Queens Street Bus Terminal, Kranji MRT, and Newton Circus, and takes you through the causeway. 

Case Study B

Now, let’s take a look at Specimen B – we’ll call him Marcus. Marcus is a family man who owns a car, and has 2 kids that will burst out crying whenever someone honks in a jam. Plus, his wife is motion sick. Instead of jostling with the crowd in JB, his family would much rather explore other attractions such as Kluang in Johor, Legoland Theme Park, and Sunway Big Box.

Answer: If you’re Marcus, Tuas Checkpoint will offer a smoother journey. Just try to avoid departing on Friday nights or Saturday mornings when the jam is at its worst. It’s best if you consider taking PM off on Friday to leave at noon, before traffic gets bad. 

Getting from Singapore to Malaysia

With all the insane traffic jams that make it to the news, the conversation of best ways to get to Malaysia is always a hot topic amongst those of us who love a cross-border adventure. Now that you can make a more informed decision, you should be able to pick the “better” causeway for your next trip.

Don’t forget these other forms of transport that can help you skip the jam:

Cover image adapted from: Wikipedia
Originally published 11th December 2023.

Kezia Tan

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