Trains, Planes & Rideshares,  Asia,  Destinations,  Malaysia,  Travel Diary

From Johor Bahru to Kuala Lumpur by Causeway Link Bus | Overland Travel

Taking the bus between cities in Malaysia is super easy and CHEAP– though not without its own difficulties. This time I went from Johor Bahru to Kuala Lumpur on a bus journey of less than 5 hours. I decided to try out Causeway Link, a popular cross-border bus that makes runs between Singapore and Malaysia– but also goes up to Kuala Lumpur in less time than the other bus companies.

I booked my ticket for about 35RM / $7.50 USD and took a Grab to the bus terminal for about $2 USD.

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Larkin Sentral Bus Terminal

Line to get boarding pass.

It’s hot, crowded, a little confusing and you have to pay to use the toilets, but JB Larkin at least has some nice features: they have computers to buy bus tickets from, the waiting area is behind an electronic gate, and there’s several good food options, including a couple minimarts.

Even if you buy your ticket online, or at the terminal IN the station, you have to go to the counter and get a paper boarding pass for 2RM. It’s complete nonsense, but the fee goes towards the maintenance of the station (I guess) so they make everyone pay it. This is a CASH ONLY transaction, by the way. If you forgot to get cash beforehand, there’s some ATMs on the ground floor beside JB PHOTOSHOP you can use.

I was lucky because the line to the boarding pass counters was almost totally empty, but on holidays and weekends it can get super crowded. I noticed a separate line for “emergency” boarding passes– if you bus is leaving in less than 15 minutes, you can “skip the line” and get a pass ASAP.

Once you get your pass, you still can’t go into the waiting area until 30 minutes before your departure time. This is the perfect opportunity to grab some snacks from the minimart next to the waiting area and a coffee from Dunkin Donuts.

Larkin Sentral Waiting Area

Gate B

Air conditioning, hallelujah!

There’s no bathrooms or food stalls or vending machines inside the waiting area, but plenty of chairs to sit and stare at the departure board while you wait for your bus to show up.

Basically: your bus will park in a designated bay and that bay will have a Gate attached to it (A, B, or C gate). Ideally, everyone would leave through their gate and get right into the correct bay with their bus…but instead, we all leave through Gate B. It’s the only one with staff and electronic gates and whatnot; the other two are totally shut off from public use.

Keep an eye on the departure board inside the waiting area. Your bus may be moved to a different bay depending on who’s running late, and the board will have the correct info on it.

When your bus arrives and starts boarding, the departure board will update with the correct info. I found it to be relatively up-to-date. Staff will also call out bus companies and destinations whenever they start boarding, but it’ll be in Malaysian and you may not recognize it if you don’t speak the language. 😉

Causeway Link Express Bus

This is a double-decker bus with a 1 seat – 2 seat row configuration. If you purchase a ticket ahead of time you can select your seat. I booked a single seat with a good window view!

Things to note re:luggage:

  • The Causeway Link online FAQ thing says everyone gets 2 pieces of luggage up to 15kg total, but nobody weighed anything and the driver didn’t say anything when some people put, like, 3 bags into the hold. As long as it’s not obviously totally oversized, it should be okay.
  • The luggage hold is on the left side of the bus towards the back, above the wheels. It’s fairly high up– and we all had to lift our own luggage into the hold. It’s shorter than an airplane’s interior luggage hold but higher than a normal bus luggage hold.
  • The bus interior did NOT have an overhead shelf for backpacks or other bags, so you have to keep it down by your feet.

My bus didn’t have USB plugs, unfortunately, so it was good that I brought my portable charging block. Also, the bus leaked when it rained for 30 minutes partway into the journey and my backpack got wet (ugh). But otherwise it was very comfortable, with amazingly powerful air con and decent seats.

We left about 11:00 am (a mere 5 minutes late) from JB Larkin and arrived at TBS Kuala Lumpur around 3:30 pm. We had one rest stop at Kawasan Rehat & Rawat Ayer Keroh (just north of Malacca) for 15 minutes. The total trip time was roughly 4.5 hours!

Final Thoughts

A very easy bus ride with few problems! It’s not as fancy as some of the other bus companies, but it was easy to use and I liked that it kept on time and arrived within the correct window. The only thing I didn’t like was the luggage hold– it’s just a little too high for me to use comfortably with a full suitcase.

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Anastasia is a former librarian turned digital nomad. She's been traveling the world full time for two years and has visited 18 countries so far! Just Gone Wandering is a travel resource for solo female travelers on a backpacker's budget-- or slightly more-- and highlights amazing places to visit as well as providing tips and tricks for traveling smart and frugal. Read more...

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