Malacca is located 145 km south of the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur with modern expressways connecting the two cities. It is a further 214 km down on to Johor Bahru on the southernmost tip of mainland Malaysia which borders Singapore on the other side of the causeway. Malaysia has great public transport links that connect the whole country. From flying, trains and road transport it makes moving around the country so easy and cheap. A bus is the most popular and convenient way to get to and from Malacca and that was our preferred method. A quick taxi ride from our hotel and we were at the long distance bus station.
Malacca to Johor Bahru
Legoland is close to Johor Bahru in the south of Malaysia, almost on the Singapore Border. Our post covers ways of getting from Malacca to Legoland and Johor Bahru.
Getting From Malacca to Johor Bahru by Bus
Malacca Sentral Bus Station
Sentral bus station in Malacca is where all long distance buses leave and arrive. Located about 5 km from Jonker street where most tourists stay it is a short taxi ride. Just ask for Sentral bus station and the taxi driver will understand. It is a modern building that houses all the different bus operators in window booths. The buses are located outside in clearly marked bays making it easy to both buy tickets and find your bus. Prices are displayed in Malaysian ringet and most only accept cash.
There isn’t a need to book this route as so many buses ply the route and even the Singapore bound buses will stop on occasion giving even more options. We just circled the booths to find the next available. A lovely bus was heading all the way to Singapore and it left in 20 minutes. 4 tickets cost us $25 US from Malacca to Johor Bahru.
JB Larkin Bus Station, Johor Bahru
A comfortable ride saw us enter the JB Larkin bus terminal about 3 hours later. Most journeys take from 2.5 hours to 3 depending on traffic and time of day. There aren’t usually stops en route so make sure you don’t need the restroom before you board.
JB Larkin is the name of the bus station in Johor Bahru and it is a much bigger and older complex located a couple of km out of town. Nearly all the interstate buses leave and arrive from here. Unfortunately, you’ll actually want to go to JB Sentral Bus Station which is much bigger and has many more options for local buses and the train across to Singapore. Depending on where your hotel is located and how many of you there are taking a taxi from here will save the hassle of another local bus or two. Worth the extra money if you have bags.
JB Sentral Station
This massive building houses both the local buses, some regional buses and the train station that heads north to Kuala Lumper and beyond and also has shuttle trains across into Singapore. In terms of connections, this is much better suited than the out of town JB Larkin station but few buses will terminate or start here due to the traffic and possible cost.
There is an impressive mall that is built above the train and bus station which you can get lost in as you make your way outside to where some of the local buses leave from. Take note that if you are catching local buses further afield you may find yours leave from the outside of the mall on the adjacent street.
I’d recommend catching a taxi and saving yourself the hassle once you arrive in Johor Bahru. Taxis aren’t expensive but make sure they use their meter and don’t try and rip you off. The only issues I’ve had in Malaysia with taxis were in Johor Bahru. If you have data on your phone then you can also use Uber or Grab which make it easier getting from A to B without having to translate.
Getting From Malacca to Johor Bahru by Taxi Car
This is the easiest method but also the most expensive. Most taxis won’t drive all the way to Johor Bahru as they won’t be allowed. Hire car companies will drive to Johor Bahru but you’ll pay a premium for the pleasure. Most quoted prices are around the $200 US mark which is a significant price increase on 4 bus tickets.
It is worth noting that it won’t save much time as it is expressway from start to finish and the only advantage is that you’ll be going door to door and avoiding the hassle of getting to and from the bus stations at either end. I personally don’t recommend this method but if you’re feeling rich and have 3 other people to share it may work out for you.
Getting From Malacca to Johor Bahru by Plane
Malacca does have an international airport but it isn’t serviced by many airlines and in particular, doesn’t fly to Johor Bahru. It does fly north to Penang and Indonesia but that is about it for now.
Air Asia is trying to get permission to use the airport but as of the end of 2017 that hadn’t been granted. Johor Bahru does have a well serviced airport which flies to numerous destinations across Asia. Kuala Lumpur would be the closest airport to Malacca and you can get direct buses from there. It is about 80 minutes north of Malacca.
Getting From Malacca to Johor Bahru by Train
Unfortunately, Malacca isn’t on the Malaysian rail network but lies 38 km west of Tampin Station which connects with Johor Bahru and also Kuala Lumpur. You would need to catch a taxi from Tampin railway station which would be approximately $25 US. Plenty of taxis waiting at the station so you won’t need to look too hard. JB Sentral Station is where the trains start and terminate in Johur Bahru.
Unless you really like trains I would stick with the bus which is quicker and cheaper and in most cases more reliable. Journey time on the KTM trains are 5 hours and will cost between $4-5 US second class seat A/C. This is almost twice as long as the bus and you’ll still be 38 km outside of Malacca.
As a point of interest apparently there was a train from Tampin station to Malacca but it was ripped up and taken to build the death railway in Thailand. It was never rebuilt or repaired after the war.
Best Places to Stay in Johor Bahru for Legoland
Legoland isn’t centrally located in Johor Bahru and you’ll need to either take a taxi or bus to the park. It is 20 km from JB Sentral on the way out of town to the second link expressway with Singapore.
For this reason, I’d recommend staying closer to the park to save time each day. There isn’t much to see in Johur Bahru compared to other places in Malaysia so you won’t be missing anything.
My pick would have to be the Legoland Resort which is located next to the park. Perfect for families and so convenient for both parks. Check prices here.
There are also a large number of hostels and Airbnbs in the local area that make a perfect base. We have personally stayed in the Warm Blanket Hostel in Bukit Indah which was very close to the park, about a 10 minute taxi ride and also close to a large shopping mall giving us the best of both worlds. Check prices here.
A taxis or Uber is by far the simplest and most efficient way to get to and from Legoland. Just be aware that if you leave at closing time there may be a wait for taxis leaving the park. We didn’t have to wait too long and found that the bus had a much longer waiting time.
If you do decide to stay in town there are both public buses that run from JB Larkin Bus terminal and from JB Sentral Station to Legoland. The bus number is LM1. The frequency can be a bit hit and miss and while cheap enough after a long day at the park I’m not sure you’d want to fight your way on to the bus.