Things you need to know before Riding a bike across Malaysia
Malaysians and Singaporeans all know that crossing the causeway can be a daunting affair. Other than the killer traffic jams which can last for hours, crossing the causeway via different transportation options also require some deft navigation.
Yet, the causeway between Singapore and Malaysia remains as one of the busiest crossings in Southeast Asia. The statistics are a little patchy, but data suggests about a quarter million commuters make the land journey between the two countries each day.
If the daily commute is such a nightmare, why would so many Malaysians and Singaporeans still do that?
Reasons include better career prospects in Singapore and lower cost of living in Malaysia. As such, it makes economic sense for Malaysians to continue living in Malaysia for lower living costs and earn a higher salary here in Singapore. Many Singaporeans are also increasingly open to the idea of living in Malaysia as they can afford bigger houses and still stay relatively close to their home country.
As such, daily commute across the causeway means you will have to anticipate being stuck for a long time, which is also why many prefer to ride a motorbike since it means you can probably try to “wriggle” your way through at a slightly faster pace, albeit more dangerously.
If you are considering moving to Malaysia to enjoy the cost savings and commute to work here on a daily basis, or if you are a Malaysian thinking of doing the same, here are some essential information you’ll need to know first.
While it makes sense to get a Malaysian-registered motorbike for the obvious cost savings, Singaporeans are not allowed to buy a Malaysian-registered motorcycle for use in Singapore. You’ll thus have to still buy a locally-registered bike.
On the other hand, any person who holds a Work Pass issued by Ministry of Manpower, who is also not a resident of Singapore (Malaysian in this case), may drive a foreign-registered vehicle in Singapore only if ALL these conditions are met:
- He is the registered owner of the vehicle.
- He resides outside Singapore.
- He has a valid insurance certificate and road tax to use the vehicle on Singapore roads.
- The vehicle is kept or used outside Singapore for a total period of 6 hours or more every day.
- The vehicle has an Autopass Card to validate its entry/ exit at Woodlands and Tuas Checkpoints and to pay for VEP/ toll charges.
Additionally, all foreign-registered motorcycles are required to pay Vehicle entry Permit (VEP) fees for each day the vehicles are kept or used in Singapore. The VEP fees are S$4 for foreign-registered motorcycles per day. Motorists can drive into Singapore for 10 VEP-free days per calendar year. There will be no fees if you enter Singapore on weekends and public holidays, as well as Mondays to Fridays from 5pm to 2am.
Entering Singapore – Motorcycle Insurance Coverage
Before entering Singapore, you are required to have:
- a valid insurance coverage for your vehicle for the duration of your vehicle’s stay in Singapore.
- an Autopass Card
The vehicle can stay in Singapore for a maximum of 14 days. Apply for an extension if you need to keep the vehicle in Singapore beyond 14 days. This applies if your motorcycle is registered in Malaysia.
For Singaporeans living in Malaysia and owning a local motorbike, it makes sense to get a motorcycle insurance here which also gives you coverage in Malaysia. Directasia’s motorcycle insurance costs as low as 28 cents per day, and covers you when you ride your motorcycle in Singapore, West Malaysia and Southern Thailand (Within 80km of the border between Thailand and Malaysia.)
Practical aspects to consider
Time or money? This is often a tough choice for many to make. Choosing to live in Malaysia and work in Singapore means you’ll likely have better career prospects, earn more and spend less due to the exchange rate. The downside is obviously, the loss of personal time since you will likely spend at least 2 hours just on commuting. Other factors that can affect your decision might be schooling options for your kids, safety, as well as quality of life.
Is it worth it? Only you can decide.