Crossing An International Border In Luxury & Style

Sense of Adventure – Check

Passport – Check

Ticket – Errr, let’s get it on the spot.

When is the boat leaving? Don’t know, whenever it’s full…

So, Hayley and Phil, where were you going this time? Pangerang!

Where on earth is that? In Malaysia, not far away from Singapore.  Even many of the local Singaporeans would be asking the same question. So for everyone’s benefit, here is the map:

pangerang map

This post is more on how we got there and back. For our adventure in Pangerang, check out our next blog post, but here’s the cheeky preview for you all.

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So how did you get there and back?

First of all, you need to go to the Changi Point Ferry Terminal in the far east of Singapore. The ferry terminal is only a short walk from Changi Village and indoor hawker centre.

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Get there early and expect a long wait. The boat (or locally known as bum boat) does not have a fixed schedule and only run when it is full or when the boatman receives a fare that is equivalent to 12 passengers, which is the number of people they are licensed to carry. On the Singaporean side we waited at least 45 minutes till there were 10 people and  we all agreed to split the remainder of the boat fare to avoid anymore waiting.

There are two types of boats operating this route, fibre glass boat (S$13 / passenger) and wooden boat (S$11 / passenger). But you don’t really have the choice. It’s whatever bum boat that turns up. On the way out, we got a fibre glass boat and on the way back a wooden boat. I can assure you that the latter one was far more exciting way to travel.

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A fibre glass boat and a wooden boat moored up next to each other.

At the Singaporean ferry terminal:

When you get there, head straight to the counter and give your passport to the boat dispatcher. These guys will hang on to them until the boat is ready to leave. I know what ‘s you are thinking… “that’s dodgy”. Actually, this is the way to keep tab on who’s on next boat and also they are legally required to submit a boat manifest to the immigration before you board.

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Just wait at the seating area next to the counter and wait for your turn to board
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When you get on the fibre glass boat, just chill and enjoy the scenery. The island we sailed pass belong exclusively to the Singapore military for training the new recruits. Apparently, it is mandatory to all young male Singaporean citizens to serve in the military for at least 18 months. However, if a person is deemed as obese by an army doctor or unfit when he is conscripted, he will have to serve for at least 3 months extra. What an incentive to get fit.

When you get to Malaysia:

All bum boats drop their passengers at Tanjung Pengelih for which you need to get off and clear immigration before you can head on to Pangerang by taxi.

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Ferry Terminal at Tanjung Pengelih
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This was what the immigration and customs clearance hall looks like. There was only one officer on duty. One of the most chilled out border post we came across.
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Welcome sign at the arrival hall

We were lucky to be travelling with a Singaporean family who we met on the bum boat. The lady sorted out a taxi for us and we travelled together to the nearest town, which was Pangerang. Originally we thought it was 5 km drive but it turned out to much further than we thought. It was at least 30 mins drive. Even we ordered the taxi at the ferry terminal in the Malaysian side when we arrived, we still had to wait for nearly an hour. The ferry terminal was very remote and there was pretty much nothing there.

Seriously, this place is so off-the-beaten trail, so much so that there is not much information about it, except a couple of bloggers like Explore Life Lah! and I Am Joyceee.

We were later told by one of the boat dispatchers that the boatman can order the taxi for the passengers (with a service fee) when the boat departs from Singapore, so you can get on a taxi immediately when you get there. Since we didn’t do that, we had to wait.

Another tip is to agree with the taxi driver the time and place you want to meet for your return trip. Since Pangerang is not really a tourist town, taxi is limited. They are normally happy to do that for extra business.

 

When your return from Malaysia:

Beware the “last boat” leaves Tanjung Pengelih at 4pm, but of course that is dependent on the number of people returning. If you leave it too late, you may have to stay overnight at one of the hotels or take a coach at the long distance coach terminal at Pangerang to Johor Bahru and cross the land border there. Apparently it is common for the day trippers to take an overnight bag just in case.

Again, you would have to give your passport to the dispatcher and wait.

On the return trip, we were on the wooden boat.

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This was a rickety boat that we took back to Singapore
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I wish we could take this bad boy (Malaysian coast guard speed boat). But I’m sure we would have been thrown into prison if we had stole one of them.

Ride in comfort and luxury

Yes, absolutely first class and tip top service.

Actually the ride exhilarating. We totally enjoyed it even though it was quite rough and water kept splashing into the boat.

 

At one point the ride got so rough and the water kept pouring in, we had to lean out the bum boat to close the thick layer of plastic sheets in attempt to stop the water from coming into the boat. In the process, we had our face drenched in sea water.

Even then the water still came in from the back! Let’s say at least there were life jackets on board in case we need them!

 

We were soaked to our skin when we got to Singapore. The immigration officer even asked me if I had a “good ride” on the bum boat. 

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Absolutely soaked, but still smiling!

 

Afterthoughts

All in all, the journey itself was exciting and very unusual. We totally recommend you to do it just for being adventurous and amusement factor.

Be sure to make friends on the way out so you can get back easily!

 

Have you had any interesting experience when you cross an international border? Or have you done a boat ride like this before? Comment below!

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. linda says:

    Well that certainly sounds exciting. I am not sure if it is on a good way .! Is this how you missed the connection on your flight back. It all adds to life experiences.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yhpchung says:

      No we didn’t miss the flight that time… That was in the Philippines 🙂

      As for that boat ride, it added to life experience.

      Like

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