The opening of Desaru Coast Ferry Terminal has opened new interest in this beach resort enclave in Johor, and perhaps the closest option for a true beach holiday beyond Singapore’s borders.
Desaru is located along the Southeastern coast of Bandar Penawar, Johor. In recent times, it has gained the travel interest of Singaporeans with its sandy beaches, family-friendly activities and beach resorts.
Here’s how much it costs to travel from Singapore to Desaru.
Singapore-Desaru By Ferry Service ($70 One-Way)
Prior to the opening of Desaru Coast Ferry Terminal, travelling by ferry to Desaru was not exactly convenient. You would have to take a ferry from Changi Ferry Terminal to Tanjung Belungkor Ferry Terminal (30mins) and then take a 30-minute shuttle service to Desaru.
With the new ferry terminal, ferry service may be the most straightforward way of travelling to Desaru Coast. You would board the ferry at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal and disembark at Desaru Coast Ferry Terminal. From there, it is a short 10-minute drive to Desaru. In fact, depending on the resort that you are staying at, this may be an even shorter ride.
BatamFast is the ferry operator and the ferry service operates every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Departure times are 8.30am (from Tanah Merah) and 5.30pm (from Desaru Coast).
Cost: S$70 (one-way), S$118 (two-way)
Time: 90 mins ferry ride, 10 mins drive
Singapore-Desaru By Car Or Taxi ($180 to $230 For One-Way Private Taxi Service)
Seasoned drivers may wish to consider driving from Singapore to Desaru. About 80 km drive away (via Woodlands Checkpoint), driving to Desaru is a manageable 1.5 hours ride in a comfortable car.
This can give more flexibility in your travel itinerary including leisurely meals and breaks along the way (crucial with cranky children in the backseat) or even extend your trip to Kota Tinggi nearby.
This is most likely the most budget-conscious option as you would only need to pay for toll and fuel (and pump cheaper petrol in Malaysia).
However, if you don’t have a suitable driver or vehicle to drive to Desaru, private taxi services would pick you up from your doorstep or pick up point and drive you all the way past immigration to Desaru. According to SGMYTAXI, this would cost between S$180 to S$230 one-way or $340 to $440 round-trip, depending on the type of vehicle.
Unfortunately, ride-hailing services like Grab do not offer the option to travel to Desaru because the trip crosses international borders. However, it is possible to cross the Causeway on your own and hail a ride service once you are in JB. In fact, this may be another cheaper option instead of getting a private taxi service from Singapore.
Cost: Fuel and toll cost for driving. S$180 to S$230 for one-way taxi/ private hire service
Time: 90 mins drive
Singapore-Desaru By Bus (Tour And Public Bus)
This is one of the most comfortable and affordable options to travel to Desaru as tickets cost below S$20 for a comfortable 2-hour ride.
For those who are looking for an affordable option to Desaru and don’t mind sacrificing a bit of comfort and convenience, public buses are available.
To travel to Desaru by public bus, you would have to first cross the Causeway on your own and then take the public bus in Malaysia. One option is to take the bus from JB Sentral (Bus 227 To Kota Tinggi) to Terminal Sri Lalang and take another bus (Bus P2 to Sungai Rengit) to Terminal Bas and Teksi Bandar Penawar. From there, you take another shuttle service (Bus PE001) to Desaru.
Cost: less than RM20
Time taken: 3 to 4 hours ride by public buses
Enjoy The Coastal Resort Life At Desaru
With the revival of interest in Desaru with the opening of the ferry terminal, Singaporeans now have another option for nearby beach resorts besides Bintan and Batam.
Popular tourist attractions in Desaru include Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark, Desaru Ostrich Farm, golf courses, fruit farms and of course, the beach.
With the relaxation of travel restrictions, Desaru may be a great option for a fuss-free weekend getaway.
This article was originally published on 21 July 2022 and updated with new information.
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