First trip to Johor Bahru!

We took our first trip over to Malaysia today. I was rather excited and a little nervous at the same time. I still find it quite amazing that simply going over a bridge lands you in a completely different country.

But it’s not like you can just wander back and forth willy nilly 😂: there are immigration checkpoints on BOTH sides. And we got to experience both a quiet time (5-10min wait) and a busy time (at least half an hour 😲). Apparently there’s a fast track immigration clearance system called MACS (Malaysian Automated Clearance System) for Singaporeans and us proxies, which allows you to go through a separate – and much faster – immigration line on the Malaysian side. A very good idea if you plan on going back and forth quite regularly; saves your passport from filling up really quickly too, as it is still stamped each and every time you head over. However, it costs S$35 at the time of writing this. I’m not sure if we’ll be heading over THAT often for this to be good value. And the application process is apparently a bit inconvenient: we’ve been told the in-person process takes four hours, and then another two day wait for the process to be completed. But if they’re open on the weekend, I guess we could live with a one-off inconvenience for a year’s worth of convenience at the Malaysian immigration checkpoint. So we have to figure out whether the time and money investment will be worth it…

We did have a very good day practising, though. The studio floor was huge (which is great for Ballroom), and we pretty much had the floor to ourselves all morning. But today was a one-off, and although we plan on doing the exact same thing again next Sunday, I don’t know how often we’d head over the water after that. Maybe if we went over for some more touristy stuff, I may change my mind 😊

But the toilet situation, unfortunately, was a bit disappointing. For some reason, I was expecting similar standards as Singapore, but it’s not quite the same… 🤔 And the limited amount of research I did AFTER I visited the women’s toilets in the shopping mall that we were at, seemed to indicate that the toilets in this mall were actually quite GOOD 😱 I’ll let you do your own research if you plan on visiting so you can prepare accordingly, and allow you to set a bit more of an expectation. Just don’t do what I did, going in blindly, and where I pretty much walked in expecting SG standards / “processes” 😔 Lesson for the day: don’t make assumptions!!

Notwithstanding the toilet situation, it was a good but very tiring day, and overall, I’m glad we went over. We’re going back again next Sunday, so hopefully we get to see a little bit more of Johor Bahru outside of the dance studio and the immigration checkpoint 😆

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