KKKL Express Bus (LA Holidays) from Kovan Hub to Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS)
KKKL Express is another coach operator which has resumed Malaysia-Singapore cross border express bus services after the reopening of borders, with pick up points in the east of Singapore. I decided to give KKKL Express a try for a day time bus ride from Kovan Hub, Singapore to KL Sentral, Kuala Lumpur on a weekday, hoping that there would be lesser crowds and jams, but quickly learnt that I might as well have just went to Larkin instead.
I had originally booked my KKKL Kovan Hub to KL Sentral bus ticket on BusOnlineTicket for the 12.30am departure the next early morning, but decided to go to KL 1 day in advance instead using a day time bus. I need not purchase a brand new ticket as KKKL on BusOnlineTicket allows 1 schedule change for a fee plus any fare difference. I paid a S$10 change fee on BusOnlineTicket as I changed my ticket less than 24 hours before departure.
Kovan MRT Station Exit C
I booked my KKKL bus ticket from Kovan Hub, which can be accessed by the North East Line Kovan MRT Station Exit C.
Walking past Heartland Mall Kovan.
Walking past Kovan 209 Market and Food Centre.
Kovan Hub is located beside Kovan 209 Market and Food Centre and is the former Hougang South Bus Interchange.
Kovan Hub still retains much of its bus interchange structure today and functions as a community space.
The former bus interchange is still served by public buses, though as a regular bus stop at one of the former sawtooth berths instead. You can also get to Kovan Hub directly by SBS Transit Bus Services 112, 113, 115, and 119.
At 10.53am, 7 minutes before scheduled departure time, my KKKL Express operated by LA Holidays arrived at Kovan Hub.
The bus did not use any sawtooth berths, but parked away from the main platform.
Crossing the road to board my KKKL Express LA Holidays bus to KL Sentral.
If you have luggage, place it in the luggage compartment first before heading to the bus door for ticket checks. The BusOnlineTicket confirmation email and ticket shown on my phone suffices for ticket checks.
To avoid any confusion with the large LA Holidays branding around the bus, a KKKL Travel & Tours Pte Ltd sign is also placed at the door.
The interior of the LA Holidays 30-seater Super VIP bus.
My seat 20 which is a window seat on the pair. As I had booked my ticket just 1 day before departure, the single seats were all taken.
This turned out to be a blessing in disguise as there was no one in the aisle seat throughout the journey and the legroom on the double seat was more than the single seat.
The legroom available on the double seat. Not as spacious as a 27-seater Super VIP bus but it’s still reasonably fine.
The bus was about one-third full from Kovan Hub.
As there were foreign nationals aside from Singaporeans and Malaysians, the bus crew explained the immigration procedures to them and repeatedly asked them if they have visas for Malaysia. A reminder was also informed to them that the bus will only wait for 30 minutes at Malaysia immigration should they have any problems with entering Malaysia.
My KKKL Express LA Holidays bus departed from Kovan Hub at 11.07am – 7 minutes delayed from schedule.
Exiting from Kovan Hub like an SBS bus.
From Kovan Hub, KKKL will go to Katong V, the second pick-up point in Singapore.
Heading down Hougang Avenue 3.
Heading down Eunos Link and Jalan Eunos.
Passing under the East-West Line MRT viaducts before Eunos MRT Station.
Turning right at East Coast Road.
Passing by the shophouses of Katong.
Passing by Katong V on East Coast Road.
Depending on your ticket details and the SMS that KKKL will send, the pick up point could be here in front of RHB Bank. However, this was not the case on my bus trip.
Turning on to Amber Road and Marine Parade Road.
Turning into the Katong V car park.
KKKL Express also picks up passengers from Katong V. The scheduled pick up is 30 minutes after Kovan HUb, which in my case, was 11.30am. The bus arrived at 11.36am – 6 minutes late.
Picking up more passengers at Katong V. There were a few missing passengers which KKKL Express tried to track down before departing. Service is too good.
My KKKL Express LA Holidays bus departed from Katong V at 11.46am – 16 minutes delayed from schedule.
Heading out back to Marine Parade Road.
Marine Parade Road has lots of diversions and hoardings with the Thomson-East Coast Line Stage 4 construction.
Heading on to the East Coast Parkway (ECP) after Marine Parade Library.
Heading down to the Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE).
Passing by the Central Business District of Singapore.
Passing by Tanjong Pagar Railway Station.
Tanjong Pagar Railway Station is currently a construction site for Circle Line Stage 6 (CCL6) Cantonment MRT Station.
Continuing on to Tuas via the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE).
Tuas Checkpoint for Singapore Immigration
Arriving at Tuas Checkpoint for Singapore immigration. This was relatively fuss-free with an empty checkpoint and there were no issues for everyone exiting Singapore.
Departing from Tuas Checkpoint at 12.43pm. 1 hour and 43 minutes after scheduled departure from Kovan and I have just exited from Singapore.
Malaysia-Singapore Second Link (Linkedua)
Heading on to the Malaysia-Singapore Second Link (Linkedua) bridge with the day time queue of trucks. Some express buses are also entering Singapore at this time, most likely morning departures from KL.
Crossing the Singapore-Malaysia international border.
Sultan Abu Bakar Complex for Malaysia Immigration
Arriving at Sultan Abu Bakar Complex for Malaysia Immigration at 12.50pm.
A reminder was made by the bus crew again here that the bus will only wait for 30 minutes for reboarding.
I was done with immigration and customs in less than 3 minutes with a totally empty immigration area serving my one bus only.
The convenience store at Sultan Abu Bakar Complex by the bus bays remains closed with the interior barren of stock.
The money changer on the other hand is open for business.
With my speedy immigration and customs clearance, I actually got to the reboarding area before my LA Holidays bus, which had to wait for all passengers to disembark and take all their belongings with them.
My LA Holidays bus parked in front by the Causeway Link reboarding berth.
I reboarded by my LA Holidays bus at 12.55pm.
Most passengers returned back to the bus on time immediately after immigration. However, there were a few passengers who did not return together with everyone as they did not have visas to enter Malaysia.
At the 30-minute waiting mark, the bus crew went back to the immigration area to hunt for the missing passengers to inform them that the bus was departing. However, the bus crew continued to wait a while more for the passengers to complete their immigration process.
The passengers finally returned to the bus slightly after 1.45pm without an apologetic look.
Perhaps if they had apologised to the bus crew or even the passengers, everyone would be less angsty, but I could feel an aura of entitlement from them which the bus crew also mentioned about when I was having a friendly chat with them later on.
I think KKKL’s service is too good to keep waiting for late passengers, which actually is quite unfair to those who cleared immigration in a jiffy as we were all kept waiting with no set departure time while watching other local and express buses come and go within minutes.
However, I also think that KKKL should have physically checked for visas beforehand if needed to ensure that passengers can actually make it across to Malaysia without major issues, otherwise, they should be denied boarding.
Departing from Sultan Abu Bakar Complex at 1.50pm, which means that the bus stayed at Sultan Abu Bakar Complex precisely 1 hour. This also means it took me 2 hours and 50 minutes of journey time alone to travel from Kovan to entering Malaysia.
If adding in my travel time from my house to Kovan, perhaps if I had went to Larkin to catch a bus instead, I would have been well on my way, and perhaps even get a proper lunch break at Larkin before embarking on the bus journey.
Heading through Tanjung Kupang Toll Plaza.
Heading through Lima Kedai Toll Plaza.
Heading through Senai Toll Plaza, which is the entry toll into the closed PLUS Expressway toll system.
Heading onto the main North-South Expressway.
Not long after, there was a traffic jam caused by an accident, based on information from Google Maps. The smoke in front looked abnormal.
Alas, there was a vehicle on fire up ahead, causing traffic to grind to a halt.
After the fire had sort of stabilised, vehicles slowly passed the affected area at a distance from the truck ablaze.
Heading off the PLUS Expressway at Yong Peng for a break.
Ming Ang Restaurant Yong Peng Rest Stop
KKKL Express (LA Holidays) used Ming Ang Restaurant Yong Peng as the rest stop.
Parking in front of the food court area at 3.14pm. The driver informed everyone that this would be a 20-minute stop.
Ming Ang Restaurant Yong Peng food court was half-opened at the time of my visit, with 2 noodle shops and 1 rice shop available for mains.
I ordered a “Sizzling Mushrooms Chicken La Mee” for lunch for RM10.60.
Toilets are available behind the food court.
There is also a local products shop beside the food court.
Heading back to the bus after a quick lunch.
Surprisingly or unsurprisingly, there were missing passengers again at departure time – the same as from Sultan Abu Bakar Complex. With everyone’s bags on board the bus, it’s not very convenient to leave passengers behind here, and the bus crew went down to hunt for the missing passengers again.
Departing from Ming Ang Restaurant Yong Peng at 3.52pm. The 20-minute stop became 38 minutes instead.
The other competing rest stop, Yong Peng Lucky Garden, looks like it has closed down.
Heading back on to the PLUS Expressway.
The trip from here on was typically smooth.
Interestingly, the bus exited from the PLUS Expressway at UPM Toll Plaza, a distance away from TBS.
Heading on to TBS by Jalan Sungai Besi.
The evening jams out of KL can be seen by now, which is already evening time.
Passing by The Mines.
Heading through Mines Toll Plaza on the Sungai Besi Expressway.
Passing under the LRT and MRT viaducts.
Passing by the link bridge to Sungai Besi LRT Station and future Sungai Besi MRT Station on the MRT Putrajaya Line.
Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS)
Entering Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS) from the rear.
The rear entrance to TBS is not friendly to buses as buses will have to make a complete loop around the whole plot of TBS to get in. Ironically, this entrance is more for taxis and private cars despite being a bus terminal entrance from the highway.
Looping around the TBS terminal building.
Heading in to the bus area.
Heading to the ramp up to the arrival hall.
Approaching the arrival hall for express buses.
Yup, should have boarded from JB for a 60% discount instead.
Turning in to Platform D.
My KKKL Express (LA Holidays) bus trip from Kovan Hub arrived at Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS) at 6.26pm, making this a journey time of 7 hours and 26 minutes, factoring in the scheduled departure time.
As it was almost sunset already, I decide to truncate my journey here and change to the LRT Sri Petaling Line into the city to avoid any KL jams towards my original booked destination of KL Sentral. Also, it had been a long bus ride already, so walking a bit would be less tiring than tontunuing to sit down.
Heading up the escalators to the Main Lobby.
This KKKL Express (LA Holidays) bus will continue on to Berjaya Times Square, KL Sentral, Bangsar, and Shah Alam.
Heading into the Main Lobby.
The arrival section of the Main Lobby.
Transfer to LRT Sri Petaling Line
From here, I headed out to the link bridge to change to the LRT Sri Petaling Line.
Heading down the lift to the transfer bridge for trains.
Heading across the transfer bridge to the third station for the LRT.
The Bandar Tasik Selatan LRT Station island platform.
As it was peak hour, it was a short wait for the LRT Sri Petaling Line train into the city.
Overall, the service provided by KKKL LA Holidays were too good from trying to contact missing passengers to waiting way more than informed at immigration and rest stop. There were also 2 drivers on this bus service which means each driver does not have too long a drive.
This good service, however, unfortunately resulted in huge delays for passengers who were on time, making this a really long bus ride from Singapore to KL. I think KKKL should physically check for passengers’ visas in future to ensure that they would have no document issues when entering Singapore or Malaysia, and deny boarding to the affected passenger if paperwork isn’t in order. This is done by airlines on a daily basis, so KKKL as a cross-border transport operator should have the right to check for their passengers’ documents if necessary.
As a passenger, you should also check and be responsible for your own travel documents and apply for a visa in advance if you need one before entering a country which you require a visa for. Delaying a shared public bus service is not only selfish to other passengers but also to the bus crew who’s work hours are extended thanks to your delays. You should be thankful that KKKL LA Holidays delayed their bus service for you at the expense of all other passengers, causing a delayed journey and arrival for everyone.
And if you’re finding this article online for searching for buses who will wait for you for visa issues, please don’t take this review as so-called finding a bus operator who will wait for you. I sincerely hope that KKKL LA Holidays will depart their bus on time in future if it’s the passenger’s own fault for causing delays.