Singapore Bus Operators Start Selling CNY Tickets To Malaysia For As High As S$100
For many Malaysians who reside in Singapore, next year’s Chinese New Year will be the first time in two years they get to celebrate at home.
As nearly all border controls between the two countries have been lifted, there’s little in the way of travelling back home to reunite with families.
As such, it’s no surprise that a few bus operators have already started selling tickets for the CNY 2023 season.
In anticipation of the peak season, some have jacked prices up by nearly 3 times, with one-way tickets to Ipoh selling for S$100.
Bus operator StarMart charging thrice as high for CNY
As the first day of CNY falls on a Sunday (22 Jan), most homebound Malaysians would likely purchase tickets for the preceding Friday (20 Jan).
A look at StarMart Express’s website for buses heading to Kuala Lumpur on off-peak Fridays (11 Nov 2022 was used for this story) shows a flat rate of S$30 for one-way trips.
By comparison, tickets for 20 Jan 2023 will cost passengers twice as much at S$60.
For buses heading to Ipoh, off-peak Friday tickets usually cost S$38.
However, those returning on 20 Jan will have to cough up nearly three times as much as they are priced at S$100 then.
The same goes for Penang-bound passengers, who can expect S$130 for a ticket as compared to S$45 on off-peak Fridays.
Star Qistna CNY tickets twice as costly
Another operator that has opened ticket sales for CNY 2023 is Star Qistna Express.
On off-peak Fridays, it costs S$30 to travel to Kuala Lumpur, according to Easybook.
Travellers, however, will need to set aside S$55 for the same destination should they embark on 20 Jan 2023.
While there weren’t any Star Qistna Express tickets available for 11 Nov to Ipoh, rides operated by other companies cost S$55 maximum.
By contrast, Star Qistna Express tickets to Ipoh on 20 Jan 2023 cost S$100, matching StarMart Express’s rate.
The company does not have any trips to Penang on 11 Nov, but other operators charge S$60 at the highest.
However, it has tickets available for 20 Jan 2023, which range from S$100 to S$120, depending on the stop.
Neither Star Qistna nor StarMart has made CNY return tickets to Singapore available at this time.
CNY price hikes apply to airlines as well
As one may expect, CNY season price hikes have already been reflected in flight fares as well.
Similar to bus operators, airlines are selling flight tickets on 20 Jan 2023 at thrice the usual rate.
A quick search online shows that one-way flights to Kuala Lumpur on 11 Nov 2022 start from S$80.
The fare becomes three times more expensive on 20 Jan 2023, with prices starting from S$271.
Flights heading to Ipoh cost S$85 on off-peak Fridays and skyrocket to S$320 on 20 Jan 2023.
That said, it is worth noting that the latter includes a connecting flight as there are no nonstop flights from Singapore to Perak available for that Friday yet.
The same goes for Penang, whose flight fares start from S$108 on 11 Nov 2022 and go up to S$323 on 20 Jan 2023.
Nonetheless, flight fares are more likely to fluctuate than bus tickets, so flight tracking notifications are recommended to keep a close eye on potential fare drops.
Weigh as many travel options as possible before purchase
Since train tickets have not yet been released along with many other bus companies, it would be wise to weigh as many options as one can before purchasing.
With such a drastic difference in prices, one should ensure they’re getting the best deal before making a decision.
How would you prefer to travel during the CNY season? Let us know in the comments.
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