There are two ways to travel to JB from Singapore – either via the Woodlands Checkpoint, or the one at Tuas. For nineteen years of my life I’ve been going to the one at Woodlands. Never have I stepped foot into the Tuas Checkpoint since it’s opening, which, ironically, was in 1998, the year I was born. Heh, talk about coincidence.
Since my family doesn’t own a car, we always take the bus to JB. Previously when we went to City Square Mall taking the Woodlands Checkpoint route, it was bus #170 from the bus stop opposite Kranji MRT Station. Things went a little differently this time, though, as we were going via the Tuas Checkpoint. Picking us up from the Jurong East Bus Interchange was the bus CW3, in all its bright yellow and blue glory. Unlike bus #170, which is a local bus, the CW3 is run by a private Malaysian bus company. Not that it makes much of a difference, except we can’t use our ez-link cards, and need to pay for our ticket in cash instead. The price was SGD $4 per person.
For four dollars, this bus ride sure covered quite a distance. The journey from Jurong East to the Tuas Checkpoint was longer than I would’ve liked, but I wouldn’t say that the ride was unpleasant. Although I am aware that this is not always the case (from anecdotes my mum would describe to me oh-so animatedly), the air conditioning was turned on at full blast, keeping us cool and comfortable. The view was also pretty good (by good, I mean as good as the views in Singapore get), and we were essentially travelling on a highway that was built across the sea. These waters might not have been the best I’ve seen, but they were expansive and danced brilliantly nonetheless, making it a sight to remember. Bottom line is, I could do this again.
My destination was Aeon at Bukit Indah. A departmental store spanning three levels, many Singaporeans will remember it as their favourite place to stock up on cheap groceries. Eateries in the vicinity here are very affordable too, more so than the ones you will find at City Square Mall (in JB Sentral, which you will find after Woodland Checkpoint), or in the city centre of Kualar Lumpar. Of course, this is speaking from a Singaporean’s perspective, with the Ringgit to SGD conversion making most things cheaper here than back in Singapore. Also, after all this talk about Aeon, you would think that we actually went in… but nope! Lunch is always of utmost priority – it even trumps shopping. For noon nomnoms, we stopped by a humble hole-in-the-wall restaurant called 面对面.
At first sight, this place would barely catch anyone’s attention. Peering through the glass doors, lighting in the restaurant looked quite dim, almost unlit. And in my book, unlit restaurants = closed restaurants… So frankly speaking, if not for the “open” sign hanging at the door, I wouldn’t know it was. But Ma who came here before only had good things to say about the place, so I leaned my weight on the glass door, and with fingers crossed, entered the restaurant.
Bestest. Decision. Ever!!! I credit my excitement more to the prices, than the actual food served. That said, the food itself holds its own too. Not life changing, but still good. We ordered more than enough for two – it was Penang Char Kway Teow for Ma, and Nasi Lemak with Fried Chicken for me. Then my cravings for fried food pushed me to try their deep fried dumplings too – Fried Dumplings (Original), and Fried Dumplings with Chives. After we finished all that food, we even got dessert, Chendol!
And only then, with filled bellies, did we finally walk through the automated doors of Aeon mall…
[Part 2 coming soon!]