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I want to begin my next big overlanding trip by flying from Sydney (home) to either Singapore or Malaysia on a one-way ticket. I will fly home from an as-yet unknown location when my money runs down low or winter gets in the way.

I know many countries or specific airports have policies that arrivals must have a return ticket or an onward ticket to somewhere. I understand that this may be checked when you board the plane but often is not enforced by anyone at all.

What I would like to know is which of these two destinations is more likely to not care about my onward ticket, or to have the cheaper way of proving that I'm leaving.

For instance if I absolutely have to show an onward ticket I'd prefer to be able to arrange some bus ticket or train ticket or ferry ticket, than a flight ticket. And I'd prefer a ticket that is easy to get a full or partial refund on.


Immigration at Kuala Lumpur did not ask me any questions, including whether I had an onward ticket.

but the "document check and baggage drop" counter at Air Asia X in Sydney did ask. They accepted my train ticket to Singapore (which cost about $10).

(I'm not submitting this as an answer because I can't compare to flying into Singapore, since I have not tried that yet.)

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Adioso, Kayak and Skyscanner are handy for this. I dunno what your dates are, but I just typed 'singapore to anywhere one way' into Adioso and got $31 flights to KL. – Mark Mayo Jul 4 '13 at 12:34
Related: What happens if you arrive in Malaysia with a one-way ticket but are asked for proof of onward travel? (yes I realise you asked it but it's useful to future viewers) – Mark Mayo Jul 4 '13 at 12:35
Ideally I'd only buy an onward flight as a last resort. Any other kind of transportation preferred. – hippietrail Jul 4 '13 at 12:35
Can you perhaps buy a cheap bus or train ticket from Singapore to just over the Malay border? Also, don't forget that you need to satisfy both the airline before boarding, and immigration on arrival, who may have different ideas of what's required! – Gagravarr Jul 4 '13 at 13:38
@Gagravarr: Yes that's the kind of thing I'm thinking of. I don't know anything about such buses or trains though and assume I wouldn't have a way to buy one at the airport when challenged so I'm asking for details of them to hopefully book in advance from home. – hippietrail Jul 5 '13 at 12:31
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Johor Bahru is the first stop into Malaysia from Singapore, and is very easy to reach by ground transport. According to Seat61 the journey from Singapore to Johor Bahru is a whopping S$ 5, for the 5 minute journey across the border. Not sure you'll manage much better than that for cheap onward travel proof!

I'd suggest you read through the Seat61 page on Singapore and Malaysia, then book a ticket online for the day you expect to leave. Show that at the border, spend a few days in Singapore, then head northwards by train. Quite possibly also carry on with your journey by train from there too, as it looks interesting from the photos!

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I am most comfortable speaking from a US perspective, but I'll assume MYS and SGP treat AUS the same or better. There do not appear to be any proof of departure plans required for either country for US citizens:

I assume Australia has a similar resource somewhere on the Internet.

If I had to show proof of onward travel I would buy an inexpensive bus or airline ticket (as mentioned in a comment link above) and consider that to be the cost of my Visa stamp.

Culturally, Singapore would be more likely to enforce any Visa related rules, or any rules in general.

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