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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.


Update

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, 2013 at 12:34
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    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, 2013 at 12:35
  • Ideally I'd only buy an onward flight as a last resort. Any other kind of transportation preferred. Jul 4, 2013 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, 2013 at 13:38
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    Have you flown into Singapore since? Jul 30, 2017 at 7:55

3 Answers 3

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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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Since originally asking this question I have now flown into Kuala Lumpur twice with a one-way ticket and into Singapore once with a one-way ticket.

  • Both times I flew into Kuala Lumpur, it was the final destination of my ticket. The first time I was asked for proof of onward travel when boarding in Australia. I showed the a printout of a train trip from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore which I believe I learned about due to the other answers here. The second time I had a photoshopped version of the same train ticket, only because the train's website was broken! But I was not asked for proof of onward travel.

  • The time I flew into Singapore, roughly one year ago now, it was just a 4-hour stopover on my way to Taiwan. I was not asked for proof of onward travel when I boarded in Australia but I was asked when I was re-boarding in Singapore for Taipei. I showed them the flight booking I obtained for my Chinese visa and which I had subsequently cancelled.

So my advice is that there's a good chance you might be asked at either airport, even if you've done it before and weren't asked that time. So be prepared.

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    I flew LAX-KLIA and the airline (China southern) wouldn't even let me board without first showing my onward ticket to Myanmar, plus the Myanmar visa, and my further onward ticket from Yangon to Bangkok. On the other hand I flew Siem Reap-KLIA on air Asia with no such hassle. I think it's highly dependent on what airline you're flying. Jul 31, 2017 at 8:01
  • I was pretty sure I flew Air Asia X both times I landed in KL. I flew Scoot into Singapore. Aug 2, 2017 at 12:11
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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:

http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1017.html#entry_requirements http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_960.html#entry_requirements

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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