Transtar Solitaire: Review of My Luxury Bus Ride to Singapore

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Transtar Solitaire Bus

Transtar Solitaire: Review of My Luxury Bus Ride to Singapore

It doesn’t happen often since I am a backpacker traveling on a budget, but I decided to splurge on my bus ride to Singapore. I knew I wouldn’t get the chance to ride on a bus like the Transtar Solitaire for a while since transit through Indonesia, my next destination, is infamous for being uncomfortable. For the spacious single row reclining massage seats alone it was worth the price of about $25. With the exceptional service, drinks and meals included it was an incredible value.

I was a little disappointed as I was sitting outside the Starbucks located in the Berjaya Times Square mall in Kuala Lumpur when I checked the time and realized that the bus was about 30 minutes late. I decided to call the company I booked with to double check that it was on the way. Of course a bus being late in SE Asia is a normal occurrence, but rightfully so I was holding this company to a higher standard. I was informed that someone would be on the way to pick me up shortly.

About 5 minutes later a brand new van pulls up and a young man in a suit jumps out holding a Transtar Solitaire banner with my name, Mr. Brooks Aikman. My bags are whisked away and we are on our way before I know it. I figured it would just be a short ride to transfer to the bus, but it ended up being about a 20 minute ride to a rest stop on the side of the highway where we waited for another 10 minutes before the bus finally pulled up. So far I was disappointed since I was boarding the bus an hour later than scheduled. About half the bus was already occupied and the other half were the other people on my van, so I’m not really sure what was going on with the transfer. The guy in the suit also ended up being the attendant on the bus.

The bus looked a little worn from the outside, and walking up to the second level where the seat I selected in the first row was located I noticed that the bus was definitely older and not quite as clean as the van I had just been transferred in. But it did look a lot more comfortable.

Transtar Solitaire Single row seats

Transtar Solitaire reclining massage seat

 

That definitely proved to be true as I sat down, fully reclined my seat and turned on the massage. I flipped around the 10 inch LED monitor just to check it out and see what movies and video games were on it. It was a pretty good selection of American movies and games. However I was planning on using my computer instead, and the power outlets in every seat was a very nice feature. Wifi would have been nice, but I had some data left on my Malaysia SIM card that I wanted to use up anyway, so I tethered with my iPhone 6 personal hotspot feature and made use of my last 1GB or so of 4G.

Just a few minutes later however I was interrupted and had to put my computer away when the server came around to take drink orders(coffee or tea) and soon after served our meal. I would have liked to wait for my meal to be served a little later, since it was still before 5 and I just had lunch a few hours earlier, but I guess this way it was fresh and hot. The non-vegetarian meal was a pretty standard Nasi Lemak with chicken, potatoes, boiled egg and a nice touch with peanuts on the rice. Overall it was decent food, about what you would get on an airplane. Soon after dinner we made a quick rest stop.

nasi lemak

The rest of the trip to the border was pretty uneventful. I was enjoying the extra leg room and adjustable foot rests, which is a rare thing on a bus or any form of transportation.

leg room on transtar solitaire

It took about 4 hours to get to the Malaysian border. I got off the bus to get my passport stamped, then boarded the bus on the other side. It was a quick 5 minute process. Then we drove over the bridge to Singapore where we had to get off the bus again, this time with all of our bags. This is where things got interesting.

It was about 8 pm at this point and the Singapore immigration check point was very quiet. Most of the people on my bus were wealthy Malaysian or Singaporean business people, so I stuck out like a sore thumb. I was immediately approached by two immigration officers carrying automatic weapons who were asking if I would mind being pulled aside for a spot check. What am I supposed to say? No I would rather not? I guess it was more of a rhetorical question.

The two officers ripped apart my bags and searched every inch of them, finger printed me, ran my passport about 6 times and questioned me on my plans in Singapore, where I have been and where I was going on this trip. They were very friendly the whole time and some of the questions about my trip, I think, were out of genuine interest, but still, I really don’t understand why this is necessary. It seemed to be a standard thing for them though so they must harass foreigners every day.

When I finally got back on the Transtar Solitaire bus everyone else was waiting for me and relieved that we could finally get on our way. We were informed that due to Singapore regulations the tv monitors would be shut off along with the recline and massage function in our seats. We made several stops along the way and about 45 minutes later we reached my stop at the Golden Mile Complex.

Overall I was very impressed with the service on the Transtar Solitaire bus. I received everything that was advertised. However I was a little disappointed about the bus being late and the fact that it was a little old and dirty inside the bus. Just little complaints though. I was also very annoyed with my experience at the Singapore immigration border, but this is not the fault of the bus company. It was definitely worth $25 and a bargain at that price. I wouldn’t hesitate to take the Transtar Solitaire again or recommend it to anyone else traveling this route.

 

Brooks

Brooks

I am traveling the world focusing on adventure and photography.

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3 Comments

  • Kaely

    haha yes, I agree, lovely feet. You must look like a shady character or something, police love bothering you haha. 10 dayyysssss :)

    February 17, 2016 at 10:29 am
  • dad

    glad we finally got you in a picture. sounds better than I-70 at least. hope you’re not planning on rebuilding a bus next.

    February 19, 2016 at 10:32 pm
  • Marge Gavan

    I’ve never really tried a “luxury” bus and by the looks of it, it seems like worth the price. Crossing borders can be long and tedious so I think it’s better to find a transportation where you will be comfortable as much as possible.

    March 22, 2016 at 10:41 pm

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