There are at least 2 ways to Pontian by bus from Singapore. The first way is to cross the Woodlands Causeway by any number of buses. We found that the best way is to take SBS Transit 170X from Kranji MRT to Larkin, followed by Maju 96 (or one other bus we can’t remember now) to Pontian.
The faster way is to take Causeway Link CW4 from Jurong East MRT to Gelang Patah, and to stay on the same bus to Pontian. There are two reasons why this is faster. First, Tuas 2nd Link immigration is waaaay faster than Woodlands Causeway immigration, even on a peak day. Second, the bus station Gelang Patah is a lot closer to Pontian than Larkin Sentral.
Although buses leave more often from Larkin for Pontian (every 15 mins), the journey takes 1.5 hours on days with good traffic. From Gelang Patah, the bus leaves only 4 times a day, but the journey takes just 45 minutes, since Pontian is along the Straits of Melaka. On weekends, there are buses that leave Gelang Patah for Pontian about once every hour, but it is best to check the Causeway Link website for the schedule.
Pontian is a place that Baby Tilapia is quite familiar with, having been introduced to this place by a friend about two years ago.
Pontian is a district that has two towns: Pontian Besar in the north and Pontian Kechil in the south. Like many towns in Malaysia, these towns are named after the rivers that they grew up around: Sungei Pontian Besar and Sungei Pontian Kechil. Theirs names refer to the rivers, and not the size of the towns. Because Pontian Kechil is bigger than Pontian Besar.
Pontian Kechil is known as Pontian Town and is the capital of Pontian district. It was originally a fishing village, and it still has a flourishing fish market (Pasar Awam Pontian) where fresh fish is brought in daily and auctioned off.
Retailers in Pontian and surrounding areas, even as far as Singapore, come here to buy fish and bring it back to sell. You can buy seafood here, pick up a giant sting ray or shark from the wet floor, and take it opposite the road to a tze char restaurant and ask them to cook it for you.
There used to be a desolate shopping mall here called Pontian Plaza, but it seems to have gone out of business since the last time Baby Tilapia was here. However, there’s a new stretch of shops beside the Econsave, which is a hypermarket you can get most stuff.
The Pontian bus terminal is located along the seaside, which is also where people come to For night life, or whatever passes for night life here. On some nights, when it is not raining, there is an amazing satay stall that opens by the beach. The meat is the best satay you’ve ever Easter. Full for delicious fat, dripping with marinated oil. Simply the best. But it’s hit or miss as the stall isn’t open all the time.
Chinese food can be found at night at the Pontian Lau Pasar. There is only one Malay stall there and it sells satay. The sauce is nice, but the meat is so-so. The deep fried chicken wings at this Lau Pasar are great, but they sell out very quickly.
Malay food can be found at night near the Pontian Night Market at Kampung Atap. It’s a lively area with lots to eat. It’s also nice to see families entertaining themselves there.
Singaporeans who have never been here and only heard of Pontian from Pontian Wanton Mee may be disappointed to learn that although Pontian Wanton Mee is famous for its deep fried wanton, this doesn’t exist in the real Pontian wanton mee stall, which some say is Heng Heng. They have two branches in Pontian, one of which is curiously located in an automobile industrial estate.
Personally Baby Tilapia isn’t amazed by Heng Heng, but it seems like a must for Singaporeans to eat at. Baby Tilapia prefers Pontian’s other wonderful food.
Pontian’s famous cendol is located near the only overhead bridge in Pontian Kechil, at a back alley. It’s full of flies, but that’s how you know it’s authentic.
Oh. There’s also a gun shop in town. It seems to sell shotguns and handguns. There’s also a wholesale snack shop near Chan Guan Bakery Ingredients, which itself is a fascinating place to visit if you like cooking.
All in all, Pontian is a quiet town. It’s hard to see how businesses survive here. There used to be a Giant supermarket near Hotel Pontian, but it has since been replaced by an Eco-Shop, a Daiso-like shop that sells all sorts of stuff for RM2.10 each. Now, lots of people patronise this shop, most of whom spend an average of RM20 per visit. Because everything seems so cheap, you just end up buying stuff even if you don’t need it.
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