Saturday, December 17, 2011

Train trip 3 - KL to Butterworth (the "almost abandoned" train station)

I started my overnight train travel to Butterworth at 11:00 PM from KL Sentral.

All passengers going to North of Kuala Lumpur are using gate A for boarding, as indicated also on my ticket "Boarding at Gate A," while for those going to South of KL such as Singapore they need to use gate B.

Gate A for north of KL passengers

Boarding time at starts at 10:30 PM. I searched for coach M6, place 24 (lower berth) and noticed that all lower berths were having even number while upper berths were marked by odd numbers.

Lower berth is almost a full meter in width hence even a medium sized person with some luggage will find it more comfortable than the upper berth. The only negative point was the light seeping on top of the curtains but it was tolerable, and of course, higher fare.

Some shots 

Being used in traveling by train, I immediately dozed off and awoken several times by sudden jerking of the coach whenever we stop and start at several stations. The temperature inside the coach was bit cold but pleasant. You may use the extra sheet. I remember when I was working in offshore in Abu Dhabi, there were times that we need to sleep in the supply boat, the feeling was similar as if you were inside a rocking cradle.

After more than 7 hours, we arrived at Butterworth at around 6:45 AM. It was still dark when we disembarked from the train. Prior to arrival at Butterworth, a train staff will proceed to each coach and announce "Butterworth" several times informing all the passengers to prepare to disembark.

Butterworth at dawn

All passengers exited at the train station. Within minutes these throngs of people will disappear as if, now you see them now you don't.

the train station ticket counters
waiting for Bangkok train trip

If not for the train station's staff and police, I would definitely call this an "abandoned" train station. However, they also disappeared once all passengers have left. Passengers will start arriving within hour of the next train trip then everybody would be gone after the train has left. I would be left alone again.

Since I would be staying on this station for around 7 hours, I searched for some place to eat. I followed the the food court sign at the back of this station. Besides, mosquitoes were lurking underneath those wooden benches inside the train station.

way to pay toilets (at the back)

Since all of these food shops were still closed, I took my emergency food pill. Cheap but serve its purpose. I bought it at Central Market, KL for 19 RM.

Any traveler worth his salts should be prepared at all times. Within this food court area were some wash basins. Brushed my teeth and washed my face on those basins. No worries at all for water was clean. Otherwise, I'll be consuming my other "supplies", anti-diarrhea meds, LOL.

I have noticed this old Juxebox. I know some of you haven't seen one. I didn't know if this unit was working or not but after further investigation it seems this one was still operating due to numerous music CD inside. I was disappointed, I thought it was still using the old vinyl disk which means this Juxebox was newer model.

After spending several hours on this place, the shop at the back side of this Juxebox opened. It was the only shop operating in this food court, creepy isn't it? Anyway, this was the only food available that was familiar to me. This shop mainly sells food (fruits) preserve and nuts.

Need to go to toilet? Prepare 30 cents. The lady collecting the fee will also watch your luggage while you do your thing inside. Nice lady.

Famished, I was told that there was another food court at the back of the "abandoned" food court near the pay toilets. I was surprised to see that the so called food court was also almost "abandoned". There were only two restaurants opened at this food court, the rest were closed. I took my meal from the right side. I had no faintest idea why these two food courts were almost closed.

a 5 RM meal

I took my lunch at around 1 PM. Shortly thereafter, I noticed that passengers started arriving for Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok trips. Now, the train station started to become alive.

Finally, I was not alone anymore. The atmosphere became lively and fellow travelers abound inside the train station. By the way, the Butterworth train station is only temporary (see markings). I don't know where they are planning to construct the new or permanent train station.

Don't forget to change some Baht on this money changer located at the entrance of this station. I lost in exchange rate when I paid RM for my dinner and breakfast on Train 36, Butterworth to Bangkok. Yes, they accept RM on Train 36. I advise you to buy some supply from this shop also especially water. When the train leaves at 2:30 PM, the next stop where you can buy food or take your dinner is at Hat Yai which is almost 6 hours away from Butterworth; be aware though that you need to deduct 1 hour when you reach Thailand border. Anyway, it is preferable to eat less and eat safe (non stomach irritants) before you go for train trip. An upset stomach is the last thing you'd ever need on a trip.

vintage trains

For those who were wondering whether the flood has receded, yes, there was no more flood along the rail tracks we have passed but some areas were still under water.

Stay tuned for my Train trip - 4 (Butterworth to Bangkok).


Train trip 1 - Singapore to KL (2nd class seater)
Train trip 2 - Singapore to KL (2nd class sleeper)
Train trip 4 - Butterworth to Bangkok (2nd class sleeper) 

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