Thursday, October 6, 2011

Train trip 1 - Singapore to KL

Upon arrival in Singapore, the following day I went immediately to Woodlands Train Checkpoint at around 10:00 AM. From MTR Woodlands station, I searched for the bus interchange and found it 2 levels below the actual train station.

From Woodlands, there are 4 buses that serve the Train Checkpoint: 856, 911, 912 & 913

I queued at bus 912
here comes the bus

It was a mistake taking bus 912. I lost around 30 minutes because the bus would stop at every bus station along Woodlands' main road.

outsideWoodlands Train Checkpoint

Anyway, there is no need to worry where to alight because an electronic/LED billboard inside the bus will indicate the next bus station. Hence, prepare to alight when the billboard shows Woodlands Train Checkpoint.

KTM office
daily train trip schedule on LCD TV

I purchased my ticket for my train trip at KTM ticketing office located at the right-end of the entrance lobby beside the lift. You would easily find it.

All sleepers were fully booked thus I had no option but to avail a second class seater for 34 S$. If you want to travel by sleeper class, book as early as possible. Trust me, you don't want to travel on second class seater during night time.

Going back to my hostel was a breeze. I decided to wait for bus 913 and it took less time to go back to Woodlands MTR station. More so, aside from 911, 912 and 913, there are several buses coming from other MTR stations serving this route as well as indicated on the bus stop.

I returned back to Woodlands Checkpoint at around 10:00 PM and waited inside KTM office; I noticed that some passengers were still purchasing last minute tickets. Likewise, a KTM staff distributed arrival cards for Malaysian immigration inside their ticketing office. At around quarter to 11:00 PM, all  passengers inside KTM office were asked to proceed to second floor where we need to queue outside Singapore immigration office. Photography is not allowed within this area.

At exactly 11:00 PM, the Singapore immigration office opened and we proceeded to the ground floor for stamping of passport. After which, we were herded to another area were the Malaysian immigration counters were located and our baggage were  x-rayed. After passing the Malaysian immigration, we can now board the train. Unfortunately, photography is not allowed here also.

Some seats are in reverse position. From seat 1 to 8, the seats are facing forward when you are going to KL while seats 8 to 15 are facing backward. On the other hand, if the train is going back to Singapore then it is the other way around. In addition, the train interior is quite new and clean.

My travel gears and back pack
Referring to my ticket above, you would notice M3. It means I need to board M3 train compartment/carriage. However, I saw around 3 train compartments having M3 markings, I don't know why. I just entered the nearest carriage with M3 mark and searched for seat 7D, window seat.

Luckily, seat 7C is vacant so I have both seats for me for the entire trip.

We left Woodlands at around 11:40 PM and reached Johor Bahru after 5 minutes. Our train stopped for a while and picked-up passengers. Later on, I learned that if you want to cut cost on train fare, you can travel to Johor Bahru by bus and buy your JB to KL ticket from that train station. Doing this, you will pay RM and not S$. Though you can save train fare it would be very inconvenient especially if you are carrying heavy loads or luggage since you need to alight and board the bus several times while doing formalities at both Singapore and Malaysian immigration desks.

arm bands

The entire trip took 7 hours to complete due to several stop-overs. It was difficult to catch sleep because all the lights remained on during the entire trip. In case you're lucky to fall asleep, during stop-overs, passengers were alighting and boarding the trains thus your sleep would be disturbed. Furthermore, the ticket inspector was always making his round after each stop-over and asking for the ticket of newly boarded passengers. The worst of all, it was very chilly inside. I hugged my back pack and fortunately I have my stretchable arm bands. I saw these arm bands from those cigarette vendors in Manila; bought a pair. Very useful against mosquito, can be used as warmer and as sun protection.

Had I known I would not be able to sleep during the entire trip, I should have traveled by bus. I was expecting that at least some movies would be shown on the train but it seemed both wide LCD TV installed at front and back of the carriage were not working.

The train arrived at KL Sentral at around 7:00 AM. Found a money changer and changed my 15 S$ to RM and took my caffeine shot at Dunkin Donuts. I haven't slept and need to search for Hotel Summer View; I practiced the first golden rule of a traveler and that was to ask question or direction. The policewoman assisted me and in no time at all I was waiting for check-in time. I booked 2 rooms, the other one was for my youngest kid. The Wife has decided to bring along her "baby," lol.

Indeed, contrary to prevailing belief that train trip is enjoyable I find this trip pretty boring and inconvenient. Hence, if you plan to travel by train from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, book a sleeper class as early as possible. In my case, I didn't have the time due to my schedule. Moreover, don't forget to bring your jacket or any warm clothes; mine was lost together with my luggage. By luck, my arm bands were at hand.


Train trip 2 - Singapore to KL (sleeper class) 
Train trip 3 - KL to Butterworth (2nd class sleeper)
Train trip 4 - Butterworth to Bangkok (2nd class sleeper)