Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Chapter 1 : Senandung Langkawi - How To KRABI Yourself with RM350

Credits : Rail Pictures

This adventure was basically started with only a one-way-ticket from KL Sentral to Hat Yai. We bought a sleeper coach ticket. Whereas other mode of transportation and accommodation-wise are all impromptu. What do you expect, we only planned this vacation over dinner last Tuesday 13th January 2015 and we immediately purchased our ticket for the following day Wednesday 14th January!  

Usually, when a person talks about KTM Senandung Langkawi or Intercity train services in Malaysia - the words delay, tiring and slow came in mind. Trust me on this as I am one of this group that have such opinion pertaining to the train-ride! However, this experience really change my perception towards the KTMB services especially when you are traveling with a strict budget. Believe me to travel with RM350 to Thailand really challenge my own financial management. There are times where both of us look at each other and have the same thought, "Should we go and withdraw more Thai Baht from the nearest ATM machines?"

Introduction 


The Senandung Langkawi Train operates overnight on daily basis from KL Sentral Station to southern city of Thailand, Hat Yai. There are basically 4 type of coaches available to the mass - Economy, Second, Sleeper and First-Class Berth. Both of us purchase for the Sleeper coach tickets though; as the First Class Berth is a bit pricey for this assignment. 

AEC : Air-conditioned Economy Class 
ASC : Air-conditioned Second Class
ADNS : Air-conditioned Day Night Sleeper
ADNFB : Air-conditioned Day Night First-class Berth

Ticket Fare

The train tickets are basically more less the same with the bus fare from KL-Hat Yai or vice versa. If you opt for the bus, the ticket fare is roughly between RM50 to RM60 depending on the type of bus and its onboard services.

For the Senandung Langkawi Train, the ticket fare for the seating coach are RM48 all the way from KL to Hat Yai.  However, if you are able to sit for the 12 hours journey (and yes the sit is unable to be reclined) be my guest!

For the sleeper coach, there are two type of ticket fare that doesn't have much difference. For the Upper deck sleeper is much more cheaper at RM54 while the Lower deck is RM60. Each fare is for one-way trip to Hat Yai.

Train Schedule

For Senandung Langkawi Train from KL Sentral to Hat Yai depart every night at 10.00pm (Malaysia time) and reach Hat Yai Thailand at 10.30am (Malaysia time). Thailand timezone is -1hour compared to Malaysia's. So basically estimated arrival time in Hat Yai approximately at 9.30am.



Sleeper Coach Review 

Frankly, the sleeper coach are very comfortable. You will be provided with a blanket and a pillow. Well, please don't expect a warm thick blanket (those brown-colored with gold-satin-trim by the end type; the one we usually have in a standard 3 star or 4 star hotel) and duck-feather pillow that will obviously ensure a comfortable sleep at night. However, the pillow and mattress provided for each sleeper is very comfortable for you to lay down, rest and sleep through out the journey.

In term of space, for backpackers (well, your truly only bring a backpack an a canvas-tote)  you will find an ample space for your bags and also able to lay down. I am 5' 7" tall and beforehand, I would feel that the sleeper coach is quite small for me height. However, the space itself is a little bit bigger than the international-standard single size bed. RM60 for the train ride and able to sleep comfortably through out the journey - well it is a bargain, man!

Ignore the not-pedicured nails!!

The differences that I realized between the Upper deck and Lower deck is basically the Upper deck is located on top of the Lower deck (for the obvious reason judging by the name though - bimbo moment). There is a steel staircase that you could climb-up to the Upper deck. So no worries - no jumping or climbing skills like monkeys required here. 

For the Lower Deck. you will have a small counter top by the huge personal window. In case you want to view the panorama nature scene along the way. Unfortunately, since Senandung Langkawi is an overnight train ride - forget it. You will only able to enjoy the breath-taking view once you reach Sungai Petani Railway Station approximately around 6.30am. And boy, the view of sunrise over the paddy field along the ride to Alor Star is awesome! Being a city girl myself, it is not a daily experience to watch such spectacular view. 

The counter top are sufficient to put some books, water bottle
and power-bank to charge your mobile

video

Travel Hacks : Opt for Sleeper in the middle of the coach as it is more quite and less bumpy. Choose between the number 20 to 30! Tell no one of this travel hack as it is a secret!! *wink*

Surau On Board

For Muslim travelers, a clean small space provided on the train if you guys want to perform your prayers. It is located in L4 for the ladies and L3 for the gents. Bring your own telekung as there is none on board. However, sejadah is available in a small quantity for each surau. Water pipe and fresh clean water supply available within the space as well for whudu'. 

Credit to Rosmawati Yusof

However, it is purposely installed for whudu' not SHOWERING! And please do not sleep in these spaces as it would make others not able to perform their prayers. We are Malaysian not cavemen though. Take note! 

Meals 

Strangely enough, I do remember take the train ride from KL to Ipoh way back when I was a kid with my mother and they do provide a saloon or restaurant coach. However, there is none available in Senandung Langkawi (I'm not sure about other KTM's train route whether they still have it). 

Breakfast carts are only available once the train arrived in Butterworth Train Station around 6.00am (Malaysia time). Don't expect MAS or Air Asia menu selections of 6 to 10 type of meals. However, for sure, Nasi Lemak is available and a glass of Teh Tarik. For coffee-lovers, Nescafe or Black Coffee also available in the menu. Instant 3-in-1 type but the attendants will assist to prepare it for you. 

The price is quite pricey for me. I ordered Nasi Lemak and Nescafe Tarik which cost me RM8 in total. Hence, my personal advice for you guys is to bring your own meal. Buy any take-away meals from warung or gerai on your way to KL Sentral and enjoy the meal on board. KTMB doesn't have any policy not allowing outside foods and drinks to be brought along the journey.

If you want to buy from the breakfast cart, be QUICK! Trust me, all the items are selling out quite fast! After all, there are only few carts to cater for all 9 coaches. Every single passenger just wake up from their night sleep and obviously almost everyone is hungry like hell! 

Padang Besar - Sadao Passport Check-Point

Stop laughing you guys. It is pronounce as Sadao not Sador (muscular in Malay layman term). 

We arrived in Padang Besar - Sadao Passport Checkpoint around 8.30am (Malaysia time). Every passenger need to disembark from the train with your luggages and backpacks for the custom check. However, you may leave your luggage and bring along your valuable items only. However, it is highly not advisable! 

Credit to Teak Door Forum
As usual, at any border check point, you guys going to line up and have your passport stamped and bla bla bla. Yes, that right MANUALLY. There is no integrated computerized immigration system like the one in Malaysia international airports. But however, since this check point only caters for the passenger trains going back and forth between Thailand - Malaysia, the whole process is quite quick and smooth. What do you expect, there is only 2 trains in the morning and 2 trains at late night! So basically you can do the math on how smooth the process is. 

Credit to The.Estherchew
Once you got your passport stamped, you are able to go upstairs and enjoy your breakfast in the cafeteria. The cafeteria owned by Thai muslims and they only accept Thai Baht. But let me warn you, the price is a bit pricey as there is no other options available. If any of you didn't bring any Thai Baht (for those who want to exchange the currency in Hat Yai) - there is a KTM personal that will help you to exchange small amount of MYR to Thai Baht. 

The train will continue its journey at 10.30am (Malaysia time) and it will give you approximately 2 hours plus of rest time. You may have your morning stroll along the station platform to stretch those legs or even have a quick shower in the toilet located at  Level 1. It is not a shower cubicle though. But it does help the passengers to freshen up a little bit.

From Padang Besar - Sadao Check Point the train will continue its journey straight away to Hat Yai Railway Station.

Travel Expenses : 

1. Train ticket      = RM54.00
2. Onboard Meal = RM8.00
     TOTAL          = RM62.00

Balance               = RM288.00 

I already exchange RM250 in KL Sentral, and as a result I had Thai Baht 2,250.

***

Next : Chapter 2 : Hat Yai City to Krabi! - How To KRABI yourself with RM350!



16 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Interesting rail journey there. I am a bit concerned about crossing the borders this way but I supposed Haat Yai would be much safer than Narathiwat, no?

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    1. hi Ivan. it is quite safe though comparing to Narathiwat. However, i only went to Hat Yai to transit n take the bus to Krabi. only in Hat Yai for 45min. LOL

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  3. As per my experience, the train station at Padang Besar is situated in Malaysia's land, so the proper name should be Padang Besar, Perlis, not Padang Besar, Sadao.

    And Sadao is another Malaysia-Thailand checkpoint, which is border with Bukit Kayu Hitam (normally we call Dannok), so it is incorrect to refer Padang Besar and Sadao, also it quite concusing.

    One more, I paid for my brunch at the cafeteria at the train station in RM, as the owner can accept in RM and Baht.

    You can refer to my journey in my travel blog: http://kembaragd.blogspot.com/2014/02/kl-hat-yai-dengan-keretapi-ktmb_8668.html.

    It just my sharing. Hopefully we can share our experience together.

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  4. Interesting .. really cant wait for your 2nd chapter..

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  5. OUH please 2nd chapter cant wait go there!

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  6. i can't wait for the next chapter at Krabi!!

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  7. I jusy cant stop reading it..!! Goshhhh..feel the bumpy of train coach already now..

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    1. babe, after days both of us still hv the bumpy effects yer. kelakar gile. tgh2 makan kt krabi tgk Eeman gerak tetibe goyang2 ke kanan.

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  8. Hi. Tq for sharing! Suka dgn tips2 u. Btw blh tanya. Tiket ktm-hatyai boleh beli seawal bila?

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