One of the popular ways to get from Kuala Lumpur to Penang and onwards to Hatyai , Thailand is by Train. We at backpackies also favor the Train more than the express buses. Mainly because we can book a sleeper and just sleep through the whole night.
The Malaysian Train website is really confusing. Have a look >> KTMB
Here is a simple review on taking a midnight train from KL to Penang.
Firstly, we think that these signs should be on the train. Some passengers do book bunker seats and have their own little hanky panky business there. We shall not get into that. But if you are one of them, or know anyone like that. We say: Go ahead and enjoy yourself, but please keep the noise down. We trying to sleep! ;)
Trains from Kl depart from KL Sentral (Main station) You can purchase your train tickets here as well.
As we bought tickets for the 11pm night train from KL to Penang, we didn’t want to stay around the silly KL Central waiting the whole day for the train. Because by 12pm, you would already have checked out from your hotel. Wandering around the city with your backpacks will tire you in no time. There are baggage storage services near the ticketing counters. Alternative, similar services are also found on the second floor. If you walk pass Mc Donald’s on your right, just go straight towards the toilets. The lockers are over there.
There is a common waiting area on the KFC level. But the seats are just average. You are not allowed to go down to the departure level until the train has arrived. Quite a bummer actually, so you need to roam around to find a nice comfortable seat to wait for the train.
** Take note that the train leaves pretty punctual. So please be on time.
Bunks will cost you around RM 38 for the top bunk and RM 48 for the bottom bunk.
It can get pretty cold at night. You will be given a simple pillow and a thin piece of cloth that is supposed to be your blanket.
We suggest you bring along your warm clothing’s before you board. Just like our German friend commented “It’s colder than Winter in Munich”.
Beds are a bit too short for me (Im 6ft tall) So if you are as tall as me, you might need to sleep diagonally. When you buy your sleeper tickets. Please please, make sure you specify that you want bunks in the middle of the carriage. Most of the doors are already buggered. So you will get plenty of noise with people moving in and out and talking. Trust us, you wont be able to sleep well.
The toilets are an improvement since the last we used it. There is now a soap dispenser in it. But the size is still the same- cramped as hell.
Most of the time, the trains are on time. There are occasional cases where during heavy rain or landslides that the train service gets interrupted.
All in all, the train experience was a good one. A sleeper is about RM 10 more than a bus ticket, and is about 5 hours slower than the bus. But we end up in Penang fully rested. But that’s just our two cents. We arrived at Penang around 6am. After that we had to take a ferry from Buterworth to Penang Island. Ferry fare was RM 1.20.
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Have a safe and fun holiday you all! :D