Alternative Travel: From Singapore to Thailand on Land

“Little by Little,

One Travels Far”

Apart from flying, another alternative and fun way is to travel by train! Not only you can get off at any city/town you would like to explore, you also get to catch beautiful scenery of the countryside. Unlike airfares, train prices are quite standard and you do not need to worry about your over-sized backpack at all!

On my most recent trip, I had decided to travel to Thailand from Malaysia by train and fell in love with it. I ended up commuting around Thailand via railways for two weeks 🚂🚂🚂

There are actually a few ways to cross Malaysia-Thailand border by train raging from luxurious price to backpacker price:

  1. Eastern and Oriental Express: runs twice a month from Singapore to Bangkok for 3-days 2-night. Price ranges from £2,792 (~USD3,500) for solo traveller 😱
  2. Johor Bahru —> Gemas —> Kuala Lumpur —> Penang —> Padang Besar —> Hatyai: about 19-hours (excluding transferring and waiting), total cost SGD48 (~USD35)
  3. Johor Bahru —> Gemas —> Padang Besar —> Hatyai: about 19-hours (excluding transferring and waiting), total cost SGD48 (~USD35)
  4. Johor Bahru —> Pasir Mas —> Rantau Panjang —> Sungei Kolok —> Hatyai: almost 24hrs, total cost SGD28 (~USD20)

And needless to say, I chose the cheapest way to start my adventure!😅

My initial plan was to take the shuttle bus from Woodlands Train Checkpoint to Johor Bahru. However, due to weekends, the tickets were sold out completely even though I was 3-hours early to get a ticket (’cause they don’t sell it online anymore🙄). The queues for public buses entering JB were horrendous! 😫 and so decided to squeeze into a blue bus meant for factory workers. This helped me skipped the horrible long queue and only cost me RM2.

look out for this blue bus if you ever want to get out of checkpoint during peak period

After clearing in JB checkpoint, just follow signage towards JB Sentral to get train ticket to Pasir Mas!

Note that there is only one train leaving daily at 1900hrs from JB to Pasir Mas.

Train ticket: RM55 (USD12)

The whole journey took about 18-hours. There are several long stops in between enough time for you to get down the train to buy food or smoke.

From Pasir Mas train station, it’s only a less than 10-minutes walk to bus station.

The counter is only for inter-city buses, but you can approach the staff to ask for bus number to Rantau Panjang

There will be a destination signage in front of the bus. Fare: RM3.30, about 45-minutes ride

it’s a local bus and they are kind to tell you where to get off (=

Malaysia Checkpoint (to be stamped out of Malaysia)

Leaving Malaysia~~~

and crossing the bridge to enter THAILAND! 🤗

Random thoughts: does one side belong to Malaysia and the other belong to Thailand? 🤔

Thailand Checkpoint

At this point of time I don’t understand why I still chose to walk the 80o-meters to Sungei Kolok Railway Station under the hot sun at 1400hrs 😥😥😥 

A sign of relief~

Train ticket: 323 Bhat (USD9) Journey: ~3.5hrs

Windowless seat! 😇

local business

And this is how I spent my 24-hours commuting across 3 countries, enjoying every moment of it!! 😎😎😎

Transit: What to do on a long layover in KLIA2

My recent trip to China had led me to the longest layover I had ever been so far. As it was a very last minute decision (less than 1-month) and tight budget (as usual), I chose to save SGD180 over a 9-hours of transit in Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2.

KLIA2 is the new budget airline terminal replacing the former LCCT. It started operation in 2014 so everything is still quite new. KLIA2 is only about 2-kilometers away from the main airport where there are more shops and entertainment over there.

I didn’t have much expectation for KLIA2 because of my impression of the former LCCT. However, I was awed upon arriving at the airport at 9a.m, the beginning of my 9-hours transit.

I had stupidly entered the gantry and straight into KLIA2 transit area. If I had known I couldn’t go out, I would have walked to KLIA and explore first.  

crowded public resting place

I headed up to second level hoping to find a more private place to settle down. That’s when I saw a logo which caught my attention.

I knew there are a few of pay-in lounges and hotels around but Airasia Red Lounge is not one of those mentioned in the website. Out of curiosity, I went in with the hope that I can get a couple of free hours usage since I’m flying with them.    

Though it’s not free for me (only free for Business Class), but the price is reasonably attractive. For MYR79 (USD18), you can use the place for as long as you want, unlimited wi-fi (airport wi-fi only for 3-hours), free flow food and drinks, recharge station, computer station and shower facilities with towel provided. As there are only a few people, it was so much quieter than outside. This is totally worth it! 

Other pay-in lounges with almost the same service.

  • Plaza Premium Lounge: MYR168 for 5-hours
  • Sama-Sama Express Lounge: MYR108 for 3-hours

Apart from just chilling at the lounges, there are other things you can do in the transit area!

Shopping

The slogan of Gateway@KLIA2 says it all: “The shopping mall with airport”. There are plenty of duty-free branded products for you to choose from. You can simply kill time by window shopping or buying what you need for the next leg of the journey. 

Feast

There are a huge foodcourt at Level 2, a couple of fastfood outlets and cafes. There’s no way you can go hungry in KLIA2. 

Entertainment

for sports junkie

I spent about 2.5-hours here watching movies

for the children

Hop on to an outlet

The newly opened Mitsui Outlet Park (MOP) houses over 120 outlet stores offering well-known local and international brands at attractive discounted price everyday. MOP provides a check-in service, free luggage storage and naturally, a tourist privilege pass. There are also flight information displays, so there’s no excuse to miss your flight.

A free shuttle bus runs in a loop around KLIA, klia2 and MOP at 20-minutes intervals. The bus ride is only 10-minutes from KLIA2!

Transit Tour

A transit tour is only recommended if you have a layover of more than 6-hours. But of course, you are required to check with the airline if you need a transit visa in order to pass through the Immigration upon exit and re-entry again. For those interested, you can visit Kuala Lumpur Transit Tour for more information.