Night Train to Singapore-A A +A
Thursday, July 19, 2012
WE RODE the night train from Kuala Lumpur eating flaky and creamy Portuguese egg tarts at the lower berth and got spilled into the new train station and checkpoint in Woodlands, Singapore the next day at a half lit morning with lids still heavy from sleep.
Operated by the Keretapi Tanah Malayu Berhad, the diesel hauled KTM Senandung Sutera 25 left KL Sentral's station at 11 PM and arrived in Woodlands exactly on schedule 8 hours after. Our berths were secured by BUYING OUR TICKETS ONLINE about 3 weeks in advance. Kim got the lower berth for MR 46 (Malaysian Ringgit) or P690 and my upper berth at MR 40, one way. Exchange rate at the time of travel is roughly pegged at 1MR = P15. Upon confirmation, an e-ticket will be mailed to you and just print your copy.
When in KL Sentral, go to the 2nd level at Gate B near Dunkin Donuts, a magazine shop and a money changer. Platforms 1 and 2, where Senandung Sutera 25 departs, is one level down.
A steward will be checking your tickets minutes after boarding the train. There's no restaurant car so best to have dinner at KL Sentral first or bring some energy bars or munchies for those midnight hunger pangs. If you need to change some currency, the money changer Pengurup Wang Berlesen offers reasonable exchange rates.
Malaysia's immigration officials will get on board and will be moving from one berth to another to stamp you out in the morning just before arriving in Singapore.
The Woodlands train station and checkpoint is the last stop. When you get there, alight from the train and bring all your stuff. Arrival and departure cards are on your right when you enter the checkpoint. Fill out the forms and queue behind the yellow line as you wait for your turn to get stamped in. No picture taking is allowed.
We breezed through immigration and customs and soon enough we are out on the streets. Upon exiting the train checkpoint, we took bus number 913 to go to Woodlands MRT station. Bus fare is S$1. Singapore's MRT is fast, convenient, easy to understand and works like a dream.
From there to Bugis, our fare was $2.20, the S$1 refundable upon the return of the single journey ticket. Exchange rate then was at S$1 = P35.
More often than not, memories are a bit biased. It tends to retain only the good and has a way of forgetting the bad, leaving you with a rose colored hindsight. But I’m glad such was not the case with my train rides.
It was as comfortable and convenient as I remembered it to be and after doing it the second and third time, from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore and from Singapore to Tampin (for Melaka/Malacca), I still look forward to doing more and perhaps longer transits on it in the future.
The writer has more travel articles at http://www.lakwatserangbayong.com.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 19, 2012.