off we go! travel blog

To Hat Yai. We hired a car via the hotel, to do this journey as it seemed to become more complicated the more people we spoke to and journey times and the cost of doing it changed from person to person. Anyway the car, a very comfortable 10 seater minibus arrived on time, we piled in and off we went. Apart from a couple of small cities we mostly passed through countryside. Some stunning karst scenery around Krabi, and miles and miles of either rubber plantations or palm trees (for Palm oil). The occasionally banana patch, some pineapple fields, or just tropical rain forest. The six hours seemed to pass pretty quickly, and we did stop a few times for comfort breaks and lunch.

Hat Yai. The driver wasn't sure where the station was but we found it soon enough. The two coaches for the service were waiting, so we boarded and waited. And waited, and waited until finally someone came along and said 'engine broken'! We had visions of having to try and get to the local airport and get a flight to Singapore with all the hassle that would involve and then, about 50 minutes late the locomotive hove into view. It hooked up and started south straightaway. Fortunately there were very few passengers as the next stop, Padang Besar, was the Thai/Malaysia border and everyone had to go through Thai passport control, Malaysia Immigration and Customs. Because there were so few passengers this only took about half an hour so the train to Kuala Lumpur left only 15 minutes late.

The original two coaches had now been joined by another 12 plus a Malaysia trains locomotive. Our coach was comfortable enough and very clean. The journey was disrupted by many stops and starts, people coming and going, and whilst Ruth claimed she didn't sleep a wink she did have a dream about a Welsh Male Voice Choir singing 'Myfanwy' !!! The train arrived at KL Sentral unannounced and early so we had to get up, grab everything and get off the train before it left for the sidings, no time to get dressed properly.

KL Sentral is a huge modern and very clean station but little by way of signage, thankfully the staff were very helpful and pointed us in the right direction for the train to Singapore. A large coffee (from a 24 hour McDonalds) and we were feeling better. Eventually boarded the train and found some very comfortable seats and settled in for the journey; eta 16.30, some 8 hours away. From what we could see from the train Kuala Lumpur is a very modern and clean city. Rapid transit overhead trains, elevated highways, modern high rises, including the famous twin towers we could see in the distance.

As the journey went on the aircon blasted harder and harder and soon everyone was putting on sweaters and jackets. It was perverse; we were sitting in a train, the closest to the equator we have been, in jeans, sweatshirt, socks and shoes, and still we were cold! Apparently there was no temperature control. The scenery, apart from the small towns was mostly palm plantations, for palm oil, and a very few coffee plantations. Not very interesting; I think we've done the train bit to death. Good job it's the last one.


The train chugged across the causeway and we were there. Through Malaysia passport control and in through the Singapore equivalent and out to our pre-arranged pickup. Off to the airport, driven by a very sociable young man who told us all about Singapore (we promised to return) and after a swift tour of the duty free shops, into the lounge area where we enjoyed an excellent dinner and wines until called for our flight (almost 3 hours!!!!) 

We boarded the plane, sat down and within 2 minutes Ruth was fast asleep and she slept right through. I watched the Rolling Stones at Hyde Park (as we had been there!) had a bit of dinner, a glass of wine then crashed. Great flight!

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