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On The Train From Singapore to Malaysia

The real purpose coming to Singapore was to take the ride from Singapore to Malaysia by train.

all seasons in one day
View SEA Trip by Any Means on automidori's travel map.

Singapore - Penang, August 25th 2011

From my hostel, Budget Room Singapore, on Killiney Road, I walked to Somerset MRT (subway) Station to get on the North South Line to Woodlands. This is one of the reasons I choose not to stay at the backpacker's area although the room rate would have be lower. If I stayed at the backpacker's area, I might have to spend more time to get to Woodlands. I also might have to change trains which will at to the inconvenience.

The night before I already searched out the station. At first I was worried, because I felt that the escalator seemed to be running on a faster speed than usual. I was worried I wouldn't be able to get my feet and my suitcase on the right position. However, to my relief, I found out that there was a lift at the station. Moreover, thanks to the well maintained streets of Singapore, I didn't have to carry my suitcase at all. I could just let the wheels roll on the pavement block all the way from my hostel to the station.

I was so worried I'd miss the train and I didn't take any pictures of the station. I wish I did.

At Woodlands Station I went to the information booth to ask for the number of bus to get to Woodlands Checkpoint. The bus stop was a crowded bus stop. Many buses stop and go here. At first I got a bit confused with the queuing system.

Luckily I already practiced taking a bus when I was going to meet the Ohtanis. They wanted me to meet them at Great World City which I could reach with bus no. 16 from Orchard Road. It was quite a challenge. I had imagined it would be like the buses in Japan. It turned out not at all. Mr. Ohtani confirmed so also afterwards. I didn't understand how much the fare was. I didn't understand whether I had already reached my destination or not, because there was no announcement and there was no display in front. I still don't hundred percent understand about how the whole system works, but at least when I got on the bus to Woodlands Checkpoint, my culture shock had already diminished fifty percent.

Luckily also, Woodlands Checkpoint was the last stop, so I did not need to worry I would pass by it. All the way I examined how people got on the bus, pay their fare, and get off. It seemed that there were several different ways. Ah...

I decided to better enjoy the sight, because it looked rather different from the sight I had the day before. This part of Singapore was quieter and even greener. The Woodlands Checkpoint Station itself was quiet. I had prepared to have my breakfast at the station, but it turned out there weren't any restaurant or canteen or even a mini market around. Luckily again, I had marie regal biscuits and milk.

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So here I sat munching Marie Regal while wondering how would the immigration check-in be like. After being in Singapore just for 2 days, the interior here looked dirty. To Jakarta standards it would be clean, of course. When I took this picture I didn't read the sign that said that taking pictures is prohibited. So... don't blame me, okay?

Our passport and ticket were strictly checked. Our baggage were also carefully scanned. Then we had to walk through a long corridor until we entered into another room for next document check. My turn didn't take as long as the Western couple in front of me. The immigration staff seemed not to make much haste on me. He even seemed to me satisfied with me. Maybe he is happy, because I have many Malaysian stamps on my passport. Hahaha.

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Now I'm officially in Malaysia but physically in Singapore. I already read the notice in the waiting room that said taking picture is forbidden. But I saw a fellow passenger in front of me making a video recording with his pocket camera with his pocket camera. So I thought, maybe once I'm out of the room, it's okay to take pictures. In order to make this angle, I held up my cellphone camera and shot. Just seconds after I heard a man yelling. I turned my head. A man in uniform looked straight at me and shook his hand.

"I'm sorry!" I said, and hurriedly returned my cellphone into my handbag.

You can blame me now. But just partially, okay?

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This is where I sat. It's the 2nd class. I booked the ticket (149.67 RM) online through KTM Berhad. I don't have any complaint about the station, the train, and the crews on board. However, I find the customer service of KTM Berhad not helpful. Since I live in Indonesia, it would be costly to contact KTM Berhad customer service by phone. But it takes days to receive an email reply. And then when I do get a reply, the reply doesn't answer my questions. So I have to rewrite my email to clarify the information I need. And then it would need another couple of working days which can take a week. When I posted on KTM Berhad's Facebook Wall, I didn't get any feedback from KTM Berhad themselves. I was also disappointed when I booked the ticket from my next journey legg: Butterworth (Malaysia) to Ratchaburi (Thailand).

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This is the 1st class. Looks that there's not so much difference except for the reclining seat and a TV. I don't know if the TV did really work.

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On the train, I checked my photos, and then read Paul Theroux. But I really was exhausted that time because of lack of sleep 3 nights in a row while I forced myself during the day. Thus, I slept most of the time during the 13 hours train ride. Unlike the train in Vietnam or China, do expect to arrive late at your destination. The further your destination is, the greater you should expect.

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Since I had expected to find a restaurant or a canteen at Woodlands Checkpoint Station but found none, I didn't bring anything to eat with me. So I bought Nasi Lemak on the train for 7 RM including a bottle of mineral water. The taste was just so and so. Still, I was grateful it was fresh, unlike the Satay Combo from Air Asia Indonesia. Eeewww... that's traumatic.

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And then, this was my dinner. It's white fried rice. It tasted better than the Nasi Lemak in the afternoon. It was also fresh, and cheaper. I was actually charged 4 RM. But I didn't have small changes and neither did the crew. So the crew gave me a discount. I just paid 3 RM. Tralalala... lalalala....

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Blurry... blurry... Exhausted, exhausted. With haste I grabbed my Nokia and shot. It was drizzling. Can you guess the sign saying "Butterworth" on top there? This is the last station. The path beneath my feet, the shelter above my head, confirmed I was no longer in the spotless country (and city) of Singapore.

From the station, under the rain, I had to drag my bag and myself, all through the way out of the station, and up, up, up... the stairs, to get to boarding place for getting on the ferry that will take us to Penang Island. Oh my... It really was an exercise before midnight. Once again I laughed at myself who tried to avoid the escalator in Changi International Airport. "There you go," I said to myself.

Welcome to Malaysia, and yeah, Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri.
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This is the ferry that brought us from Butterworth to Penang Island. The ferry ride took only 20 minutes, but the waiting took almost an hour.

I made a video recording with my Nokia N86. So please excuse the blurry scene. In case you are interested:

I got off the ferry into the rather dark and rather quiet port. Thanks GOD, there was just one taxi available and I got it. After I got on, I saw my driver signaling to the other passengers to go outside the port.

Posted by automidori 15:52 Archived in Malaysia Tagged singapore train malaysia border woodlands ktm_berhad butterworth Comments (0)

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