Saturday, December 27, 2014

Penang (Sep 2014): Day 1 & 2 Singapore to KL, KL to Penang.

So, while the hubby goes overseas to work for a month, my mother-in-law and I went on an impromptu trip to Penang and KL via train. :)

I booked almost all of our train journeys via KTM's website  and also had loads of help from the very informative website Seat61.
See details of this trip here.

The only train journey for this trip which I didn't booked via the KTM website was the short 5mins journey from Singapore's Woodlands Checkpoint Railway station to JB Sentral station (costs SGD11 each).
This is because, if you book any rail journey that starts from Singapore on the website, the journey will be charged by SGD. Which is why I booked my journey to start off from JB Sentral station, because it will be charged in Ringgit.
Eg.  SGD39 (Singapore to KL) vs RM39 (JB to KL)

Actually, our original plan was to take a regular bus across the causeway to go JB Sentral for shopping and dinner first, then board the train at JB Sentral. But then, we decided not to spend too much time loitering in JB while waiting for our late train, so we decided to just skip our shopping at JB and just board the train from Singapore instead.

Here are some tips for those planning to take these trains:

- The trains are EXTREMELY COLD (with the exception of the 1 particular train which we took from Butterworth to KL Sentral) especially the ones from KL Sentral to Butterworth as well as the one from KL Sentral to Singapore. Even though I was wearing a jacket, I was still feeling cold.

- Trains are not really that punctual. For example, my Singapore to KL journey arrived at KL Sentral about 1 and half hours later than scheduled, and my KL to Singapore journey arrived at Singapore 4hrs later than scheduled.

- Bring a packet of wet wipes with you. There were times when the water from the tap in the train's toilets were kinda I had to use wet wipes to wipe my hands after using the toilet since I didn't exactly trust the water from the toilet's sink.

Here is a brief itinerary for the trip:
2330-0650 Singapore to KL Sentral via Overnight train

0820 Arrival at KL Sentral station (train was late by about 90mins).
Visited KL (Petaling St, Central Market, NU Sentral shopping mall)
1550-2220 KL Sentral to Butterworth via train.
2240-2300 Took ferry from Butterworth to Penang
2330 Arrival at Hotel at Georgetown, Penang.

Explored Penang.

Explored Penang in the day
2040-2100 Took ferry from Penang to Butterworth.
2150-0540 Butterworth to KL Sentral via Overnight train.

0540 Arrival at KL Sentral station.
Relaxed at Hotel room most of the day, while shopped at Midvalley Megamall in the afternoon.

1420-0115 KL Sentral to Singapore via train.

0115 Train finally arrived at Singapore after a 4hrs delay.

Day 1 (24/9/2014): Singapore to KL

(Itinerary for this day)
2200: Arrived at Woodland's Railway station to purchase train ticket (SGD11 each) for just Woodlands to JB Sentral (this way, we board the train at Woodlands instead of from JB Sentral, they usually don't sell this short portion of the journey online)

2330 Boarded train at Woodlands Railway station

Since we still had to purchase our tickets for the short Singapore to JB portion of the train journey from the Woodlands Checkpoint Railway station, so we arrived pretty early at around 2200hr. 

There wasn't anything much at the Woodlands Checkpoint Railway station, other than 2 vending machine (shown in 1 of the pics below) so if you need snacks for your train ride, you should probably bring it with you. When we asked for directions to the toilet, I was told that the nearest one which we could use was about a few minutes walk away near the supermarket, and not at the train station itself. 

At the Woodlands railway station.

Only saw these 2 vending machines at the railway station, and apparently 1 of these 2 is out-of-order.

Woodlands Checkpoint railway station's main entrance.

Finally boarding the train. 

If you could, try not to reserve a bunk that's near the doors, because it might get noisy with people opening and closing the doors.

My bunk.
 People who are tall, try to avoid taking the upper bunks, or else you would not be able to sit up on your bed. I'm about 1.55m tall and the height was just nice for me to sit up. I guess people who are 1.6m and above would have problems sitting up on the upper berth.  

Older folks might also have problems accessing the upper berths because of the awkward positioning of the ladders. Try to get them lower berths if you can.

There are 2 types of toilets onboard this train, the sitting type and the squatting type. 
The water from the sink was a tad cloudy when I used it to wash my hands, so luckily I brought along wet wipes for me to wipe my hands after using the toilet.

There is a push-cart selling food, drinks and snacks onboard the train (they do not have a canteen car for this particular train though) and I bought myself a pack of mee goreng (fried noodles) for RM5.50.

Mee Goreng (RM 5.50)
After my supper and reading my e-book for awhile, I finally dozed off around 3am. 

Day 2 (25/9/2014): KL to Penang

(Itinerary for this day)
0820 Arrival at KL Sentral station (train was late in arriving KL Sentral, was supposed to arrive at 0650am)
0900-1000 Breakfast at a coffeeshop (opposite YMCA) somewhat near NU Sentral shopping mall.
1000-1005 Took a taxi to Chinatown (Petaling St)
1010-1245 Walk through Petaling street and Central Market
1245-1250 Took taxi back to Nu Sentral shopping mall (next to KL Sentral station).
1300-1500 Had coffee, shopped, and bought some food from NU Sentral shopping mall.
1500-1550 Waited for boarding at KL Sentral station
1550-2220 KL Sentral station to Butterworth station by train.
2240-2300 Took ferry from Butterworth to Penang Georgetown.
2315-2320 Took a cab from ferry terminal to our hotel (Ren I Tang).

Although our train was supposed to arrive at KL Sentral at 0650am, but it was about 90mins late so it was about 0820am when we finally arrived at KL Sentral.

We deposited our luggage at a luggage storage counter at KL Sentral station and then we headed out to look for some breakfast. 

Stored our luggage at this counter at KL Sentral station.
After walking through the new NU Sentral shopping mall opposite KL Sentral station, we finally came upon a coffeeshop (near YMCA Building) and decided to get our breakfast here. 

What my mother-in-law had
What I had. Fried Kway Teow. It was pretty nice.

After breakfast, we took a short 5mins taxi ride to Petaling Street (Chinatown), but since it was still pretty early, so most of the stalls are still not opened yet. Therefore we didn't really spent much time here.

Stalls still closed.

After a quick stroll through Petaling Street, we headed for nearby Central Market (about 5-10mins walk) where we spent most of our morning shopping in the air-conditioned building.

Both of us actually kinda enjoyed our leisurely stroll at Central Market, where my mother-in-law also bought a skirt for my sis-in-law. There are many handicraft stalls here too.

After Central market, we took a 5mins taxi ride back to NU Sentral to spend the next 2 hours before we had to catch our next train to Butterworth.  
Short break at Coffee Bean outlet at NU Sentral 
 There is a small supermarket at the basement of NU Sentral where I bought some food and snacks.

1550hr, time to board our train at KL Sentral. Since this is a day train, so there are no sleeping berths. Our seats are in the Premier section, but the seatings seems to be pretty old though. We get a free bottle of water and a snack (donut) for this journey for Premier tickets holders.
There is a canteen carriage on this train where you can purchase drinks and food. 
This train was EXTREMELY COLD. 

The armrest on my seat.

The free donut...which i subsequently forgot to eat.

 Arrival at Butterworth station around 2220hr.

From the train platform at Butterworth station, it was just a short 5mins walk to the Butterworth ferry terminal.
Walking towards the ferry terminal

Waiting for the ferry at Butterworth Ferry terminal. The ferry fares was RM1.60 if I remembered correctly.


Onboard the ferry from Butterworth to Penang.
Toilet onboard the ferry.

After about 20-30mins of ferry ride, we finally arrived at Georgetown, Penang.

Ferry terminal at Penang.
 Upon arrival at Penang, we took a 5mins taxi ride to our hotel Ren I Tang at Georgetown Penang.
Our room.

The balcony attached to our room.

Link to other posts for this trip:
Day 1 & 2 Singapore to KL, KL to Penang
Day 3 Penang
Day 4 Penang
Day 5 & 6 KL, KL to Singapore

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