One of the best places to be while in Thailand is Bangkok! The wonderful thing is that traveling from Singapore to Bangkok is now a click away. Drift from the norm of booking a flight, try the train instead and have a memorable adventure.
There are two options; traveling straight from Singapore to Bangkok on the super-luxuriant Eastern & Oriental Express or take a train that stops over different countries and beautiful sites.
Departing From Singapore
The journey starts from Singapore, crossing Malaysia, all through Kuala Lumpur, Taiping, Penang, Padang Besar before finally landing in Thailand. While in Thailand, the route you’ll take is along Peninsula, following the coast to Hat Yai, while going around the Gulf of Thailand before arriving in Bangkok!
Right from Singapore, the journey will involve Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transit trains. From Marsiling MRT station, board 856 bus to Woodlands Train Checkpoint.
Simply, while at Kranji MRT station, catch 856, 911 or 913 bus that will take you to the checkpoint.
The Rail Journey to Bangkok
1. Woodlands Checkpoint to JB Sentral
Board KTM (Malaysian Railways) shuttle train running between Woodlands Checkpoint and Johor Bahru Sentral. You can get your tickets at the KTM intercity ticket office. The journey takes five minutes.
This might seem unnecessary until you see the traffic on the road which takes hours. The train is convenient at this point.
You have the freedom to choose while at Johor Bahru Sentral to change trains along the way since there is no direct train to Bangkok from here.
2. JB Sentral to Gemas
While at JB Sentral, you can board train 40, 42 or 44 daily at 8.45 am, 10.10 am and 11.40 pm respectively. This journey to Gemas takes around four to four and a half hours.
Major trains stop at Gemas. It will be worth it spending some time here and enjoying the beautiful site of Gunung Ledang (Mount Ophir).
Travelers also get to see a historic battleground during the Malayan Campaign of World War two between Japanese troops and British forces.
3. Gemas to Kuala Lumpur
For those who’d like to see the beauty of Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, catch train 9202 and 9204 daily at 3 pm and 4 pm for a two and a half hours ride. Kuala Lumpur is known for its dense rainforest, delicious cuisines and economic powerhouse.
4. Kuala Lumpur to Padang Besar
Kuala Lumpur has delightful sites from its landscapes to the warm welcoming people. Being the old city of Singapore, there is a lot to explore and experience there.
You can spend the night and take a morning train to the border at Padang Besar using train 9220, 9208 or 9214 daily at 6.56 am, 9.30 am and 11 am, taking approximately 5-6 hours.
About Padang Besar
Padang Besar is a border you won't experience while on a plane. It is the only rail crossing known between Malaysia and Thailand. Padang Besar means ‘big field’ and right from this big field, you can catch a direct train all the way to Bangkok.
5. Padang Besar to Bangkok
The journey from Padang to Bangkok is an epic experience. Be sure to catch train 36 departing at 6.40 pm, a journey that takes 18 hours. Simply hop in and wake up a day after in another country, around a thousand kilometers North from Padang Besar.
However, if you are not in a hurry, you can take the long route to Bangkok!
6. Padang Besar to Hat Yai
In a bid to adventure, you can take a different route from Padang Besar to Hat Yai, a relatively quiet town in Southern Thai. To get to Hat Yai, catch train 948 or 950 at 9.55 am and 3.40 pm respectively, a journey that only takes one hour.
You can take a walk in the placid streets of Hat Yai. There isn’t much sightseeing here but it serves as a good getaway for tourists coming from Malaysia or Singapore. Life in Hat Yai is more mundane, slower and charming for a chilling spot.
7. Hat Yai to Bangkok
From Hat Yai you can either take Train 170 or Train 36 to Bangkok, departing at 2.45 pm and 6.45 pm respectively taking 15-18 hours. Watch the changing landscapes, rural rice fields and to the rocky formations as they condense while approaching Bangkok.
Wae up in Bangkok to the dense urban culture and sky-scraping, something only experienced on the rail.
While looking for an exclusive luxury experience, these best luxury trains of India will take you to a whole different level.
How to Buy Tickets?
You will have to reserve seats and sleeper berths for long distant trains in Malaysia and Thailand. While in Malaysia, you can book a train 30 days in advance, while in Thailand, you can book up to 60 days in advance.
For long-distance, tickets can be booked online through websites and agencies. For Malaysia, you can get LTN tickets through their website.
From Malaysia, you can use KTM e-booking service to get a direct train in Malaysia and Singapore. Alternatively, buy a ticket for each leg of your trip separately on the departure date.
Interesting Tips for Traveling
- Unless you are using the Eastern & Oriental Express, there is no direct train from Singapore to Bangkok.
- You will cover a distance of 1,920km (1,233 miles) and the trip is cheap, costing roughly between US$50-80 with the flexibility of stopping anywhere to view beautiful sites.
You will have to buy a ticket for every part of your trip separately. The good thing is that you can buy all of them in advance.
- Check local schedules so that if you are stopping somewhere en-route, get a ticket for that destination and get for the next destination when you are ready to continue with your journey.
- You can choose the fast and furious route or the slow and sedate route for this journey. The difference is just two hours, probably the longer the route, the more adventurous it will be, which can turn this simple 31-hour trip into a five days adventure.