Most holidays begin once your plane lands.
But what if your trip starts with an adventurous, scenic route instead?
Running from Malaysia to Bangkok is a sleeper train that takes you through lush greeneries, paddy fields, and small towns all the way to Thailand's capital
The budget-friendly 17-hour journey takes a considerably longer time compared to a flight.
But it's definitely worth the experience if you're looking for a 'less typical' holiday.
There are several places where you can take the ETS train from.
Two popular stations are KL Sentral and Butterworth, Penang.
Take note that leaving from KL will be a longer journey because you will still need to pass through Butterworth.
If you leave from KL to Padang Besar, it will take five to six hours. If you leave from Butterworth to Padang Besar, it will take roughly two hours.
And from Padang Besar to Bangkok, it will take 17 hours.
Depending on the booking, there may be waiting periods in transit, including lining up at immigration, which means that the total journey can take between 22 and 23 hours.
The train will first take you to Padang Besar, which is the border of Malaysia and Thailand
This is where you will need to get off to verify your passport at the Thai Immigration checkpoint.
Passengers will need to go through both immigration counters.
From Padang Besar, you will then need to book a different train, under Thai Railways, which will take you straight to Bangkok
The sleeper service starts at Padang Besar station.
When you're ready to sleep, the seats are converted into beds that are set up by the train conductors.
You can choose between booking the upper or lower berth (bed)
Each berth comes with a curtain, which you can slide shut for privacy
Except for the occasional announcements, the ride is relatively quiet throughout.
However, feel free to bring along earplugs and an eye mask if you're generally a light sleeper.
Here's how much it roughly costs:
KL Sentral to Padang Besar:
- the seat is about RM76 to RM102, depending on the date.
For children between the ages 4 and 12, it is about RM42 per ticket.
Padang Besar to Bangkok:
- Lower berth THB960 (RM130)
- Upper berth THB860 (RM116)
For children, the berths are slightly cheaper:
- Upper berth THB690 (RM93)
- Lower berth THB780 (RM105)
Aside from getting to enjoy the peaceful scenery, the best part of the trip is when the train stops at stations along the way and food sellers hop on board to sell yummy Thai meals and snacks
You can also order food on the train itself when the stewardess comes round with a menu.
The downside to using this mode of transport is that it takes time... a lot of time.
So, compared to a flight which can get you to Bangkok in under two hours, taking the train will take more "effort".
But if you're looking for a new type of adventure, then this is definitely something to consider!
You can book the trains here:
Happy travelling! :)