Singapore to Kuala Lumpur by train

Tripoto
13th Apr 2014

Backpack

Photo of Singapore to Kuala Lumpur by train by Bronwyn Joy

Batu Caves

Photo of Singapore to Kuala Lumpur by train by Bronwyn Joy

Batu Caves and Temple

Photo of Singapore to Kuala Lumpur by train by Bronwyn Joy

Petronas Towers

Photo of Singapore to Kuala Lumpur by train by Bronwyn Joy

Train token

Photo of Singapore to Kuala Lumpur by train by Bronwyn Joy

I didn’t want to wait until the idea stopped making sense in my head, so a few weeks ago I had a quick flick through the relevant section of Seat 61, logged on to the KMTB website, and booked the first two sleeper births available on a Friday night out of Woodlands.

Then I hit AirBnB, found an apartment near Sentral Station in KL with a nicely flexible check-in policy (thanks, Victor!), pinned some KL-with-kids tips, and bada-bing, bada-boom, proceeded to the bit where the five-year-old asks over and over again if it’s time to leave yet for days and days and days, culminating in half-hourly calls at work telling me how he’s been sitting by the front door with his shoes on for aaaaages and when am I going to be home?

Here’s how we fared.

Who Went? Mum and one 5yo.

Review: Budget-friendly weekend hop to a place which presented little culture-shock to anyone living in Singapore. One-on-one time allowed us to make full use of opportunities for discussion, learning, and deep indoctrination, and to tailor the itinerary more narrowly for our interests.

Challenges: The overnight train trip between Singapore and KL is about eight hours’ long – not a full night’s sleep for a five-year-old, even if they do clock out almost immediately and sleep soundly all night (which is unlikely). This wasn’t too bad on the outward leg, where the distraction of the new and shiny kept him wide awake, but the re-entry to Singapore was less pleasant.

Based on our two overnight train journeys from Singapore to Malaysia so far (the other is detailed here), the trains appear to be delayed by at least an hour approximately fifty percent of the time. On these occasions, they will probably fail to communicate meaningfully with waiting passengers. I’m also not clear on how they decide whether you’ll complete Malaysian immigration at the checkpoint at Woodlands or haul yourself and your luggage off at Johor Bahru instead. Luckily we’d packed light, P amused himself admirably during the boring bits, and the one guy who did start getting antsy was quickly hauled off by police without any real drama.

Photo of Singapore by Bronwyn Joy
Arrive KL 7:30am, breakfast at train station LRT to apartment, check in Tea and roti
I don’t speak Malay. I’d assumed the “sains” in “Petrosains” translated roughly as it was pronounced: sai-ince. It was even billed to me as a “science centre”. After our visit this weekend, I wonder if it’s best translated as “propaganda”.
Photo of Petronas Twin Towers Kuala Lumpur City Centre Kuala Lumpur Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur Malaysia by Bronwyn Joy
Photo of KL Sentral Kuala Lumpur Sentral Kuala Lumpur Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur Malaysia by Bronwyn Joy
Climb to Temple Caves, muse over meditative and community-building features of extremely steep, narrow steps, even though these were almost certainly a side-effect of the more practical issues involved with putting a path up a steep mountain on a budget Educational tour of Dark Cave in order to offset the eco-travesty of yesterday afternoon’s excursion to Petrosains Kommuter train to Sentral station for a late lunch, and LRT back to the apartment for packing, swimming, and playing in the kid’s playground.
Photo of Batu Caves Selangor Malaysia by Bronwyn Joy
Photo of Batu Caves Selangor Malaysia by Bronwyn Joy
Photo of Batu Caves Selangor Malaysia by Bronwyn Joy
LRT to Pasar Seni station, roti dinner and unexpected fireworks display plus dance performance, wander through the very touristy Central Market LRT to Sentral Station, bum around in waiting area trying to explain why “fifteen minutes” doesn’t actually mean fifteen minutes and “technical issues” could mean anything at all, making friends with people who had children and/or mangoes. Board train around 23:30 Overnight on train to Singapore
Arrive JB around 7am, disembark for immigration and customs Arrive Singapore around 8am Taxi home
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