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.