Update Apr 16, 2016
Find out the other transport options from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur now that the train is cancelled.
Update Aug 18, 2016
Update Feb 27, 2016: Seems like only seats are available for the night trains from JB to Kuala Lumpur.
Update [March 23, 2013] Check out the FAQ too
I went on the overnight train to Kuala Lumpur last weekend and it was really fun–the train ride and the trip. For those who have been wondering how to take the old rail train to Malaysia, here are some money saving tips that you can use to save on the train trip from Singapore to Malaysia. My guide will focus on buying tickets online.
1. Leave from JB Sentral instead of Woodlands, Singapore
Actually, you can stop reading from here because this is the best tip I have. As noted in my previous post announcing my trip, you will save half the amount if you leave from Malaysia instead of Singapore.
Since the Singapore and Malaysia train stations are just a causeway away, it really makes more sense to travel to JB Sentral on public bus and board there.
Plus, the KFC at JB Sentral is 24-hours, eat all the fried chicken you want!
If you really want to leave from Singapore (so you can skip the torturous bus ride across the causeway), I’d suggest you buy a cheap seat (about S$17) from Woodlands CIQ-JB Sentral. When the train reaches JB Sentral, you can hop off and go to your carriage. (The ticket checking for the JB passage starts when the train moves.)
2. But come back to Woodlands not JB
Am I confusing you? Yes, you leave from JB but come back to Woodlands. Why? The ticket from Malaysia to Singapore is in RM so it’ll still be cheap. You’ll also skip the horrible traffic jam on the causeway, especially if it’s commuting hours.
3. Choosing where to buy tickets
Back to ticket buying, I’ll assume that you are based in Singapore. Buy the ticket online instead of heading to JB Sentral’s ticketing counter. Plus, you’ll be charged in Singapore dollars if you buy directly at Woodlands.
My guide here will focus on buying online. KTMB’s Web site is a bit old school–it even has frames. But it gets it job done.
First check the timetable to figure out which train to catch. I picked the 23.55 train from JB because it arrives at 06.30 in KL. Saves me travelling time during the day. Then sign up for an account to book your tickets.
4. Selecting the tickets online
This part is slightly confusing because of KTMB’s naming convention:
- JB Sentral=Johor Bahru train station
- Sentral Kuala Lumpur=KL Sentral
- Woodlands CIQ=Woodlands station
Pick the timing that you want to leave. Then you choose the type of sleeper/seat you want. I’d recommend the sleepers for overnighting to KL. There are 5 types of seats/sleeper.
- ADMFB: Air-conditioned Day Night First-class Berth
- ADNFD: Air-conditioned Day Night First-class Deluxe
- ADNS: Air-conditioned Day Night Sleeper
- AFC: Air-conditioned First Class
- ASC: Air-conditioned Second Class
I’ve only been on ADNS’s upper bunk. It was quite a pleasant ride/sleep, minus the shaking and snoring man.
The page says you will need to key in passengers’ names and identificaiton number. They never checked mine against the ticket so if you are in a hurry, I think you can just put fake names/ID number.
5. Payment and proof
Pay using a regular credit/debit card to buy the tickets.
They will not send you a proof of confirmation, so remember to save the page. I usually save my Web pages in PDF form so it prints out nicer. I use PDF Creator which shows up as a virtual printer in my Print tool. (Don’t click the toolbar when installing).
Printing out the ticket is necessary. DO NOT LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT.
6. Things to bring on train
Waiting for the trip to arrive is the hardest step. Here’s something you need to know about the trip: There is no food and drink station onboard so bring your own munchies and liquids.
Attention! During my trip in October, I found out that KTMB stopped providing blankets. Please bring something warm for the ride, it gets really cold.
Safety pins to pin your sleeping curtain will be very helpful. I found myself peering into curtains on my way back from the loo. Not much privacy for whoever was in it.
The only bus that seems to be on duty around 23.00 is the SBS and SMRT buses. So there is not much choice in the bus leaving Singapore to JB. Oh, the train might break down, like it did on my trip. Just sit/sleep through it with a smile.
BONUS! JB Sentral map
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