SIN/KL 2014: Overnight sleeper train SIN to KL

December 01, 2014

For $50ish or less, you can purchase a return trip on the overnight sleeper train from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur. Mike and I enjoy this method of traveling because not only does the price pay for your transportation there and back, but also for your accommodation over 2 nights.

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Getting to the train station is very easy. We were staying in Little India and simply grabbed a bus to Woodlands station. Woodlands is a point of entry/departure so if you were planning to take one of the buses that go straight through to Johor, you need to alight and proceed through Customs and Immigration. Once completed, you hop back on your bus and carry on. If, like us, you are going to grab the train into Malaysia, you need to walk over to the train station (follow the signs, very easy). You will queue outside the gate until it is boarding time. Once the gate opens, you will proceed through a separate Customs and Immigration and then board the train.

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We were hoping to experience a 1st class sleeper (private cabin with 2 berths) or even a deluxe sleeper with private shower and toilet, but unfortunately, those cabins were being renovated at the time. Instead, we booked 2nd class sleepers. There are two rows (lower and upper) of bunks on either side of the cabin. They are less private but still spacious (Mike is tall and did not feel cramped at all) and comfortable.

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Some tips for taking the train from Singapore to KL:

  • Buy your tickets in advance, in person or online. They can and do sell out.
  • Don’t forget or lose your passport and your disembarkation/embarkation card, you need these to leave and enter the country.
  • Bring water and snacks. They do sell food on board but always nice to have brought something you like.
  • Toilets are available but can be filthy and there’s no soap – always carry hand sanitizer when you’re traveling!
  • There are no specific luggage compartments that are secure and within view. Most passengers keep their bags with them on their bed. This is easiest and most comfortable if you are not traveling with anything larger than the size of a carry-on piece.
  • Bring an eye cover/sleep mask, especially if you’re in the top bunk. The curtains do not sit flush with the ceiling so the lights will shine through.
  • Bring an Ipod, listen to music, and sleep. If you’re worried about missing your stop, don’t worry the staff will walk through the cabins and yell loud enough to wake everyone up. Otherwise, set an alarm on your phone!
  • The cabins will have large garbage bags hanging off selected bunks, please use them and dispose of your garbage responsibly!
  • If you book your train ticket originating from Singapore, you will be charged in SGD, this makes your overall trip more expensive. The cheapest way to get to Singapore to KL is to grab a bus from Singapore to Johor Bahru (few dollars max) and then get on the train to KL (RM 45, $15 CAD). This is compared to $46 SGD or $40 CAD to travel straight from Singapore. The trip back from KL to Singapore should cost around RM 43 or $14 CAD. Can be as cheap as $30 CAD or closer to $55! I do find, however, that is simply less hassle if you get on the train in Singapore.

Left Singapore at 11:30pm and arrived in KL around 7am the next day. Very similar times on the way back as well. It was an enjoyable experience, we would definitely do it again if traveling to Malaysia!

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