Bucket List Check: 900mi By Train from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok

Bucket list… check! A journey I have been wanting to do for over a decade!IMG_7292
Over the last week, I travelled by rail from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) in Malaysia to Bangkok (BKK) in Thailand. I have previously ridden a sleeper train from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur (before Singapore closed its main train station).

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Six trains took me over 1,500 km (900 miles). Travel time was 25 hours 35 minutes (including delays and wait times). It cost me $US72 for a mix of travel in First, Second and Third class. If you went for the cheapest option (which includes a gruelling 19 hour Thai Railways third class seat), you could get away with the whole trip costing you $US30! The most expensive ticket is on the luxury Eastern and Oriental train (pictured below) which would set you back around $US3,336.

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By comparison, KUL to BKK  is the same distance as:

  • Paris to Warsaw in Europe. Taking that journey would put me on fourScreen Shot 2017-02-08 at 8.38.37 pm trains and would take 20 hours 10 minutes including 2 hours and 23 minutes of waiting time in Stuttgart, Munich and Vienna. You could find an advance Second Class ticket for $US100 or a last minute First Class could cost you as much as $US600:
  • Boston to Atlanta, USA. Amtrak taking me on that journey would put me on two trains and charge me $US327 in coach seats or $US823 for a business seat and roomette. The trip would take 23 hours 33 minutes including 1 hour 22 minute waiting time in New York.
  • Melbourne to Grafton, Australia which takes 26 hours 25 minutes (including a four-hour wait in Sydney). The two trains would cost me $US94 for a basic seat or $US201 for a First Class sleeper!

I will post the journey in five parts:

  1. Feb 14: Kuala Lumpur to the Thai/Malaysian Border in Platinum ETS service
  2. Feb 21st: Across the Thai/Malay border in Thai railways Third Class -as luxurious as it sounds! IMG_8134
  3. Feb 28th: Two Second Class Thai Train journeys: Hat Yai to Surat and HuaHin to Bangkok IMG_7576
  4. March 7: Brand new Thai First Class Sleeper ride from Surat Thani to Hua Hin-the most comfortable part of the trip! 

5. Arriving into Bangkok

For planning, I am grateful for the valuable advice at Seat 61, Train 36, and Rail Travel Station. Much appreciated resources.

Look forward to having you re-live my ride with me!

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