Bangkok to Singapore by Rail Part 1 – Bangkok to Hat Yai/Butterworth

THE INTERNATIONAL EXPRESS NO LONGER SERVES THE MALAYSIAN SECTOR BETWEEN PADANG BESAR AND BUTTERWORTH.

PLEASE VISIT THE DEDICATED INTERNATIONAL EXPRESS PAGE FOR MORE INFORMATION.

The classic journey from Bangkok to Singapore goes through three popular Southeast Asian countries, passing through historical places of worship, rice plantations and villages, along with the modern bustling metropolises embracing the past.

The journey begins from Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong Railway Station, completed in 1916. For this trip, RailTravel Station made a pit stop at Hat Yai in southern Thailand, although there is an option of transiting at Butterworth in Malaysia too. Following that, a pit stop is also made at Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, finally terminating at the Woodlands Train Checkpoint in Singapore.


This trip commences with the overnight Special Express 35 from Bangkok (Hua Lamphong) to Hat Yai,  departing at 2.45pm and arriving at Hat Yai at 6.35am the next day. This train continues on to Butterworth as well.

The interior of the second class ANS coach. The daytime seats are generously wide and can comfortably seat 2 people, even though it is only sold as 1 seat. 2 seats faces opposing each other, so your daytime neighbour will be whoever is sharing the top or bottom bed after converting at night.

 

The view changes from the busy city of Bangkok to wide views of paddy fields just around 2 hours after Bangkok and Nakhon Pathom.

After a while, a waiter from the restaurant car comes around to hand out menus for meals. You can order any time, but it does get busy during dinner.

You could head over to the restaurant car to dine in.

Or they could also serve it at your seat. This is Khao Pad Rot Fai (ข้าวผัดรถไฟ), or Railway Fried Rice. The set costing 110 baht comes with a side soup and orange juice. Its taste is similar to American Fried Rice with its tomato flavour. Meals on board are freshly cooked upon ordering so you may wish to order slightly earlier than your usual dinner time to beat the crowd, and to get served faster.

The restaurant car used to sell beer as well, but after a recent crime on board one of the trains, SRT was quick to implement banning alcohol throughout the network, including stations and trains. Do take note if you are thinking of buying some on board as well, you will not be allowed to. On board staff and railway policemen are on the look out.

After sunset, another attendant will come around to convert your day seat into beds. You may also request this service in the daytime if you’re feeling really tired.




The finished product of the bottom bed. The entire procedure takes around a minute only. Sheets and blankets are fresh and individually sealed when brought on board.

For the bottom bed, remember to pull out the top metal bar attached to the roof so the curtain drapes over nicely.


If not, you will end up with 2 gaps at the ends and light will enter where your head rests.

You can also see that the lower bed is wider and offers a window as compared to the upper one. I suggest getting the lower one for more comfort, and the difference in fares for this long journey, if you are bound for Hat Yai, is just 90 baht (MYR9/SGD3.60).

If you’re feeling peckish when you wake up, the restaurant car is open for that too.

This is their American breakfast set (130 baht), although the menu translation literally means 2 Eggs, Ham, Sausage, Toast, Jam, with fruit, coffee or tea, and orange juice. You can just point at the picture to the waiter.

Hat Yai is a bustling town with cheap food and buys, and very easy to get around by foot if you book a hotel near the train station which is the centre of the city.

The train continues on the Butterworth, Malaysia where you can board the ferry to Penang Island.

THE INTERNATIONAL EXPRESS NO LONGER SERVES THE MALAYSIAN SECTOR BETWEEN PADANG BESAR AND BUTTERWORTH.

PLEASE VISIT THE DEDICATED INTERNATIONAL EXPRESS PAGE FOR MORE INFORMATION.

Timetable for the available trains you can take, with a suggested priority of trains you should book:

Train Number Depart
Bangkok
Arrive
Hat Yai
Arrive
Butterworth
Booking Priority
Rapid
171
1300 0552  – 4
Special Express
35
1445 0635  – 1
Special Express
37
1510 0720  – 2
Rapid
169
1535 0915  – 3
Special Express
41
2250 1234  – 5

Special Express 35 and 37 has the wider bottom bed.
Rapid 169 and 171 has a slimmer bottom bed, but still comfortable. There is however only 1 air-conditioned sleeper coach available on the train.
Special Express 41 travels the fastest and includes meals as it is a diesel railcar, but it only offers seats.

For the reverse route from Hat Yai to Bangkok:

Train Number Depart
Butterworth
Depart
Hat Yai
Arrive
Bangkok
Booking Priority
Rapid
170
 – 1445 0900 4
Rapid
172
 – 1539 0915 3
Special Express
42
 – 1623 0555 5
Special Express
38
 – 1810 1010 2
Special Express
36
 – 1845 1030 1

Special Express 36 and 38 has the wider bottom bed.
Rapid 170 and 172 has a slimmer bottom bed, but still comfortable. There is however only 1 air-conditioned sleeper coach available on the train.
Special Express 42 travels the fastest and includes meals as it is a diesel railcar, but it only offers seats.

The Special Express 36 runs with 2 coaches of second class sleepers (converted to seats already) between Hat Yai and Butterworth, and operates without seat numbers between that section. If you book a through ticket from Bangkok, you will have to share your seat after Hat Yai as it accommodates 2 people with the wide seat as mentioned in the previous post.

The suggestions offered here are for the second class sleepers. First class cabins are also available on trains 36 and 38 with twin-sharing private cabins. You may book your tickets at SRT ticket offices, or through KTM if departing or arriving within Malaysian stations.

THE INTERNATIONAL EXPRESS NO LONGER SERVES THE MALAYSIAN SECTOR BETWEEN PADANG BESAR AND BUTTERWORTH.

PLEASE VISIT THE DEDICATED INTERNATIONAL EXPRESS PAGE FOR MORE INFORMATION.

Check out the Bangkok to Singapore series here!
Bangkok to Singapore by Rail Part 1 – Bangkok to Hat Yai/Butterworth
Bangkok to Singapore by Rail Part 2 – Hat Yai/Butterworth to Kuala Lumpur
Bangkok to Singapore by Rail Part 3 – Kuala Lumpur to Singapore (Woodlands CIQ)

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4 thoughts on “Bangkok to Singapore by Rail Part 1 – Bangkok to Hat Yai/Butterworth

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