For this accidental overland trip to Bangkok, it was an unplanned series of events leading up to a connection instead of actually wanting to take the train to Bangkok like how I would usually do it.
I had already purchased a return flight ticket beforehand about half a year ago in prediction of the opening of the MRT Blue Line Extension to Lak Song, but the ETS2 Business Class decided to launch suddenly one day before the date of my flight. I definitely wanted to give the ETS2 Business Class a shot, so my option was to either fly back from Alor Setar to Johor Bahru and proceed directly to Changi Airport for my booked flight to Bangkok, or to burn my plane ticket and get the train to Bangkok from Padang Besar which would be a lot less stressful, or to simply burn getting on the brand new ETS2 Business Class.
I took the sensible option of getting the train to Bangkok, which lead me to travelling on this night Transtar Premium to KL to catch the ETS2 Business Class to Padang Besar.
Transtar Travel has a convenient pick-up point at Lavender MRT Station Exit B for long-distance buses, which is connected by the East West Line.
Just as I ascended from the escalator from the concourse level of Lavender MRT Station, I saw a few passengers with luggages waiting around Exit B already.
The waiting area at the shelter towards the bus stop.
The station sign of Lavender MRT Station.
About 15 minutes before departure, the Transtar Premium bus had arrived at the pavement beside Lavender MRT Station Exit B. My guess as to why Transtar classifies this 10.30pm service as “Transtar Premium/SVIP” is to make the Premium and Super VIP buses interchangeable without breaking the conditions of the ticketed service.
My Transtar Premium bus at Lavender MRT Station Exit B.
The said amenities available on the Transtar Premium bus.
There was some confusion during boarding as the seat numbers do not align with the ticketed numbers, and some people including me had to recheck for a new seat number on the driver’s manifest.
The legroom of my new Seat 40 on the last row of the lower deck, changed from my non-existent Seat 34.
The overall interior of the upper deck.
A power socket is available beside my seat, but this was not working throughout the bus ride.
Seat controls for massage and calf rest are electronically controlled from a small panel below the left armrest.
The entertainment screen is folded out from the right armrest.
The entertainment screen on the Transtar Premium bus. This was not switched on throughout the journey, but not that I wanted it anyway for this night bus ride.
The view of the lower deck of the Transtar Premium bus from my seat.
At about 10.40pm, the bus departed from Lavender MRT Station Exit B for Golden Mile Complex, 10 minutes late from scheduled departure.
Arrived at Golden Mile Complex at 10.45pm.
The bus stopped near the Transtar Travel office at Golden Mile Complex.
Once done, the bus proceeded on to KL, passing by the Singapore Flyer and Gardens by the Bay on Sheares Avenue.
Heading through the MCE.
Heading on the AYE.
As this was an early midnight departure, there was a massive bus jam at Tuas Checkpoint.
The total time to clear Singapore and Malaysia immigration starting the count from the start of the jam at Tuas Checkpoint altogether was around 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Heading back into the bus at Tanjung Kupang CIQ.
The bus made 3 rest stops in total, one at Lucky Garden Yong Peng, one for a toilet break at Kampung Bemban and another last one for diesel before arriving in KL.
The empty lower deck after the bus arrived at Berjaya Times Square KL.
The Transtar Premium journey from Lavender MRT Station to Imbi Monorail Station (Berjaya Times Square) took a whopping 7 hours and 6 minutes, arriving at 5.36am. I had planned to Grab to my breakfast spot early with the expected earlier arrival than my usual midnight buses, but in the end, I still could have walked to Hang Tuah LRT Station to catch the LRT Sri Petaling Line because it was almost time for the first train. Sigh.
Overall, a slow but comfortable ride with Transtar Premium with the spacious seats and calf rests, with a longer ride for a little bit more sleep. I do wish that the bus ride was faster though – 3 rest stops on an overnight bus is rather excessive, with regular buses not even making that many stops during the day. For this late-ish arrival time, I could have caught a later and cheaper midnight departure from Golden Mile on another bus company instead to arrive in KL at the same time.