21dn Ekspres Peninsular from Padang Besar to JB Sentral by Train (and onwards to Woodlands CIQ) • Around the Malay Peninsular with JOM NAIK KERETAPI

On 25 February 2016, JOM NAIK KERETAPI embarked on a trip around the Malay Peninsular from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Hat Yai, Thailand with the northbound journey via Sungai Golok on the eastern side of the Malay Peninsular, and the southbound journey via Padang Besar, on the western side of the Malay Peninsular.

The Peninsular Express is no longer in operation.

There are no more direct train services between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur or northern destinations. You must change trains at JB Sentral and Gemas.

After the border crossing, walking back to Malaysia, it’s time to head back to Singapore by the 21dn Ekspres Peninsular. As the name suggests, the Ekspres Peninsular travels down the entire Peninsular Malaysia on the west coast from Padang Besar to JB Sentral.

At Padang Besar, boarding calls will be made before entering the platform. You will have to wait at the lobby first and listen out for your train. If in doubt, just follow the crowd.

A 25 Class locomotive, 25105 Pulau Jerejak, will lead the 21dn Ekspres Peninsular to JB Sentral.

ADNS Interior 01

As usual, I took the Superior Night, or ADNS for the night train.

The caterer on board did not have the “a la carte” menu (freshly cooked) as there is no chef on board, so only packed microwaved food was available.

The Bihun Goreng or fried bee hoon from the canteen. RM5.50 for this box.

After chatting with the JOM NAIK KERETAPI group, I went to sleep slightly before 11pm.

I woke up to this view of Gemas, Negeri Sembilan.


Looks like I slept past the alighting point of Kuala Lumpur and KL Sentral for most of the JOM NAIK KERETAPI members. I slept for almost 8 hours uninterrupted – a mark of comfort and reliability of KTM Intercity night trains.

Looking south towards the end of electrified double tracking. The line is expected to be fully electrified and double tracked to JB Sentral by 2020.

The true southern end of the electrification. This is located in Gemas Baru, Johor, about 1km south of the Gemas Railway Station in Negeri Sembilan.

For breakfast, I bought a takeaway sandwich set from the International Express (Padang Besar – Butterworth) caterer at Padang Besar the previous day for RM3.

Yes, that’s a quadruple-decker sandwich.

To complete the breakfast, I bought a cup of coffee from the on-board canteen for RM2.50.

After breakfast, I converted my berth into the seating configuration for better air-conditioning flow in the day and to stretch out my legs.

The size of the ADNS seat.

How 2 facing seats look like. The seat on the right is missing the headrest, removed by KTM.

I had brunch after departing Kluang, with a bag of Nasi Lemak ordered from Kluang RailCoffee shared with the train crew and me. It was actually a treat from one of my crew friend. Thanks for the brunch!

The Ekspres Peninsular arrived at JB Sentral about 10 minutes early.

To transfer to the Shuttle Tebrau, head upstairs and wait for boarding calls to be made. I’m not sure whether to advise you to join the queue or not, but I guess it’s up to your preference.

I got my ticket slightly more than 1 week before. You should too. All trains were sold out that day, and is usually so on every Sunday.

Personally, I like to enter the immigration area with a queue that looks like this. Less time standing in line here and then at the immigration counters downstairs, and faster immigration and customs processing too.

The 77dn Shuttle Tebrau awaiting departure at JB Sentral.

Departing Malaysia.

The Shuttle Tebrau in Singapore territory.

Concluding the trip around the Malay Peninsular at Woodlands Train Checkpoint, Singapore.

For more information and to participate in future trips, do join the JOM NAIK KERETAPI Facebook group, and hopefully I’ll get to meet you readers on future trips!


  1. Hi there, I have a few questions. I am taking the train number 20 (express peninsular) from jb sentral to alor star. Just want to confirm that to board train from jb sentral is the train station beside the jb immigration right? Cause i am traveling from singapore to jb. also, the one i booked is ADNS, is there a power socket included? seeing that my journey would be 16 hours, really hope i can get some work done on my laptop.
    Many thanks!

    1. If you are taking the Shuttle Tebrau from Woodlands CIQ, it will be the same place. If you are taking the bus, yes it is the station beside the immigration complex. There are no power sockets available on the Ekspres Peninsular.

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