KTM MySawadee Charter Train from KL Sentral to Hat Yai
The MySawadee 1004up is a seasonal train from KL Sentral to Hat Yai, operating non-stop throughout the north-south international journey, except for technical stops and at Padang Besar Railway Station for Malaysia and Thailand immigration clearance. I booked myself a return trip on the first run of this special non-stop express train on the Malaysia Day long weekend.
The MySawadee uses the train number of 1004up in Malaysia and Express 992 in Thailand.
1 sign was placed in front of Gate A pointing passengers of the MySawadee 1004up to the waiting area. Notably, the sign here at Gate A does not relate to the train name of MySawadee as stated on the KTMB Integrated Ticketing System (KITS) ticket, with the name given here as Tren Ekspres Sawadee Holidays instead.
The crowd of MySawadee 1004up at Gate A.
I decided to wait around the gate line at Gate A, learning from my experience on the Ekspres Khas Keluarga Malaysia 1028up from KL Sentral to Tumpat.
The departure screen did not reflect the MySawadee 1004up.
Strangely, the QR code scanner was covered with a piece of tape.
KITS Ticket Scanning
Announcements were made on a loudhailer for passengers to find a staff to scan tickets for boarding. A staff with a handheld device, the same as on Shuttle Timuran trains, was on hand to scan all 360 passengers’ tickets.
Holding my phone towards the staff for the KITS scanning roulette.
Similar to Shuttle Timuran trains, the handheld device had no line at certain times, resulting in the ability to successfully scan in a lucky draw. Now I’m wondering if the signal issues on Shuttle Timuran trains are actually due to the lack of mobile data on the railway line, the handheld device itself, or a mashup of both.
Passengers for the MySawadee 1004up were kept updated on the boarding situation by loudhailer.
I was quite fortunate to have successfully scanned my ticket early in the process as the crowd of over 300 quickly swarmed the 1 available handheld device for scanning. The whole situation was a mess.
I headed back to Gate A to queue for boarding after my successful scan.
Announcements were made here too for passengers to queue only if they have successfully scanned their tickets. Those who have not scanned tickets will board last when the handheld scanner moves to the gate line.
Queuing up in 2 lines at Gate A.
The crowd of MySawadee 1004up forming behind the queue.
About 16 minutes before departure, Gate A was opened for MySawadee 1004up passengers to board.
Heading down the escalator to the platform.
The MySawadee 1004up was on Platform 2.
The cast nameplate of 25102 Pulau Besar.
I headed to my booked ADNS (Air-conditioned Day/Night Second) coach first at the front of the train to put my bag down.
MySawadee train coaches are branded with the ASEAN logo.
The interior of the ADNS (Air-conditioned Day/Night Second) coach.
My booked lower berth at Berth 22.
The overall space available on the bottom berth.
Very surprisingly, my reading light was working.
The western-style sitting toilet on board the ADNS.
The Asian-style squatting toilet on board the ADNS.
ABC (Air-conditioned Buffet Coach)
An ABC (Air-conditioned Buffet Coach), also known by most passengers as canteen, is also attached on the MySawadee.
The interior of the ABC (Air-conditioned Buffet Coach).
Passengers are already ordering refreshments during boarding.
The interior of the the ASC (Hyundai-Padu Sedia).
Coach B4, however, is using the ASC (ICF-Padu Sedia) type.
The interior of the ASC (ICF-Padu Sedia).
A special addition to the MySawadee is the Event Coach.
The interior of the Event Coach has 36 seats in a 2+2 configuration, with 2 bays of facing seats by the rear and the rest are airline seats facing the event area.
While the Event Coach has been refurbished, the old thick cushioned seats remain.
The front part of the Event Coach is an event space which is flexible to cater for any occasion.
The view from the event space to the seats.
The back of the event space has a new karaoke system replacing the old bulky set.
The new karaoke system is slimmer with a touch screen panel to choose your songs.
The karaoke singer can make use of the small screen above on the luggage rack as a reference while the rest of the crowd watches the big screen behind.
The interior of the AFC (Air-conditioned First Class) coach.
Seats on the AFC (Air-Conditioned First Class) are laid out in a 2+1 configuration which can be rotated towards the direction of travel.
A new piece of A4 paper labels the AFC (Air-conditioned First Class) coach.
A glitch on Coach B3 labels it as T4 on the outside.
Heading out of KL Sentral on the northern end. It’s been a very long time since I took a KTM Intercity train north of KL.
Approaching Kuala Lumpur Railway Station.
Entering Platform 1 of Kuala Lumpur Railway Station.
Railway fans are on Platform 1 to spot the arrival and departure of MySawadee 1004up.
The ABC was swarmed with customers purchasing and having their supper.
The packaged selection on board the ABC. Food is fully supplied by Rezza Brand.
Thailand TM 6 Immigration Forms were given out by KTM staff at this time.
A QR code to scan to fill up vaccination information and to upload your vaccination certificate was also shown. This was the first time I’m seeing this system as the last time I entered by flight to Hat Yai, my vaccination status was checked on the spot by staff before immigration.
The system was clunky and only accepted .jpg or .png files. A screenshot of my Notαrise vaccination certificate failed twice, but did the trick after a third try.
Karaoke was in full swing at night with songs by KTM staff. Passengers can also select their own songs from the karaoke system behind.
Speakers are placed around the Event Coach.
The generous legroom on board the Event Coach follows the original 13-row layout of the ASC (Hyundai).
A tray table is also available at each airline seat except for the first row out to the event space.
Now it’s my turn to head to the ABC for supper.
Joining the queue at the ABC.
The selection available on the counter.
The menu available on board the MySawadee 1004up ABC.
For supper, I ordered a Nasi Garlic Daging Bulgogi (RM12) and a hot Teh Tarik (RM3).
The Nasi Garlic Daging Bulgogi was… interesting. It was my first time eating such a combination of dishes which is like Malay-style Korean food. The Nasi Garlic sounded like Garlic Fried Rice, which was just more of a yellow rice. This was despite a Shopee listing also listing the same item as Korean Beef Bulgogi with Garlic Fried Rice. The Beef Bulgogi was saucy which mixed well with the yellow rice, which then became like having a briyani with curry.
Would I recommend it? Eat it if you would like to try Malay-style Korean food to satisfy your curiosity.
25102 Pulau Besar will be decoupled here at the border of Malaysia and Thailand.
Heading for Malaysia and Thailand immigration at Padang Besar Railway Station. Bags do not need to be brought for this procedure which was very convenient.
Queuing for Malaysia immigration.
Heading for Thailand immigration.
Before entering the immigration queue, your vaccination certificate must be shown to the staff at the side counter for verification.
Once verifying my Notαrise vaccination certificate, a stamp was placed in the middle of the tearing portion of the TM 6 Immigration Form.
Anyway, heading for Thailand immigration.
Once done with Thailand immigration, re-boarding was immediately allowed. There is no separation between passengers who have cleared immigration, have not cleared immigration, or not going to Thailand.
Immigration took quite long as there were only 3 counters each for Malaysia and Thailand opened to serve all passengers going to Hat Yai.
The not-the-express-to-Bangkok at Platform 1.
Heading to the front of the train with the State Railway of Thailand locomotive arrived to take the MySawadee in to Thailand.
The painted locomotive number of GEA 4559 on the side.
Interestingly, the ABC was still in operation throughout immigration clearance and in Thailand.
Some better shots of GEA 4559 with Express 992 MySawadee after the crowds had cleared.
The blurry daytime view out of my ADNS window.
Crossing into Thailand.
And with this crossing, KTM Intercity coaches are back in Thailand once again for regular passengers, 6 years after the cessation of Ekspres Peninsular services in 2016.
There is a security personnel at the border checking on the Express 992 MySawadee train as it passes through.
Approaching Padang Besar (Thai) Railway Station.
Passing through Padang Besar (Thai) Railway Station.
Passing through the Padang Besar (Thai) level crossing.
The Thai scenery out of a KTM Intercity train once again.
Crossing with the SRT Express 947 Hat Yai-Padang Besar Shuttle Train at Khlong Ngae Railway Station.
Passing through Khlong Ngae Railway Station.
Passing by the level crossing north of Khlong Ngae Railway Station.
On-board sales of Thailand SIM Cards & Money Exchange
A pleasant surprise, Jai was on board the to sell Thailand SIM cards and exchange cash between Malaysian Ringgit and Thai Baht.
Thailand dtac SIM cards were sold on board at RM20 for 8 days of unlimited internet.
Entering the premises of Hat Yai Junction Railway Station.
Approaching the junction from the Sungai Golok line.
Passing by disused Krupp locomotives.
Hat Yai Junction Railway Station
Entering Hat Yai Junction Railway Station.
The Express 992 MySawadee was given Platform 1 for arrival.
Glad to be back in Thailand by direct train once again.
The station master checking that the full length of the has entered the platform.
The Express 992 MySawadee arrived at Hat Yai Junction Railway Station at 8.36am – 66 minutes delayed.
The GEA 4559 immediately decouples from the empty rake of Express 992 MySawadee to head back to the depot.
KTM Intercity coaches back on Thai soil once again.
A group of staff taking a commemorative photo with the KTM coaches and Hat Yai Junction sign.
The refurbished ASC (Hyundai-Padu Sedia) at Hat Yai Junction Railway Station.
Heading out of Hat Yai Junction Railway Station.
Aside from the huge mess at KL Sentral for scanning tickets to check-in on KITS, the MySawadee is a very convenient service to travel from KL Sentral to Hat Yai with a proper bed for a night journey and no intermediate stops along the way. Even with the immigration delay at Padang Besar, it would still be faster to be taking a train into Hat Yai as the road checkpoints would be jammed up at the ends of the Malaysia Day long weekend.
With a focus on tourism over balik kampung schedules for other excursion trains, the MySawadee could possibly be of high demand in future for both domestic and international tourists if more such trains are scheduled, and with the very high demand for ADNS berths, perhaps even higher fares can be charged for the comfort and convenience of having a night direct service to travel directly to Thailand from the capital of Malaysia.