The Special Express 36 International Express was an international train running from Butterworth, Malaysia to Bangkok, Thailand via Hat Yai Junction. Most parts of the train starts from Hat Yai Junction, with just 2 coaches heading from Butterworth, Malaysia. As this was the highest class train then, I opted to head on to Bangkok with the Special Express 36 International Express.
For ease of ticket purchase, I had actually bought my ticket on the through car from Malaysia from Padang Besar to Bangkok, as this means that I could buy my ticket from any KTM Intercity station. Remember, this was before the era of online ticketing. However, I boarded the train only from Hat Yai Junction. A small “fee” to pay for convenience.
This trip was done on 13 March 2011, 4 years before RailTravel Station was launched, so I seek your understanding if the pictures or descriptions are not up to usual standards since I had no plans to write about them when I took the trip 9 years ago.
The rake of the Special Express 36 was already shunted in to the platform more than an hour before departure.
I headed into the Air-Conditioned First Class Day & Night Coach (ANF) to check it out.
The day time configuration of the ANF with the armrest out.
Pillows are prepared on an overhead rack.
There are 12 air-conditioning vents for you to create your own air flow in your compartment.
Pairs of compartments have connecting doors for more space if you have booked such connecting compartments for up to 4 passengers.
Looking north to Bangkok from the end of the ANF before the locomotive comes in.
Hat Yai Junction has plenty of station hawkers selling fried chcken with sticky rice. If you are in a non-air-conditioned coach, it’s easy to purchase your food from the train through the windows.
The station sign of Hat Yai Junction, not showing the Padang Besar branch line.
Checking out the Air-Conditioned Restaurant Car (ARC) next.
The dinner menu on the Air-Conditioned Restaurant Car (ARC).
Finally, the portion of the International Express was shunted in, with the coach I am booked on (since I had a KTM ticket from Padang Besar).
I was booked on Coach 10.
Once on board, the restaurant waiter wasted no time in handing out menus to take dinner orders from everyone.
As I had dinner before boarding, I only ordered a Sweet and Sour Chicken with non-spicy soup, stir-fried pork curry and fruits. This costs 150 Baht.
After my dinner, the attendant came around to make my bed for the night.
My lower berth for the night with the blanket opened up from its packaging already.
The morning view from the rear of the train.
There are open sinks outside the toilet cubicles so you needn’t queue for the toilet if all you need to use is the sink.
The sunrise as seen from on board the Special Express 36 International Express.
After the attendant made the bed back into seats, the waiter came around to serve my breakfast which I had ordered the night before.
I ordered the Eggs set including two combined sunny side up eggs, a slice of ham, and 2 small sausages.
Coffee was served in the corporate bogie restaurant train cup.
Heading along the Thai countryside.
Making a brief stop at Ratchaburi.
Crossing with the Ordinary 255 at Prong Madua, due to my train’s delay.
The destination sign of Ordinary 255 from Bangkok Thonburi to Langsuan.
Making a brief stop at Nakhon Pathom, ending the single-track ride.
Making a brief stop at Sala Ya.
A local hawker was selling snacks, so as she same by my seat, I decided to get one of it.
This dessert was so good but I couldn’t memorise what it was called for a few years, but I do now. This is Mo Kaeng which is a burnt Thai custard, but tastes like burnt kaya. Ever since this purchase, I have always bought Mo Kaeng from this particular hawker every time I encounter her on the Southern Line or other sellers on other lines. I forgot how much I paid for it then in 2011, but it costs 35 or 40 Baht for 1 and 100 Baht for 3 today.
Crossing over the Chao Phraya River on the Rama VI Bridge.
Passing by Bang Sue depot.
Making a brief stop at Bang Sue Junction.
How I miss trainspotting at Bang Sue Junction.
Crossing over the busy Phetchaburi Road.
Once at Bangkok Hua Lamphong Railway Station, the laundry company wastes no time in clearing out the sheets on my train to prepare for the turnaround trip.
Alsthom ALS 4146 with the completed Special Express 36 International Express at Bangkok Hua Lamphong Railway Station. This same locomotive brought me from Padang Besar to Hat Yai Junction with the 20up Ekspres Langkawi the day before.
The end of the line at Bangkok Hua Lamphong Railway Station after 3 days of train travelling from the southern buffers at Singapore Tanjung Pagar Railway Station.
The grand platforms at Bangkok Hua Lamphong Railway Station.
The grand waiting hall of Bangkok Hua Lamphong Railway Station.
The portrait of King Chulalongkorn hung above the main pathway from the waiting hall to the platforms.
Here, I headed down to the MRT station to catch the MRT to my hotel. Then, there was no need to specify it as Blue Line as there was just 1 underground MRT line.
Overall, a pleasant first ride on board the State Railway of Thailand, first long-haul ride from Singapore (but now I don’t consider the Singapore-Bangkok train journey long-haul anymore after my few adventures), and more importantly, my first and last time taking the journey from Singapore to Bangkok buffer to buffer, from Tanjung Pagar Railway Station to Hua Lamphong Railway Station.
This article is part of my very first train trip from Singapore to Bangkok in March 2011. Follow my journey here:
- 2up Ekspres Rakyat: Singapore (Tanjung Pagar Railway Station) to KL Sentral by Train [Air-Conditioned First Class (AFC)]
- 20up Ekspres Langkawi: KL Sentral to Hat Yai Junction by Train [Air-Conditioned Day/Night First Berth (ADNFB/2PLUS)]
- Special Express 36 International Express: Hat Yai Junction to Bangkok Hua Lamphong by Train [Daewoo Air-Conditioned Second Class Day & Night Coach (ANS40)]