Malaysia June 2011
The last stop of my trip, that had started in the US!
As with all my trips to Malaysia, this one was as different as the rest had been from each other. The one aim of doing solid YDM4s was almost achieved, but there was always that fill-in move.
Tourists can buy period tickets, available at major station booking offices. You still have to reserve your seat on every intercity train and pay sleeper berth supplements where payable but it does work out cheaper if you’re going to use it a lot. It also allows you to get onto full trains where there are no seats available. I just generally sit in the buffet car, like a lot of other locals by the looks of things.
I’d never done KL – Butterworth during the day and was quite pleased that KTM were using the YDM4s on the day trains in either direction, which now ran daily. We got off to as bad a start in KL as we had done in Saigon though. I’d pre-booked tickets via the Malaysian Railways (KTM) website, while in the US, for the overnight KL – Tumpat. It turned up with a 24 and not a YDM4. Thankfully we were able to get a 50% refund and change our tickets for the KL – Hat Yai overnight instead, which also turned up with a 24! Back at the booking office a second time to change our tickets for the KL – Butterworth overnight, the woman behind the counter couldn’t help but laugh. I was on the verge of crying at that point mind……. Thankfully YDM4 6635 saved the tears and relaxed the whole karma of the situation! And the following morning i was even treated to 6428, my last of the 30 on hire from IRCON to KTM, albeit for a massive 12km.
The following 5 days were very successful, no full trains, no bowl outs, just virtually solid YDM4s. We never went south of KL and stuck pretty much to the KL – Butterworth line doing either the overnight north/south for the corresponding day train in the opposite direction, but for the day we did 24116 north on the Hat Yai so we could do 6614 forward to Padang Besar on the Thai border.
With the overnight trains having decent berths there isn’t really a need to do hotels in Malaysia, if you don’t want to. I used the toilets plenty of times to have a full shower using the facilities provided, and a very good balance…… Not really so good if you’re above 5ft5in mind!
The only time we actually wanted to do a hotel, in KL on the last night, we couldn’t find one at all, not even the Hilton had room, and we ended up doing it on a bench at the airport!
By the time I landed back in Heathrow the whole trip had encompassed 13 planes, I was glad to be home though, but was missing my Mee Goreng (Malaysian fried noodles) and the first meal was believe it or not Chow Mein from the local Chinese……
Malaysian railways have to be one of my favorite in the world. Its cheap, they have YDM4s and the thrash is excellent on trains from load 5 to 18!
Below are the workings we saw on the trip
Enjoy the photos……