I did exact same trip 6 wks ago.Your first port of call should be www.ktmb.com.my/.The site has all routes and schedules,it's alittle fiddly to register and buy tickets but ok after a while.You can book your coach and seat,pay with credit card.Very handy to book first leg of journey ie Sing to KL.Overnight sleeper leaves Sing at 10PM,arrives kl at 6am,reasonably comfortable,88rm.
KL to Butterworth (penang)-get off train,walk to ferry terminal around the corner (signed),only goes every hr in the evening.Bout 25 min to island of Penang,off at Georgetown terminal,town right in front of you.Return ferry to Butterworth is free.Train to Hat Yai,BKK leaves bout. 2.30PM.This train can book up quickly,so book couple days in advance if possible,maybe when you arrive in Butterworth first time if you know dates.You cant book this train online,as it's a Thai Railways train.Can't remember sleeper price but not expensive.Have to do immigration stuff at Pedang Besar,then on to Hat Yai,then bkk if not stopping.No food on Thai trains,but there is on KTM.
Thanks for your info patdoody Hmmm how does the immigration stuff go at pedang besar and hat yai? Is it safe to leave your bags on the train when you go to stamp your ticket/passport?
Anyone knows anything with regards about accomodation in any of my destinations? Any recommendations?
You have to take bags off the train at immigration at Pedang Besar,whole thing will take half hour for everyone.When you get through,back onto same train,same seat,you're in,so nothing to do immigration wise in Hat Yai.When you get to BKK ( Hua Lamphong )there is an MRTA station right outside the door ,(to the right as you leave the platform area).This subway has interchanges with the 2 BTS lines,so can get you many places in the city,but not the Khao San area if you;re staying there.If your hostel,hotel is not on these lines,take a metered taxi,they pretty cheap,certainly cheaper than the motorcycle taxi touts outside the door.
Hmm I checked out the train line from www.seat61.com/malaysia. But can someone tell me why are there 2 KL and 2 Butterworth train stations?
The main train station in KL is called KL Sentral,from where all intercity trains originate.Confusingly,the other station you're thinking of is called Kuala Lumpur station.This was the main station until KL Sentral was built a couple of years ago,and is now only in use as a stop on the city commuter line.I'm prettty certain that there's only one train station in Butterworth though,actually i'm 100% certain!
Pat is right. The new station, KL Sentral, is now the main one for all intercity and commuter trains in Kuala Lumpur. It also has city bus and metro connections. The beautiful old KL Railway Station is still in use for commuter trains because of its central location. If you book a ticket online to/from KL, make sure you select Sentral Kuala Lumpur, not Kuala Lumpur (which is the old station). And as Pat pointed out, there's only one Butterworth station.
These two cities are also train terminals where trains, except for few, begin/end the journey and thus have different arrival and departure times, unlike other stations/cities where it's just a brief stopover to pick up/drop off passengers. So the train timetables on seat61.com repeat the station/city to show the different times and this make them look as if there were two different stations, and probably the reason why you got the impression that there were two stations each in the two cities.
Oh I see. Anyone slept in a hotel lobby before?? Did you all get chased out? Because I realized that for certain days of my trip, getting cheap accomodation might not be that possible, so I'm actually thinking of dozing off in lobbies of hotels. How possible is it to do that? Anyone has experience or stories to share about when you realized at midnight you had no accomodation? What did you do??