The train trip from Singapore to Bangkok is 1,946 km or 1,249 miles and involves 2 or 3 separate train rides, depending on where you want to stop off and change trains. I'd recommend stopping off at Kuala Lumpur and Penang, both fascinating cities. So stage 1 is to take a train from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, choose between two modern air-conditioned daytime trains or an overnight sleeper train. Stage 2 is from KL to Butterworth (linked by frequent ferry to Penang), with a choice of two daytime trains or an overnight sleeper. Stage 3 is to take the 'International Express' leaving Butterworth at lunchtime and arriving in Bangkok next morning. It's entirely up to you whether you do this journey all in one go in 48 hours or stop off and see places on the way, as each train is booked and ticketed separately. All 3 trains can be booked at any railway station in Malaysia or Singapore, or by email with Malaysian Railways. There is a detailed map of train routes in Malaysia on the Malaysian Railways website, www.ktmb.com.my.
It's not difficult to read the timetable below! Each column is a separate train, and you read downwards. You can buy tickets for any train, between any two stations. So for example, in the second column you see that train number 2, with 1st & 2nd class seats, running daily, leaves Singapore at 07:40, stops at Johor Bahru, Gemas, Tampin, calls at Kuala Lumpur at 14:19, stops at Ipoh and finally arrives at Butterworth (for the Penang Ferry) at 21:35. You could change trains at KL onto train 10. Or you could stay on board till Butterworth, stay overnight and catch train 36 to Bangkok next day. It's up to you...
Important: The timetable below has been partially updated for the new Malaysian rail timetable starting on 15 January 2010, but please check times locally as I have not yet been able to update all the calling point times, only the starting/finishing times at origin and destination of each train... xx:xx = 'time not yet known'.
Singapore ► Kuala Lumpur ► Penang ► Bangkok
|Train number: (read the notes below)||4||2||8||10||6||170||36||12|
|Types of seat & sleeper on board (see the explanation below):||2,3||1,2||F,S,2,3||1,2||1,2||2,3||S||L,S,2|
|Days of running:||Sats & Suns||daily||daily||daily||daily||daily||daily||daily|
|Singapore (Keppel Road station)||depart||-||07:45||-||-||13:30||-||-||22:15|
|Tampin (for bus or taxi to or from Malacca)||arr/dep||-||12:21||19:00||-||18:50||-||-||03:58|
|Kuala Lumpur (KL Sentral)||arrive||-||14:23||21:10||-||20:35||-||-||06:30|
|Kuala Lumpur (KL Sentral)||depart||09:30||14:29||21:10||23:30||-||-||-||-|
|Kuala Lumpur (old historic station)||depart||09:34||14:43||21:14||23:35||-||-||-||-|
|Ipoh (for bus to Cameron Highlands)||arr/dep||12:35||17:33||23:28||02:28||-||-||-||-|
|Butterworth (linked by frequent ferry with Penang)||arrive||17:10||21:50||05:03**||06:37||-||-||-||-|
|Butterworth (linked by frequent ferry with Penang)||depart||-||-||05:03**||-||-|| |
|Alor Setar (for Kuala Kedah & Langkawi ferry)||arr/dep||-||-||07:48||-||-|| |
|Arau (for Kuala Perlis & Langkawi ferry)||arr/dep||-||-||08:28||-||-|| |
|Padang Besar (Thai frontier)||arrive||-||-||10:00||-||-|| |
|Hat Yai (for bus to Phuket or Krabi) (Thai time)||arrive||-||-||10:35*||-||-|| |
|Hat Yai||depart||-||-|| |
|Surat Thani (for ferry to Ko Samui & Koh Tao):||arrive||-||-|| |
|Chumphon (for ferry to Koh Tao):||arrive||-||-|| |
|Hua Hin||arrive||-||-|| |
|Nakhon Pathom (for train to River Kwai)||arrive||-||-|| |
|Bangkok Hualamphong Station||arrive||-||-||-||-||-||-||10:50||-|
Key to classes:
L = Deluxe sleeper (Premier Night Deluxe), 1 or 2-bed compartments with private shower & toilet, air-conditioned.
F = 1st class sleepers (Premier Night Standard), 2-bed compartments with washbasin.
S = 2nd class sleepers (Superior Night), upper & lower berths with curtains for privacy, air-conditioned.
1 = 1st class seats (Premier). Quite luxurious, reclining, air-conditioned.
2 = 2nd class seats (Superior). Comfortable, air-conditioned.
3 = 3rd class seats (Economy). Modern & fairly comfortable, but basic.
* = Only one 2nd class sleeper & seats car runs to/from Hat Yai. The 1st class sleepers only run between Kuala Lumpur, Butterworth & Padang Besar.
** = This train doesn't call at Butterworth, this is the time is calls at Bukit Mertajam, a small station about 11 miles from Butterworth by bus or taxi.
All times shown in local time (remember that Thailand is 1 hour behind Malaysian time!). Customs & passport formalities leaving Singapore.
Please check times before you travel at www.ktmb.com.my, as they change from time to time. See notes by train number below.
Bangkok ► Penang ► Kuala Lumpur ► Singapore
|Train number: (see notes below)||35||41||7||9||5||1||3||11|
|Types of seat & sleeper on board (see explanation above)||S||2||F,S,2,3||1,2||1,2||1,2||2,3||L,S,2|
|Days of running:||daily||daily||daily||daily||daily||daily||Sats & Suns||daily|
|Bangkok (Hualamphong Station)||depart||14:45|| |
|Nakon Pathom (for River Kwai train)||depart||16:04|| |
|Hua Hin||depart||18:11|| |
|Chumphon (for ferry from Koh Tao)||depart||21:47|| |
|Surat Thani (for Ko Samui & Koh Tao)||depart||00:46||08:11|| |
|Hat Yai||arrive||05:54||12:27|| |
|Hat Yai (bus connection from Phuket or Krabi)||depart||05:54|| |
|Padang Besar (Malaysian frontier)||depart||10:00|| |
|Arau (for Kuala Perlis & Langkawi ferry)||arr/dep||10:40|| |
|Alor Setar (for Kuala Kedah & Langkawi ferry)||arr/dep||11:20|| |
|Butterworth (linked by ferry with Penang)||arrive||13:45|| |
|Butterworth (linked by ferry with Penang)||depart||-||-||20:39**||23:30||-||07:45||10:00||-|
|Ipoh (for bus to or from Cameron Highlands)||arr/dep||-||-||01:19||03:39||-||10:49||14:24||-|
|Kuala Lumpur (old historic station)||arrive||-||-||05:14||06:35||-||13:55||17:26||-|
|Kuala Lumpur (KL Sentral)||arrive||-||-||04:50||06:40||-||14:00||17:30||-|
|Kuala Lumpur (KL Sentral)||depart||-||-||04:50||-||08:25||14:00||-||22:30|
|Tampin (for bus or taxi to or from Malacca)||arr/dep||-||-||07:19||-||10:39||16:14||-||23:39|
|Singapore (Keppel Road station)||arrive||-||-||-||-||16:05||21:30||-||08:20|
Butterworth is the station for Penang, on the mainland opposite Georgetown on Penang Island. Frequent ferries sail to Penang, taking 15 minutes.
For connecting ferries to Langkawi Island, see below.
This timetable shows all the trains between Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Butterworth & Hat Yai, but there are lots more trains between Hat Yai , Surat Thani, Chumphon, Hua Hin & Bangkok, see the Bangkok to southern Thailand section, Thailand page. For the luxury Singapore-Bangkok Eastern & Oriental Express, see below. There are also now a few additional shuttle trains between KL & Ipoh.