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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:48 pm 
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Hi,
Does anybody have any views/tips on taking the train to Penang?
Thinking of going for a few days and would appreciate any feedback :cheers:


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:53 pm 
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Good fun. You'll enjoy :cheers:

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:56 pm 
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I am interested too. I understand that changing trains at the border is difficult--is that true??


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:13 pm 
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I've just done the trip myself, and the only regret I have is that I didn't use the train for the return journey.


Dr Mike, not sure who you heard that from, but if you take the evening train, you don't change trains anywhere. It stops at a station at the border, you get off and get yourself stamped out of Thailand and into Malaysia, and then you get back on the same train which is parked about 20 meters away. The whole process took about 30 minutes, but that's because they were adding some rail cars onto the train.

In fact, it's the quickest I've ever passed through immigration......very pleasant.


One thing which you should take into account though, is that it appears they no longer have the lounge car on the train, or at least there wasn't one when I went down. Wasn't a problem for me though since I had everything I need...........beer and snacks.


I think the train leaves Hua-Hin at about 7 in the evenings, and arrives at Butterworth at about 1 the next afternoon. A single ticket for a sleeper cost me a touch over a 1,000 baht.


Conclusion...........definitely the best way to get to Penang from Hua-Hin.


:cheers:

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2011 12:25 pm 
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Hmmm. I had no idea it was so inexpensive and convenient. You all have now planted a seed of interest in me.

Is the B1,000 price for a Second Class sleeper or First Class? I've sworn off Second Class sleepers since the proliferation of mobile phones that not only ring all night long, but whose owners feel obligated to maintain non-muted conversations on such infernal devices.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2011 8:01 pm 
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Taken 2nd class sleeper south twice, north once. Here are the notes I kept:

Best seats are 13-24, the middle of the car. Car ends are noisey and the toilets are at the seat number 1 end of the car.

My ticket for the return trip said the train left Butterworth at 13:15. The station's signboard said 13:45. Other people's tickets said 14:20, which was when it departed.

Don't expect any announcement of what station you're pulling into

Opportunities to buy food and water at station stops was limited. Next time I'll bring all the water I expect to need.

Walk from end of train to the ferry is about 400 yards. Exit the train station, look to left for a covered elevated walkway. There are no signs, probably because the taxi drivers tore them down.

No shortage of buses or taxis at Ferry terminal in Penang.

Lower berth is much wider than the upper.

Trash lay where it fell during the Malaysian portion. There is a trash can in the car, but we started north from Butterworth with it full to overflowing. Next time I'm bringing some plastic bags for my own use.

For a Malaysian portion of the trip one's second class air con sleeper ticket becomes second class air con. That means what was once your seat becomes only half your seat. Kids apparently don't need seperate tickets, so you can end up seated across from a couple with two kids.

The train workers want to get the berths made up early because it's easier on them. During meal time a worker will offer to set up a table between the two seats. Keep the table after the meal, then keep something on it like food, a card game, laptop etc. and the guy who wants to make up the berths at 9pm can be talked out of it. Eventually.

Detailed info on all things train: http://www.seat61.com/Thailand.htm


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 2:28 pm 
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2nd class aircon sleeper is real good as Homer sez. Upper berths have no window and because the car roof curves they feel cramped.
When you get to Butterworth beware the taxi touts. They want to hose you $40 or so to cross a bridge to Penang Island. Walk a bit through the station to ferry terminal and enjoy a great ferry ride for about 50 cents. Return from Georgetown side is free. Once in Georgetown get a black bus out to Batu Ferringhi (25 mins) and stay on the beach. G'town is interesting but very hot, heat coming at you off the asphalt can be enervating ($10 word).

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 11:06 am 
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@Homer: Wow. Thanks! You answered several questions I had, but didn't even ask. :shock:
:cheers:


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