From Samui by train - suggestions on where to stop?
21st October, 2009
Travelling by train from Thailand to KL and want to stop off at 2-3 places on route.
Has anyone any suggestions?
We're interested in wildlife, beaches, good scenery and jungle. Not so bothered about nightlife!
Any suggestions would be really appreciated!
#1 Posted: 9/4/2010 - 15:45
How much time do you have to do this leg of the trip? The East Coast attractions match your interests well, but are time consuming.
From Surat Thani take the train to Hat Yai (over-night if necessary), then catch the morning train to Sungai Kolok . From Sungai Kolok cross to Malaysia near the city of Kota Bahru. The ferry point to the gorgeous Perhentian Islands is close to here.
After you've enjoyed the beaches and snorkeling, take a ferry/bus back to Kota Bahru (overnight) and get up early the next morning to go to the train station at Wakaf Bahru. This is the starting point for the Jungle Railway that cuts through the interior of Malaysia. For some excellent trekking and wildlife viewing spend a night or 2 in Taman Negara park (train station in Jerantut, bus to park). Get back on the train and continue on to Kuala Lumpur!
The west coast route is simpler, but the stops are all cities. Penang is interesting with some historical sites and decent beaches.
Surat Thani --> Hat Yai --> Butterworth (Malaysia) (ferry to Penang Island) --> Kuala Lumpur
#2 Posted: 9/4/2010 - 17:57
Travelfish has coverage for Kota Bharu and some more detailed info. about transport
#3 Posted: 9/4/2010 - 17:59
21st October, 2009
Hi! thanks that's great info.
I am thinking I'm more keen on the East coast. Could you possibly advise how long each part of this takes?
Hat Yai to Sungai Kolok . From Sungai Kolok cross to Malaysia near the city of Kota Bahru.
#4 Posted: 9/4/2010 - 18:04
From Hat Yai to Sungai Kolok it's about 6 hours by train or 4 on the bus. Crossing the border and taking the local bus onward to Kota Bharu adds about another 2 hours to travel time. You'll probably want to overnight here, there's a great market and some small museums. (1 day)
The bus from Kota Bharu to the pier in Kuala Besut takes about 1 hour (only 50 km, but it's a local bus and makes lots of stops). There are speed boats (30 min) or slow ferries (1.5hours) to the islands, the faster option costing a bit more. The islands are really laid back and the snorkeling is great with lots of hawksbill turtles, reef sharks, etc. For the work of getting there, 2 nights seems like the minimum to spend, but it's really, really easy to spend longer. (2 days or more)
When you're done on the Perhentians, ferry back to Kuala Besut, bus back to Kota Bharu and overnight here. Arrange a taxi with your guesthouse to the train station (Warkaf Bharu) for the next morning -- the Jungle train to Jerantut leaves EARLY. (1 day)
The train ride is scenic but slow, pulling into Jerantut in the afternoon. Small town with little to see, but accommodations are more comfortable and much cheaper than at Taman Negara, so planning your jungle trip with the tour agents in town and overnighting here is a good option. (1 day)
Next morning, get up early and take the local bus to the town by Taman Negara. There's an expensive resort *in* the park, but all other accommodations are in town. To get to the park you just hop in a boat which takes to you across (5 minutes, $0.50). Tour agencies organize trekking trips, river safaris, etc. and the Park Office does guided walks during the day and night. You can do multi-day treks through the park too sleeping at observation lodges in the jungle. If you don't mind rough conditions (wooden bunk beds w/o mattresses, tough trekking at times, carrying all your supplies), it's FANTASTIC and you have really good chances of seeing animals like tapirs, barking deer, and possibilities of elephants, cats, etc. (2 nights or more?)
Whenever you're done at the park, bus back to Jerantut and there's trains/buses that can get you to Kuala Lumpur in about 6-8 hours.
#5 Posted: 10/4/2010 - 11:30
21st October, 2009
Thanks very much, that's so helpful!
#6 Posted: 12/4/2010 - 20:33
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