Photo: At the Lee Kong Chian Museum.

Singapore forum

Bangkok to train

Posted by ankit on 20/9/2008 at 22:26

hey guys,

whats the best and the fastest way to travel from bangkok to Singapore by train...please someone elaborate....
also what are the visa hassles which one might have to face while taking this journey (say at Malaysia)

please do add links etc of websites for the journey..

thanks a ton in anticipation!!

#1 ankit has been a member since 20/9/2008. Posts: 3

Posted by Lother on 21/9/2008 at 00:07

Seat61 is unbeatable for train info. See for example

There aren't really any visa hassles for nationals of most Western countries. In fact it's a very straightforward procedure at the border and there's no need to get a visa or anything in advance.

#2 Lother has been a member since 12/5/2006. Location: Earth. Posts: 214

Posted by idreamofdurian on 21/9/2008 at 18:52 TF writer

Don't worry about visa problems - visas on arrival are given at the Malaysian and Singapore borders.

From Thailand you would take a train destined for Hat Yai , Thailand's southern-most city. From the Hat Yai you can travel down the Western coast of Malaysia by train through Padang Besar (the border town), Alor Setar, Butterworth (launching point to Penang), Ipoh, and then on to Kuala Lumpur. From Kuala Lumpur you would switch trains for one bound to Singapore.

Tickets from Hat Yai to Singapore can be booked on the Malaysian Train Service official website: Prices on the website are exactly the same as you would pay at the station, and you can book in advance to get sleeper cars or first class (Malaysian trains are very nice and cheap!).

Another very scenic option is from Hat Yai to travel to a town on the south-east Thai/Malay border called Sungai Kolok. From there you can take the "Jungle Railway" train through the Malaysian interior (where you can stop at the stunning Taman Negara national park - the world's oldest primary rainforest) and eventually end up in Kuala Lumpur to transfer on to Singapore.

I've done the Jungle Railway and live in Singapore, so let me know if you have any further questions. Have fun!!

#3 idreamofdurian has been a member since 5/9/2008. Location: Singapore. Posts: 576
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Posted by ankit on 21/9/2008 at 20:03

thanks for the replies...
just one more query... how much time approx. will the entire journey take...bangkok to Singapore....knowing this from first hand sources will help me plan better.


#4 ankit has been a member since 20/9/2008. Posts: 3

Posted by idreamofdurian on 21/9/2008 at 20:23 TF writer

Do you plan to make any stops, or just stay on the train the whole time?

Bangkok to Hai Yai is 16 hours or so on an express train if there are no delays, and as long as 20 hours on a slow train. Hay Yai to KL is maybe another 12-15 hours... and then KL to Singapore is about 7 hours on the express train or 10 hours on the overnight train.

It's definitely not a fast means of travel, but it's a nice way to see the countryside and usually more comfortable than the buses.

Also, I don't know how your connections would work out... depending what time you arrive in Hat Yai or KL you might have a bit of a wait until the next train. The minimum time I think you'd need is 2 days, and that's if you can schedule the trains well.

Do you plan to make stops along the way? Otherwise flying takes about 2 hours from Bangkok to Singapore. If you book with a budget carrier like AirAsia or Tiger Air it might even cost less than by train.

If you are planning to make stops definitely spend some time in KL - it's an awesome city! I wish I lived there instead of Singapore.

#5 idreamofdurian has been a member since 5/9/2008. Location: Singapore. Posts: 576
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Posted by ankit on 21/9/2008 at 21:32

hmmm...2 days are tooo much..dont have that much time on hands..

not planning to make any stops..will visit KL for sure but on the next trip as i only have 4 days on a trot.

would love to fly but it makes the trip costly :(
will check out if its cheaper than trains ...
thanks :)

#6 ankit has been a member since 20/9/2008. Posts: 3

Posted by idreamofdurian on 21/9/2008 at 21:40 TF writer


It should be possible to find a flight for around $100 US.

#7 idreamofdurian has been a member since 5/9/2008. Location: Singapore. Posts: 576
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Posted by DestinationAus on 29/12/2010 at 22:58

This is a question rather than a reply - what would your advice be to a female travelling on her own? I'll be doing Bangkok -> Butterworth -> KL -> Singapore and wondered whether to avoid sleeper trains or pay a bit more for 1st class as have a protective mum and friends (who doesn't) and wanted to get some advice from someone who knew a bit more.

Many thanks in advance for any advice given.

#8 DestinationAus has been a member since 29/12/2010. Posts: 1

Posted by idreamofdurian on 16/1/2011 at 00:31 TF writer

Hi DestinationAus --

Sorry for the slow reply - hope I'm not too late to be of help!

Travel by train in Thailand/Malaysia is very safe. There's security guards at most stops and they regularly pass through the train. I've traveled by train in both countries (sleeper only in Thailand though) and always felt very safe. That said, it's usually a small price jump from 2nd to 1st class and a big jump in comfort. Definitely something worth considering for the long rides.

#9 idreamofdurian has been a member since 5/9/2008. Location: Singapore. Posts: 576
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Posted by chicoelnino on 16/1/2011 at 05:33

I've a question regarding train travel.......are there any power points(to charge batteries etc) on these trains? Will be spending 6 months in and around Thailand in June so would like to know what to expect from the trains in terms of long distance travel and power options.


#10 chicoelnino has been a member since 17/9/2010. Posts: 66
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Posted by idreamofdurian on 16/1/2011 at 10:10 TF writer

Can't recall ever seeing a power point on a Thai train.

Some of the 1st class/VIP buses in Thailand have WiFi, so some might have power points too....

#11 idreamofdurian has been a member since 5/9/2008. Location: Singapore. Posts: 576
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Posted by methefog on 26/1/2011 at 18:14

Hi, thanks for sharing this information..!
This comes real handy for my trip in the coming week.!
I am starting from zero now and will be planning the trip in the coming days..!
By taking your advise my plan is to fly to Bangkok and take the train (Jungle Rail) for the way back.

I have two quetions.

1. In one of the replies you have mentioned not to worry about visa problems - visas on arrival are given at the Malaysian and Singapore borders.
I got to know from Internet that Visa on arrival is applicable only in the below entry points a) The Kuala Lumpur International Airport OR
b) The Sultan Abu Bakar Complexs, Tanjung Kupang.
(Note: I hold an Indian Passport)
2. I tried for ticket bookings and there are some technical problems that is not letting me book the tickets. Is there any alternatives..?


#12 methefog has been a member since 25/1/2011. Posts: 1

Posted by idreamofdurian on 26/1/2011 at 18:26 TF writer

People really ought to specify what passport they hold when asking visa advice!

India is not one of the countries with easy entry to Malaysia. Citizens of India require a visa to enter Malaysia. You can get a visa on arrival at the Kuala Lumpur airport or the Sultan Abu Bakar Complex at the border with Singapore (you'll need to show a return air ticket, etc). To enter Malaysia anywhere else, citizens of India require a visa obtained in advance. You could try to get the visa at home or in Thailand, or fly in to Kuala Lumpur and get the visa there.

2. For the train you can also make a reservation by calling or emailing them. They'll reserve the tickets for you and you can pay when you collect them (that's what they have offered for me). The contact information is on the website.

#13 idreamofdurian has been a member since 5/9/2008. Location: Singapore. Posts: 576
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Posted by danielleandmike on 7/4/2011 at 10:20

Hey 'idreamofdurian',
You seems to know your stuff about travelling around asia..unlike me and my boyfriend! were totally new to it all and would be greatful of any helpful tips/suggestions/anything!! ha. Both uk citiziens.
so were starting travelling by arriving in Bangkok then from the getting train to laos, then train to north vietnam (hanoi) then travelling north to south vietnam again all by train. then eventually train from vietnam back to bangkok and south though thailand ending in sigapore were will get a flight to sydeny!
thing is never done anything like this trains...
1.are they easy to book when at each destination for next destination?
2.can we cross borders travelling by trains or do we have to get busses?
3.vietnam visa is costing around £50, would this be cheaper sorting whilst in bangkok?
4.maleria tablet (had to throw it in there while was asking 20thousand questions) any advise on which ones as weve been told only need them for vietnam but there like £80!!!!!
Were travelling asia for 2months bugeting 1500 for travel expences and accomondation, and £70 a day for food and tours all buget is between us not yu think this is enough??
Thanks and sorry for the 'question time'.

#14 danielleandmike has been a member since 6/4/2011. Posts: 19

Posted by idreamofdurian on 9/4/2011 at 20:32 TF writer


1 - it's easier to book train tickets at your destination. The only time it's crucial to book ahead is for overnight trains if you want a berth and during holidays.

2 - you can cross borders by train. Singapore - Malaysia, Malaysia-Thailand, Thailand-Laos can be done by train. Vietnam has a train but it doesn't have any international crossings. No train in Cambodia either, and in Laos it only goes from Vientiane-Thailand.

3 - It's definitely cheaper than that to get a Vietnam visa in Thailand. I got mine in Cambodia and it cost $USD 25.

4 - You only need malaria tablets if you're going deep into the jungle. If your Vietnam itinerary sticks to cities and developed beach towns / Halong Bay you malaria risk is very, very low.

#15 idreamofdurian has been a member since 5/9/2008. Location: Singapore. Posts: 576
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Posted by Gerohn on 28/10/2012 at 21:16

Hi 'idreamofdurian',
This has been very helpful. I note the last post was some time ago, hopefully we can get a reply. My family is travelling to the Philippines on the 24th December 2012. I have booked return flights to Sydney from Singapore on the 30th January 2013, I am now looking at flights from Manila to Bangkok near the 23-24th January and doing the Train trip from Bangkok to Singapore. I would like to spend 4-5 days doing the trip depending on connections. I do like the idea of the Jungle Railway something different.

My wife and her son are From the Philippines and a both Australian Citizens travelling on AU passports. My stepdaughter (16 years old in Nov) whom immigrated to Australia in July last year is travelling on a Philippines passport but has Australian Permanent Residency. Will we have to apply for Visa before we get there for her?
I hope we can arrange this trip, it looks like a lot of fun.

Thank you, Regards John

#16 Gerohn has been a member since 28/10/2012. Location: Australia. Posts: 13

Posted by goonistik on 29/10/2012 at 22:48


There is a visa-free travel agreement among ASEAN member countries. A Philippine citizen can enter Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore visa free and stay for a period of up to 30 days. Please be aware that Thailand only gives the 30 day period if you enter by air. Otherwise sea and land crossing get 15 days.

I suggest you spend around two weeks doing that train trip so you have time to explore some of the stops such as Georgetown.

#17 goonistik has been a member since 7/1/2010. Location: Philippines. Posts: 562
 Where has goonistik been? 

Posted by Gerohn on 30/10/2012 at 01:43

Thank you, thats great. We are going to fly from Manila to Bangkok. unfortunately we only have 6 days to do our trip so I will just have to work out some stops on our way. Although we have been to Singapore on several occassions, I have no experience in Thailand or Malaysia. We have travelled a lot in the Philippines, so travelling in Asia isn't a concern, its working out what places to see and stay on our way. Its all an experience so it will work out.

#18 Gerohn has been a member since 28/10/2012. Location: Australia. Posts: 13

Posted by mariajames on 29/11/2012 at 09:28

There aren't absolutely any acceptance hassles for nationals of a lot of Western countries. In actuality it's a actual aboveboard action at the bound and there's no charge to get a acceptance or annihilation in advance.

#19 mariajames has been a member since 29/9/2012. Posts: 57

Posted by robinwhite on 15/1/2013 at 17:57

I think best and fast way for travel from Singapore to Bangkok is air-travel because it is less time consuming. I have to travel overseas every month for the purpose of my business. So, I always prefer to travel by air.

#20 robinwhite has been a member since 9/1/2013. Posts: 18

Posted by dmorse100 on 5/10/2013 at 11:06

I've got a question

Earlier this year I flew from Siem reap, where my brother lives defining villages to KL and on to Bali and NZ and Moorea. Next month I am starting in Fiji and working up to Burma and then over to SR.

I'd love to do it by train as much as possible (yeah I know the trains have a tough time on the water!!) . After I track the location of my uncles crashed plane in WWII i in the Fiji area, I will head north.

I prefer first class if possible

Suggestions please...!


#21 dmorse100 has been a member since 19/8/2012. Posts: 2

Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 8/10/2013 at 10:17

Air gives you 30 days visa exemption and land only 15 days. Better off flying into Krabi.

#22 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148

Posted by brentwise on 4/11/2013 at 20:48

Travel by train with Thailand/Malaysia is incredibly safe and sound. There is certainly protection protects essentially puts a stop to plus they regularly go through the actual train. We have moved by train with the two nations around the world (sleeper solely with Thailand though) along with always believed incredibly safe and sound.

#23 brentwise has been a member since 4/11/2013. Posts: 9

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