For Malaysia, the railway is a pretty decent option for travellers to explore the country. Railway tickets are cheap and trains are reliable and comfortable, not to mention their safety aspects.
For our trip from Singapore into Malaysia, we chose to take the KTM Shuttle Train (or Shuttle Tebrau) that connects the Singaporean border checkpoint Woodlands with Johor Bahru, Malaysia.
The train ride takes less than five minutes and seems to be the quickest option for border crossing as you go through immigration before boarding the train. But tickets for these trains are selling fast, so make sure you book 30 days in advance for your designated trip!
From Johor Bahru, we caught easily the next train to Gemas where we had to change trains and went on towards Kuala Lumpur. In total, it took us eight hours in total to go from Woodlands/Singapore all the way to Kuala Lumpur Central Station. It was a pleasant and smooth trip, and all trains were on time. But remember to bring warm clothes, it is freezing cold inside due to the air-con. And also stock up on snacks and drinks. There is a small food stall/trolley on board with a few soft drinks, hot coffee/tea and sandwiches, but if you travel with a picky eater or want some fresh food, bring your own supplies. And don’t expect too much of the on-board toilets!
The next section of our trip was done by public busses and ferries, but we boarded the Komuter train again in Butterworth, heading towards the Thail border crossing in Padang Besar. For this train, tickets can be only bought at the train station at Butterworth, there is no online booking service. And keep in mind: There is no toilet on board so make sure you don’t drink too much during your trip. It takes exactly two hours for 160 kilometres.
How much does it cost?
- Ticket from Woodlands/Singapore to Johor Bahru: 4 € per person
- Ticket from Johor Bahru to Gemas and Kuala Lumpur: 10 € per person
- Ticket from Butterworth to Padang Besar / border to Thailand: 3 € per person
How to book a train ticket for Malaysia?
- Train tickets are only available for booking 30 days in advance – on the dot.
- For some trains, mostly the so-called KTM Komuter trains, tickets can’t be bought ahead but only directly at the train station.
- For the KTM Shuttle Train between Singapore and Johor Bahru, check the ticket availability here: http://www.ktmtrain.com/train/booking/woodland-to-jbsentral
- Regular Malaysian train tickets can be booked directly with KTM (Keratapi Tanah Melayu or Malaysia Railways): https://www.ktmb.com.my
- After completing your purchase by paying via credit card, tickets are sent to you immediately by e-mail.
- Every booking comes with a seat reservation unless it’s a Komuter train.
- You have to purchase a ticket for every single train. There are no tickets for connecting trains.
Train Types and Timetables
The best overview over excisting train types and updated timetables can be found here: https://www.seat61.com/Malaysia.htm