Monday, January 26, 2015

KL to Koh Samui via Train

Salam dear readers,

Recently, me and my husband decided to go to Koh Samui using slow commute. The highlight of our trip to is mainly the means of getting there. This trip is also special since we use all kind of transport. You name it. Train, boat, bus & flight. 

To reach Koh Samui we ride :-
1) Train from KL Sentral to Hatyai
2) Mini van from Hatyai to Surat Thani
3) Night boat from Surat Thani to Koh Samui

The only thing that we book from Malaysia is train tickets, flight back to Malaysia & hotel at Koh Samui. 

Train from KL Sentral to Hatyai
 (Cost RM 48/person - Superior class seats)

The train fare from KL Sentral to Hatyai is RM 40. Then please add on the supplementary charge as per table below (base on the seat type you choose)

To purchase the train ticket, you can either buy it at the counter (located at KL Sentral, 2nd floor) or online from KTMB's website. Click here. (But you have to register and create login ID)

Train seats only open 1 month before travel date. I choose to bought the ticket online because the seats are selling like hot cakes! They sold out so fast! That's why we only end up with Superior seats and not the Berth. 

However, seats is also fine with us so long it can recline. We choose front seats to get more leg room. (Bear in mind some people may not like it because it is quite noisy and close to the toilet)

The journey from KL Sentral to Padang Besar took about 11 hours. Padang Besar to Hatyai another 1 hour. At Butterworth, train will stop for 30 minutes and at Padang Besar train will stop for 1 or 2 hours (depending on when Thailand's train reach Padang Besar). Malaysian & Thailand Customs will be at Padang Besar, so here is where you fill in the Arrival Card and get your passport stamp.

At Padang Besar, the train deck will only left with 2 (from original 5). And ticket to Hatyai from Padang Besar is free seats (no seat number on it).

Since the train will stop for quite sometime, it is advisable to have breakfast in Padang Besar. But please have it after you get your passport stamp. Custom personnel will leave once there is no people. There is only 1 restaurant situated in Padang Besar station. 

We took off from KL Sentral at 10.00 pm 15 January 2015 and we reach Hatyai at 12.00 pm 16 January 2015.

Mini Van & Night Boat to Koh Samui
(Cost THB 750/person ~ RM 75.00)

[For easy reference, I will just do conversion of THB 100 = RM 10. Although when I convert my RM, it has drop to THB 100 = RM 10.30]

In order to reach Koh Samui, we need to go to Surat Thani first. The journey to Surat Thani from Hatyai is about 5 hours (By car or bus).

To reach Surat Thani, you can either go by bus or train or you can hire an agent. Bus from Hatyai to Surat Thani only run twice/day (9.30 am &7.30 pm). As for Thai train schedule, I am not so sure myself. Perhaps you can refer to 

Since we only reach Surat Thani at 12 pm, we miss the bus (base on our initial plan). However, lucky enough, there are many travel agents near Hatyai Train Station. In fact, these agents already start promoting from inside the train. (The train haven't stop they already jump in and start selling). 

Take your time to decide which agent to use. Ask each agent how much they charge to reach Koh Samui and haggle a bit. The initial charge that we got is THB 2,000 for 2 person. The cost inclusive of transport from Hatyai to Surat Thani (Mini Van) then to Koh Samui (Night Boat).

The agent can speak very little English. The process of purchasing tickets is quite hard. This is the conversation between us and the agent. 

Us : 2 tickets to Donsak. Here to Donsak to Samui. We want night boat. Reach Samui in the morning.

Agent : Yes night boat. 

Then show us this picture.

Image from Google for sample
Us : No. Slow boat. Reach Samui tomorrow.

Agent : Yes. Slow boat. Reach Samui morning. 

Then point us the same picture again.  -_-"

At that point, we already gave up and just bought the tickets. We just want to get everything done and reach Samui.

There are speed boat to reach Koh Samui. The company are Lomprayah, Raja Ferry & Seatran. Based on many blogs that I've read, most of them choose Seatran. The last speed boat to depart from Donsak Pier to Samui is 7.00 pm (Thai's time). 

If you fly from KL to Surat Thani, Lomprayah (THB 700/person) and Seatran (THB 400/person) booth available at the airport. The charge is inclusive of Boat & Airport transfer. I am not sure for the Raja Ferry price though. Hotel transfer/pick up is also available with additional charge.

Once we reach Surat Thani, we saw the boat, we were quite relief that it is exactly the boat that we want! Fuhh! Lap peluh kat dahi. This is the boat.

Bot tongkang

While waiting for the boat to depart, we had our dinner at the night market. It is situated just beside the jetty. Some food is halal and some is not. So it is better to look carefully prior buying. Bad news for us, the shop that sells fried food (that is halal) is close on the night we were there. So we just order light food like kebab, pancake & bread serve with kaya. As for drink, the shop that sell bread give us chinese tea (for free).

Night market

Bread with kaya
Banana pancake

We purposely request for Night Boat (Slow Boat). Just for the experience and based on recommendations that we got. It is nice. We spend a night on the boat. (Jimat hotel 1 malam and tidur secara berjemaah). Hehe. The boat depart at 11.00 pm 16 January 2015 (Thai's time) and reach Samui 6.30 am 17 January 2015.

Inside bot tongkang
When we reach Samui, we notice something. Something bad! Apparently, we wrongly book the hotel by
one day later. So HOW? What do we do?? Continue in next post. 

Donsak pier at dawn