From “Teacher Ken” Back To “Sir Ken”: Months of Whirlwind, Engagement, No Break

It feels like just yesterday when I posted the following status on Facebook, after having carefully made an abrupt yet timely decision to relocate back to Malaysia:

And this was despite the fact that my school director in Thailand was willing to sign me for two more years and I was enjoying my life in Thailand to death.

I said my decision was a timely one because right after my announcement on Facebook, a former boss from the previous university college I was lecturing and another friend, who is the Head of Programme of another institute, respectively approached me for an academic position, which I couldn’t have been more thankful for.

However, I can’t have everything all at once. I had to ultimately choose one of the offers, just like I had to choose between living a comfortable and carefree life in Thailand and giving up my life there for a better career prospect and for the sake of my future with my Thai fiancé.

Read: She’s Thai; I’m Malaysian. I Don’t Know What Future Holds for Us, but I Try to Live in the Moment, Every Moment.

Back in February, while I was in the midst of preparing final exam questions, compiling student marks, and wrapping up my teaching at the busiest time ever —  it was towards the end of the school term, I remember having to make time to go to the Chumphon Immigration for an application of the re-entry permit before travelling to Penang for an interview.

After knowing for sure that my then girlfriend (now fiancé) and I were going to be separated and forced into a long-distance relationship until we get married next year, it was not without days of emotional struggle and grief. Being blessed with a rather matured mindset however, my fiancé was able to quickly recover from the moments of negativity.

“Go,” She said to me, “I want you to go — not because I don’t love you or appreciate this relationship, but because I know you’re doing this for your future, for our future.”

“This won’t be forever,” she added, referring to the long-distance relationship that we were about to commit to. That gave me a sense of much-needed assurance.

So it was around the same time when I made another big decision of my life — to get engaged with her. Earlier on, I had informed my parents about my decision, which they had given their blessing.

My contract with my school in Thailand ended on March 15, and my new employment in Malaysia would commence in April, so that left me with little time to pack, settle things, and relocate back to Malaysia.

There was no break, there was little rest. On top of all these hurdles, it was basically me and the clock — I was competing with time to complete my lecture slides and compile teaching materials for a total of four subjects I was going to handle.

And the best part was that moving back from Thailand to Malaysia, I had to make sure I could find a unit to stay within a short period before the new semester at my current college started. I’m thankful I was able to view a unit within the very hour I had arrived in Penang, which I immediately moved in.

Fast forward to today — it’s been four months. Four damn months of whirlwind, little rest, and drastic change in my life.

Two years ago this time, I went from being a Malaysian lecturer to a school teacher in Thailand. Two years later, within four months I’ve quickly adjusted my role yet again, is time from being “Teacher Ken” back to “Sir Ken”.

Discontinued: Senandung Langkawi (Train No. 20) from KL to Hatyai

Discontinued: Senandung Langkawi (Train No. 20) from KL to Hatyai

From 19 May 2016, Malaysian Railways (KTM Berhad) no longer offered the daily overnight Senandung Langkawi (Train No. 20) service from Kuala Lumpur to Hatyai.

Senanjung Langkawi used to depart from KL Sentral at 21:20 (Malaysian time) and would arrive at the final destination of Hatyai, Thailand at 10:30 (Thai time) the very next day.

So after the cancellation of Senandung Langkawi (Train no. 20), how does one now travel from KL to Hatyai?

There are two ways:

  1. There are direct buses from KL to Hatyai daily. Check out and
  2. Take an EST train from KL Sentral to Padang Besar in Perlis, then change train to Hatyai.

KL to Padang Besar EST Train Schedule

EG9020: KL Sentral 07:05 – Padang Besar 12:35
EP9006*: KL Sentral 08:00 – Padang Besar 13:15
EG9512: KL Sentral 09:44 – Padang Besar 15:10
EP9008: KL Sentral 10:42 – Padang Besar 15:58
EG9204: KL Sentral 13:15 – Padang Besar 18:45
EG9514: KL Sentral 17:17 – Padang Besar 22:50
EG9520: KL Sentral 23:27 – Padang Besar 05:00

* operates on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only.

ETS Gold Fares from KL to Padang Besar:

RM76 for adults; RM42 for children

ETS Platinum Services Fares from KL to Padang Besar:

RM102 for adults; RM55 for children

Padang Besar to Hat Yai Train Schedule

Padang Besar 09:55 (Malaysian Time) – Hatyai 09:50 (Thai time)
Padang Besar 15:40 (Malaysian Time) – Hatyai 15:35 (Thai time)

Train ticket is priced at 70 Baht and can be bought at the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) counter situated at the KTM station in Padang Besar, Perlis.

Read: No More Butterworth-Bangkok International Express 36; Now Padang Besar-Bangkok Train 46

Feature image credit to

I’m KEN, a passionate traveller from the exotic island of Borneo. Currently a teacher in a rural town in Southern Thailand, from time to time I share on this blog my experiences teaching the kids and living a laid-back lifestyle here. With a focus on all things Thailand, also features a handful of stories about my travel adventures in other Asian countries.