As some of you may have been aware, the International Express Train 36 from Butterworth to Bangkok is no longer continued beginning December 2, 2016.
Train 36 is now replaced by Train 46 from Padang Besar in the northern Malaysian state of Perlis all the way to Bangkok. Butterworth (Penang) and Padang Besar are now connected via the KTM Komuter shuttle service that operates quite a number of times daily between 5.30am and 12am (see table below).
The service between Butterworth and Padang Besar normally takes less than 2 hours.
Last month, for the first time since the change of the said service I took Train 46 from Padang Besar to Chumphon. In comparison to Train 36, the new service is of course relatively less convenient for someone like me who takes off from Butterworth, as it now requires more travel time.
Train 46 departs from the Padang Besar KTM Train Station every evening and would arrive at Hua Lamphong in Bangkok at 10.10am Thai time the next day. Here are a few things you should take note of when taking this service:
- You can book the ticket either on Thairailwayticket.com, or over the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) counter inside the Padang Besar KTM Train Station. Pay in Thai baht for the latter service.
- Train 46 will depart from the Padang Besar KTM Train Station at 18:00 or 6pm Malaysian time. When purchasing the ticket over the SRT counter or through the SRT website however, it will tell you the departure time is at 17:00 or 5pm instead, because they are using the Thai time. So don’t be confused.
- If you are taking the KTM shuttle service from Butterworth to Padang Besar, I would recommend so that you DO NOT take any trip after the 12.25pm one. For reason see point #4.
- For the afternoon session of passport stamping, the Thai and Malaysian immigration counters will typically open around the same time at 3pm Malaysian time then close at 4.30pm depending on crowds. I cannot say the same for weekends. Whatever it is, always arrive earlier to avoid any inconvenience.
- At the Padang Besar KTM Train Station/Immigration Checkpoint, if you are travelling to Thailand from Malaysia, always get your passport stamped at the Malaysian immigration counter first before the Thai side. If coming from Thailand, then it would be the other way round.
- At the Padang Besar KTM Train Station, one can travel to Hatyai costing only 50 baht per trip, provided he takes the train service either at 9.55am or 3.40pm Malaysian time. If one hops on Train 46 at 6pm just to get to Hatyai, it would cost him a staggering 280 baht.
Well, that’s it for now! Will update again if anything new crops up.