These photographs were taken by Kwok Kenji, an avid photographer and student from the NTU Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information who is currently in India doing humanitarian work. Do check out his portfolio!
A few weeks ago, I was invited by Tourism Malaysia to join a tour to Kluang (not to be confused with Klang) located in the northern part of Johor. When I read that we will be travelling there by train and have the opportunity to try the Kluang Rail Coffee, I was sold. I always wanted to make a train trip to Malaysia one day and I haven’t been to Kluang before.
It is a pity that I didn’t get to depart from the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station before its closure, today’s departure from Singapore is a lackluster, overhead bridge located at the Woodlands Checkpoint area. I hope all that talk about a high-speed rail would come into fruition and we will have a proper train station in Woodlands.
For this train ride, we were treated seated in a special cabin that is able for rent. The cabin comes complete with a mini library, karaoke and a spacious corner for a buffet table….and lots of bling bling, Malaysian style.
The KTM specially prepared Nasi Lemak for us and it was pretty good actually. The sweet and spicy chilli sauce that came with it was really tasty.
Along with our breakfast on the rails, we were also served hot BOH Tea from the Cameroon Highlands, a pleasant, soothing tea for breakfast and Kuih Tayap or Kuih Ketayap (we would know them as Kueh Dadar in Singapore).
The Kuih Tayap was named after the skullcaps worn by Muslim men because of the lace-like patterns on the crepe which resembles the fabric of the skullcaps. I was told that they got the Kuih Ketayap around Johor Bahru. Too bad I do not know what the stall is because it was pretty good. The crepe was thin and the sweet coconut filling was still juicy.
We explored around the train a bit and even have the chance to take a glimpse of the exclusive luxurious sleeper cabin at the front of the train which include a lounge and bedroom rooms with private toilets.
The economy class don't look bad too. Comparable with the Limited Express of Japanese trains or the Mugunghwa of Korean Rail.
After our makan and exploration, we relax in our seats with plenty of karaoke and watch the Johor scenery go by the window.
The train is not the fastest way to get around Malaysia to be honest, but the trade-off is that you don’t get stuck in the heavy traffic on the road. A one-way trip to Kluang cost about 16-26 SGD depending on the class of travel. If you are planning a corporate or family outing, you could even rent an entire carriage (to Kluang or even to Ipoh if you please)
Many thanks to Fiona from Tourism Malaysia for the invitation and KTM!
Keratapi Tanah Melayu Berhad
Malayan Rails Limited