Day 3: Batu Firringhi to Butterworth (February 26, 2012)

Notes by traveldiary007 on Thursday, March 15th, 2012 under Ten-days of traveling alone (Malaysia and Thailand)
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I woke up at around 7AM, took a cup of tea, and took my camera and head down to the beach.  It was a beautiful morning.

sunrise at Batu Firringhi

footprints in the sand

black hawk and fish

their new-found friend

At around 8:15AM, I sat down at Feringgi Wave Cafe to order my breakfast.  I asked the waiter if the black pepper fish in the menu has rice and she said yes so I ordered one.

Feringgi Wave Cafe

Fifteen minutes later, another waiter approached me and put down my order, coffee and black pepper fish.  There was no rice so I asked:

Me:  Where is the rice?

Waiter: Oh, the rice is different.  You have to order it separately.

Me:  Okay, give me one rice.

Ten minutes later (yes, 10 minutes of waiting rice).

Waiter:  Here’s your order Ma’am.

Me: (Shocked because he gave me a set of fried rice).  You don’t have plain rice?  (The couple who sat on the other table looked at me).

Waiter:  No Ma’am.  Everything is set.

Me: (Sighing). Okay, give me that.

The fried rice was salty so I did not finish it.  I asked the waiter to pack the remaining food.  (So that I have a lunch in the train).  The food costs me MYR17.50 (USD5.82).  I also noticed they did not wash the glass well.  It has a stained of coffee in the lip glass.

I checked out at the guesthouse at 10AM and took bus 101 going to the Jetty.  Only bus 101 will be going to the jetty for Butterworth and it is the last stop.  The ride was 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Take note, if the person you asked how many minutes to take you to your destination, add 30 minutes in it.  Yes, I asked two people I meet in Batu Firringhi and they both said the travel is around 40-45 minutes but it is not.  They did not include the traffic and the stops of the bus.  The fare costs me MYR2.70 (USD0.90).  I waited in the jetty for 15 minutes before it leaves for Butterworth.  PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU DON’T HAVE TO PAY FROM PENANG TO BUTTERWORTH.  They clearly posted there: FREE CROSSING FROM PENANG TO BUTTERWORTH.  You only need to pay for a few ringgits from Butterworth to Penang.

We arrived at Butterworth Terminal at 11:50AM, that’s 20 minutes ride of the jetty.  Follow the sign where you are going and if you cannot read the sign, ask because I did not follow it.  I followed the people going to the bus station while the railway is on the other side so I need to go back.  I arrived at the station at 12:05 noon and pay my reservation ticket.  You cannot book the train but you can reserve a seat one month in advance and pay in the station. You don’t have to pay online. Visit www.ktmb.com.my for further train information.

We waited 3 hours because the train arrived at 2:50PM but in the information provided, it will leave at 2:20PM, so that already 30 minutes delayed.  I reserved 2nd class sleeper train, in lower deck and nobody stayed in the upper deck, yet.  The lower deck formed as a seat, not a bed so I wonder how to assemble this one into a bed.  I have all the freedom to hang my feet on the other side as no one sits with me.  Few minutes later, the train stopped and lots of passenger with different languages came in.  I was like, “Oh, how would we sleep when passengers came pouring in?”  It was when I realized that the train is a normal train at daytime and a sleeper coach at night.  I wonder if it is also the same in the 1st class coach.  Second class sleeper cost me MYR112 (USD37.24), and I wonder what time the train captain let us sleep…

5:45PM – The train stops to another station and some passengers went out and some came in.  Four persons approached me and claiming my seat as their seat.

NOTICE THE NUMBERING OF THE TRAIN.  There are two face-to-face seats and each seat has a number:

Seat A:  15 Upper berth   Upper number 29 as Aisle seat and lower number 30 window seat.

Seat B:  16 Lower berth  Upper number 31 as Aisle seat and lower number 32 window seat.

These persons thought that these are their seat because of the number.  Their numbers are 29, 30, 31, and 32.  So I stood up and approached the train staff about the number and he guides the four persons away from me to their respective seat.  If you are traveling in the sleeper coach, your number will be in the upper or lower berth.  Disregard the isle seat and the window seat.  It will shows in your ticket anyway.

Traveling by train is good.  You’ve meet a lot of people, talked to them for a while and even let you try their food.  I met a French (kind of shy); Japanese couple (the guy was funny and friendly); American (we talked for a while as he was sitting with me when the train stops in the station.  His name was Eddie); Chinese-Thai family (they let me and Eddie try their Rojak, it’s a food which is popular in Malaysia); and a Thai (he will be the one who will sleep in the upper deck, who is very talkative yet cannot speak and understand English.  We communicated through sign language and he always laughs at me.  Maybe he finds my sign language funny, lol.)

The train stops again, in Hat Yai station (pronounced as Had Jai), this time at 8:30PM and departed at 12MN.  My American new-found friend alighted in Hat Yai and at around 10:00PM, the train staff set-up the sleeper for you with provided blanket, bed sheet and pillow.

You have to change your money to Baht in Malaysia, that is, before boarding the train to Thailand so that you can buy food inside the train.  Food cost at around 200Baht (USD6.60) in the train and you have to order in advance and they will serve it to you in Hat Yai station.  Don’t worry, there’s a waiter who will approach every passenger.  If you have food with you and you want to change your money in Thailand, then, it’s okay.  You can eat inside the train, too.  Take your lunch in Butterworth as the train will leave in the afternoon for Bangkok.

You cannot charge your empty battery inside the train so do charge your gadgets before you leave at your place.

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