I was in Bangkok and I needed to get to Kuala Lumpur but there was a problem: all the trains to Butterworth (Georgetown) were packed. The only option that I had was through a coastal town called Su-ngai Kolok. I have also taken the train to Aranyaprathet which is the Cambodian border.
It was a very long trip as it does go about 1,150 kilometers. The train left Bangkok around one in the afternoon and I was in Su-ngai Kolok the next morning about eleven.
The other thing about the train was the only seat I could get due to a Thai holiday was fan seat that basically a car made of wood with no windows. It is riding an ordinary bus in the Philippines!
Su-ngai Kolok train is rough
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but it not like anything that Amtrak or some European train would be like. You can forget the ideas of the Orient Express as well. This is more like the Orient went ghetto… like Boyz in the Hood ghetto!
The train basically pulls in to a town about once an hour, stops for 5 minutes to unload and load more people. They do not have a proper stop until the next morning in the city of Hat Yai around seven in the morning.
It is in Hat Yai, Thailand that most people unload and because of that, they unhooked alot of the cars as well.
Going to Malaysia from Su-ngai Kolok
If you want to know how to go to Malaysia, namely Kuala Lumpur from Su-ngai Kolok; it is actually pretty easy to do. That is the good news.
You are about 500 meters from the border where the train station is located. Despite all the armed military, it is safe to walk to the border.
After doing all the normal activities at the border, you can walk down the street in Rantau Panjang, Malaysia and wait for a normal bus to take you to the city of Pasir Mas where you can get a train to the city of Kuala Lumpur.
Good news is the buses and trains in Malaysia are much nicer than what you will find in Thailand. The cost of the train from Pasir Mas to Kuala Lumpur is $7 (if I remember right). It is another overnight train but much, much nicer than one to Su-ngai Kolok.