Train Journey: Electric Train Service (ETS) to Perlis

I was very excited about taking Malaysia's Electric Train Service (ETS) from Kuala Lumpur to Perlis for the very first time on 29 April 2017. It was probably the best decision I'd made to travel by electric train instead of by car or by plane during this 3-day Labor Day long weekend to participate in Perlis Marathon 2017.


I bought my electric train service (ETS)'s train ticket online.

I usually like to choose aisle seat around center area when I fly in a plane. Hence, I decided to also choose aisle seat on Coach C for my first electric train experience in Malaysia. From the online ticketing system, I couldn't tell if the seat I have chosen was facing the direction the train would be moving or the other way around. And I also couldn't tell if the cafeteria was in the same coach or how the seating arrangements would be like.

What I was looking forward to was a nice, cozy seat with peace, quiet and privacy that would allow me to sleep. I needed some rest in preparation for Perlis Marathon 2017 which was to be held exactly 1 minute past midnight the same day. 😋

While waiting for the electric train scheduled to depart at 7:05 am at KL Sentral Station, I bumped into so many runners (Jerry Young, Mr Tan Wah Sing, Casey Saw and others whom I didn't quite know). They were also planning to take the same train for Perlis Marathon 2017.

As I was about to board, I saw Kin K Yum (the marathoner, the traveler, the photographer and the columnist at The New Straits Times) pushing his fold-able bike walking towards the train platform. I chatted up with him for a while. He told me he was waiting for another friend (later I got to know her - Wai-Yee Chan) who would be going along - also with a fold-able bike. I was like wow!!! So awesome! Traveling with fold-able bike for leisure cycling after running in Perlis!

We found out that we were in different coach. Mine was Coach C and his was Coach D. So we went separately to our seats.

Train to Busan?

Coach C in ETS electric train with cafeteria and 4-seat arrangements.

As I entered Coach C, I passed through a nice Cafeteria. Then I found my seat. 

Oh no - the seat was not as what I imagined to be. Sob sob! 

My chosen seat was in a 4-seat arrangement with a blue table in the middle (see picture) instead of the usual row by row. For the whole journey, I would not be able to stretch my legs comfortably or take a nap with strangers sitting across from me facing me all the time!! lol!! 😀 I was so worried I would snore, or open my big mouth with saliva drooling in front of strangers. What if he (Chinese guy in blue shirt and white cap) decided to video record my snoring and upload into YouTube or Facebook?  The thought made me wonder how I could then rest during this 5 hour train journey!

I could hear lots of excitement going on in Coach C. haha! It sounded like a morning market actually!!  Everyone was curious, excited, and impressed by how modern the electric train was with all the necessary facilities. Since there was a big family group traveling together (I believe to Hatyai via last station Padang Besar) on Coach C, the excitement was a bit overwhelming for a lone traveler like myself. 

Something really funny happened at the 4-seat table next to me.

Here was the conversation:

A     : Have you watched Korean movie "Train to Busan?"

B     : No. I've heard about it but I haven't watched it yet.

A     : I have iflix (a Malaysian subscription video-on-demand service). Let's watch it together on the train. It will be excited!

The next thing I know - A put her tablet on the blue table and played Korean movie "Train to Busan" with 4-6 of them gathering together to watch. And the volume was so loud, without taking consideration of other passengers. But I could fully understand. It was a long holiday! And I believe they were equally excited as I was about taking the electric train for the very first time. :) 

I grinned. 😊

Deep inside my heart, I know for sure I would be on an "excited" Train to Busan instead of a pleasant quiet Train to Perlis for the next 5 hours! 😅😅😅

Help! Help! Help! 

Kin K Yum helped me to take this photo with his  red hot camera! Will this describe a scene from the Korean movie "Train to Busan"? Just for fun!! :) 

No... It's a fun electric train journey to Perlis with runners 😊

Selfie - K Kin Yum, Wai-Yee Chan, Jerry Young, Eeunice and me. Can you see our smiling teeth? We were so happy and excited!! 

I was so grateful to know Kin K Yum. He is such a wonderful, thoughtful, and friendly marathoner who goes around the world to travel and run and photograph! He is also a columnist at The New Straits Times!!

After the electric train departed for about 5 min, he came over to Coach C to see if I wanted to move over to sit with him and the rest of runners!

Oh wow! I couldn't believe it! And I thought all the seats were sold out! But then KK told me that he bought an extra seat and he was offering me to sit in this extra seat. I was so touched and I couldn't believe it. My prayer has been answered to have a peaceful train coach and a seat that I could comfortably rest. :) I was so so happy as if seeing a red running angel (he was wearing red running vest)!! :)

Thank you KK for rescuing me from Train to Busan to Train to Perlis!! :) I was so thrilled to be able to sit in the same coach with some other runners with same purpose - to run at Perlis Marathon 2017!

I was getting excited about the train journey now.... yohoo!

What you witnessed here are all runners!! The seats are so comfortable and cozy! There is even a power socket underneath the seats!! Oh wow!
Big thank you to K Kin Yum and his dear friend Wai-Yee Chan. If not because of them, I would not have enjoyed my first electric train ride!

Electric Train Schedule and Speed (Kuala Lumpur to Perlis)

Malaysia's very own electric train service (ETS)
As I mentioned earlier, I took the 7.05 am electric train. To help future travelers, I am also providing the complete train schedule here for your perusal.

As you can see, we departed at KL Sentral @ 7.05 am, quick stop at 14 stations in between, and arrived at Arau @ 12.13 pm. The whole journey took about 5 hours 8 min. Very fast and efficient I would say!! Very impressive indeed!! Next time, I will travel to Hatyai, Thailand via electric train service as well stopping at last stop Padang Besar. :)

  • KL Sentral @7.05 am -> KL KTM station -> Tanjung Malim -> Tapah Road -> Kampar -> Batu Gajah -> Ipoh @ 9.26 am -> Kuala Kangsar -> Taiping @ 10.17 am -> Parit Buntar -> Tasek Gelugor -> Sungai Petani -> Gurun -> Alor Star @ 11.15 am -> Anak Bukit -> Arau @ 12.13 pm -> Padang Besar @ 12.35pm

I noticed that the electric train was moving at a very high speed - averaging around 120-130 kilometer per hour. At times, the speed went up to 150 kilometers per hour. However, inside the train, I didn't feel the speed at all. The train was moving so smoothly that I couldn't feel a thing. I was very thrilled by how fast the train was - beating the 90-110 kph drive on the North-Sourth Highway, not to mention the traffic jams on a long weekend.

The train is also fully equipped with cafeteria and spacious toilet, making it a comfort for all passengers.

Scenic views of beautiful Malaysia through the train's glass windows

Looking out the train window admiring the beauty of Malaysia landscape.

Again, thanks to K Kin Yum for being my train tour guide. :) As a very well-traveled person, KK truly knows Malaysia landscape well. We moved from coach to coach in the train, taking some wonderful photos inside the train, and looking out the train windows to witness the marvelous creation of God in the land of Malaysia!!

I would like to share some of the photos I managed to take with my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge smart phone camera through the train windows!! 

What a wonderful way to discover beautiful Malaysia!! 

Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh

The journey from Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh was rather a unique experience - a very gradual progress from a metropolitan city of 7.1 million people, passing through lush green plants and small towns before arriving in Ipoh's train station. 

Along the journey, I could spot the silver color lining of high rise buildings in KL, then the greenery of the nature, then the simplicity of kampung and small towns. 

As we moved further and further away from Kuala Lumpur, my stress level had also subsided and I had begun to be more relaxed. 

Here are some photos I managed to snap with my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge along this stretch from KL to Ipoh:

Just departed from KL Sentral. I could spot the KLCC against the beautiful sun rise.

Graffiti on the walls along the track against the backdrop of Holy Rosary Church at Jalan Tun Sambanthan, KL

Train platform at KL's KTM train station

No more tall buildings but welcomed by lush greens of the nature along the journey! Beautiful!

Spotted a lake before Alor Gajah train station. I believe it used to be a mine land and now it has turned into a beautiful lake.

Alor Gajah Train Station - beautiful white fence against the clear blue sky. Very serene!

Alor Gajah train station. While the train stopped for a while, I quickly stepped out to snap this photo. :)

Close to Ipoh train station - can see the old buildings with the train tracks against the clear blue sky. I love the green paint of the old shop lot.

Rows of old shop houses near Ipoh train station.

This is used to transport cement produced by one of the French company based in Ipoh. 

Hey - this is the old train - no aircon, long hours of travel with frequent stop. But - the KTMB's color of blue and yellow are very striking. I love it so much!!

Another view of KTMB's old train with striking blue ad yellow on a bright sunny morning!

Ipoh to Arau (padi fields, fresh water lake, and more)

Once we passed through Ipoh, entering into Kedah then Perlis. The landscape has also noticeably started to change. I could spot more palm oil plantationsmore greens in the forest, and then more padi fields especially in Kedah. What got me very excited was that the train moved passed Bukit Merah fresh water lake - the lake that I swam 2 km in and the cycling route that I took (along the lake) during 113 Triathlon at Bukit Merah last year. It brought back so much memory of my first half Ironman triathlon event.

My Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge's camera never failed. I managed to snap some photos as well to capture the beauty of Malaysia landscape in the North.

Palm oil plantations - very organised in rows. Beautiful!

Look - that's Bukit Merah' fresh water lake!! The lake I swam for 2 km during 113 Triathlon event last year.

Another breathtaking scenic view of Bukit Merah fresh water lake.

Do you notice the old track? Yes, the one parallel to the current train track? It was an old train track. 

Land of rice - Kedah!! Naturally, the beautiful endless padi fields unfolds in front of me!! As a Kedahan, I was so happy to see this. A feeling of "balik kampung"!

Another beautiful view of padi fields!! 

A clock tower at Sungai Petani train station.

Another view of padi fields

Wow! I love the green padi fields! And I love the sky too!

Padi field before planting the padi in Kedah.

Near / at Arau Train Station

Our exciting electric train journey ended at Arau station, which we subsequently needed to take an air-con bus to Kangar bus terminal, then walked 1.5 km to the Perlis Marathon 2017's race kit venue at Kangar Stadium. 

Before we arrived, I suggested to KK and Wai-Yee to assemble their fold-able bikes in the spacious air-con train coach. This way, they didn't have to assemble the bikes at the train platform which has no air-con. :) To our pleasant surprise, the assembly of their fold-able bikes in the train was not objected by the courteous, friendly train attendant. In fact he was curious and thrilled to see the fold-able bikes. He tried to ring the little bells on the bikes too. haha!! Thank you, train attendant for providing such a marvelous service to us! 

KK, his fold-able bike and train attendant 
Wai-Yee is all smiling. looking forward to her running and leisure cycling trip in Perlis

So grateful to have bump into KK and Wai-Yee. Truly appreciate everything they have done for me during my first electric train ride.

At Arau platform - a bunch of excited runners out from the wonderful KTMB's ETS train ride from KL. We were ready to conquer Perlis Marathon 2017! Yohoo!

ETS train: world-class service and facilities 

As my first time riding on KTMB's electronic train service, I was so impressed by the whole train experience!! It was so unforgettable, awesome and pleasant. Even as I am writing about my travel story on the electric train, I can't help myself but having a very big smile on my face for the awesome experience!!

Here are the reasons why I love our electronic train service:

👍 Seats are so spacious. 
👍Train is super clean. 
👍5-star facilities with cafeteria and spacious toilet
👍power socket under the seat for laptop / smart phone charging! how considerate!!
👍latest movie shown on the TV monitor for entertainment
👍spacious overhead cabinets for storage
👍smooth ride at a high speed of 120-150 kph
👍punctual and timely. On schedule. 
👍super courteous and friendly train attendants
👍excellent e-ticket booking system (which can be further improved by showing the seating arrangement and location of cafeteria, etc)
👍beautiful scenic views along the journey to discover Malaysia

Overall, I give our Malaysia's electronic train service a big big thumb up!! 👍👍👍 It's truly world-class! I'm so so proud of being an anak of this land!:)

Enjoy your electric train ride!

KTMB's Electronic Train Service is world-class!!  And I highly recommend to every single citizen of Malaysia as well as travelers to Malaysia!! Please experience it yourself!! Ride on it as a way for better transport and explore different scenic views of what Malaysia has to offer!! Don't sleep in the train. Look out to see the beauty of the nature in the land of Malaysia!

For more information, please visit KTMB's website by clicking here

For online e-ticket system, please click here

I hope you enjoyed the experience sharing of my first electric train ride!! :) 

"When you truly love your journey, the destination is just a bonus."  - Katrina Mayer

Written by Vincent Khor on 3 May, 2017Electric Train Service (ETS) to Perlis: Scenic journey


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