7D6N train trip around Malaysia under $500!
First thing: Grab a steady friend* who is willing to do it with you and JUST GO!
*Do not expect clean toilets, nice hotels nor nice shopping malls.
I was supposed to head to Thailand for a family trip but it got postponed due to high flight fares and my leaves were already blocked… then my gf came asking if I will like to go for a getaway together so….
We decided upon taking the train to different parts of Malaysia as its the cheapest(crazy high flight fares in Dec)! Note that $500 is not inclusive of own expenses as it vary upon your own shopping habits etc. As we already saved a huge part on transportation, our main transports in Malaysia are grabs. P.S its not those budget backpacking trip!
Areas we went are Seramban > KL > Taiping > Penang
Watch full video of our trip here:
Things to note before the trip:
- Book all your train tickets online via https://www.easybook.com/en-sg/train first. Note that you have to book the train separately, so do try to tally the train timings even before you proceed to book your accommodation as you may need to adjust the length of stay due to the availability of certain train services. For e.g our train from Taiping to Penang only has 1 service for the day.
- Read my itinerary for the different kind of train category so you know which to book according to your budget!
- Use cash payment for all grab services incase you need to cancel some trips as not ALL the drivers are actually familiarised with the place.
- Bring tons of tissue and wet tissue, believe me you will need it.
Before the trip, I had a pretty hard time researching as all Msia itineraries I can find online are the typical SG > Malacca > KL > Genting road trip. I ended up googling on INDIVIDUAL places along the train map to see which are worth stopping over.
Now that I’ve done the hard work, you guys can enjoy this if you are planning to head for a getaway that is more than a week but with a tight budget!
Places we went today:
- Shopping at Palm Mall (right beside our hotel)
- Korean BBQ (last min changes as its pouring at night, totally regretting not heading to Ketam Nipah & Lala as per itinerary instead)
We didnt manage to book the KTM train from Woodlands to JB Sentral so we had to wake up early to catch our very first train at JB Sentral at 7.15am. We were afraid that we will get stuck in the jam but surprisingly, there is no jam at both SG and Msia side! But that is cause we reach the Woodlands custom at 6am, anytime later than that I think it will start to jam already.
Note that you had to transit at Gemas for train to any other parts of Malaysia there is no other options to this.
It was evening time by the time we reached Seramban and its off to our hotel. We were super happy to find out that our hotel is actually connected to Palm Mall! Its actually the biggest shopping mall in Seramban so dont bother heading to the rest if you are tight on time. And by biggest, they already dont have much stuff… so imagine the rest haha.
Dinner at a random KBBQ restaurant right opposite the mall as its pouring so we skipped one of the restaurants stated in the itinerary and OMG, ITS SO SO BAD!! PLEASE DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME TO TRY IT.
The services are bad, the food is bad and we ordered the KBBQ so we can BBQ it ourselves and they ended up cooking our food backend in the kitchen before serving to us LOL! The servers made tons of mistakes for our simple orders too. Sorry but, boycott!
Places we went today:
- Breakfast at Restoran Mei Xin
- Master Siew Pao
- Yit Poh Lao Shu Fen
- Jelita Ostrich Farm
- Brunch/Lunch at The Kitchen
- Shopping and massage at Seramban Gateway Mall
- Dinner at Restoran Sin Yit Sing
There are quite a no. of changes in our itinerary today cause its a pretty unlucky day for us. Firstly, our intended breakfast at the beancurd stall and Restaurant Melido WERE CLOSED as the owners went for holidays. Then our dessert at Haji Shariff’s Cendol WERE CLOSED too for no reasons. Even the neighbours were shocked as they usually open daily.
Nonetheless, Restoran Mei Xin is a must try!! Their Hakka noodles is just very simple noodles cooked with pork lard and mince meat but omg, the taste is soooo good!!!!
Went to Master Siew Pao instead of Kee Mei Siew Pao after a recommendation from a very nice grab driver we met. According to him, they make the pastries on the spot at Master’s whereas Kee Mei are all factory packed.
Coincidentally, the Yit Poh Lao Shu Fen he recommended us is directly opposite Master Siew Pao too! Both food recommended were really good.
Off to the main highlight of our Seramban stopover after that- OSTRICH FARM!
We feed the ostrich, touched their eggs and rode on one!! Oh, we even watched a ostrich race!
There are also goats around that you can feed but they are quite aggressive. One of them “horn” my gf to request for more food LOL. I would say its quite an experience, but 1hr is more than sufficient at the place instead of half a day as what I had expected.
So, off to brunch after that.
Skipped the Lake View Square and State Library sight-seeing as its currently under construction. Told ya we were super unlucky that day lol. Went straight to gateway mall for shopping and MASSAGE!!! We were so happy that they have Thai Odyssey there.
Headed to Restoran Yit Sing for seafood after massage and its another must-try place! They are famous for their marmite crab and people actually drive up to the restaurant from JB/KL just to eat and head back. The other dishes we ordered were pretty good too that its a super satisfying meal as compared to the horrible one we had ytd.
Places we went today:
- Breakfast at Indian restaurant opp our hotel
- Midvalley shopping Mall
- Mangkorn Seafood
Onwards to KL and its back to the usual hotel I always stay due to the convenience- its located right beside Midvalley shopping mall! Infact, its connected to it.
Spent the whole day doing retail therapy as we only intend to stop over KL for a day cause its somewhere that we can always go easily again next time! Actually the only reason why we stopped in KL was to try this Thai Mookata place we saw in one of those FB promotional trending video- Mangkorn Seafood!!
However, its not really located in KL itself we took a grab there and its about 20-30mins car ride. Food were so-so too its like Three Peacocks in Singapore just that its way cheaper. Also, we get to catch and cook our own live prawns. Other than that, its just mookata lor.
Back to hotel to rest after that as we got to catch the morning train the next day.
Places we went today:
- Larut Matang Food Court
- Taiping Zoo & Night Safari
- Siang Malam
This was one of the places I am looking forward to the entire trip as I was expecting quite a lot from this place. However, we ended up killing the most time here cause things werent as what we had expected LOL. That being said, the food is way better than other locations so far.
First stop was to the Larut Matang Food Court with our luggages as we were starving by the time we reached Taiping. Its something like a hawker centre that comprises TONS of local food stalls and we were spoilt for choices. So, we ended up with all these food for 2 pax hahaha.
Then is to our hotel check-in and one of the reasons why I am kind of disappointed too was that the hotel’s pictures had totally deceived us. We were pretty shocked when we reached the place itself. Its one of those 2-3 stars budget hotel and with an expectation of 3-4 stars according to their photos online, its really quite a big hit.
Wanted to head to the Zoo initially but its quite late by the time we reached and the Zoo close by 5pm so we decided to give it a miss. Initially from info gathered from their website its stated 9am-12am so I thought we can explore both the Zoo and Night Safari at the same time however its actually 9am-5pm Zoo and 7pm-12am Night Safari.
Explored around the place and their mall after that but ahem, the shopping mall is like those Batam mall.
DONT bother heading to the Night Safari cuz you can see nuts. Its actually not a bad place, huge and the animals were interesting just that the place was so under lit and under maintained that you cant see anything from the tram. The animals were actually all pretty awake and walking around as compared to Singapore’s Night Safari but the lighting were SO bad all you can see is darkness!
There were SPIDER webs around walking paths so yah…. I think you may enjoy the Zoo more in the day.
So, we left once we were done with the tram ride to the Siang Malam (night street filled with food stalls). Some of the must-try are their nasi lemak & chee chong fun (rice rolls) but we were too full due to nonstop eating so we gave the nasi lemak a miss.
It will be much better if you can head there in a group so all of you can share and try the different food there.
BUT PLS DO NOT BOOK THIS HOTEL!!!
Places we went today:
Bukit Larut a.k.a Maxwell Hill
- Yut Sun Restaurant
- Trong Leisure Farm & Resort
- Double Tap cafe
Our initial plan was to take the jeep up to Maxwell Hill BUT our plan was foiled when the tickets for the jeep ride were sold out. That was actually one of our main highlight for the stopover in Taiping. Infact, I had read online about this issue in forums but lazy us still decided to take a bet and head there slightly later. There was already a snake queue by the time we reached!
The first jeep will start at 8.30am & we reached at 7.30am when forums advised to reach there by 6am. No kidding!
They had up to 5 time slots all the way till 1.30pm or 2.30pm and all the time slots were filled even before its our turn!!!
So, there goes half a day plan and we ended up heading to Yut Sun Restaurant for breakfast instead of lunch. THE PORK CHOPS THERE ARE A MUST THOU!!!
A very good choice too cuz we ended up spending 1/2 a day at the Trong Leisure Farm & Resort which is also known as the duck farm and had our lunch there. Initially, I was skeptical about the duck farm as its pretty far away. Its about 1.5hrs ride and our experience in Taiping so far hasnt been a pleasant one. Also, its POURING almost the entire time we were there.
What made it worse is that there is no grab service at the Duck Farm. Lucky for us, our grab driver who took us there informed us of this and he agreed to stay all the way with us. Yes we decided to pay him additional. *We had verified that there is really NO grab service there. So unless you got your own private transport, pls rem to arrange with your taxis/grab driver for the way back.
But oh my despite all of the above, we never regret heading there. Infact, we would have spent an entire day there if it wasnt raining and we didnt ask our driver to wait for 2hrs only.
The ducklings were SO cute and there was a huge area with thousands over ducks(sadly we didnt manage to enter that cuz its pouring heavily).
Back to our hotel to chill after as there is really nothing else to do. Decided to give the night food street a miss cause we were kinda sick of local food. So, we ended up in a cafe instead which surprisingly, food is good too.
Places we went today:
- Kedai Kop Prima
- Aulong Heo Pia
- Antong Coffee Factory
- Train/Ferry to Penang
As our train to Penang only departs at 2pm in the noon, we spent the morning having breakfast at this coffeeshop Kedai Kop Prima & their noodles were pretty yummy. Its also good to eat something light after so many days of FOOD, FOOD and FOOD.
Grabbed to this hidden “biscuit factory” situated in one of the private Terrace house. And its pretty cool as we found lots of old school biscuits there. They were also making their Heo Pia on the spot and the aroma is heavenly. Best chance to buy some souvenirs back to our family!
Grabbed to the Antong Coffee Factory after that. Sadly, we didnt manage to catch the workers grinding the coffee as they were on their lunch break. LOL. Speaks about “unluckiness” in Tai Ping.
Nonetheless, we had a great time tasting all the different kind of coffee (watch video if you havent) ANDDD THEIR HONEY LEMON TEA IS A MUST!!!! Both of us regretted buying only 1 pack home cause our family finished it within a week.
I think, I will make a trip there just to buy their honey lemon tea one day.
Took the train to Penang after that & we have to take a ferry to the main Penang Island. For those of you who are heading there for the first time, note the ferry is actually being used to ferry cars travelling in and out of Penang Island. So you can also drive there if you want.
Since we were left with half a day in Penang by the time we checked into the hotel, we spent the first day shopping + doing massage in their mall.
STEAMBOAT at Chong Qing Lao Huo Guo for dinner and we were sooo happy about the meal haha. Didnt plan this initially the restaurant caught our attention while we were on the way in a grab to the mall. Yes, our main transport in Msia is grab cause its way too cheap to trouble ourselves by taking public transport.
Back to the hotel after that. We wanted to try their nightlife (bar hopping) at Upper Penang Road, but we were too tired and lazy to do so haha.
Places we went today:
- Little Penang Street
- Penang Street Art
- Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion
- Awesome Canteen cafe
- Home sweet home
Its actually my 2nd time at Penang. The last I went was a 3D2N trip(click to read here) so we didnt plan to stay long here. However, I do have a little regret of not extending for 1 more day in Penang. Or cutting short 1 day in Taiping and use it for Penang instead.
Nonetheless, I brought my friend to the must see/must do/must eat street in Penang which you can read all about it in my other Penang post. We also went into a 3D Glow in the Dark Museum for the fun of it..
Then we went for the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion tour. Its the mahjong place in the famous movie Crazy Rich Asian! However, the whole tour is so-so only the place is actually converted to a dining restaurant cum hotel so there is not much “free area” we can take photos of. Note there are time slots for the tour so do check online and cater your time properly if you wish to attend the tour too.
Brunch at one of the must-try cafes I’ve googled online. I would say, food is so-so but the ambience is pretty cool.
Back to the hotel to check out. As I have another trip planned the next day, we gotta catch the night flight home.
Overall, I would say that this is not the usual holiday trip one is expecting of but its more like a “try it once” + very affordable + our leaves were already approved so why not kind of trip. Its actually also very relaxing cause there is really nothing much to do in most of the location. We manage to finish an entire seasons of a Netflix show during the trip LOL.
For full detailed itinerary, click the link below: