Around half the world in 13 trains.

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caravanman

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Around half the world in 13 trains.

The grand opening of a missing rail link between China and Laos has allowed passengers to travel by train all the way from Lisbon to Singapore, via Paris, Moscow, Beijing and Bangkok — a distance of about 11,650 miles, and the longest journey possible since the invention of the railway.

Around half the world in 13 trains.
 

jis

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The segment in Singapore now is a very short one. Just a few hundred feet to the Woodlands Checkpoint station where the service terminates. The original Singapore station in Tanjong Pagar on Keppel Road and the link to it has been abandoned and converted into a hiking trail most of the way sometime back. I traveled by train from the old Singapore Station all the way to Bangkok back in the '90s. Involved a change of trains at Kuala Lumpur and Hat Yai.

Most interestingly the change of trains was at Hat Yai in Thailand and not at Padang Besar at the border with Malaysia. Also most annoyingly, they closed down the AC First Class car at Butterworth, even though it stayed in the consist all the way to Padang Besar (not Hat Yai). I just transferred at Butterworth to a Second Class AC Sleeper two cars down for the balance of the journey.

Butterworth, the terminal station for Penang is on a branch off of the main north south line which takes off at Bukit Mertajam. The train reverses direction at Butterworth to continue its onward journey taking the other leg of the wye at Bukit Mertajam.

The train from Hat Yai to Bangkok was actually 4 cars, including a First Class Sleeper that originated at Hat Yai and were hooked onto a through Yala - Bangkok service. The car I was in was a self-generating Huyndai build beautiful new car, which they let us board before the train from Yala arrived.
 
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caravanman

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That's a shame! I also travelled that route, 1984, from Hat Yai to Singapore. I remember leaving my hotel in the small hours and boarding the "International Express". Fearless traveller in those days, probably book an uber to the station these days!
Exciting to remember our earlier adventures in these sad virus times...

Updated: My train was less luxurious, I remember the open windows, large banana type leaves outside, and the roar of the huge "wok" in the pantry car!

Another time we went to Butterworth and crossed to Penang, a very nice spot to rest up on our adventure.
 
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jis

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Updated: My train was less luxurious, I remember the open windows, large banana type leaves outside, and the roar of the huge "wok" in the pantry car!
Speaking of Banana type leaves, have you ever been to the Banana Leaf restaurant in Singapore. It used to be my favorite haunt. It is basically Indian food served traditionally on Banana Leaves. No plates anywhere. You were served at your seat as much as you want to eat. The only thing you had to watch out for was the "heat" (as in chilly) in the food :)

I started going there before there was an MRT station close by, and it involved quite a walk from the then closest MRT station. Then they built the new line through Little India and it became a short walk from an MRT station.
 

caravanman

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Speaking of Banana type leaves, have you ever been to the Banana Leaf restaurant in Singapore. It used to be my favorite haunt. It is basically Indian food served traditionally on Banana Leaves. No plates anywhere. You were served at your seat as much as you want to eat. The only thing you had to watch out for was the "heat" (as in chilly) in the food :)

I started going there before there was an MRT station close by, and it involved quite a walk from the then closest MRT station. Then they built the new line through Little India and it became a short walk from an MRT station.
We visited "Little India" a lot when in Singapore, one favourite dish was "murtabek" not spelt correctly, a sort of filled pancake of sorts, I seem to recall.
Not had the banana leaf plates in Singapore but many times in S.India itself. One threw the leaves out the windows after, and the animals had a meal too. ;)
Did I ever mention the cheap hotel we had in KL, it turns out it was a former brothel! Travel tales from back in the glory days, eh?
 

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In my earlier poorer days I stayed in a few dives in Bangkok that could very well have been converted brothels. Who knows? One time I almost got arrested as they were busily rounding up a bunch of people for something yelling loudly in Thai. I had no clue what the heck was going on. My American Passport rescued me from that.

After that I decided to spend a little more money and moved a little upscale to some low end chain hotels off of Sukhumvit Road.

Thinking back to those crazy days of misspent youth, and how many of these marginal experiences could have easily gone more pear shaped that I could not have handled possibly, is something. But still I am glad I did all that.
 
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I can't top those, I misspent my youth by not travelling!

However, I'll share two China stories. My dad had a colleague who specialized in researching a species of monkey which took him to India and China and places in between. He stayed at a country inn in Chicago, probably late 80's where the floorboards allowed views to the rooms below.

In the 90's my parents went to China for academic purposes (you know, spreading coronavirus to cities beginning with the letter W, stuff like that - j/k obviously). They stayed in a sort of hotel/dormitory for foreigners - I can't remember which city this was - and garbage was thrown out from above outside their window, but more entertaining was the electrical system. One of the lamps in their room didn't have a bulb in one lamp and my father swapped bulbs from another lamp, which shorted out the entire wing when he switched the lamp on!
 

caravanman

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We were told after, that if the hotel room doors did not reach to the floor, it was a give away sign of a house of ill repute, and dodgy business! We stayed in an interesting place in Bangkok. It had been used by G.I's during the Vietnam war for "R&R", and still had signs painted up saying bar girls were not allowed in the pool....
 

jis

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We were told after, that if the hotel room doors did not reach to the floor, it was a give away sign of a house of ill repute, and dodgy business! We stayed in an interesting place in Bangkok. It had been used by G.I's during the Vietnam war for "R&R", and still had signs painted up saying bar girls were not allowed in the pool....
AFAIR all the hotels that I stayed in had doors that reached all the way to the floor, or pretty much to it within the limits of clumsy construction.

GI R&R was a big thing in Bangkok. There was even an entire area oriented towards their entertainment around a street unsurprisingly called Soi Cowboy :) Apparently Nana Plaza was also a thing back then.
 
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