The stars at night are like fairy dust, there are so many. The vastness of the country, the green and golden plains, the silhouettes of sharp trees against immense, empty can feel your soul expanding. The animals - things you have only seen in the zoo, roaming freely, masters of their own space. Brightly-coloured birds popping out of the bush like confetti. From the tent, lying in your silken sleeping bag, just listening to all the sounds of the natural world - the calls and hoots and thudding of hoofs, the wind through the leaves, the crackle of the campfire. Absolutely magical. - Min

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Kluang Kaya Roti Rail Trail

Kluang is 3 hrs from Singapore by train which makes it the perfect 1 day destination for taking a joy ride out of the Tanjong Pagar KTM train station before it's gone for good. I was very touched when Lillian (who swore off all inclines after Kinabalu), Chin Chin and Bhas agreed to sacrifice their precious Saturday to explore the charms of Kluang with me.

The best time to get to the train station is before 7 am. You sit down at the M. Hasan station canteen for a cuppa teh tarik and do your train spotting as the morning sun peeks over the tracks which seem to go on for eternity.

There is something terribly romantic about this little piece of Malaysia which lives in the heart of the city. Can't really put my finger on it - whether it is the the surly train ticket guy who breaks out into a smile when he recognizes that you're taking a ride for nostalgia sake "taking a joy ride?", or the chugga chugga of the train setting off from the tracks which run right up to the tables.

Mainly though, it is the knowledge that we are all passing through as transients in this joy ride called life and the good things don't always last.


800 - Train departs from Tanjong Pagar
1045 - Kaya roti and rail coffee
1230 -Trek up Gunung Lambak
1630 - Rest and eat
1800 - Return to Singapore

How to get train tickets

This grand old lady plays hard to get. There is no online booking and you can't buy many days in advance. Ticket sales only open 24 hrs and you can only buy them by personally attending at the ticket counter.

Breakfast at Kluang's famous Rail Coffee

We had breakfast at Kluang's famous Rail Coffee joint with charcoal toasted roti kaya and frothy milk tea - one of the best in Malaysia. I have the soft boiled egg fetish so I snapped lots of photos.

Everyone was still laughing and smiling at this time. Well, this was before we went to Gunung Lambak...

Gunung Lambak

Was simply beautiful.

It started to rain just as we faced a steep incline - but this is where it got really fun. Always, always there were thoughts of turning back but everyone soldiered on, holding on to large tree roots - God's natural facility for climbing up a rain forest and scrambling over large rocks. It was a 2 hour uphill struggle.

At the summit, we celebrated with a group of Kluang teenagers who did the climb same time as us. I was really impressed by their footwear: sandals and flip flops!

Journey home

While drying off from the rain in the Rail Coffee joint, everyone blamed me for misrepresenting on the level of difficulty of the trek and made loud noises of protest. Chin shed some blood.

Dead pan expression from Lillian says it all.

But since I get to claim the narrative for this post, I can say that it was a very happy time - I got my train ride, Gunung Lambak and the company of good friends...lured by the kaya roti and bonded in adventure.


  1. -___-

    It was a lovely day with great company. (Use of the term "lovely" excludes intimations to any feelings experienced while on the so-called "one hour trek" which was in fact a "four hour climb" over an incline which can be defined as one such as which I had sworn off.)


    p.s. train ride was fun and roti bun was delicious!

  2. Glad you came woman even though I had to snook you into doing another incline. But wasn't it great, rain + hardship to say yay we did it!