(Written by Her)
After a 3 hour flight from Yogyakarta we arrived in KL for the fourth time this trip. This time we were staying only for a few hours, long enough to get the sleeper train to Singapore. From KL airport we took the Xpress train to KL Sentral in the city where we purchased our 2nd class tickets on that night's sleeper train. We waited 5 hours in the station so had no option than to use public toilets. This was not the first time nor would be the last time we use public loos of course but these were certainly in the worst condition we've seen to date.
Most public bathrooms in S.E. Asia have a choice of 2 squat and 2 Western style toilets. In KL Sentral the Western toilets were out of order (we later saw signs warning people not to stand n the seat and squat on them, coincidence?). The floor of the squat cubicle was covered in liquid (hopefully mostly water). There was no toilet paper because it cannot be thrown down a squat toilet. The option is a bum gun – which is lying on the wet floor gathering germs!
Worse still, none of the toilets flushed so had plenty of remnants and a really choice smell. We had no choice but to use them but there was no way we could come out of there feeling clean. Despite trying to clean our hands with wipes and disinfectant gel, we needed to shower. No such luck as we were about to board a sleeper train for 8 hours!
Our second class ticket (i.e. the lowest class) meant that instead of a private cabin with a private toilet we were sharing the carriage with about 40 other passengers. The ticket was 4 times cheaper than 1st class so was definitely worth it. Train travel in Asia can be quite expensive believe it or not! Each berth had a mattress with fresh sheets and a pillow and a curtain for privacy. We locked our bags and tied them to our beds. The majority of our fellow passengers were male, of Indian decent and aged between 40 and 70.
After passing through the Malaysian border we ended up at a bus station. There were about 100 buses and hundreds of people queuing everywhere. We weren’t sure where the buses went or how much they cost but we had to pick a queue or we would be there for hours. We queued for 40 minutes in the heat with our bags until we got to a bus. When we tried to board we were turned away because we didn’t have the correct change. By the time some women on the bus offered to pay for us, the bus was full. We were sent back to the queue area where we started to get rather pissed off with the lack of help and information.
After an hour we got onto a bus which took us about 1km across a bridge (45mins in rush hour traffic) to the Singapore border. We were dropped at the side of the road, bags dumped out. Again we followed the hundreds of people walking to a building up ahead – Singapore immigration. We queued again for another 30 mins. When we arrived at the counter we were given an immigration form and told to go back to the queue and fill it out. We couldn’t believe it – where were we supposed to get these forms? No one mentioned them, no sign notified us and no stand provided them.
Travelling to Singapore? TAKE A PLANE ! ! !