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Jungle Railway Is M’sia’s Last Traditional Rail Service That Travels From N9 To Kelantan, With Stops At Scenic Locales

Jungle Railway in Malaysia

Two types of travellers exist: those who itch to see all the attractions and those who prefer to just sit back and enjoy the views. If you fall into the latter bunch, try hopping on the East Coast Railway Line (ECRL) – otherwise known among locals as the “Jungle Railway”.

This historic diesel-powered locomotive is Malaysia’s last remaining traditional rail service. It gets its name from stunning views of the country’s jungle-surrounded villages and natural landmarks such as a large limestone formation that you can soak up while travelling on the line.

A historic railway for laidback cross-country travels

The Jungle Railway was built during British colonial rule sometime in the 1800s. Operated by Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTM), it is our country’s last remaining traditional rail route that was once used to transport tin. 

Jungle Railway - train
Image credit: @tennoxarina via Instagram

Today, the Jungle Railway attracts curious locals and tourists alike seeking out a more laidback and rustic way to travel cross-country. It ferries passengers between quaint remote towns, all the way from the Singapore-Malaysia border to the Malaysia-Thailand border.

Jungle Railway - track
Image credit: Bisik Hujan

A complete trip on the line will take you on a scenic ride stretching over 520 kilometres long through Malaysia’s countryside. The trip lasts about 16 hours if you’re travelling from JB Sentral to Tumpat, Kelantan, or 11 hours from Gemas, Negeri Sembilan, up north to the same stop.

Jungle Railway - window seat
Image credit:
Bisik Hujan

Catch views of nature and a historic bridge

Jungle Railway - Gua Musang
Image adapted from: @uisa278 via Instagram, @hazwanhfiz via Instagram 

During the train ride, you’ll get to sit back and enjoy views of the verdant tropical forest of the Titiwangsa range, as well as captivating sights of riverbanks and serene paddy plantations.

Jungle Railway - bridge
Image credit: @alemershad via Instagram 

The train also makes a stop at Gua Musang station, where you can alight to take photos of stunning limestone formations. Another highlight on the journey is getting to spot the historic Guillemard Bridge in Kampung Kuala Kemubu, Kelantan – it’s the second oldest single-track railway bridge in Malaysia.

Jungle Railway - sleeper coach
Image credit: @izzarosli_ via Twitter

It’s advisable to embark on your journey during daylight hours to ensure you don’t miss out on the breathtaking views during your train ride.

But if you do plan on taking an overnight journey, the Jungle Railway is a sleeper train, with upper and lower berths. Each berth is furnished with a cosy bed and a privacy curtain that you can draw close to get some shut eye during your trip. 

Jungle Railway - seats
Image adapted from: @schustii_ via Instagram, @hazwanhfiz via Instagram

For day trips, you’ll find comfortable seats with the option to choose between singles or doubles in an air-conditioned carriage. Additionally, there are overhead spaces for you to stow your luggage, onboard restroom facilities, and a 24-hour cafeteria that serves affordable local dishes.

How to travel on the Jungle Railway & book tickets

Those planning to hop on the jungle train from KL can make their way to Gemas and travel eastbound. Gemas will be quicker to get to than Tumpat to travel northbound, if you’re coming from the capital city. 

You can reach Gemas by hopping on the ETS train, and boarding the connecting Ekspres Timuran there. Keep in mind that the timetable for Jungle Railway changes periodically, so it’s best to stay updated at KTM’s website

Jungle Railway - stops
Image adapted from: @syadzwanie via Instagram

Alternatively, if you don’t have a lot of time but still want to experience the thrills of the Jungle Railway, consider a shorter journey by getting off at any of your preferred stations throughout the route. This way, you’ll still get to enjoy the train ride in a shorter amount of time.

Train ticket prices differ depending on your selected day of travel. However, the average price usually costs around RM50/pax for a full-length journey. Meanwhile, travellers opting for the sleeper train option will have to pay around RM70/pax.

You can plan your route and purchase tickets online at KTM’s website.

Soak up views of nature on the Jungle Railway

With no traffic in sight, a train ride can offer the right dose of nature and be an escape away from the hustle and bustle of city life that we need in our lives. So, if you’re looking for a unique travel adventure, consider hopping on the Jungle Railway to soak in the breathtaking views of our country’s outskirts on a traditional railway journey. 

For more interesting adventures, check out our travel from Perlis to Hat Yai for only RM6 and Doulos Hope extends till 27th August.

Cover image adapted from: @tennoxarina via Instagram, @izzarosli_ via Twitter, Bisik Hujan