Short distance flights across Asia are cheap, but we're big believers in enjoying the journey and trains are just more fun!
Ok, so 17 hours is a long one, but you're asleep for half of it and the time flies by (honestly!). Plus tickets are around 1100 baht (£20) per person for second class berths with air conditioning, which for anyone used to UK trains feels like a minor miracle.
We started our trip to Malaysia at Hua Hin, the home of Thailand's most beautiful train station, complete with a royal waiting room.
The train was late (this is expected in Thailand), and so there was plenty of time to enjoy our last Thai meal and watch other trains go by.
Once we got on the train, there wasn't much time before it was lights out (although not literally because the lights never actually go out, so bring an eye mask if you choose an upper berth). An attendant goes around the carriage and fixes up the bunks. You each get a pillow and blanket, and there are curtains for privacy. Lower berths are more spacious but upper berths are fine unless you need a lot of room, and they are cheaper.
The first stop of the morning is Hat Yai station, and ladies with huge trays of fried chicken and sticky rice board the train for anyone in the mood for breakfast. This was so good, even at 7am!
Money changers also get on and were offering good rates on our journey. There isn't an ATM at Butterworth station, so you'll need to use the money changers on the train or at the station.
After breakfast, an attendant will fold up the bunks and it's not long until the border. The crossing is really simple, you just get off the train with your bags, queue up to have your passport stamped and then hop back on.
The views of the Malaysian countryside from here on were great, although most people on the train were snoozing or reading (see below).
An hour ahead of schedule (unheard of!), we arrived in Butterworth. It's then just a quick ferry ride across to George Town from Butterworth station, where the best street food in Asia awaits you.
And here's what we got up to in George Town!