Trains have been perceived as romantic journeys by notable travel writer, Paul Theroux. If you have read “The Old Patagonian Express” and “The Great Bazaar Railway”, you will be familiar with the quote below that clearly explains the sensation of travelling by trains:-
“…each familiar place flashes by the window, and disappears, and becomes part of the past. I was shown each second passing as the train belted along, ticking off the buildings with a speed that made me melancholy.”
When I was invited for Railway Tourism Malaysia Program by Santai Travel, it caught my interest straight away. I had heard of tourism package by KTMB before, but Railway Tourism Malaysia was something I had not heard of then. So, I signed up for the Railway Tourism Program.
While Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) is already known to us, Railway Tourism Association Malaysia (RTAM) requires an introduction for it is a new body established to promote Railway Tourism in Malaysia. Besides promoting Railway Tourism, RTAM will take part in promoting heritage and culture especially homestays (vacation spent staying in the home of a local family) as well as the areas or buildings which have been gazetted by the National Heritage Department.
The program kicked off with the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia launching three new Railway Tourism Packages known as “Day-Trip by Rail”, “North and East-bound Homestay by Rail” and “Resplendence Resort by Rail”. In 2010, the Ministry had successfully launched “Experience Malaysia Homestay Packages by Rail” which included 42 all-inclusive homestay packages from 21 homestays licensed by the Ministry of Tourism.
As part of Visit Malaysia Year 2014, Railway Tourism Malaysia seeks to enrich the experience for both domestic and international tourists to discover Malaysia.
For a complete list of the packages for Railway Tourism Malaysia, please refer below:-
1) Day-Trip by Rail -> http://malaysiarailwaytourism.weebly.com/day-tour.html
2) North and East-bound Homestay by Rail -> http://malaysiarailwaytourism.weebly.com/experience-malaysian-homestay-by-rail.html
3) Resplendence Resort by Rail -> http://malaysiarailwaytourism.weebly.com/north-and-east-bound-homestay.html
After the launch at KL Sentral, about 347 people including dignitaries, international and local tourists and media delegates boarded the ETS train from KL Sentral to Ipoh to experience the Railway Tourism Malaysia “North and East-bound Homestay by Rail” packages in few homestays in the state of Perak Darul Ridzuan.
The participants were extremely excited to take off as the entourage was headed by the Minister of Tourism, Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.
Along the journey, we enjoyed the scenic view of north-bound track passing by Sungai Buloh, Rawang, Kuala Kubu Baru, Tanjung Malim, Behrang, Slim River, Sungkai, Tapah Road, Kampar, Batu Gajah. I have to agree with Paul Theroux when he says, “trains take on the characteristic of the routes”. The ride from KL Sentral changed from busy Kuala Lumpur landscapes to rural villages that lined the railway track to limestones carsts background.
The attendants of ETS.
Ipoh has been one of my favourite cities in Malaysia. The sight of the limestone carsts excites me. After two hours jounery, our train whistled down its arrival when it approached heritage building known as Ipoh Railway Station. We had another press conference for the launch of “Visit Malaysia Year 2014” in Ipoh Railway Station.
We were welcomed with kompang and silat performance before we were led to the dining area.
Later, we were entertained with a concert in conjunction with Railway Tourism Malaysia and Visit Malaysia Year 2014 launch.
If you have not been to Ipoh Railway Station at night, the view is awesome.
For more info on Railway Tourism Malaysia:-Railway Tourism Association Malaysia Malaysia Tourism Centre (MATIC) No. 109, Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur Tel No: 017-3641157 & 019-3268480 Email : email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org Website : www.malaysiarailwaytourism.weebly.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/Railway Tourism Association Malaysia – RTAM
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