Published: August 22nd 2010August 22nd 2010
Welcome to part 6 of the blog.
Just a short update really this time. We were only planning on spending the night in Kota Bharu before catching the jungle railway and heading to Taman Negara. We've been here 4 nights now as Reuben has got an ear infection and isn't really up for a 14 hour train journey into the heart of the Malaysian rain forest. We may be here a few more days yet whilst Reuben recovers enough to travel.
Kota Bharu is a Muslim run state in the north of Malaysia (peninsular) and we arrived smack bang in the middle of Ramadan, meaning that Chinatown aside, the city pretty much closes up during the day. That being said it hasn't been a bad place to get stuck. The place we are staying is quite nice, especially for about 6 quid a night. We are staying in a 'guesthouse' owned by the very friendly ugtaz. It's not really a guesthouse though, more like ugtaz's apartment, he lives there and rents out a few rooms to travelers. We spend most of the day reading books or watching the TV in his front room, while ugtaz fasts (for Ramadan) and
attends prayers throughout the day. Ugtaz is a very friendly guy and it seems that being Muslim, wearing traditional clothing, fasting and going to prayer 5 times a day doesn't stop him from enjoying certain herbal medicines once the sun goes down and he is always happy to share!
At night i have been trying to get out and explore some of the city. Its a strange place, a mix of traditional shops and mosques to western fast food places (KFC etc) and bustling Chinatown with lots of roadside hawker stalls and restaurants. All in all it's a very colourful, friendly and despite what some guidebooks would have you believe clean (by SE Asia standards) city. After eating out in Chinatown or the excellent night market, where they serve a variety of dishes into the night for very little money, we head back to chill out with ugtaz and watch some football, bull fighting, international canoeing, female arm wrestling or whatever crazy sport they happen to be showing.
After the craziness of the last few weeks its actually been quite nice to chill out and save some money, that being said its starting to get a bit repetitive
and as soon as Reuben is feeling better we will head into the jungle.
This may be the last post for a while as there is not much more to report in Kota Bharu and i am not expecting super fast broadband in the jungle so il report back when we leave Taman Negara.
There are more photos below