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Published: January 29th 2009
One of the stations by the tracks
Jungle Train up to Wakaf Bharu
Was unbelievable! The only bad thing about it was that we had to wake up at the crack of dawn to be at the station at 5am to catch it. 😊 But, we did, and to lessen the snoozy blow, it was still dark all the way to the border, so we could go back to sleep for a while 😊
I think the border people were having as rough a morning as we were, because when we got into the immigration building the chairs were still on the tables, and there was one lady stamping passports...
Now what usually happens, is that you hand in your departure card that you filled in when you entered the country (and have kept in a very
safe place until you leave). Then you get a stamp next to the one you got when you entered the country to say that you've left the country (to check that you didn't overstay your welcome). You then walk through no-man's-land across to the country you're about to enter, fill in an arrival and departure card for that country and get a stamp to say that you're allowed
It's a jungle out there
The view from our windows most of the way
to be in the country for x
number of days.
...This poor lady was the only official person in sight. She took our passports and stamped us out of Singapore and then gave us a card with that day's date on it. And that was it. We had a card with a date and a stamp to say that we'd left Singapore.
We assumed that we'd make another stop and we'd all have to get off the train again to get the arrivals stamp, but the land started filling with trees and farmland, and when we eventually pulled up to a station and some of the people climbed off and new passengers boarded, and there was still no mention to get off and arrive
, we started to worry. What happens when we want to leave and we haven't even been stamped into the country? (insert worried nervous face...)
Soon after crossing the 'border' the sun began to rise. It was magnificent. It rose slowly over the farmlands bringing all sorts of new colours to the day.
Aside from the worry hanging overhead, the rest of the trip was amazing. The farmland and trees eventually molded into
A break in the thick jungle
thicker vegetation which in turn passed into jungle. We'd heard a lot of bad things about the jungle train being more of a 'logging company' sightseeing trip, but perhaps it was because of this that the trip was so good. Sure, there were a few man made clearings, but certainly not to the extent people had made it out to be. For most of the way the jungle was right up to the train tracks and every so often there would be a break in the tightly packed trees, allowing a brief glimpse at the winding river trying to keep up with the train, racing alongside us.
Later that evening, we were treated to a gorgeous sunset over a palm and rice plantation, the palm trees silhoetted against the reds and golds.
We arrived in Kota Baharu at about 9 that evening, and made haste to the bus station to see if we could get an overnight bus to Penang. Unfortunately we got to the first station as the bus was leaving, but luckily for us, our driver knew another station, and, as it turned out, the bus was due to leave in 10min and had 2 seats
*Worth mentioning: if you want to do the train trip, we could only buy tickets up to Gua Musang from Singapore. When we got to Gua Musang, we had to quickly jump out of the train to get tickets up to Kota Bharu (we got off at the station just outside Kota Bharu (Wakaf Bharu) as it was closer to the bus terminal.)
We arrived at the bus station at 4am and even though it'd been an unbelievable bus ride, it was still really REALLY early. Darrell in all his strength and goodness struck up a conversation with the nearest taxi driver with the alertness of a dawn roster, while I slumped forward onto my bag and fell asleep again. When I woke up again, Darrell had the route and the bus number that we needed to take to get onto the island. It's moments like this that remind my that I really really did marry a champion.
Georgetown, the town we called home for the next 2 days, was filled with architecture not unlike the impressive building we saw while we were in China Town, and that in it's self was
a real highlight.
We spent a day looking or an ATM and accidentally
got a great tour of the town, stopping briefly for lunch in Little India.
One f the biggest surprises that we've had since we've been travelling , is how good the Indian food it! It's brilliant. We went into a busy restaurant/cafeteria, filled with locals - the sure sign that the food will be great - and ordered 2 of the set meals.
*Just a note * If you're ordering Indian food at a local spot 1 meal will almost certainly be enough for 2 people. We're slow learners and have now learned that lesson 3 times!
Darrell's meal come as a large assortment of curry stews and breads and rice. For mine, they rolled out a banana leaf in front of me. Next came 2 men with 2 buckets each and scooped one ladle of stew out from each bucket. onto the leaf. Then came the breads...
What a feast! i don't think we were able to finish even half of our meals each and we almost had to be rolled out!
Unfortunately we didn't have heaps of time left to
An awesome meal, but we could hardly finish half of it!
explore more of Penang, but what we did see of Georgetown, was great!
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