I popped over to the national park very briefly in the morning just to walk around the Swamp Loop a bit, although I couldn't spend very long. I didn't see anything particularly interesting but you never know. The only fairly common target species that I missed was hanging parrot. I missed pittas too but needed to go further to have a decent chance.
The bus left from just down the road that turns off at school, by the row of shops. Kuala Tahan has a disproportionately large school because it provides basic education for the Orang Asli children in all the nearby villages. It's about 70km to Jerantut which is about an hour and a half on the bus and and easy direct bus, though only twice a day at 10 and 5 and 8 and 3 going the other way.
At Jerantut I was told that the bus to KL was completely full. Instead, I should get a bus to Temerloh leaving in about 20 minutes and from Temerloh there was a bus to KL every hour. It was annoying and time consuming with an extra change and marginally more expensive, but ultimately not a problem. The bus to Temerloh stopped at Kuala Krau. Krau wildlife reserve is supposed to be a good place to visit, though I'm not sure if it's possible by public transport.
At Temerloh, I was told that I had just missed the1:30 bus and was told that the 2:30 was completely full and I just got the very last ticket on the 3:00 bus. It was really, really busy at the bus station though I'm not sure why. It might be to do with eid, although that's not for a few days yet. Has a public holiday just started maybe?
While I was waiting, I went to try and find a western union for some money and I found two within a reasonable walking distance with the help of Google, but both were closed. All the bank type things and Western Unions seem to be closed Saturday and Sunday, which is a problem since today is Saturday. The banks had ATM sections open but the Western Union counters themselves were both closed which was annoying and a waste of energy carrying all my stuff in the midday sun. I have to hope I can find one that's open all week in KL although with all this faffing around and waiting for a bus at Temerloh it will be much later than I was hoping by the time I get back to KL. There was no proper food available around the bus station either, so I had to just eat the few snacks that I had brought and absolute junk food from a small counter, meaning my lunch was a very nutritious combination of chocolate and coke. An hour and a half isn't so long of a wait though.
I booked my accommodation on the bus, and decided to stay around the same area, Bukit Bintang, as first time but in a different place and I splashed out on a single room for RM36 per night for two nights. It's not much more expensive than a dorm really anyway. The bus itself was a proper long distance coach with assigned seating and, rather nicely, air conditioning! Also extremely unusual on the bus were seat belts. No one put them on of course, but they were there which is very unusual. It was an 'express bus' which I had thought meant it would go directly to KL. Actually, all it means is that they won't stop at any old point on the street like all the other buses do and only stop at the specific points. I say won't, but actually they will if you ask the driver, just a with a stern word first about how it's and express bus and they don't stop. Someone is else on the bus did this, and they clearly knew full well what they were doing but that the driver would just pull over anyway. From the bus I saw the most graphic advert for a fire extinguisher I have ever seen. It was a father crying while holding the burnt and wounded remains of a roughly 5 year old boy in front of a burning house with a big advert for a fire extinguisher. I don't know how any company was allowed to run that ad.
The bus got into the bus station at about 5:40 and I got the monorail directly to Bukit Bintang where I'm staying. When I got to the place which I had booked, the person there had my booking but apparently had just given it away and they no longer had space. Which was annoying. She was very apologetic and rang a nearby similar hostel to ask if they had a similar room available for RM40 (+tourism tax) which is only 4 ringgit more than the first place and only 10 ringgit more per night than a bed in a six bed dorm at Sunshine Bedz where I stayed when I was in KL at the start but this is for a private room. An extremely small room with no window, but I private room nonetheless. It also has wifi and air conditioning, this is my first time staying in somewhere with air conditioning since my aunt’s house in Bangkok right at the beginning of the trip and although I haven’t been missing it when I don’t have it, it is quite nice. It’s not the most salubrious accommodation, rather run down and dirty, but for a private room in this area you won’t get much cheaper at all than 40 per night.
After arriving at the accommodation I had two main jobs for the evening: money and food. Then I could relax for the night. The money at a Western Union was much easier than I had feared because there was one open quite nearby. There’s a long and annoying form to fill in though and a Western Union attracts a weird sort of clientele sending and receiving cash. I then went and found some food and found a nice sort of street stall with a whole array of satays and different things on sticks and you could just select a few of each that you want which they would then barbeque for you which is nice and the sort of thing I like.
I think I’m going to go to Zoo Negara tomorrow, but I need a rest and a lie in first and I’m not going to be doing super-intense zooing from open to close documenting every single sign and bit of exhibit like I have done and tend to do with zoo trips in Europe. Just a relaxed day tomorrow because I am starting to get a little travel fatigue and need to have my energy back up for Borneo, although the entry fee to the zoo seems to be very expensive indeed and it is apparently a public holiday (based on what the person said in the accommodation that I had booked where they had given away my room. Not sure what holiday it is though.)
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