End of the line..

Trip Start Apr 29, 2006
Trip End Apr 29, 2007

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Flag of Malaysia  ,
Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Missed a bus due to guesthouse forgetting about us, but caught the last one - phew!! More bus time - More pictures of the Thai royal family, many Thai flags, and loads of people in yellow t-shirts with the Thai logo on. They have so much national pride. Dont see that in England. Also more fantastic scenery - its hard to stay awake on these jouneys, but it is worth it..

Then had to wait several hours in Surat Thani for the 00:30 train. Having learnt from our previous mistake, we booked 3 days in advance - however all the air con had gone, but we did get 2nd class, which was a huge improvement!! 10 hours later and we were at the last town on the line...

1km later we were across the border and in Malaysia!! Got a taxi to Kota Bharu about 40km away for about 4 quid. This was 3/4 the price of a 10km taxi on Koh Samui. A good sign!

Rat still felt ill so once again we settled for the first guesthouse we looked at. A bit old school - Tap water runs orange, cobwebs on the bookcase, dust everywhere, corrugated tin door to toilet, and no-one has stayed here for a week!!! I wasn't best pleased, but we do have a twin room (with double bed), air con, and a shower (literally) in our room, and all for about 2 GBP each.

By now it was 2pm and we had things to do even though we were well tired from overnight trains. 1st stop was post office, where Matt's mum had sent some important stuff - Cheers Janet! Then we popped in to the tourist information office where a panel of wannabee commedians greeted us. We sat down to be told about all the "luvvly jubbly" and "spiffing" things we could do in town. They then showed us out a back door to a "gorgeous" cafe.. We had an orange juice here for 1/4 the price of one in Thailand.....

So things here seem cheap, and what's more - this town is the most Muslim in the whole of Malaysia (& one of only 3 towns with a Malay majority) so alcohol is off the menu - a great opportunity to detox and save dosh!! Quite strange being in an Islamic country, but even here in the strictist town, only a handful of women wear the full face covering garments - most wear just a top of head cover with jeans and t-shirt.

Kota Bhara is also the cultural heart of Malaysia, so we thought we'd check out that part of town. But 1st lunch..... And what better place to eat in this cultural place than KFC!!

Royal Customs museum and Keletan Royal Museum were not exactly amazing. Rat said "You have taken me to some shit places in your time, but this has got to be the worst!"

Then we wandered through the handicraft village, where traditional arts such as puppet and kite making are practised. However it was closing up so we saw nothing except for a woman having a drink.

Throughout this wander we saw no other tourists - Its nice to be in a "proper" place, unlike in Thailand where we went from one tourist ghetto to another. The locals like to talk about Beckham and Rooney - Apparently Rat is Rooney's brother...!

In the evening we went (after prayers)(theirs, not ours!) to the night market. Pretty cool, loads of stalls set up selling various local delicacies.. It was a bit overwhelming, but we went to four different stalls and purchased some spicy chicken, rice, salad, egg, water, orange juice and desert for about 80p each... Awesome!!

Internet here is 1/6 price of Koh Phagnan - Sorry to keep harping on about costs, but its brilliant!

Friday over here is like Sunday used to be back home - little is open, a real day of rest - which rat (and I) needed. But McDonalds did open at 2pm, and they do McDelivery over here! To nightmarket for banana pancakes then bed.

Learning a few Malaysian words already, great that they use the Roman alphabet, so much easier than Thai....
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