After Cherating, we did a really
stupid thing. Our guidebook, (remember the temple filled with vipers?)
had also recommended the "jungle railway." Let me quote, because this
little blurb caused us 10 hours of needless suffering: "This line
traverses Peninsular Malaysia's mountainous, jungle-clad interior.
It's an engineering marvel, the views are superb and it's well worth the
trip if you have the time."
Sounds good, right? So we
hopped on an overnight bus up to Kota Baru (picture us waiting by the
side of the road at 11pm hoping the bus was really coming), and arrived
there around 5 am. We took a taxi (ok, some guy with a car who happened
to be hanging around the bus station at 5am) and arrived at the train
station. We got tickets for the 6:25 am local train, and sometime
thereabouts, we boarded the jungle train from hell.
To make a 10 hour torturous
experience succinct, I'll just say it was hot (no air-conditioning,
little ventilation), the train stopped at every possible stop, and there
were roaches crawling on my arm because the window sill was a roach
superhighway. The views were NOT superb and the only thing to marvel at
was how the train could be so hot and dirty.