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Malaysia: Jungle Train From HELL!
Kota Baru to Jeruntut--don't do it!
June 2, 2006

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.


 


The train stopped at big stations....

and little stations...

or no station at all.

The "jungle clad interior" resembled grass and trees.

Some views were impressive though, like this blue mosque in the middle of nowhere.

I'm not smiling on the inside. I'm miserable. See how dirty my window is?  If there was a superb view, I wouldn't have been able to see it.

Sleep if you can.  It's the best way to get through the ordeal.

Finally, around 4:30pm, we arrived in Jeruntut, the town that serves as the gateway to Taman Negara, Malaysia's 130 million year old virgin rain forest. We spent the night there, and the next morning took a two hour boat ride to the national park.

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