Sparky Travels

October 16, 2009

Kuala Terengganu

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — admin @ 1:03 pm

We arrived in Kuala Terengganu around 5pm on the 13th of October and with some help from a friendly local at the bus station found our way to Ping Anchorage Guesthouse. The hostel is situated above the travel agency of the same name, situated in the centre of the town which is the provincial capital of Terengganu state. We managed to get there just as they were pulling down the shutters and got checked in for the night. One of the flyers we got from the woman at the desk had a map of the town with a walking tour route detailed in it. We followed the path around town and familiarised ourselves with the layout, facilities and attractions it had to offer. The ‘tour’ ended at chinatown where we went to a chinese food court for dinner. As always the food was cheap and tasty, even if we had little idea what we were ordering. My curry noodle claypot was chock-full of various dumplings, tofu savouries and a mass of chillies.The evening was finished off with ice-cream, beer and some more episodes of The Wire.
The next day was our designated planning day. Unfortunately, after asking at the ambivalently unhelpful tourist information office ( in complete contrast to the one in Kota Bharu) we discovered that the only wifi in town was at McDonalds so we headed there for lunch. Almost two hours later we had reconnected to the online world (email,facebook etc) , planned our trip to Tioman and stuffed chicken sandwiches down our gullets. The rest of the day was a number of unsuccessful circuits round the town trying to get suntan lotion, DEET bugspray and the likes. The main point of interest was the high number of mangy cats with parts of their fur ripped off or guts hanging out their arses.
We also failed to climb Princess Hill, an old hill fort overlooking the port, because we got there too late. The evening was a carbon copy of the previous one except without the beer and ice cream.
We checked out of our hostel on the 16th ready to head to Mersing for the ferry to Pulau Tioman. For no good reason we’d hadn’t booked the tickets the day before which turned out to be a problem given that all the buses were full. Fortunately, we managed to get the ‘last 2 seats’ on a night bus leaving KT at 21:30 that headed in the right direction (towards Singapore) and we should ask the driver to drop us off as we pass through Mersing. We got charged a bit more than it should have been but this was a pittance and we were saving on a night’s accommodation anyway by being on the night bus.
Another trip to McDonalds (not for lunch thankfully, only drinks and icecream) allowed us to use the internet to try and plan what to do after Tioman. We narrowed our choices down to Sabah (Borneo), Indonesia, Melaka and Singapore. After checking timings, prices and things to do we plumped for Sabah. The flights there cost £50 return but we get to see orangutans and turtles so it should be excellent. Helen booked her connecting flight to Australia and I had a look at what to do next in Asia. Another few circuits of the town resulted in the purchase of suntan lotion and a new shirt for me along with a real weariness brought on by travesing the same streets a dozen times in 48 hours. We did manage to climb Princess Hill though half the climb was via escalator up through a shopping mall. The hill and the views were almost exactly worth the 1RM (20p) entrance fee.
After dinner on the rooftop cafe of our hostel and a couple of games of CongKak (AKA Mancala AKA Bantumi) we picked up our bags and got on our modern and comfortable bus to Mersing. We’d been warned that he Malaysian coaches have aircon on maximum and thankfully so. Our extra tops and trousers barely kept us above freezing as we headed southwards into the night.

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