Aboard the Jungle Train

fenetre femme

13 hours of train to bridge North East to South West Malaysia… A long journey considering the fact that I hadn’t booked a seat. So, at each station – and there were many of them, reason why the journey took so long – I had to stand for a while, waiting for a free spot…

gare dabong

Tumpat. Wakaf Baharu. Tanah Merah.  Kula Krai. Babong. Gua Musang. Kuala Lipis. Jerantut. Kuala Kerau. Mentakab. teriang. Kemayan. Bahau. Gema. Tampin… Those are some of the singing names of the railway stations I crossed…

Gare Manek

Until a program of road building in approximately the 1980s, most of the towns and villages along the line had no other means of accessing the larger world.

rails et fougère

The entire line is a single line, hence the numerous delays when the mail train is moved to a loop to allow express trains to pass !

maison belle

Stations are also not interlocked. While the trains are diesel and coaches modern (although a bit short on maintenance), journeys on these trains are still full of atmosphere – And I’ve spent half of the journey talking to this young teacher, making the trip even more exciting…

ami chinois

What I like the most are those large brown rivers. All of them remind me of the Mekong, the primary reason why I was so attracted by Asia at the very first place…

rivière 4

rivière 3

rivière 2It also reminds me of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, doesn’t it ?
Of course, the landscape was also about the jungle, of course…

luxuriant

palm tree

pic

pont

What about habitat ? Well, it depends tremendously from one town to another.
Here, you have poor bungalows next to the rails. There you have brand new condominiums being erected in a Western style…

maison moche

maison neuveWhat about food on the train ? Well, every hour or so, a guy comes with a trolley full of chips, cookies and soda you can buy for nothing. Not the best food ever but at least you don’t starve. The train doesn’t stop long enough in the train stations for you to grab some food there. And anyway, I’m not even sure there was anything to buy in those…

sortie mosquee

Here, muslims getting out of the mosque after the 5PM prayer… Tomorrow, you’ll see more pictures of locals living next to the train stations and rails…

fenetre enfant

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