Day 10 – “Blub, blub blub….”

Today we woke up at 7:15 in Kota Bharu. After we had some breakfast, where we were being photographed as a tourist attraction by the owner of the hostel, we prepared our suitcases to go to the Perhentian Islands. This time we did not travel with a large bus, but with 3 small minivans, this resulted in people having their suitcases on their lap for the one hour drive.

After this we arrived at the boat. Some people were unable to keep their eyes open and even some saliva was spotted out of Anton’s mouth.

When we arrived at the island we couldn’t check-in right away, so we dropped our suitcases at the lobby and got ready for the snorkeling trip. Some people also took the opportunity to use the laundry service at the island. The laundry service charged 10 RM/kg, we managed to bargain this down to 8 RM/kg. We were very proud of this. Later we found out that this wasn’t such a big accomplishment as at the other laundry services at the island the starting price was already 8 RM/kg.

We then had lunch at Amelia café (rice and chicken) and after this we had to rent flippers for the snorkeling trip. Once again we tried to bargain for the price but we failed badly.

We then went on the snorkeling trip. We were brought to four different spots on two simple boats but both equipped with a very strong motor. At the first spot we saw a lot of coral and small fish. We had bread to feed the fish, this made the fish swim around us in very big numbers. At the second stop we saw some coral and fish. The third stop was very special as we saw a very large sea turtle here. It was at least one meter in size. At the fourth and final stop we also swam with some small sharks. The boats then speeded back to our hostel, where our rooms were finally ready. We slept in luxurious cabins.

Some people went for the real tropical island experience and drank a coconut on the beach. After this we had dinner at the Amelia café and this time we did not eat rice for once, but we got hamburgers with fries. This was a positive surprise for most of us.

After we had dinner we went to Longbeach. This beach was on the other side of the island and to get there we had to cross the jungle in the dark. At this beach there were a lot of small bars and there was also one with fire dancers and fireworks. We managed to get the shop with the cheapest beer (7 RM) on the beach sold out. Also strong liquor was sold on this beach for 30 RM. This resulted in a very fun evening and almost everyone being drunk.

The evening started with some breakdancing on the beach, here people were really impressed by Has his dance move. After some more dancing at the beach club people started to go home. Mirte entered the beach with her shoes and at the end of the evening she left with some new flip flops, someone else was found sleeping at the beach and needed some help getting back through the jungle, some others went swimming at 05:00 in the morning (someone also thought it was smart to do this with still his shoes and pants on), 3 people lost their passport and found them a while later in someone’s bag. After this everyone went to bed and this ended the very long and fun day.

Emile Halsema

 

Day 9 – Kota Bharu

On day 9 of the study tour, a bus trip to Kota Bharu was planned, where we stayed for one night.

At 7:15, one hour before the bus starts its engines for the transfer to Kota Bharu, the alarm went off so everyone was able to have breakfast and pack their suitcases. The bus trip took around eight hours with two planned stops.

At the beginning of our trip, we saw the tropical rain woods which we had visited the two days before. After leaving this area, we saw again a lot of nature. Especially the huge palm fields, which were probably used as a plantation for the production of palm oil. During these kilometers-long fields some small mountains with tropical rainforests were located. These are very beautiful, but not as impressive as we have seen the day before. However, it is uncertain if everyone saw these scenery, because some participants were tired from the late night before and the jungle tour.

After the first stop where we were able to withdraw Malaysian Ringgits (€1=4.7 RM), we saw a lot of nature, little mountains and palm fields. However, it was not as much as before the stop. Instead of that, we saw more villages.

The second stop was a lunch stop. There was a restaurant and a food court present where there was a choice between some local food such as wraps or nasi. At 13:00 we started the last part of our trip. Again, we saw palm fields, nature and mostly villages.

At 17:15, we arrived at the Mizwar Inn hotel in Kota Bharu. We checked in for the 2-persons rooms, where we rested for one hour. Then we made a little walking trip to explore the town. We walked against a palace, which later on seems to be the guest house, a park with golden top fences and a big gate, which was especially beautiful in the night when the lights are shining on it. Furthermore, there was a monument for the Second World War and a very dirty river. After that, we visited a shopping center. Here it was remarkable that we look special to the local people, because they are waving and laughing when we passed by.

After touching and (not) buying anything, we walked on very dirty and not maintained streets to the ‘Four Seasons’ restaurant. Here we could choose seven meals from a list of different kind of foods. As already seen before, there was a rotating table so everyone, groups of ten, was able to pick some food from one of the seven ordered meals. At my table, we had some rice, very spicy vegetables, sweet and sour chicken, sizzling beef, vegetable soup, a complete fish, an omelet and some melons. Also some lemonade was served for the spicy meals. After dinner we walked to the McDonalds where we bought some ice-cream. Here, everything seems to be much cheaper as in the Netherlands. For example, a sundae cone is only twenty euro cents.

At the end of the day, the hotel owner led us to a shisha bar where we tasted the flavor of kiwi, apple and red bull with the water pipes. The local teenage boys at the bar were very happy to meet and see us. They came to talk and made a lot of selfies with some of us. Furthermore, we tried some smoke-blowing tricks. Surprisingly, there was no alcohol present, which is probably caused by the strong Islamic culture within Kota Bharu.

After that, we returned to the inn where we went to our beds or used the Wi-Fi to socialize with the home front. At 1:30, I returned to my bed and set my alarm clock at 7:15. Tomorrow, we will travel to the Perhentian Islands for some relaxing-time.

Rick Fransen