Travel Journal

Jungle Train to Gemas

(Sunday 31 May 2009) by Dopps Family
Jungle Train and back to Singapore - Malaysia (May 29th)
Friday we fled our dingy hotel and walked to the train station to board the “jungle train” which was 30 minutes late when it finally arrived around 10am. They call it the jungle train because the tracks cut right thru the jungle and in places the train slows down to 15kph as it bounces over repaired tracks through narrow passages that have been damaged from landslides. We had to settle for 3rd class economy seats and although the tickets stated the train was air conditioned for whatever reason it didn’t work very well on our side of the train. After a couple hours we felt as though we were travelling in a hot tin can with no windows and stagnant air. After 4 hours it was almost so unbearable that I started making frequent trips thru the other 2nd class cabins where the A/C was actually working. After these walking tours it was difficult to come back and sit in our sticky-hot assigned seats. To make matters worse today was a public holiday and the train at times was very crowded with many people standing in the areas between trains without seats. Thankfully and finally we arrived to Gemas at 4:30pm where our sweat-soaked skins slid out the train and grabbed some quick dinner and emptied our bowels at the station’s toilets. The toilets on the train were disgusting and the only one I would use was in a 2nd class coach 3 coaches up from ours. When we boarded our connecting train taking us to Singapore we reveled and relaxed in the luxury of a 1st class coach with large seats with ample leg room, working A/C and complimentary water and banana bread snacks. The difference between 3rd and 1st class was only $10 per ticket – well worth the extra if available!
We arrived in Singapore around 10pm that night and hailed down a taxi to Chinatown where we checked a couple hotels for availability. After a very refreshing shower we all zonked out until 8 the next morning. Since our flight to Bali wasn’t until 4:30 Saturday afternoon we spent a couple hours in the morning exploring Singapore’s Chinatown with most of it inside a splendid Buddhist temple. Luckily for us a worship service was in session and we spent almost an hour watching and listening to the monks and locals chanting and being blessed. The halls of this temple are immaculately decorated and the temple has 5 floors with the top floor housing a sacred gold enclosure that encases a tooth from a famous Buddha.
For only 5 Singapore dollars we took the MRT (subway/light rail) to the Changi airport which in itself offers tons of entertainment, free internet, movies, exercise room, gardens and other stuff so you never get bored during a layover. We’ll definitely have to utilize these facilities during our 6 hour layover between our flights back from Bali and on to New Zealand in 3 weeks.

  • hugs by Margie

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