Monday, December 25, 2017

DANCING IN THE RAIN IN KEDAH

Yet another trip to Kedah! This time not in the beautiful sunshine like a few years ago, but in the rain! A lot of rain!!  Still nice to be back again.  For this occasion I tested out the train from Butterworth to Alor Setar, which was quite an experience. My first train ride within Malaysia!  And I have to say, while the ride was OK, the logistics was something to get used to. Certainly with a lot of luggage I would not do it because you are being asked to wait with a lot of people in a central waiting area before everyone pushes down to the platforms. They will only open the gates just before the train arrives. After that it was pure luck to find a seat, while many people had to stand. A new learning was also that in Malaysia seats are given up for kids, while in Europe kids will give up their seats for older people! 

When we arrived in Alor Setar it was pouring rain and it did not look like it would end any time soon, so we had to change our plans and got transported to the Menara of Alor Setar by car. Last visit we did not have time to get up to the tower, so this time we used the few minutes of less rainfall to take the lift up to the top for RM 16, which is the tourist price. Locals pay only RM 9.  Another thing we in Europe could never do without being called racist and being criticized having double standards for pricing. 

The view from the Menara was great. I just wished we had better weather. The water level of the river was also very high. Since my last visit the city also opened a huuuuuge new mall, Aman Central, which looks a bit out of place when looking at this city with it's beautiful old buildings. But the mall proved great to beat the rain and it makes it easier for tourists to find non-local food. 

Continuing our exploring of Kedah we continued by car to Fort Kuala Kedah, the oldest Malay fort in northern Malaysia, dating back to the 17th Century. Located by the mouth of the river it offered a good view of the fishing boats and the river. 

Driving back to the train station and the city, we completed a full circle, heading back on the south side of the river through some pretty farm land to catch the train back south. This time heading to Sungai Petani from where we continued by car again. 

We headed out west to the Archaeological Park of Sungai Batu, which is likely to be South East Asia's oldest civilization remains, dating back to as early as 500 BC. There are dozens of digs here, but unfortunately it still rained a lot, so we could only see a few places. Still awesome and I will have to go back again during some dry weather. 

To complete our round trip through Kedah, we headed back to the coast to see an almost perfect sunset behind the rain clouds along the Sungai Muda river before heading back to Butterworth and onto the ferry going back to Georgetown at night. 

Despite the rain, still a great trip to undertake and it wouldn't have been possible without the help of the awesome people of Kedah!








 













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