in the city center of Kota Bharu
From Had Yai where I stayed overnight only I went to Kota Bharu
in Malaysia. The journey meant to take about 6 hours but it the whole day. First thing in the morning I went to a train station to catch a 7:15 train to Sunghai Kolok - a border town. Surprisingly, that train was not on schedule so I had to wait to 7:54am when the next local train should have departed....As it's common with local trains in Thailand, it arrived 40 minutes later....I took a seat in the third class (i.e. wooden benches)and was about to open a book when several Thai soldiers started carefully checking the carriage, especially those four lads sitting close to me...You know, the very southern province of Thailand is a quite big problem, there are terrorists attacts happening almost every day, fighting for an independence of 3 southern provinces if I understood correctly.
...And of course, Thai governement doesn't want anyone including a foreigner (me) to get killed on a train so that's perhaphs why one of the soldiers was keeping an eye for me during the whole journey... Also, every train station we were passing by was equipped with a group of about 3 soldiers monitoring the safety situation. Somewhere after Yala our train got broken and we had to wait 2 hours for another train in the middle of nowhere. And I was sooo thirsty and there was noone to buy a bottle of water from....Even those, sometimes annoying, touts present on every train in Thailand somewhere disappeared. Luckily, the train's driver was so kind and gave me a glass of icy water from their personal resources. Heaven!!! This is how I didn't die of thirst in southern Thailand where the temp is easily hitting 35C.
a handicraft centre
Well, "to die" would be a strong word but I thought I could really faint at some point. Finally, we arrived to Sunghai Kolok with a 5h delay and after my body got a 1,5 liter water injection I set off to the Thai-Malay border....There was no problem there and quite quickly I catched a no. 29 bus to Kota Bharu....Found a nice and friendly accomodation in Cerana Guesthouse whose directions I found on Hostelworld.com...Because I didn't eat much during the day I was so happy to find myself later at a night market with all that delicious food to be picked. I got Nasi Kerabu and a banana pancake as a desert.... The next day I also spent in Kota Bharu by wondering around, visiting some museums, a culture centre and also a tourist office from where I took tons of brochures with tips where to go and what to see in Malaysia.
...I still need to get a guidebook...Or maybe I will travel without a guidebook because as far as first impression is concerned I think it will be very easy to travel around Malaysia as literally everybody can speak some level of English, people are helpful and extremally curious....hahaha.....during the last 24 hours about 4 people asked me on the street why I travel on my own, where I come from, how old I am, what's my name etc....As one girl explained later they were just gathering my "bio data" :-)