Mosaic of colors at the central market of Kota Bahru. (Malaysia, July 2006)
Mosaic of colors at the central market of Kota Bahru. (Malaysia, July 2006)

Kota Bahru, the capital of Kelantan


  Malaysia: Peninsula and Borneo - July 2006

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text: 

Despite my first impression of Kota Bahru (Malaysia), I'm starting to like it. The city is ugly but the people are nice...

Practical details to be settled

I refer you to the previous post for the small adventures of my arrival in Kota Bahru. Phew, I finally took it, this shower so desired! After that, it was necessary to deal with the most urgent things: to change money for my stay in Perhentian Kecil, to book the crossing. The question of the boat is settled at the reception of the hotel, they sell the tickets. And they promise me a cab for the next day, at 8 am, which will lead me to Kuala Besut, from where the boarding is done.

The nice receptionist confirms me that at this hour (it is already close to 5pm) all the banks are closed.

She sends me to help out at Azram Photo (a good plan that is also included in the hitchhiker) : it's good timing, it's in my street, almost in front of the hotel. The store does not only develop the pictures, but also does currency exchange. And at a better rate than the one practiced at the airport of Kuala Lumpur, I compared...

As I put down my beautiful 100 euro bills that have never been used at the counter, the previous customer turns to me and asks the ritual question: "Where do come from?..." "From France." I answer him. "Ah! Hello, how are you? Welcome to Malaysia! » exclaims the guy, in impeccable French.

I laugh and congratulate him for his perfect accent. He explains me that he lived in Paris, near the Place d'Italie. He also makes a comment about Zidane and the French team. He thinks that France will win against Brazil. Then he greets me politely, before leaving.

Walk to the Kota Bahru Market

It must be said that in Kota Bahru, the Blues are everywhere... and even advertise for a mobile operator.

The Blues are advertising for a mobile operator in the streets of Kota Bahru. (Malaysia, July 2006)
The Blues are advertising for a mobile operator in the streets of Kota Bahru. (Malaysia, July 2006)

Then I go to the central market of the city. Fascinating spectacle for the eyes... and the nose. I climb to the floor of this kind of big concrete arena full of strange smells to see better. 

The first floor is occupied by vegetable stands: dozens of stalls arranged next to each other form a huge colorful flowerbed.

The central market of Kota Bahru stands under a sort of huge concrete hall. (Malaysia, July 2006)
The central market of Kota Bahru is held under a kind of huge concrete hall (Malaysia, July 2006)
Mosaic of colors at the central market of Kota Bahru. (Malaysia, July 2006)
Mosaic of colors at the central market of Kota Bahru. (Malaysia, July 2006)
Fruit sellers, laughing, willingly pose for my camera. (Malaysia, July 2006)
Fruit sellers, laughing, willingly pose for my camera. (Malaysia, July 2006)

Downstairs, around the building, I stop near the fruit sellers. And I make them laugh, pulling out my camera to capture their oranges and watermelons.

Finally, despite my not very favourable first impression, I'm starting to like it, Kota Bahru! The city is ugly, but the people are nice as anything.

Nasi Goreng

Leaving the market, I find a shady square with a bistro on the corner. It smells good, my stomach rumbles... Moreover, there is a huge fan blowing fresh air in front of an available table, just waiting for me.

I settle down, under the encouraging smiles of the women who run the restaurant. Here, it gets tougher, as there is no menu displayed... And the young girl who takes care of me speaks bad English.

I make an effort to remember and gather the meager vocabulary I was able to retain from my stays in Indonesia (the two languages, the bahasa melayu and the Bahasa Indonesia are very close): "Uh... makan? » She nods her head. "Eat," yes, logical, we're in a restaurant. Ah, ah! That's it. My hungry belly inspires me: "Nasi goreng ayam! » I add, triumphantly. Her smile widens, and the two matrons behind her are folded with laughter.

Nevertheless, I quickly got my fried rice with chicken, and it was delicious. Eating: an essential moment in the life of a traveler...

  Malaysia: Peninsula and Borneo - July 2006

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  1. Fascinating to read, your impressions on the spot; a little information however, blue is the most popular color at the moment (with white and red), because the Blues as they say, are in the semi-(final), the old men are no longer old but become gods again, all of France held its breath last night, even me who only looks at soccer as a social phenomenon not to be neglected, I attended the France-Brazil game non stop and even found some interest! Wednesday, new suspense! France-Portugal.
    I hope you'll finally get to take that shower... it's exceptionally hot here too, but the showers are within reach!
    Tenderly, Lydia

  2. I thought you were safe from the blue wave! Incredible this score of 1 to 0, that you know. Very nice game indeed...

    I found my big screen last night too! I hope you found your shower!
    See you.

  3. I'm getting out of school relatively late, because of the end of the year party, so for us it will be "nasi goren ayam" but not fried, and bought in the "boui boui local supermarket" of the periphery, without taste nor smell nor color, too sanitized for that, all plasticized, all packed, in short, as you know, and where the fruits are frozen...
    Tenderness, Lydia