jungle boogie


My goodness, it’s been a while since we last wrote. Apologies, dear reader.

A 6am departure on the jungle railway saw us bid farewell to Kota Bharu under the cover of darkness. And thus began a stretch of increasingly sweaty days from which we were finally delivered by fleeing to the highlands – although notable mention must be made of the gang, who generously funded some brief respite in air-conditioned comfort while we celebrated Linds’ birthday in KL. Oh, to reclaim a non-sweaty state!

The jungle railway, although a decrepit old rattler, had a definite charm to it. This was despite the fact that we could have chosen another transport option that would get us to our destination in half the time. Although such travel is not necessarily always the less expensive option, at a mere AU$6 each for this trip, who could complain? It’s a luxury we’ve been able to enjoy a few times now by virtue of being on no fixed time schedule. Such travel also has a certain nobility to it (“nobility”: fostering a smug sense of self-righteousness) and somehow, you don’t seem to mind the uncomfortable seat and lack of ventilation quite as much as you might otherwise. And so we chugged along for nigh on 9 hours through the jungle, stopping at every tiny village along the way and entertained by the irrepressible Naomi and a scraggly but endearing family of German ferals.

Our home for one night only was Jerantut which, sadly, lacked the charm of the jungle railway – or perhaps Catie is just bitter about the bedbugs? Admittedly, we did enjoy “Happy Chicken” for dinner and a interesting chat about icecreams with the teenage checkout boy at the supermarket (aren’t all chats about icecream interesting?).


The boat ride into Kuala Tahan the next morning fell into the category of travel described above and the trip to the park would have been worth it for that alone. Insert numerous witty comments about journeying into the “the heart of an impenetrable darkness“. And thus began our fruitful relationship with fellow travellers, Alex and Katie, who we met on the boat and quickly identified as being top sorts. It may sound like madness to volunteer to trek through the jungle with virtual strangers, when patience is likely to be strained by the steamy conditions, but they were the perfect hiking companions. We only hope they are saying the same thing about us.

Hiring a guide was optional, but ours was worth the investment. Suhaimi (Mi) had an uncanny ability to mimic bird and insect noises and a keen eye for spotting tiny things we would never have noticed otherwise. Or not-so-tiny things, in the case of the elephant footprints he pointed out.

Now, the sixty-four thousand dollar question: did we see any wild animals? We knew the odds weren’t good but Mi told us he saw elephants on a few occasions each year, so we remained hopeful. As night fell, we waited on the viewing platform for a tell-tale rustling of bushes… but nothing. Some fireflies floated about and the cacophony of birds and insects crescendoed like an orchestra. Alex and Katie saw a tapir when they resumed watch at 4am after being rudely awoken by a cheeky rat – which must have coincided with the one hour period where we managed to snatch some sleep, because we missed it. Ho hum.

Other highlights included our inaugural “leeching”, giggling as we compared levels of sweat drench and the Korean guy we met at the campsite who has been on the road for three and a half years and has visited every country on the globe except Iraq, Sudan and North Korea. Highlights did not include the Swedish snorer and sleeping in my raincoat because I got cold from my damp, sweaty clothes… eeeew….

Upon our return the following morning, a celebratory meal of roti canai and banana milkshake has never tasted so good.

After our lengthy absence from the world of blogging, we are planning somewhat of a blog blitz in the next few days to make up for it, so stay tuned.


2 Responses to “jungle boogie”

  1. Rex V Says:

    Hey guys

    I haven’t checked your blog for a while, but am pleased to see so much content up and running now! will have to try andmake my way through more of your 600+ photos i see are up there, but the 6min intervals into which my workni life is divided up at the moment don’t really allow for too much of that.

    Sweaty, sweaty, sweaty, sweat… sounds like Byron bay. Kate and I went there a couple of weeks ago. I swear that i sweated my own body weight of water in about 3 days, but always managed a shower and some air conditiioning at the end of it. I guess that’s not always an option for you guys?

    Are you heading for the east coast of Malaysia? I looked into getting there (including by jungle railway) to do some diving a little while ago. It looked fab. I would like please if you could go there and do some diving so I can live vicariously through you. It’s meant to be one of the top world spots.

    Can’t believe that Korean – how the hell did he manage to keep it all up for 3.5 years? i would’ve thought that money resources and intiative would’ve run out long before now. His blog must be encyclopedic (if he has one).

  2. Dave S Says:

    Hey guys

    Just checked up on all your blog stuff! Seems like you are having an awesume time. I’m still figuring out how to use this page! I get a little culture lesson everytime i’m reading one of your entries…!

    Me and J are rocking this new place in Daglish it is really sweet. Missing you guys… Hope your bites have healed up Catie!

    I’ll email soon…keep living it up and finding those cool showers oh yeah dodd baby.

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