7/18 – We took the sky train and the underground metro across town to get us to Bangkok’s main train station at Hua Lumphong in time to board our mid-afternoon train.
The reminder posted in the station’s restroom, which tickles me every time I see it! We’ve encountered similar reminders throughout Asia.
Jim had booked our tickets a week in advance to assure we would get an air conditioned car and lower berths on the 22 hour sleeper ride.
We will miss Thailand!
On board, we met an American expat named Tom, who’s lived here for eight years. He said he moved to Thailand because Miami was too cold!
After a tasty dinner in the dining car and a peaceful night’s sleep on the rocking train, we arrived at the Malaysian border by mid-morning, and we all got off for our exit and entry stamps. We don’t need a visa for Malaysia, and can stay for up to 90 days.
The train ride ended on the mainland in Butterworth, where we caught a ferry across the Straits of Malacca to the island of Penang.
Georgetown is the big city here, full of shiny buildings and big shopping malls. We are not staying in Georgetown, however, so as soon as we got off the ferry we boarded the 101 bus, which we rode for an hour and a half to the little town of Teluk Bahang, home of Penang National Park.
We are staying at the Amal Inn for the next week, very convenient for exploring the jungles of Malaysia’s top nature park.
Malaysia has Chinese, Indian and Malay cultures living in harmony, with three different styles of food and religion. Today we heard the Muslim call to prayer for the first time since we left Turkey. The town is small, but the park is huge! The western alphabet is used here, and many of the signs are repeated in English, so we should be able to navigate easily here. We’ve been told that Malay food is great! Tomorrow we will explore.