I was running out of time and my plans to ride the Jungle Train all the way to Tumpat on the Thai border were scuppered. Chinese New Year and fully booked trains were to blame, so after spending an hour or two pondering my best options I had no choice but to overnight in Kuala Lipis and take the early morning train the next day all the way to Singapore, Where i could spend a night and day before flying on to the Philippines.
The train was full. Most of my fellow passengers were noisy Indian Malaysians returning to their villages after the holidays. The train made numerous stops along the way and it was quite a while before we passed anything that remotely looked like jungle. Much of the rain forest that should have been visible from the train has been cut down to make way for Palm Oil plantations.
The train line is only a single track line with sidings where one train pulls over to wait for the train coming from the opposite direction to pass. These were sometimes at regular station stops or dedicated passing tracks along the way. Since the aircondition wasn’t working these stops were much welcomed by passengers who alighted on station or track until the train had passed.
Stations with little wooden platforms and railway workers wooden bungalows lined the route, as well as old colonial bungalows, giving the whole route a somewhat historical feel to it. At Mengkarak a new Hindu Temple was being built.
The train passed close enough to some dwellings you could almost touch their belongings.
The closer we got to Kuala Lipis the more jungle there was and i was disappointed to have to break my journey there. Whether the remaining jungle will still be there if i am fortunate enough to visit Malaysia again only time will tell.