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Old 02-03-2009, 04:55 AM   #1
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Malaysia’s Two Heritage Towns: From Georgetown to Melaka

Having been thinking for a while of taking a train to expose myself to the different colorful lives along this journey, I immediately made a decision soon after having heard that Malaysia’s two heritage towns, Georgetown and Melaka have been recognized as the newest World Heritage Sites. What an inspiration!

There is an express train that leaves Bangkok everyday around 14.30 and arrives at the Thailand and Malaysia border destination town of Padang Besar around midday the following day. It seems to be a quite long journey for some people but for me, the exciting moments were about to start.

The train took me out of the busy city of Bangkok heading due South. Station by station we passed. The big red sun was gradually setting while the darkness slowly descended, covering the whole area. Many white light spots replaced everywhere indicating that people were coming home and would be enjoying their evenings with their sweet families. I spent a little while looking out at the darkness before I went to have a good nights sleep with an engine lullaby and the softly swinging movements of the train.

The morning sunlight greeted all travelers together with the noisy sounds of hawkers calling out for the attention of the travelers. I woke up and enjoyed the chaotic scenes which can’t be seen so much towns environments. Late morning, the train arrived at Hat Yai Junction where some of the carriages are then taken out. Only a few bogies continue onto the border town of Padang Besar.

Padang Besar is a border district between Thailand’s Songkhla Province and Malaysia’s northernmost state, Peris, with the road and rail crossing, between the two countries. All the passengers including me had to leave the train here to do the travel formalities of exiting exciting Thailand and entering Malaysia. Within the station there is an integrated customs, immigration and quarantine checkpoint for both countries. After finishing the process of both immigrations, passengers will board the same train and head onto Malaysia.

It takes around two hours from here for the Malaysian locomotive engine heading to Butterworth. The speed of the train is noticeably slower than in Thailand and I didn’t understand the reason behind this however, this allowed me the opportunity to witness the local scenery which is quite similar to the South of Thailand. Personally, I think that they are just the same groups of people but are divided by history and the human drawing map.

The train arrived later than scheduled when it arrived in Butterworth which is located in the State of Penang and considered one of the major railways that links other parts of Malaysia as well as Thailand.

Read full story with hundred of photos HERE
Tropical Inspired Travel Magazine Online Edition
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