Experience Malaysian Homestay By Rail (Ipoh, Homestay Kg. Beng and Kuala Kangsar)

The song ‘To Know Malaysia is to Love Malaysia’ sang by one of Malaysia Best Female Vocalist in the 80’s, Fransissca Peter just get stuck in our head. This is the song used to promote the very 1st Visit Malaysia Year way back in 1990. Listening to the rhythm and lyric of the song, we couldn’t denied any further that to get to know the place, you have to love it.  One of the best way to explore is to experience diversity of cultures, traditions and to get to know the locals.This is definitely what a local homestay programme could offered where it’s rare opportunity and chance to experience the charm and tranquillity of ‘kampung’ life.

A homestay programme is a unique experience that encompasses ‘kampung’ lifestyle. Visitors get to live with a local family  in a ‘kampung’ house and learn a close-knit relationship. Not to forget the scrumptious home cooked foods and discover the day-to-day ‘simple’ lifestyle of the villagers. Every homestay presents a different experience based on what they could offered, varied by locations and the settings too.

Recently, we were given a chance to experience a homestay in Kampung Beng, Lenggong Perak in conjunction of the launching of Railway Tourism Package. Railway Tourism? Haven’t heard anything about it before? It’s a homestay programme with a rail journey in order to give tourist an enrich experience throughout their journey to the participating homestay.  Hence, it does not only give tourists a chance to experience the ‘kampung’ life but it includes the exciting experience of riding the train to the designated locations.

The KTMB ETS Train which goes directly to Ipoh, Perak

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An experience in ETS Train cockpit with the captain.

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Official launching of Railway Tourism Packages at Ipoh Railway Station before we depart to the homestay location. It’s official launched by YB. Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Abd Aziz, Minister of Tourism and Culture, Malaysia.

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One Malaysia, unity in diversity.

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Beautiful water fountain at in front of the Ipoh railway station.

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Homestay Kampung Beng is located in Lenggong, within Tasik Raban. At a glance, it doesn’t look any much different from other traditional ‘kampung’ but the magnificent panorama view save it all. It’s a popular film and advertisement shooting spot among producer and director. Did your remember the famous Petronas Raya advertisement ‘Janda Anak 7’ directed by the late Yasmin Ahmad when the 7 siblings came back with a whole cow? A Hollywood’s Production, Anna and The King starring Jodie Foster and Chow Yun Fatt?  Our local film, Sara starring Ida Nerina and Shamsul Ghau Ghau? The shooting of the films and advertisement mentioned were made within the location.

Furthermore, what make it unique is the whole village is surrounded by lake. Thus, the main mode of transport is by boat or ‘sampan’. It’s a common sight where you can see lines of boats parked right in front of the villagers house.

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Most home stay villages are also filled with orchards where you can pluck and sample a variety of seasonal or non-seasonal tropical fruits such as rambutan and others.
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With these, you can actually savour local dishes and learn how to make one with your foster family.
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Besides waking up to the crowing sounds of a rooster and birds, walking around the village and a jungle trekking to the nearby waterfall, this is definitely what we would like to suggest – Sit back and enjoy the breathtaking panoramic view of the lake spread right in front of your eyes!

Do enjoy a short video by Ramble and Wander on Homestay Kampung Beng, Lenggong ,Perak.

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We were then crossing under the Raja Nazrin Shah Bridge at Tasek Raban, travel all the way to the Royal Town, Kuala Kangsar to visit some of the local attraction there. If you have an opportunity to come here, don’t forget to visit The Archaeological Heritage of the Lenggong Valley (AHLV) a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Our first location is definitely the Victoria Bridge built-in the early of 1900’s or known as Enggor Bridge (as it is situated in sleepy town, Karai near Enggor). We were told that Victoria Bridge is a single railway bridge that cross Sungai Perak and one of the oldest railway bridges in Malaysia.

The Victoria Bridge remained in use until 2002, when a wider concrete girder bridge built parallel to the old bridge was completed to take over the role of handling rail traffic. The new bridge is significantly wider, with room to support a second track, but in its early life it was only required to handle a single track until double tracking and electrification was conducted between the IpohPadang Besar line. While the old bridge is closed to rail traffic, its adjoining footbridge is still publicly open to motorcycles and pedestrians.

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Live cannon shooting by local which something that you seldom see everyday.
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Last but not least, the beautiful Masjid Ubudiah of Kuala Kangsar located in Bukit Chandan Royal Mausoleum. We got fascinated looking at the exterior and interior especially the main features of the mosque which is the golden dome and minarets. It shared the same designer and architect of Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur Railway Station.

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Our new friends, a group of students from Indonesia enjoying the delicious and famous dessert, Cendol Kuala Kangsar.

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For more information about Railway Tourism Packages please visit Railway Tourism Association Malaysia (RTAM).

Our compliments goes to Railway Tourism Association Malaysia (RTAM), Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Malaysia, KTM Berhad, M-Mode Berhad and Coordinator of Homestay Kampung Beng, Lenggong, Perak for organizing and inviting us to the familiarisation trip of Railway Tourism in conjunction with VMY 2014.

Zara AB & FF
The Province of Chroma

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Hat Yai – Hat Yai Railway Station

Right after our visit to Klong Hae Floating Market, we requested the driver to drop us at the railway station just to satisfy our self since we didn’t get a chance to travel to Hat Yai via train. Furthermore, our next route and destination doesn’t permit us to travel by train as well. Thinking of that, a short visit to the Hat Yai Railway Station wouldn’t make any harm right? In fact, we could just walk back to hotel and catch up our dinner along the way.

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The railway station is officially managed by the State Railway of Thailand and this is the largest station in the southern part of Thailand. The station is strategically and conveniently located in the middle of Hatyai City Center. It is also centrally located for the ease of transfer either by bus or van (minibus) services from nearby travel agencies. There are several trains passing through the station daily coming all the way from Bangkok, Sungai Kolok, Yala and even Malaysia (via Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad – KTMB).

Once we entered the station, we saw a bunch of security guards or maybe a local police at the station staring at us. So, we made a quick conversation by asking whether is it ok for us to walk, look or maybe photograph and they said OK. 😀

The overall view of the station.
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Just right on time. A train all the way from Bangkok just arrived heading to Sungai Kolok (Golok).

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Oh ya, we even hopped into an open air train car just to see and feel the condition of the local trains. Just a quick one. Very vintage and clean.

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And, some cliché post by both of us. Without fails, of course! 😀
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If you are an adventurous person, you might want to discover Thailand via train just like locals especially using the Bangkok Line from Hatyai which goes via Nakhon Pathom, Ratchaburi, Petchaburi, Hua Hin, Chumphon, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat and Phattalung.  It will be sooo much fun.

Simply us,
Zara AB & FF
The Province of Chroma

Johor – Kluang Rail Station

Assalammualaikum and Hi there!

We were on our road trip balik kampung again! Yes! We had a wedding invitation way back in Batu Pahat and we decided to extend the whole trip since we’re having a long weekend due to Christmas. What a coincidence. Did I mentioned how we love the public holiday so much!

On our way to the wedding, FF decided to reroute our original plan by stopping by in Kluang. He really wanted to try the original Kluang Rail Coffee and here we are. I guess, the last time I was there is somewhere way back during my university era. And that was 6 years back? Wow! Kluang really developed into a bustling town since my last visit. I can see a lot of new shop lots, malls and others around. Oh ya, not to forget, they have McDonald’s now!

The business hours. We were there somewhere around 11.30am and we thought we only have 30 minutes left. At that point of time, we guess we could make it by swallowing everything that we ordered. We waited till 12 noon and they didn’t chased us out. The business run as usual. I guess, they don’t have any break on Saturday and Sunday (it’s just my assumption).

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FF with his coffee. Muka puas hati gile while waiting for his bread and half boiled ayam kampung eggs. I guess we compliment each other. I love to see and learn new thing around meanwhile he’s really into food. He made me tried a lots of food all this while. Pantang je dengar ada orang cakap tempat nie best, there we go!

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Check out the delicious toast bread. Melting butter and kaya! Oh my!
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On the way to the station, we saw the brand new branch of Kluang Rail Coffee at the new developed shop lots. But i guess, most of the them who came over and over again preferred the one at the Railway Station. I guess, we just love the authentic atmosphere and feeling right. A cup of coffee and the sound of train passing by. The best! Oh ya, i guess no one should miss this local dish which available for breakfast and also in the afternoon.

Right after that, we walk around the old railway station. As for me, at that point of time, my view is definitely RUSTIC, OLD and VINTAGE.

One of the charming places to visit in Kluang is the Kluang Railway station, in service since 1915. Like nearby Sungai Mengkibol, the railway passes through Kluang town, basically cutting it into two halves. As the road to the town is temporarily closed for the train to pass, local residents once said that when the trains approach Kluang Railway station, the entire Kluang town stands still. The station itself withstood the test of time and should be of interest for those who have passion for nostalgic photographs.

Source: http://www.johortourism.com.my

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There goes our one hour Super SHORT trip to Kluang.

Simply us,
Zara AB & FF
The Province of Chroma