Kluang, a small town in Johor, Malaysia, was our first introduction into off-the-beaten-path travel. With little-to-no English spoken throughout, it was a challenge just getting from the bus (a relatively short ride of 2 or so hours) to the taxi and from the taxi to the hotel. Kluang has its charms. From the Muslim loudspeakers blasting prayers across the landscape, to the stores selling all manner of goods (from Americanized tshirts to dried fish), we found Kluang as a space of considerable interest. And yet it was a concentrated interest: we were staying outside of the town’s center, at the Rail Hotel, which provided us with great food and friendly service to meet our needs before our travels in the rainforest.
As you can see from below, the bus was of considerable size and quite empty. We would end up making our first “friend” in Malaysia who would show us just how helpful and friendly people in this region are (after our Singaporean friends of course). He ended up helping us get through the border, get a taxi, and let us know we could call him if we needed anything. Truly kind.
After the border post there is a giant convenient store. I decided to this strange snack that was like fried bean curd:
I also got some Cream-Os, which are basically a knock-off of Oreo. I should say that we’ve eaten more Oreos on this trip than I’ve had in the past five years. They are cheap, portable, and tasty. And everywhere.
The first (and kind of the only) thing you notice when you cross into Johor is the intense number of palm trees. Palm oil is one of the state’s largest exports.
And now Kluang:
“Music for Little Mozart.”
Our first sighting of a wild dog:
Definitely my favorite image from this part of the trip:
Our first wild cat:
Next: We Travel to the Rainforest