Friday, June 11, 2010

Day 6: Kota Bharu

A new place, a new city, same ol' sheet...

A beautiful place foiled once again by the lack of supporting infrastructure.

Anyway, for those arriving by bus.. please get off at the old bus station and not the new one at tesco...
why? because I'm pretty sure you don't want to spend half an hour getting to where all the hotels are.

And arriving here, I feel like this lady..
in contrast to Klang valley, being a chinese man I clearly stand out...

Speaking of hotels... when I arrivde I was actually looking for pad D guesthouse or Cerana Guesthouse...
(more info can be found on the web)
coincidentally I bumped into the owner of Cerana Guesthouse who could not accomodate me because all the single rooms were full.. but pointed me out to his friends place...
pretty nice and cozy don't you think?
and an attached shower for RM30 a night... not bad
Anyway it is surprisingly hard to find food in the city...
but this cozy cafe was quite interesting.. oddly named Tokyo coffee house

After my fiasco in Kuala Terengganu... I decided to just target a few places while I'm here..
The common recommended place would be the Wat Photivihan temple near cabang empat (can get there by bus 19 or 27)  which boasts of the longest lying buddha in South East Asia.
To me though, the Wat Mai Suvankhiri sounded more interesting..

Wat Mai Suvankhiri (dragonboat temple)
take bus 43 from the old bus station
If you are interested to go to the Sri 7 beach, this bus goes all the way there (according to the bus driver though the lady at the temple said otherwise... guess you'll have to try to know yourself)
Kota Bharu being located so near to Thailand is the reason for all these temples being found here...
If you look you can actually see a symbol of Thailand on the temple..
and these symbols also commonly found on Thai temples
and thai statues
and carvings on the pillars

But as with any temple, the have their share of odd imagery...
not sure if that deity is eating a man?
while this one looks like a four faced indian man?
and the chinese named idols (with interesting english meaning?)
but my favourite definitely has to be the hippy idol
check out the the blunt he must have been smokin'
This temple for some reason also houses these stray dogs...
but aren't they sooo cute?
and my favourite... a beetle :)
But let's get to the dragonboat first...

no wait... that's not it...
the real one is huge..

ahh... that's right.. taller than the trees...
and it comes with its own drummer,
 boatsman (look at the figure in gold)..

and Disney's own Mushu??
If only I could read Thai.. there's a story on the ceiling inside..
 interestingly enough the idol has like snakes coming out from behind
(either that or mini dragons?)

But very prominent in the compound are all the dragon designs
and tails
and some come paired with tigers
and another symbol of Thailand, the elephant..
(interesting chairs don't you think?)
and for the truly adventurous... there's an incomplete portion behind...
where in one cave-like temple, houses a monkey god..
must say this was an unusual find..
for most of the rest of the temple, it's pretty standard...
and it's hard to miss this tall standingbuddha on the roof
(though wish could have gotten a closer look)
the inside is pretty common statues

while the doors..
and windows are nicely decorated
But finally the inside hosts something very unusual...
he looks so life-like right?
makes you want to say...
But I think this is actually a wax replica of a monk....
though many devotees pray to him...
The actual monk can be found in the neighbouring building
 with a golden statue..
where people leave some prayers
but if you dare you can try stepping closer to the glass enclosure
and see the well preserved monk
but after all that, it was time to go back..
I was looking forward to going to enjoying the blue skies at the beach 
 but decided against it as I was told that the last bus is probably at 5 p.m. since it was Friday (it's the weekend here) and since it was already 3 p.m. (and I just missed the bus), I hopped on the first bus back to the city...

P.S.> the oddest thing about Kota Bharu is the jams! I have no idea why but at any time of the day the city seems to be in gridlock... oh well, hope to at least make it to the Siti Khadijah Market tomorrow!..
keep on the look out!

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