After an amazing five days trekking and experiencing the gorgeous Taman Negara’s rainforest, sadly, it is time to head south to Jerantut in Central Malaysia.
The bus trip (RM25) from Taman Negara to Jerantut through central Malaysia takes about 3 hours, so just a quick jaunt really.
The bus dropped us off about two kilometres on the outskirts of Jerantut and off the highway. From this point, we didn’t have to wait long before another mini bus collected us and took us right to our hotel’s door – amazing.
Quite a strange set-up though as on purchasing the tickets, this second part of the journey was not communicated to us. We expected a straight-through trip on one bus and to be dropped off at the bus station in Jerantut. Always a surprise in SE Asia.
Typically, many travellers pass through Jerantut to get to the Taman Negara National Park or only stay overnight to catch their next connection elswhere, as Jerantut has a good train and bus infrastructure. It’s also easy to catch a bus back to Kuala Lumpur from this town.
I may be wrong, but this town seems to be heavily Chinese-influenced with many Chinese restaurants also gracing the main drag. People are super friendly here, which makes visiting a pleasant experience. I don’t think this town sees many tourists stay for any length of time.
Accommodation on offer is great value, service is very good, and the delicious authentic food in this town is excellent value…what more does a traveller need?
The Wau Hotel is clean and comfortable and at RM90 for a double with air-conditioning (vital), private bathroom, toiletries, and a basic breakfast, it’s great value.
The owner is extremely hospitable and friendly, and even arranged for his friend to take us to the train station for free. This hotel is in China Town, which is a great location as it’s only a 15-minute walk to the bus station and a 20-minute walk to the train station, so nice and central.
Much preferred this area of Jerantut as it’s more ‘local’ than around the bus station area, which is also quite busy. The people in Jerantut are amongst the friendliest and accommodating in Malaysia so far.
It’s a shame that this town is used as a one-night stopover only and everyone is in a hurry to get to the jungle.
My thought is that the guide books and reviews don’t really do Jerantut justice, as it is the sincerity and friendliness of the locals that really make this town, which makes up for not many sights. When travelling, it’s not always about what you see but more often than not, it’s about the people you meet and the experiences you share, regardless of the country in which you travel.
The Blue Sky Food & Beverage (Sungai Jan, 27000 Jerantut) is an excellent place to eat (no alcohol served) and very inexpensive (two chicken Mee soups, plus two cans of drink cost RM12).
The owner Steve and his wife hand-make Mee (noodles) in front of you then cook these up in a wonderful chicken soup.
This is the only restaurant around that makes Bak Kut Teah (“meat bone tea”), which basically is meaty pork ribs simmered in a complex broth of herbs and spices for hours; it’s delicious and cheap at the Blue Sky!
The owners go out of their way to be hospitable, as an example, we got little local treats (free) to try each time we visited – very kind.
Also very sweet is whilst we waited at the train station for the train to arrive, Steve arrived with a couple of parting gifts for us, which we didn’t expect for one minute – very humbling.
There are many good cheap Chinese restaurants offering Malay and Chinese cuisine along the same road as the Wau Hotel. Try a couple of these, you won’t be disappointed.
Tip: When ordering a coffee or tea in Malaysia, ask for no sugar as typically, this is made with sweetened condensed milk and then lots of added sugar. If ordering a fresh juice, a lot of sugar is also added (a couple of generous tablespoons but sometimes more), so you may want to hold off the sugar here also!
Often, it’s hard to find somewhere to drop-off laundry as the guide books no longer mention this necessity for those travelling more than a week or two. Perhaps travellers no longer need to wash their clothes?
Pusat Dobi Pelanggi (PT7578, Jalan Kuantan) charged RM12 for 4 kgs of washing and drying. I’m not sure if this is the best price in town but when it’s sweltering outside, the desire to hunt for the best price wanes for the desire to sit in air-conditioning and sip on an iced-cold beverage.
The laundry was returned in good condition and smelling fresh, so no complaints.
After a short stint in Jerantut meeting very friendly locals, decided to head north-east on the 8-hour train journey to Wakaf Bharu then on to Kota Bharu.