Saturday, 30 August 2008

Jahore Bahru

I remember when I was in Singapore before that we did a day tour to Jahore Bahru, so I was keen to see it again. See if it has changed.

As usual the tour group was disorganised and late to pick us up from our hotel. When we arrived at the meeting point, the staff were very rude to us, as if it was our fault that we were late. They demanded we complete the documentation for going into Malaysia, and then gave us only seconds to do it. We later made a complaint about this.

Eventually we were completing the documentation on the bus as it headed to the causeway between Singapore and Malaysia and we did get it completed in time, despite the difficulty of writing in a speeding bus!
The chaotic passage through customs at the border was endured. They have made a much better facility at the border now, but with so many vehicles and people passing through it was a bit of a nightmare.

The tour was almost identical to the one we had been on so many years ago. A visit to the Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque is a must. This old Mosque sits on high ground looking back to Singapore. Since my last visit there were more buildings - but less hawkers to deal with!

It is a most beautiful Mosque - we did not go inside, but learned a little about the history of it from our tour guide.

Our next stop was described as a private house. This man welcomed visitors to see how he lived. Quite a different way of life to that of the people in Singapore, despite its short distance away. But private house - no way! He may well live there (which I doubt) but it housed an entertainment area where three young dancers performed for us, and later after we were shown the back yard with some mottley fish tanks where they are growing fish for the market, a door was opened that revealed a showroom - full of jewelry and pewter articles.

Our next stop was a craft market where we were treated to a display of some dyeing crafts, and then a musical performance on Malaysian musical instruments. Then we were lead through the retail section. So many items to choose from here too - but we very disappointing targets for the sales staff, as we were already concerned about overweight luggage.

After that visit we made our way back to the border, and again lots of queuing, gates, stairs etc before we were safely back into Singapore.

It is a good trip - and I would recommend it, but it has changed little since I was there in 1992.

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