The green jungle glaze over your eyes will compel you both east for Kuala Koh National Park and west for Gunung Stong State Park but your journey continues against the odds somehow cutting through the seemingly impossible mountainous terrain.
The nature defying bridges, the equatorial sunlight mysteriously piercing through gaps in the jungle canopy, the timeless tunnels and the fast flowing rivers all turn hours into minutes until the forest clad interior eventually gives way to rubber plantations and padi fields before the unmistakable South China Sea breeze captivates your senses and signals the end of an epic adventure through the 'The Blissful Abode' that is more commonly known as Kelantan.
Once you enter the 'Land Of Lightning' you will find emerging from the emerald green jungles is a rare occurance highlighted by short intervals at outposts such as the 'Cave Of The Civet Cat', 'Dabong' for the Seven Tiered Waterfall or the 'Guillemard Bridge' for an engineering marvel.
Travel To Kelantan The Blissful Abode
The Jungle Train
The East Coast train line that actually stretches from Johor Bahru (the southern most tip of peninsula Malasia) to Tumpat near the Thai border in Kelantan is affectionately known as the Jungle Railway and it features some of the most beautiful scenery available from a train in all of Asia.
Although the jungle train journey traverses 6 states it is not until Pahang in the east and especially Kelantan that the landscapes really start to impress the camera.
This is undoubtedly my favourite mode of transport to travel to Kelantan.
Reading internet reviews of Kelantan makes me smile, countless websites rehash the same old lines over and over again with plagiarism earning favour over original thought but not defeating the fact that Kelantan is a fantastic travel destination.
Travel to Kelantan and find it is blessed with an unspoilt coastline virtually free from the over development seen in other states whose beaches are no match for the pristine white sands of 'the blissful abode'.
Green is now the in vogue worldwide colour of the moment and the states' green credentials are finally being recognised with the Kelantan tourism board beginning to show signs of actively marketing the potentially huge eco tourism market.
The Kelantanese historical heritage has always been an attraction for this north eastern state with a reputation for fantastic handicrafts but one of the most over looked and under hyped facts about Kelantan is its fantastic people.
The warmth and friendliness expressed by the Kelantanese is a pleasure to behold and it overrides any negative thoughts projected on the internet about a 'socially conservative' state.
Historically, the influence of Southern Thailand has had a significant impact over the Kelantanese people mainly due to the virtually inpenetrable Titiwangsa Mountains that separated the state from the rest of peninsula Malaysia for many centuries.
As this magnificent mountain range plateaus down to the east the Kelantan River Valley then commands the geographical nature of these fertile plains to give life to a prosperous agricultural economy based on rice, rubber, hardwoods, fruit and eventually the 96 km of coastal waters providing a rich harvest of fish.
Kota Bharu is both the state capital and royal city of Kelantan and was declared in 2005 as the 'Islamic City' for observing Islamic principles in every day life. Its growing population has now surpassed 600,000 making it one of the largest cities on the east coast of Malaysia and it is home to many architecturally significant buildings.
Immerse yourself in The Kota Bharu heritage trail and witness the architectural beauty of this fine east coast city with royal palaces and museums showcasing how culture enters the realms of design and construction.
The Land Of Lightning has a rustic charm that cannot be recreated by bricks, mortar and glass and can only be appreciated by immersing yourself in the sights and sounds of Kelantan Darul Naim.
Selamat Datang Ke Kelantan,
Welcome to the blissful abode.
The people in Kelantan are genuinely happy and their infectious joyous nature should be viewed in stark contrast to the stressed out folk of the big cities.
As the train traverses the Titiwangsa mountains the jungle terrain offers some fantastic photo opportunities of Karst outcrops that have seen time and the elements carve them into photogenic natural creations worthy of any artists portfolio.
Travel the Jungle Railway through the mountains and jungles of Pahang and Kelantan