Category Archives: Travel

In And Around Kota Bharu…

…The Kota Bharu Road Trip Day 4.

So, as I explained yesterday, submitting the visa forms to the Royal Thai Consulate had to wait until Day 4.

Again, I was there before 9am, as were a dozen or so other applicants. This was a good sign. The consulate was open.

To be honest I didn’t know what to expect. Would I just hand over the stack of papers, or would I be quizzed on why I didn’t have Form 97.222(part1) in triplicate and translated into Swahili and Klingon? In other words, visa people can make life as difficult as they want, and there’s nothing you can do about it except to keep cool and comply. Luckily, the process was simple … well, almost.

My visa consultant had completed the front application form, which was the only thing in English, but had left several fields blank. When I queried this, he said “No problem.” But guess what. Problem. But only a small one.

I sat down to fill in the missing fields, when, as luck would have it, my one and only blue pen ran out. So the last field I completed in red.

Quelle horreur! “You can’t use red. Here’s another form, fill it out again.” “Sorry miss, my pen ran out. Can I borrow one of yours please.” So, my nice form with most entries neatly typed, but with one written in red, was discarded, and I set about filling out the thirty or so fields as neatly as I could. The problem is, even a doctor would have trouble reading my handwriting. But, when I handed back the new form it didn’t seem to matter what was written there, so long as it wasn’t in red!

This whole nonsense started me wondering what was so offensive about red. Would the form have been accepted if I’d used, oh I dunno, brown, or dark green? I’m guessing it would. A light yellow or pink would have been pretty-much illegible so those colors would be silly, but surely anything legible should be acceptable. Even red. Sigh.

Anyways, with that out of the way, I jumped back in Bert and we set off for some tootling.

The South China Sea is only about a dozen kilometers from KB, so I headed off in that general direction. First I stopped at Wat Phothikyan Phutthaktham (say that ten times quickly) in Kampung Balai. It might seem strange to visit a Thai-style wat in Malaysia, but the border has moved over the years, and the people and culture are a kind of Malay/Thai mix. To be honest though, this wat was not particularly spectacular. The large buddha was in need of some gold leaf, or at least, white paint. I could have helped that cause as there was a donation box, but hey, I gave at the office…

malaysia, kelantan, wat phothiktan

malaysia, kelantan, wat phothiktan

malaysia, kelantan, wat phothiktan

malaysia, kelantan, wat phothiktan

malaysia, kelantan, wat phothiktan

malaysia, kelantan, wat phothiktan

From there I headed out to the sea and drove along the coast, taking photos here, there and anywhere. Here’s some…

malaysia, kelantan, beaches

malaysia, kelantan, beaches

malaysia, kelantan, beaches

malaysia, kelantan, beaches

malaysia, kelantan, beaches

…and I was back in KB by lunchtime.

Late afternoon I decided to have another wander, this time to Chinatown, or something they call Chinatown. There’s an archway…

malaysia, kelantan, kota bharu, chinatown

…and a Chinese-looking building…

malaysia, kelantan, kota bharu, chinatown

…and a few Chinese restaurants, but you can find the latter anywhere. If you find yourself in KB, Chinatown should not be on your bucket list. Better, your toilet bowl list.

wwiAnd the day ended with me waiting patiently for the Consulate to issue my visa, so I could start the long trek home.