I staggered and grabbed any handles when I suddenly woke up from sleep and headed straight for the shared bathroom when my eyes hadn’t been fully opened. That was because I stared at the clock on the wall perched at half past eight.
“Damn”, I cursed my waking up too late. At dawn, I deliberately pulled back the blanket and covered my cold body. Luckily, last night I had packed all my supplies.
I took a quick shower, yet my whole body still felt clean after the last shower at ten o’clock last night. I put back on the t-shirt I wore to sleep last night and put on the jeans I had prepared last night.
After that, I locked my backpack on my back and headed to the shared kitchen to brew oat powder with hot water from the dispenser. It was a tedious breakfast menu, but I’ve been repeating myself for three days out of my home.
While sipping the wet oat powder mouthful after mouthful, I began to worry because the reception desk was still dark and empty.
“Ouch, what time will the staff be ready? I might be late chasing the bus”, I thought to myself and hoped that, after breakfast, the staff would come so I could hand over the key and take the deposit.
It turned out that until breakfast was over, the room was still empty. I, who was getting more and more anxious, could only give up waiting in the lobby. Luckily, fifteen minutes later, the inn owner appeared and immediately smiled at me.
“I want to check out….sorry for the long waiting”, he started a conversation while turning on the room light and heading behind the desk. The lack of guests at the inn made him not need to ask for my identity and room number because he would easily memorize it. It didn’t take long to take the envelope with my room number containing the 30 Ringgit deposit and then gave it to me.
“Thank you, Sir”, I received the money and handed over the key.
“See you….Be careful”, he waved as I started down the stairs to leave the inn.
Outside the inn….For the fifth time, I completely completed the route to the Hentian Bas Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu. Now I walked very fast and focus only on getting to the terminal. I’d rather wait far from the bus departure time than missed it.
It was almost half past nine when I arrived right in front of the counter where I bought my ticket yesterday.
“Wait for it on platform 1, the bus will come later”, was the answer from the counter staff when I asked where to wait.
“Whatever, in the next hour I’ll just wait here”, I thought as I took the concrete seat next to platform 1.
But waiting for something in a foreign land was always interesting. Observing the activities of local residents on each side of the terminal kept me away from boredom.
Until finally I was shocked when a red maroon bus with a yellow combination appeared from the rear gate of the terminal.
“Arwana Group”, I could clearly read it from a distance.
This was the bus I was waiting for. The bus arrived fifteen minutes before departure. The bus stopped right on platform 1 and I rushed towards it until an Arab-looking man stopped me.
“Kuala Lumpur….this?”, his short question was thrown at me.
“Yes….This bus goes to Kuala Lumpur”, I answered briefly.
“Where are you coming from?”, I added.
“Is Yemen Okay now?”, as far as I knew the country was in civil war.
I jumped in from the front door and looked for seat number 13. I chose the single seat on the bus which had a 2-1 formation of seats.
Exactly at half past ten, the bus started the long journey to Kuala Lumpur…
The 43 Ringgit trip would take 5 hours and cover a distance of no less than 450 km.
The bus started leaving the city by commuting through Perusahaan 3 Street, this was the main overland route on Malaysia’s east coast that stretched for more than 700 km, starting from Kelantan in the north and ending in Johor Bahru in the south. I was very grateful for being given the opportunity by God to comb the seaside with the most beautiful scenery in all of Malaysia. The most amazing sight on this trip was where I could cross the road which was only 50 meters from the beach. Later I would show you the beauty of this road.
At the beginning of the trip, I still remember the view of Kuala Terengganu that was presented to Kuala Ibai Village, because I had passed it while visiting the Tengku Tengah Zaharah Mosque the other day. But after crossing the Ibai River, I passed through an area with views I had never seen before. Instead of falling asleep, the sight managed to keep me awake all the way.
Within half an hour, the bus started to leave Kuala Terengganu District and entered Marang District which took Pandak Beach to the gate. Three kilometers away, the bus crossed the coastline of Rusila Beach which was one of the most beautiful sights in the district. Until finally the bus rested for a while at Hentian Bas Marang. The bus had to pick up some of its passengers at the small terminal.
The view after a short pause at the Marang City bus terminal may be the highlight of this trip. The beautiful seaside scenery stretched for 50 kilometers starting from Peranginan Kelutut Beach to Batu Pelanduk Beach at the beginning of the Kuala Dungun District.
Two hours away, the bus had now passed through the main landmarks of the Kuala Dungun District, especially not the Dungun River which has a width of no less than 300 meters.
The bus quickly started entering Paka City. The city was home to Malaysia’s largest power plant run by the national power company, Tenaga Nasional. No wonder the vast expanse of electric power stations was in this city.
More than ten kilometers parallel to the bend of the Paka River until the bus finally left Paka City and entered a new city, Kerteh City.
Kerteh is an oil city because it has the potential for petroleum stored at the bottom of the South China Sea. The city of Kerteh is one of the most important places in the state of Terengganu because of its dense population and complete public facilities.
Exploring Kerteh City made me understand that Petronas, the giant oil company in my neighboring country, placed many important facilities in this city. Oil refineries, gas pipelines, chemical factories, and the Petronas housing complex dominated the sightings along Kemaman-Dungun Street.
For almost half an hour, I was presented with the bustle of the oil business of Kerteh City, until finally, the bus arrived at the southernmost area of the state of Terengganu, namely the Kemaman District. This is the border area between Terengganu State and Pahang State.
Entering Kemaman, the bus directly divided Chukai City which was the capital of Kemaman District. City parks were spread out in the corners of the city, and congestion was starting to feel, while the Kemaman River stretched widely as the main decoration of Chukai City.
South of Chukai City, the bus stopped a second time. This time the bus picked up two passengers at the Kemaman Express Bus Stop. After carrying its passengers, the bus continued its journey to get out of the southern border of Terengganu State and started its adventure in Pahang State.
There was still an hour to arrive at Kuantan Sentral Terminal, the main bus terminal in Pahang State. Meanwhile, it was one o’clock in the afternoon. I was sure all the passengers were feeling the same way….Hungry.
And a quarter of an hour after entering the State of Pahang, the bus finally decided to stop for lunch. It was D’Cherating Cafe which took its name according to the area where the restaurant stood, namely in Cherating Village.
Here, the driver allowed passengers to enjoy lunch for half an hour and then continued the rest of the journey to Terminal Sentral Kuantan . At the end of the journey, the driver-focused behind the wheel to complete the last 40 kilometers to the largest bus terminal on Malaysia’s east coast.
My first stage of the journey was over…
After a break at Kuantan Sentral Terminal, I would continue my journey to the final destination, i.e the Terminal Bersepadu Selatan in Kuala Lumpur.