Malaysia – Alor Star –

Now most people (not all) think that when you / one heads off to a distant destination that sounds exotic (Malaysia) your days will be filled with wonderful vistas that compromise of gin clear seawater, sandy beaches and the ever present blue sky
(its always a blue sky when your on holiday, as per the vacation brochure) along with a selection of hula hula girls with swing hips to keep you company.

Alor Star is a sprawling working town in northern part of Malaysia in a state known as Kedah. This is agricultural land that’s as flat as a pancake with some very intriguing hills on the distant eastern horizon where fluffy white clouds seem to hang out. On the western edge are the Straits of Malacca.

Agricultural land in the sense that, this is where rice is grown and harvested. Kedah state is also know as the rice bowl of Malaysia.When I visited in early April, acidic green photographs of paddy fields were not the order of the day. Brown pools of water were on offer, not very photogenic.

Like all towns. Its a place where people live, work, fall in and out of love, get divorced, relax, shop and try to make a few quid / Ringit (Malaysian currency).

The air temperature is hot and very humid. I found it to be a town of contrasts. Dodgy pavements if any, cars, small motorcycles zip around, food courts, workshops, places of worship and street markets. This is in complete contrast to the American styled over air-conditioned, polished marble shopping mall that sits in the middle of the town.

Alor Star is a real place where real people live and try to make a living. This is not a tourist destination. I found the local inhabitants to be pleasant, friendly and at time somewhat curious (quite a few times I was stopped and asked where I came from).
Hospitality was second to none and most of the food is very tasty.

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We begin our journey on the Kedah river that starts in the distant eastern hills and flows through Alor Star towards the sea. Fishermen heading out to sea.
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A chaotic collection of colourful fishing boats.
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A colonial property on the edge of the river that is now a museum. It was wonderfully cool and relaxing inside. Alas concrete has replaced these wooden houses.
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Still in the grounds of the museum, stands a light house close to the river entrance.
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Closer to town. A Chinese temple on the river bank. I’m not sure what the super smiling face is all about but it contrasts well with the seriousness of temple contemplation.
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Wavy red fence reflecting in the brown water, along the river bank.
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Dragon flags flutter in the breeze outside a Chinese temple.
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Red lanterns at a Chinese temple.
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Masjid Zahir, Kedah state Mosque. The oldest Mosque in Malaysia built in 1912.
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Masjid Zahir, Kedah state Mosque.
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Painted ceiling rose in a Hindu temple.
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One of the many small statues in the Hindu temple.
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Looking out from my hotel room at the two concrete blocks. I was playing around with the Art settings on the Olympus Pen F. I thought that this colour rendition depicted the evening heat and humidity quite accurately.
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So you wander around looking at 1970’s concrete and other depictions of architecture and this pops up. An Art Deco school, simply fabulous.
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“Restoran Hai Hong”. Looks grotty? Don’t be fooled by facade, the food is really good. On my first visit I was given a spoon and a fork. On the second visit I got chop sticks. Promotion ?
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Interesting use of language.
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Merchandising to the max.
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Packed to the gills.
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Letter boxes on a purple stair case.
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The sign says it all.
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Making a flower arrangement.
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Its a dogs life….Snoozing in the shade of a closed shop.
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New motorcycles for sale.

4 thoughts on “Malaysia – Alor Star –

  1. As you might imagine, I love the Art Deco school, and want it as my house! Though the date shown, 1955, is very late for that style. You got some lovely reds in those photos, and it was nice to see real people in an ordinary place, to contrast with my own short tourist experience in that country.
    Cheers mate, Pete.

  2. Cheers (I communed with nature 1hrs worth up to Beachy Head)..When I get some time I will blog a group of people photos that were taken during the trip.
    Speak soon.
    AK

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