Sunday, August 12, 2012

Kuala Kubu Bharu: Town and Train Station

Kuala Kubu Bharu's train station is not unlike other stations located outside the fringes of KL. It's mostly deserted, with barely public transport servicing the commuters. But in its modern structure lies the ravages of a town's grim past. And we feel that it would be a little incomplete if we fail to mention a slice of the town's history.

KKB, as it is called by most people, is a new town borne out of the ravages of a flood caused by a broken dam. In February 1883, a massive flood submerged, destroyed and killed what was once called Kuala Kubu, including District Magistrate and Tax Collector, Sir Cecil Ranking. But urban legend has blossomed into a folk lore, making Ranking's demise more colorful than it was. He was believed to have killed a white crocodile in the rivers of Selangor, thus resulting into the harrowing floods that destroyed Kuala Kubu. The old town was almost completely destroyed so the British Colonial Government decided to build a new town - Kuala Kubu Bharu (bharu meaning "new").

These days, KKB sits on top of a hill in the district of Hulu Selangor. It's the town where most visits to Fraser's Hill commence, and despite it's distance from KL, is a mere 5.60 ringgit train fare.

The moment I stepped into the ticket counter, the friendly ticket man muttered, "Filipino?" I nodded with a wide grin. It isn't common place that they get my nationality right, but then Malaysians are like cousins of Filipinos. There's a degree of camaraderie between nationalities. The station doesn't have much to offer, although there's a store just right outside the entrance. It's a convenience store - so you find newspapers, bread and candies, drinks, popcorn, balloons, toys for the children, etc.

I like the dead times between rides. I used to abhor them actually, but these moments allow and obligate me to think, take stock of what I've just been through. It clears a bespattered slate, and like pinholes in eye exams, allocate clarity; if not, at least a more valid judgment. In these plundered moments, my senses attune into their most acute state. Then suddenly, I heard a melancholic song blaring from nowhere. Traveling alone could get lonely, but not this time. Loneliness after all is a state of mind. You could be standing with a crowd of thousands and feel solitude. Luckily, I don't get plenty of these moments. I am as happy wandering alone in places far removed from home - as I am with my friends and family. Not a lot of my friends understand this, but I find balance in these discrepancies.  

It was a 15 minute wait for my trip back to KL which took more than an hour. Since this had several stops, the train was gradually filled by the time I reached the capital. Fraser's Hill isn't exactly among my favorite visits, but I was glad to have experienced a slice of colonial Malaysia, tucked on a sinewy hill. There are very few places in this world that time chose to forget.

This is the Eye in the Sky!  .

A store at the KKB station.

Buy your ticket here.


Platform 1

A mosque in the vicinity of the KKB station.

Travelogue to Fraser's Hill and More Info

Beautiful Images from Fraser's Hill

KKB town center. This photo only courtesy of


Twin said...

Walang tao!

eye in the sky said...

Meron naman pero nabibilang sa daliri. :)

R.Ramakrishnan said...

Clean as a whistle and completely deserted. Amusing to read the list of prohibited activities. There is hardly a soul here hence rules will be rarely broken :)

eye in the sky said...

@ Ram:

I was actually thinking along those lines. That every hospital should be maintained as diligently as this station. :)

Ola said...

but many of the bans are, to be honest, quite common everywhere..
looks very modern, indeed

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NRIGirl said...

Mhm. Where is the train? I know you had conveniently put the camera away just minutes before the train pulled in to the station. But we need to see the train to know for sure this is indeed a train station, you see?

Why so deserted I wonder...

eye in the sky said...

@ Ola:

So true about the prohibitions. They just managed to enumerate them thoroughly, thus the long list. :)

eye in the sky said...

@ NRIGirl:


But the train's there in the photo (5th from the top). :)