Friday, September 4, 2009

Rantau Panjang & Golok River

Golok River

Golok River is the river that separated the Thailand and Malaysia, connected only with the Malaysian-Thai Friendship Bridge. There was a railway track but is now not used,formerly Kelantanese can traveled directly to Thailand by train, however the train now stopped at Pasir Mas station. You entry to Sungei Golok(สุไหงโก-ลก)of Narathiwat Province(นราธิวาส),South Thailand,can only by car or walking across the bridge.The river will flood the Rantan Panjang town once a year, during the monsoon month.

Rantau Panjang town is the town at the Malaysian side of Golok River. Rantau Panjang literally means long region, "panjang" is long in Malay.Sungei Golok Town is the town at the Thai side of the river. "Sungei" is Malay word for river, Golok is the Malay words for traditional swords. Sungei Golok literally means the river of swords.

The residents of both town used to cross the border without restriction, without any travel document. But the border crossing is now strict, a border pass or international passport is required.

The relationship of the two towns are close, the Malay residents in Sungei Golok have dual citizen status, and will often travel to Rantau Panjang and even to Kota Bahru daily for business, education, and other purposes. At one time the children of the Malay community in Sungei Golok go to Rantan Panjang for schooling,in either Malay school or the only Chinese school in town. Most of the goods in the Rantau Panjang market are from Sg Golok or other towns in Narathiwat Province. The Thai and Malaysian government are now aware of the problem of dual citizenship. There are relatively large community of Pakistani in Sg Golok, which also reside in Pasir Mas district. One of a retired senior police head in Malaysia was a Pakistani descent from Sg Golok, he has a brother who was former Sg Golok Mayor(who was murdered years ago).

The Rantau Panjang resident go to Sungei Golok for their morning exercise, shopping, breakfast, lunch and dinner,it is also the entertainment hub for the border residents. Sungei Golok have better infrastructure than Rantan Panjang town,they have public park with tennis court, hospital, and fire station. Many residents and government servants from Malaysian side played tennis at the tennis court in the public park, you can met the Mayor of Sungei Golok, Bank manager, army generals, and businessmen playing tennis there. There was also a coach providing tennis lesson. The fire station had also help in the few fire broke up in Rantau Panjang town. The business of inter-border trade was big , and especially when Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam are under communist rule.

But the interaction between the two countries at the border of Sungei Golok has slow down. Partly due to the security problem at South Thailand, and secondly due to the demand for Malaysian goods has declined,due to the rapid development in Thailand and open trade policy of the neighboring communist countries, where they can obtained goods previously need to import from Malaysia.

Rantau Panjang now is only a free duty zone,and depend heavily on the tourist, domestic as well as Thai tourists.

Waiting for the small boat or sampan to ferry them to Thai side.

Golok River, which separate the Malaysia and Thailand border. Opposite is Thai village,mainly Malay villagers

The bridge, Friendship bridge, connecting both countries

The view of the village

The view of the bridge on Thai side

Rantau Panjang Town

Rantau Panjang town, located at the north of Kelantan state, near Thailand border. The town is separated with Sg Golok town of Thailand, by Golok River.

It is a duty free zone

The shop closed due to opening of custom check point in front of the shop

The pedestrian walk to the immigration check point, just behind custom check point

The signage clearly show you the place

The view of Rantau Panjang town, Malaysia

The custom check point at the entrance of Rantau Panjang Duty Free Zone

Welcome sign to Rantau Panjang Duty Free Zone

The sign board pointing north to Golok(Thai town)

The custom/immigration check point at the Malaysia/Thai Border. The border is separated by Golok River. There is a bridge connected the two countries.

The Masjid China beside the road to Rantau Panjang

Road sign board indicating the route to Rantau Panjang/Sg golok(Thailand)

Earlier related posting:

3-2-2009 - Visit to Kelantan

1 comment:

  1. Nice post about Rantau Panjang, Kelantan. Rantau Panjang is very famous town, the shopping heaven in Kelantan. Checkout local guide in Rantau Panjang in my website.