2018 Singapore-Thailand Drive – From Money Changer to Money Taker

Day 17 – Jitra to Taiping


don’t trust the number you see on that counting machine!

Ornate Indian temple steeple in Jitra

Today was one of the shortest legs of our trip, a 195km journey from Jitra to Taiping. We usually cover more ground, but we wanted to spend a couple more days relaxing in Taiping because we love the new Novotel there at the town centre. Fewer people, more space for the kids to run around and mess things up. 

Strangely, the North-South Expressway was clear, but there was a huge jam heading into Taiping after exiting the expressway. Taiping must be a popular place for Malaysians to visit over the weekend. 

Novotel is conveniently located at Taiping Mall, which makes it very convenient for us, as food and entertainment is within easy reach. 

We decided to try our luck at the “Mystery Box” machine. These machines have been banned back home in Singapore because they deem it to constitute an illegal gambling operation. Over here, it is a relatively inexpensive gimmick, and so we try our luck with a few boxes, not knowing what we were even hoping to get…. as it turned out, our prizes were not very exciting, a few notebooks, luggage tags and namecard holders.

What we did enjoy tremendously was a family visit to the movies, to catch the latest Incredibles movie.  Realising that the superhero family exactly mirrored our own, so we just had to take a family photo in front of the movie stand-up display. These are the little stupid things that keep a family together and make these road trips memorable. 

The Dishonest Money Changer

Do take note that the money changer at Taiping Mall cannot be trusted. If you have to change money there, please count your money before and after the transaction. At a recent visit there, the counter staff put the stack of notes into the machine, showing the correct number of RM50 notes, but when she passed it over to my wife, one of the notes was missing. Thankfully, my wife counted the stack twice and then highlighted the mistake. The counter girl then gave my wife a dirty look and passed her another RM50 note without protesting or saying a word to her. After that, my wife heard the girl whisper to her colleague in Malay, “I thought she was only a child.” She did not realise that my wife is conversant in the language and could understand what she was saying.

This made us absolutely certain that there was some intentional deception at work here. Change money here if you must, but please count carefully. Don’t trust the staff and don’t trust the number you see on that counting machine!


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This was part 18 of my blog series. Do click HERE for the next part where I will share about our time in Malaysia’s paradise city – Putrajaya!

2018 Drive from Singapore to Thailand Blog Series:

  1. 2018 Drive from Singapore to Thailand
  2. Getting a Grip
  3. Taiping Tyrannosaurus
  4. A Completely New Border Crossing
  5. First time in Hatyai
  6. Cantering Towards Chumphon
  7. Passport Panic
  8. Breaking the Bangkok Barrier
  9. A Home Away From Home
  10. Kids Love Kidzania!
  11. Rayong Night Drive
  12. A Rayong Adventure
  13. Time to Head Home
  14. Driving in Heavy Rain
  15. Craft and Japanese
  16. Rock Climbing and Mini Golf
  17. Scenic Drive Through Phang Nga
  18. From Money Changer to Money Taker
  19. Putrajaya Paradise
  20. The Last Leg with my Concluding Thoughts
  21. Route Summary

Blog Series

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