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On to Malaysia

Over the mountains to the east coast.

Friendly Malay peolple

Other than a few fishermen we had the place to ourselves.

We pass through many small fishing villages.

Following small roads along the coastline.

 

Tempura prawns at a road side restaurant

 

 

 

 

The old Indian sector, Melaka

National celebration of the Chinese New Year, waiting for the King to arrive.

Old Melaka city on th canal.

 

 

 

In Singapore a famous restaurant on Racecourse Road (Gayatri) saw us eating fantastic Indian food with our hands and served on banana leaves. Way to go.

Enjoying the culture close to home in Little India, Singapore.

 

 

 

Cheers for now until we see you on the road again,
Dianne and Haydn

HOMEWARD BOUND

Malaysia again


19/2/07

An easy border crossing with slack officials. We again had exited Thailand without anyone bothering about the bike and we had to hunt down an official to get the Carnet exit stamp. The Thai's make such an issue about only being able to keep the bike in Thailand for one month if we don't have a carnet, but when we exit no one checks. Go figure. The Malays were just as laid back and within about 20min. we were shopping for wine at the huge duty free shop in Malaysia.
Haydn and I believe that we've severally jeopardised our health by refusing to pay the ridiculous prices asked for wine so this was an opportunity to buy a 4 litre cask of Australian Shiraz, just for medicinal purposes before headed south on highway E1 past Alor Setar. A little bit of zig zagging from exit 173 - K10/K15 then onto route 67 and 76 and finally onto the 4 which would take us over the mountains to the east coast.
The traffic had been a little heavy, what with the Chinese New Year and all but once we were on the 4 we wound our way up and down the windy but good mountainous jungle roads. It had been hot on the west coast but got cooler as we gained altitude and a short thunderstorm dropped the temp. to 13 degrees C. Haydn even put the heated grips on!! but we weren't complaining, just enjoying being cool again.
Around midway across the peninsular we crossed two huge bridges that took us over Lake Tasik Temenggor and on to an island popular with Malaysian holiday makers. The huge lake up in the mountains was a beautiful spot for a bum break before continuing east and merging into heavier traffic as we neared the coast. It has been a big day, a boarder crossing and over 500km of mountainous roads before we finally got to a small coastal road that was almost deserted. I began to panic a bit, surely there was somewhere to stay on a coastline with a name like "Beach of the whispering breeze". Eventually we found a resort on the beach with a vacancy and even though it was much more expensive than our usual budget accommodation we were just so exhausted that we paid up anyway. Just enough time left in the day to walk up the beach, white sands as far as the eye could see and other than a few fishermen we had the place to ourselves.

All the flotsam and debris did spoil the vista and it was hard to understand where it all came from?

20/2/07
This eastern coastline of Malaysia seems much less developed than the west and we made our way south on the many small roads through rows of palm trees following white sands and blue seas past laid back small fishing villages along the coast. Beach shacks selling tempura prawns and squid, boats and fishing nets, fishermen lying in their hammocks waiting for the fish to dry in the sun. All in all a magical day immersing ourselves in the culture and way of life.
We were in the saddle for a long time today but didn't cover that many kays, and come evening time we chose to stay at one of the many guest houses at Marang Beach. After checking in we thought we'd make the most of the evening with a walk down to the beach and maybe a swim. The beach was superb and almost deserted and I clicked away with the camera while Haydn poured us a mug of shiraz. We were just enjoying the moment when Haydn became alarmed at the shouts of a couple of boys swimming about 100 metres away. At first we thought they were playing as there were other swimmers nearby and the same distance from the shore as the boys but Haydn detected something urgent in that cry. Something was wrong and before I realised what was happening Haydn rushed down the beach and into the water. Without elaborating, he managed to save the life of one of the boys but his two brothers drowned. Seems there was a strong under current dragging the boys into deep water and fortunately Haydn was a strong enough swimmer to at least save one of them.

21/2/07
Continuing south again through similar terrain and small villages. A lunchtime stop at a roadside restaurant for tempura prawns and squid. Delicious. Then onto Cherating Beach where we found a comfortable place to stay with a swimming-pool.

Again the beach was great and we had a swim, this time in safe and shallow waters.

22/2/07
There is a famous traditional Batik craft facility here and we spent a couple of hours this morning chatting to the artist about all sorts of things from Batik making to politics to religion.

Very enlightening and we left with this personally made batik.


Back up into the cooler hills again heading west inland and arrived at Jerantut in enough time to organise a boat trip from Kuala Tembeling to Kuala Tahan and the Taman Negara NP headquarters.

23/2/07

We paid for the entrance ticket into the National Park and the licence to use the camera, and then it was into the boat. This boat trip is quite famous amongst the Malays and the three hour scenic trip on the Sungai Tembeling river took us deep into the jungle which it is claimed is one hundred and thirty million years old. It was a chance to have a break from the bike and let someone else do the driving as we just sat back, relaxed and took photos.

Arriving at Kuala Tahan it was really hot and humid so we went for a short walk into the dense jungle canopy and cooled down with a swim in one of the small streams. Unfortunately we could not do the famous Canopy Walk as today is Friday and staff close it early for religious reasons . We were very disappointed but nevertheless we enjoyed our short time here before taking the boat back.

24/2/07
Another early start and feeling refreshed after our 'day off' we headed south/west on highway 9 to the coastal town of Melaka. We'd stayed here on our way north back in November and felt comfortable so we stayed at the same hotel, the Famous Inn, where we were warmly welcomed. It's funny how things just turn out sometimes and it seemed that today was the last day of the Chinese New Year holiday and, Melaka had been chosen to host this national celebration. It was a huge affair with thousands of spectators turning out to see a huge parade of different ethnic groups all dressed in traditional gear and playing their traditional music. We were so lucky to be part of the festivities, and amongst the poor, the rich and the famous waiting patiently for the King to arrive.
It couldn't have been a more fitting finale to our trip of South East Asia as tomorrow we leave for Singapore, arrange the shipping for Jack and then catch our flight back to Australia on Wednesday.

25/2/07
We had intended to leave early, but what the heck. We were in no hurry to get to Singapore so we took it easy, had a lazy breakfast and then got on the highway heading south to Singapore. We met a Singaporean motorcyclist at a road house about 100km from the boarder and rode south with him. Just as well as we would have had trouble finding our way through the busy boarder town of Johor Bahru. With the ending of the Chinese New Year, thousands and thousands of Malaysian migrant workers were heading back to Singapore and the traffic has horrendous. Fortunately, our 'new best friend' weaved through some of the back streets and led us to the border crossing. Again no trouble with the Malaysian side or the Singapore side. We had our Carnet, our insurance and our Circulation Pass, but we didn't have the Auto Pass Card. What a performance to get one. Really the Singaporeans need to consider why they do certain things. This card enables the government to charge a toll on vehicles that enter certain city areas at certain times. It is inserted into a special gadget and the toll debited from the smart card as you drive. The point is, as visitors we don't have the special gadget but nevertheless we must have the Auto Pass Card. Anyway, Haydn got a little loud and vocal as he explained the futileness of the card and although we still had to get one, the office staff agreed to fill in the lengthy forms. When we leave Singapore, this card has to be handed to the Road Transport Authority and cancelled. If not, monthly charges continue to be applied to the card and if and when we return, we will be liable for these charges.

Welcome to Singapore
We had checked into the same Hotel on Racecourse Way where we stayed when we first arrived. Again we felt more comfortable with the devil you know and it was in a good location in Little India. For some reason we hadn't enjoyed the Malaysian food as much as we had expected and were now looking forward to authentic Indian food.

26/2/07
The main task today was to arrange the shipping for Jack. Haydn had been in contact with Megastar shipping and all was arranged. He met the agent at 9.00am, and dropped Jack off at a crating company, then off to the AAA Singapore to stamp the Carnet and that was it. The agent will have to cancel that damn Auto Pass Card once the bike has cleared Customs. All pretty straight forward really and he was back at the hotel by midday.
Time now to go shopping and eating and shopping and eating.

27/2/07
One of the things we thought we might investigate while in this shopping paradise is a good camera. We bought the Panasonic before we left but I've never been really happy with the results. The camera is easy to use, has a great manual zoom but I find the images a little soft and the noise at times quite bad. Well, we had a bit of spare time and Singapore has so many electronic shops it seemed like an ideal opportunity to see what is available.
We caught a cab and asked him to take us to a good place to check out cameras and he took us to this huge centre with about 8 floors all dedicated to selling electronic goods. The competition is fierce and the salesmen ruthless and we had fun checking out the various options. Eventually we were offered what we thought was a deal too good to pass up and walked out with a Nikon D80. It is a huge camera by comparison to the Nikon 8700 we used on our previous trip but the quality is fantastic. Photography is important to both Haydn and myself, after all when we leave a place it's only the memories and the photos that remain and we want to ensure that we have the best photos. Perhaps on our next adventure you can be the judge.

26/2/07

'D' day. Departure day that is and it's been almost 4 months since we arrived. It's been a fantastic trip and we have had many wonderful adventures and met many wonderful people. We didn't get sick and the bike never let us down. In all, everything was perfect.

Yes S E Asia is a must travel. The different cultures in each of the countries are interesting and you can always find good, clean accommodation at reasonable prices. The food was generally fantastic and we never once felt 'at risk', from a security perspective. It is an amazing place to visit, especially by motorcycle, and we would like to encourage others to consider this region. It is easy, enjoyable travel, inexpensive and the friendly locals make the journey memorable.

rollover ©Haydn and Dianne Durnell 2004