Are we really on our way again? As we start this next phase of our travels we really do not feel as well organised as we were for our last trip which was 2 years in the planning. A last minute decision to go now has meant we must rely on our intuition and run with any challenges as they occur. Traveling is about experiences and an experience can be both good and bad!
occurred to me though how lucky we have been to live our dream and that
we should add up how many countries we've already visited. BC (before
children) we toured Europe, the USA and Canada = 12. On our last trip
of North, Central and South America = 14 plus travel in Zambia, Rhodesia,
South Africa and Australia = 4. That's 30 so far and with this trip encompassing
Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, we should have
around 36. What a privilege to have been so fortunate to experience so
many different cultures and wonders of the world and to have experienced
them together on a motorcycle.
SINGAPORE CITY OF CONTRASTS.
SO MANY DIFFERENT RELIGIONS...
SO MANY DIFFERENT RACES...
SO MANY DIFFERENT CUISINES...
THE BEST INDIAN MEAL WE HAVE EVER HAD
advantage of shipping to Singapore is that it's cheaper, the bike doesn't
need to be crated and we get to see one of the most spectacular cities
in the world. Singaporean red tape though is a bit of a pain in the neck,
as we expected, and before the bike can be released from the docks we
need to show our Carnét, buy insurance ($130.00), get an International
Circulation Pass ($10.00) and go to the Road Transport Authority to get
a Toll card before we can even ride. All up the freight costs were $430.00
in Darwin plus handling costs of $130 in Singapore. We're pretty happy
with that and we pick the bike up tomorrow after it's 10 day voyage and
head into (cheaper) Malaysia.
We'd heard lots about
this city and it is all true. The streets are spotless, the people
polite, the skyscrapers amazing and it has to be the place to go if you
are into shopping. Oh and of course the food is varied and plentiful.
We stayed in a budget hotel ($50.00 per night) in Little India and were
surrounded with small and large local eating places and restaurants. Perhaps
later we'll worry about our diet. Memorable meals though are at the Banana
Leaf and particularly the Gayatri on Race Course Road where authentic
curry dishes are served on banana leaves and you are expected to eat,
like the locals, with your right hand. What a buzz. I haven't been able
to eat in public with my hands since I was a child. As usual food is a
high priority for us and Chinese noodles and vegetables (Chinese porridge)
or Indian dosas (rice and lentil crepes served with curried accompaniments)
are an unusual breakfast but a good way to start the day if you are brave.
Eat and be entertained at the local markets in both China town and Little
India on race Course Road and a take Bum boat trip up the river for an
overview of attractions.
Return to Singapore from Vietnam
Singapore again and today was Monday and another biggy. We were expecting to be able to pick the bike up but unfortunately the ship had been delayed a day so we won't be able to be 'on the road again' 'till Wednesday. Never mind as there is lots to arrange with the AA Singapore before we can ride the bike on Singaporean roads anyway. Angie, from the shipping agents suggested we contact Rosie at the AA and she would arrange insurance, but $130.00 seemed a bit steep and Rosie suggested we take the train to J B on the Malaysian border and arrange Malaysian insurance which would cover us in Singapore. It was an experience to take the underground metro system and again pass through customs and immigration but unfortunately we couldn't arrange insurance. It seems only Malaysian registered vehicles can get this insurance so after a wasted trip we returned to Rosie and completed the paperwork. I can sort of understand the insurance thing, but to also have to get an International Circulation Pass and then have to go to the other side of town to the Road Transport Authority to get a toll card before we can ride the 15 odd kilometers to the Malaysian border just seems like overkill. An option other riders may be interested in is to ask Rosier to arrange for a truck to transport the bike from the docks to the Malaysian border. ($150.00) Cost wise it's about the same but you wouldn't need a Carnét, a saving of about $800.00. We got the Carnét because after exhaustive investigations we were strongly advised that we also needed one for Malaysia, but after showing our passports we simply rode through the border post. Just hope we don't have any problems when we leave Malaysia for Thailand.
Next page will take you on to Vietnam
|©Haydn and Dianne Durnell 2004|