7 – 25 October, 2013 – We had left Singapore for the worse. We got very bored as there wasn’t much to do other than cycling. No exciting or extraordinary landscapes, no interesting encounters with animals or people. Just nothing. Our bikes had become sole means of transportation, there wasn’t much fun riding them either given the bad traffic. Of course we saw many beautiful old Malaysian houses along the way, but those were the only highlights.
Some of the beautiful houses:
We cycled to the southernmost tip of mainland Asia, about 80km away from the equator, just for the photo and stayed in a chalet at a nearby fishing village. A chalet? Wow, you might think. When we first heard about these chalets we though ‘wow’ as well. Until we saw them. If I think about chalets Switzerland, the mountains, a wooden hut and a lot of snow comes into my mind. An open fireplace with an animal skin and me sitting with a nice cuppa, a book and the thickest and cosiest sweater I have in front of it. A Malaysian chalet is just a little different: as there is no snow, no open fireplace is needed, that’s logic. Our chalet was a room without window in a wooden stilt house above the sea. As such not too bad. The owners lived in there as well and we shared the bathroom with the family. The house was one big mess, dirty dishes, dirty laundry, broken furniture, garbage and what have you everywhere. The owner was drunk all day long but still made sure we got enough water. Sometimes he would even bring us some food and each time we saw him he said “Come, come, OK, OK?”. When we sat outside he would suddenly pull a flat TV screen out of a cardboard box, install it in front of us, switch on BBC News as loud as possible and leave again. I think that was the most exciting happening on Malaysia’s East coast and there were still three weeks to go.
We slowly cycled north along the coast, making sure we wouldn’t get too early into Kuala Lumpur. At Melaka, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, we stayed more than a week. First at a guest house and then at a hostel where I got acquainted with bed bugs. On the worst day I counted 72 bites, but as every night more bites added to it, I am safe to say that I had more than 100 nasty, itchy and ugly bites. We haven’t had lice as yet, let’s see what good the remaining weeks in Asia will bring ;-).
Now how about Melaka? Another town that didn’t impress us. It is nice there, undoubtedly, but not a town we will remember for a long time (except for the bed bugs). The Dutch Stadthuys was scaffolded unfortunately, and the beautiful old center jammed with cars, a nightmare to get through, even on a bike. Every evening our host at the hostel would take out all guests for dinner to cheap local places where there were no tourists – by bike. That was actually very nice. He always took a detour through town and the small labyrinth-like streets to make the ride more enjoyable and to show his city. Having written that, we spent a nice week in a nice town, but nothing more.
Doing business in Melaka:
Us in Melaka:
Riding further north the scenery didn’t really improve, mostly softly undulating roads along the coast or through plantations. Little to no shade, less traffic than expected, a mix of shoulders and no shoulders. All in all boring and slow moving rides combined with boring rest days at places where there is not much to do.
But as we nowadays look at things positively these weeks gave us time to rest, time to book all our still pending flights, time to work on our to-do-list and time to earn some pocket-money again by selling bracelets. By the way – we transferred our first 275$ to our chosen elephant charity, of which more than 200$ we could raise through our bracelet sales. Thanks again to all our customers!
7 October, Singapore – Pekan Nanas: 79km
8 October, Pekan Nanas – Kukup: 42km
9 October, Kukup – Tg. Riai – Kukup: 26km
10 October, Kukup – Pontian Kechil: 24km
11 October, Pontian Kechil – Batu Pahat: 77km
12 October, Batu Bahat – Muar: 53km
13 October, Muar – Melaka: 50km
14 – 21 October, Melaka: 21km
22 October, Melaka – Port Dickson: 96km
23 October, rest day
24 October, Port Dickson – Morib: 75km
25 October, rest day
Total distance cycled: 17,420km of which 1,872km in Malaysia