Malaysia part3

Finally I found enough time to get this story finalized…

15.04. – 05.05.2013

Monday:
Germany – Kuala Lumpur:

I arrived to KL around noon. While I was waiting outside train to arrive, I realized how warm it was again. I am not freezing anymore :).

I found my hotel, which was in a same area as last time. Room was really clean, but small. I was thinking that I will have some problems to fit all my stuff there.
After settling down next thing was to catch a taxi and drive to Sunny Cycle to get my bike back.

As soon as I got to Sunny Cycle I saw my baby! New rear tire and seat cover had been changed as agreed.
Had a chat with Sunny and then I started to carry my stuff to the bike. I did not remember how much stuff I have :D.
Million thanks to Sunny for taking such a good care of my baby!

At Sunny Cycles I also met Phil, a French guy who has been living several years in KL. We had a long chat and then Phil promised to show me the way to the Petronas towers so that I could take a photo of the towers my bike together.

In front of the tower I took some photos of the bike and got few good hints from Phil where to go. Thanks Phil for the good tips!

Later in the evening I returned to the same spot and took some more photos. Many people came to talk to me where I was coming from and where I was going to. So easy to make contacts when you ride a motorcycle :).


Tuesday:
Kuala Lumpur:

I spent morning by trying to figure out how I could get my bike to Indonesia. Onion boat schedule from Penang to Indonesia was still totally unclear, so I spent lot of time trying to figure out other options.
This onion boat is mostly used by overlanders, because it is the easiest way to get bike to Indonesia.

I found one contact who had been organizing shipments from Port Klang to Indonesia and asked him a quote.

I did not want to stay whole day in the hotel room, so I decided to visit Batu-caves. These caves were roughly 6km from my hotel.

Batu caves is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside of India.
In front of the cave there is a huge 42.7m high golden colored Lord Murugan-statue.

276 steps and several begging monkeys later I entered to the the mouth of the cave. Hot afternoon sun made climb even hotter, luckily I had enough water to keep me going on…
Opening is quite small, but as soon as you step inside, you enter to a huge cave.

At the backside of the cave you can find small temple building, I think this is also dedicated to Lord Murugan.
I spent some time inside the cave enjoying the cool air and taking few photos.

I was quite surprised how messy it was inside the cave. I do not know if there had been some festival recently (which would explain this messiness) or if it is normal state of the cave.

From the caves I returned back to the hotel to catch more camera stuff, because next I would ride to the viewing point to see KL during sunset.

Viewing point was closed, but a bit lower there was a place where locals gathered to see the sunset. It was still early, so I was able to find parking space without any problems.
Unfortunately sunset was nothing special, but as soon as whole city started to light up, then the view was really nice!

Back at the hotel I decided to grab something fast for dinner, so I decided to visit KFC. Sweat was running down my forehead to my eyes and on my back when I forced this really spicy hamburger down… Even I asked mildly spiced burger, it was too hot for me…

Wednesday:
Kuala Lumpur:

Around 3pm rain finally stopped and I was ready to go for a ride. This time I followed Phil´s advice and rode to the lakes and waterfall on east side of KL.

At some point I faced smaller road that was cut and lot of signs (which I did not understand a single word). Looked like scooters had gone around this blockage, so I decided to follow those tracks.
Few hundred meters later I noticed the reason for the blockage… Half of the road had been washed away and now it was down in the gorge. With bike I did not have any problems to go around this obstacle.

Next intersection had same thing, blockage and signs. I saw a scooter riding on this road, so I decided that blockage was for cars only :).
This road was in good shape, so I did not know why it was blocked…
Lake was surprisingly big, but nothing special over there, it was just a lake…



From the lake it was a short ride to Sungai Gabai waterfalls. At the gate I had to pay 1Ringit (0.3USD) entrance fee.
Normal posing for people at the parking lot and then I started climbing up.
It was blazing hot and humid when I climbed up those endless stairs. Sweat was running down on my head, back and legs like someone had opened a watertap…


At the top I saw couple small ponds where people were cooling down and drinking beer. I sat down to the shade and soon there was someone asking where I am coming from etc.
Most of the people were from Myanmar, working in Malaysia and now they were celebrating their New Year.
Nice group of people, they even offered some beer to me :).

Walking down was much easier than climbing up. On my way down I met three people who were asking if the bike was mine (these guys were from Iran). We had a short chat and then I continued my decent. Once again, good example how big bike opens discussion with a total strangers :).

At the hotel I contacted this new shipping agent again and he promised to send me a quote later that evening.

Thursday:
Kuala Lumpur:

Finally I got a quote, but the price was double compared to the price what I got from Mr. Lim.
I sent emails to two other shipping companies, hoping that they would have better price.

Heike and Filippo had arranged their Indonesian Visas in KL. They did not need airline ticket to get the visa, which was a good information. I decided that I would try the same on Tuesday when I would be back from my weekend trip.

Friday:
Kuala Lumpur – Kuantan:

My first stop was a mountain resort called Genting Highlands. I did not plan to stay overnight over there, just to see what kind of place it was.

On my way up to the Genting Highlands I saw a really nice looking Chinese-style temple and decided to stop there.
This temple was called Chin Swee Caves –temple and it was one of nicest temples I had seen on this trip so far.

Temperature dropped the higher I got. On top of the hill there was only 23C and it felt actually really cool… 😀

I had expected more from this main road towards the east coast, but it was a disappointment. Hills ended sooner than I expected and after this it was mainly straight road.
First thing I did in Kuantan was to ride to the shore. There was nice looking beach resort. Really clean, lot of people, but no-one was swimming!

After searching for a while I found the house where I had pre-booked a room. House was brand new, had kitchen and washing machine. Most amazing was that I seemed to be the only customer!



Saturday:
Kuantan – Pekan – Kuantan:

Around noon I started my day-ride to Pekan. On my way there I followed big road. Nothing special, only thousands of different colored flags (it was time for election in Malaysia).

Pekan was much smaller town that I had expected, funniest part was that it was in a wrong place according to my gps :D.
Soon I had passed Pekan and now I was on my way to a small harbor area. This harbor area was amazingly filthy! Lot of thrash everywhere, broken bottles etc so I decided to turn back and find another road towards the shore.

100m after my u-turn, I saw a small gravel road and decided to start following it.
This road took me to the shore where locals were fishing. I sat in the shade of a palm tree and looked how locals cought mainly small fishes. Beach looked nice around the palm trees, but further away beach was full of bushes and drift wood.

Once I got back to the house, I put my riding gear to the washing machine. Around 30 minutes later I started to wonder where did I put my wallet and phone…
I tried to find them from the room and suddenly I realized “did I take them away from the jacket pocket”… I stopped the washing machine, pulled out my jacket and found my wallet and phone… Bothe were soaking wet… Darn!

Only thing that I could do at this point was to spread everything around the room and let them dry there. I ripped of the front cover from the phone and shook excess water away from it. I suspected that my phone is dead, because it had stayed such a long time in washing machine…

Sunday:
Kuantan:

Rest-day. Only thing worth to mention is that after charging the battery of my phone, it started working! 30 minutes in a washing machine and that darn thing worked! This is really tough phone, just the kind I need!


Monday:
Kuantan – Kuala Lumpur:

Decided to ride back to KL via smaller side roads. This was a good decision, because this time I was able to enjoy some curves. Up in the hills I saw a lot of monkeys next to the road, but could not get any photos of them. Every time I stopped they disappeared to the thick forest.

In KL I got reasonably cheap hostel (KL is expensive place), I paid roughly €25/night with breakfast.

Good thing with this place was that there was one dinner street close to it. Food was good and portions were big.
If needed, you could get a massage over here (not sure if it comes with a happy ending).

Tuesday – Thursday:
Kuala Lumpur:

On Tuesday I went to Indonesian embassy, filled all the forms and responded few questions and then I was asked to come back the next day to pick my visa. Fast and easy and no airline ticket needed!
Later in the day I also got email from Mr Lim that on the following week Thursday or Saturday there would be one onion ship to Indonesia.
I told him to book one place for my bike. Now things started to roll! Looked like I would get out of Malaysia after all :).

In the evening I went to a movies and after this I wrote new story to the BMW club magazine in Finland.

On Wednesday I decided to ride my bike to the embassy and pick my passport and Indonesian visa from there (on previous day I took taxi, which was really expensive). Once I was getting ready to head towards the embassy, I noticed some cat hair on top of my seat. After closer look of my new seat cover, I noticed that darn cat had sharpened her nails to it!!! Well, nothing could be done anymore, luckily holes were small.

I got 60 day visa, which is good, because I could extend it two times.

I spent rest of the days just wondering around, watching movies in theater and enjoying good food.

Friday – Friday:
George Town:

I found a cheap and reasonably ok hotel in George Town. I needed to spent around one week there, so I booked the hotel for a week.

Most of the time I just relaxed, watched movies, mythbusters and top gear episodes.
Even I took it really easily, I still went through a lot of photos for coming blog updates, wrote diary and blog updates.
Even it might feel, look and sound like that I am on a long holiday, it is not holiday. To be able to go on, takes a lot of planning, organizing, finding information, writing, going through photos etc. so this kind of “rest week” every now and then is important.
One example: I noticed one rivet was missing from my exhaust, in “normal life” I would know immediately where to get parts and I could fix it in a minute. On a road I need to go around ask different garages and people where I could get it fixed and this can take several hours…

One day I saw a huge crowd gathered around a dead body (which was luckily covered) next to a hotel entrance. One older woman told me that this lady-boy had jumped (or thrown) out from the seventh floor room. He/she had 2000RM (around €500) in his/her pocket which was taken by police and expensive necklace in his/her room which was taken by hotel. This seems to be a way how things go over here…

I also met Austrian rider, Bernhardt, who had been riding already several years (mainly in SE Asia). He had been in a bad accident in India and recovering from the accident had taken a lot of time (several broken bones).

On Wednesday I got totally bored for waiting, but could not help it, only few days more to go before I could ship my bike and fly to Medan, Indonesia!

On Thursday I paid the shipping and got some business cards done. Price was affordable, €3.4 for 100pcs! Now I could give my card to other travellers that I meet on the road :).

Saturday:
George Town:

I met Mr Lim at 08:30am in front of his office.
Mr Lim was riding in front and I followed him to a ferry. This ferry was full of scooters, so my bike looked really big compared to these small “mopeds” :).

First thing was to get my Carnet stamped out from Malaysia. I was the only customer, so whole process took only around 10 minutes.

Next thing was to go to the pier and wait boat to arrive. While waiting, couple guys from the harbor moved Heike´s and Filippo´s bikes to the pier. Well, they moved Filippo´s bike a bit faster, one guy was sitting on top and other pushed it.
Once came time to stop, guy just yelled that his legs are too short and bike started falling.
I rushed towards the bike hoping that I could catch it, well I was not fast enough and bike fell on it´s side. During this incident I got hit to my face by guy´s safety helmet when he fell together with the bike. I got small cut next to my eye, but luckily helmet missed my eye only by 1cm!

A bit later wooden boat (they call them “onion boats”) arrived. It was actually bigger than I had expected, which was a good thing :).

Soon also crane arrived. Normally they use boat´s own crane, but this time they were loading something heavier to the boats. Nope, not only our bikes :).

It was good that I was there, because I had to ask them couple of times to move ropes to a different place. This way we did not suffer any broken plastics or wiring harnesses… Be there, these guys do not have a clue where to lift the bike safely…

It was interesting to see how our bikes were hanging when they lifted them to this boat. Actually it was a bit scary, but in the end everything went well.
I walked to the boat to check how they are tying our bikes down. On the boat one of the crewmembers started asking some money from me! I just told him that I did not have any money with me and walked away. I do not know how much these guys are paid, but I guess it is not much…

Mr Lim rode me back to my hotel. While we were on a ferry I asked how long time he had shipped bikes to Indonesia and back. He said around 20 years and that I was his first Finnish customer! 🙂

Now I was ready to leave Malaysia behind me!

Thoughts about Malaysia:
Malaysia was clean, people nice but maybe it was a bit too sterile. Not exotic enough for me. Surely, KL is a nice place to visit, but you do not want to get stuck there for too long.
I am sure that I missed some nice beach areas, but as I have mentioned earlier, I am not a beach person (If beach has something else to offer than sand and palm trees, then I could stay there for a moment).
I was really surprised how massive areas are now covered by oil palm trees! No rainforests anymore easily reachable

2 thoughts on “Malaysia part3

  1. Hi Marko,

    due to my crazy x-mas business in my wine&spirit shop i am back to normal life with time to read your blog.

    Wonderful pictures as always – especially KL pics – splendid mate!

    from time to time i check out your journey on FB enjoying the short stories and pics.

    All the very best on your trip RTW. Will follow you ….. dreaming

    Cheerio
    Joachim

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