The plan today is breakfast at the Hotel with Trevor, who will stay here another night and then the rest of us will head to the border. It is 60 km down the 4 south to the border zone and we left at 930 (1030 in Malaysia).
About 4 km from the border you are directed into what looks like the border zone, but this is just for trucks to stop and you must keep going and thru to the main road again.
When we arrived at the actual Thai border zone we were met by Malaysian biker Nor, who lives nearby and who came to help us thru the steps here since Faizal has never used this border with a carnet. She also knows the routine for the insurance and the International driving permit (IDP). (Agencies charge 60R to do the IDP, which the police do for free).
We parked to the left and then crossed over to the insurance office across the street. You have to get the insurance here at the border before you cross as the next place to get it is KL 475 km away. They want your passport, bike registration and your Thai TVIP (they use this as it has you VIN and engine number where they know where to find it). The ladies keyed all the info into the computer, but then they needed approval from the Kuala Lumpur office. They initially could not get a hold of them and then it was noon there and they had gone to lunch.
So we rode back into town 2 km to have our own lunch. When we returned the insurance was done and we paid the 90 Ringet ( thanks Faizal our personal money exchange) or 22 USD for the minimum 1 month.
You then ride south under the gate and go left and follow the “motorcycle” signs. These ultimately direct you to a coned off lane that goes right in a U turn and back to the entry side of the border.
They are under construction here and it is a bit disorganized. You park here to the right and go to the first building on your left where you hand in your Thai TVIP and get your Thai exit passport stamp.
Next you ride back north and to the left and park to the left just after the car Thai exit gates before the road south to the Malaysian side. This is where you would just keep going left/south if you got into Thailand without using your carnet.
From here you walk 400 m west to the far window beside the new fancy entry gate to Thailand with the green roof and talk to the customs officer. He had to take us inside to discuss this with his boss, who initially did not seem to keen to give us the stamp. Luckily we had Faizal to discuss this with them. Ultimately they relented and we all walked back with the officer and “said stamp” to see the bikes.
He did not check the VIN or engine numbers just the plates. He needed a bit of help to fill in the exit piece of the carnet, which we need, but did not seem to want to fill in his section (which we don’t need but he probably did), and he left it in the book. We are done with Thailand in 30 minutes not counting the 2 1/2 hours for insurance.
After this you ride 500 m to the Malaysian border zone where Nor was again waiting for us.
Here you park on the left and get in line on foot (or pillion on a scooter like Dan) with all the people in line on their scooters. You get your fingerprints done and a passport entry stamp and exit sticker.
Next you walk 150 m to the left to the new building and have your carnet entry stamped. They also needed help on how to fill this in and in fact spoiled a page of Andy’s carnet as they put their entry stamp on the very top section, which remains in the book when you return it instead of on the bottom, which is the entry section that they keep. Luckily he has extra pages. They did all 3 in less than 15 minutes.
Then we went with Nor to the traffic police office. This is back past the bikes and then 150 m to the right to the not so new building, which is next to the old collapsing customs building. Here the very friendly police completed our International Driving Permit. They also wanted stickers from WWR. Now back to the bikes and we hit the road after 3pm.
We made it about 15 km when it started to pour and we pulled in for shelter and gas, which is half the price here it is in Thailand. We said goodbye to Nor about 10 km later and headed south.
The idea was to book it on the highway and we have a hotel booked in Perak Tengah by a friend of Faizal’s. We still had 150 km to go at 6pm, but we had to have a break and a coffee. We had only an hour of driving in the dark and managed to get to the hotel at 830 pm after a day of 372 km and a border.
At the toll stations they have these paved detour paths for the motorcycles!
It is very hot and humid and we stink. So it was a quick shower and out to the pub for some beer, snack, and darts! We dragged ourselves to bed after midnight.
This morning we rode a few km from the hotel for an Indian breakfast and then rode north east to Ringlet thru the Cameron Highlands. It is a lovely 18 degrees up here!
This is mountain riding and thru the tea region.
We did visit one tea plantation ( BOH Sungai Palais Tea Center) that is accessed by this very narrow winding road with 2 way traffic. This meant some pulling way over and squeezing by. It was packed with school holiday families and so we snapped a few picks and left.
We rode out again and then to the nearbytown for some tea of course. Here we ran into some fellow riders from Singapore that have been all over SE and mid Asia on they bikes. They were in Iran and the Stans this summer as well.
We continued over the mountains again to stop at a very famous local spot for lunch at 3 pm. On weekends it is mobbed with bikers. They serve fire grilled chicken, curry, and sticky rice cooked in bamboo!
We were leaving the restaurant and there was a huge non-moving line of vehicles that was not there half an hour ago. This turned out to be a 10 km long grid lock resulting from a semi trailer/van head on with the semi turned over in the middle of the town of Bentong spilling it’s load of cooking oil (slippery).
We split the lanes and rode in the oncoming lane until we got about 2 km and into the town proper, where 5 lanes of vehicles were stopped and not even the mopeds could get thru. Here we did not move for 15 min in the oppressive heat and humidity. Luckily before we immolated we began to move.
This meant more weaving, splitting, riding on the shoulder, riding on the sidewalk, and then oncoming lane until we finally made it past the accident. It was then back to the main road and then the highway and a 20 km ride to the exit to the village of Janda Baik where we were staying at a biker camp housed in a traditional Malay home.
We did have a few wrong turns on the way there and when the GPS said “driving on the hiking trail” it should have been a hint. A phone call later and we made it onto the correct road to the house where we arrived pretty hot and tired after 338 km. It is situated by a bubbling creek and the only other noises are the geckos and frogs. The best part is there is no WIFI!
We set out from the home stay and road back to the main road with the plan to get 256 km to Melaka (Malacca).
First item on the agenda was to head up to the Genting highlands for breakfast at Coffee bean and Tea Leaf.
We were shocked to see the amazing 6 lane divided highway up to the mountain top, which is covered with hotels and casinos all owned by the same company. The ride up and down is pretty nice with huge sweeping turns and some switch backs.
We did not have to go into Kl, but the weather is so nice today and the forecast for the weekend when we plan to be back in not great. This was actually quite fast to get in and then out in the middle of the day. We made directly for the Twin Petronas towers for the iconic photo op.
We rode south past Port Dickson and stopped for a rest at the beach near Si Rusa.
Stopping for cold drinks and bags of fruits we did not recognize and had not tasted before!
From here we then headed south to the old city of Melaka (Malacca) after 256 km. This town is full of tourists that have come to see the old English, Dutch, and Portuguese settlement. We enjoyed a traditional fish hot pot for dinner and then the very touristic 3 wheel bike tour of the city.
Today we are riding to the southern most point of Continental Europe at Tanjung Piai and will be joined by Apis and his wife Azizah who are friends of Faizals.
We went the faster way on the highway as it is 260 km just to the point.
There were more fun moto toll detours.
You exit the highway with 56 km to go on the secondary roads. When we got to the parking they would not let us ride the bikes up the ramp to the monument. Actually Faizal did ride his, but the security guard ran over right away to kick him out. So we all walked over for the “end of the road” picture. Not exactly the epic Inuvik/Ushuaia/Cabo San Vicente/Nord Kapp photo we planned.
We have been invited to the home of Apis and Azizah for the night in their town near Ayar Tawar. This route is mostly secondary highway, but there is a lot of traffic. This meant some Asian motorcycle driving skills were needed especially for 5 big bikes, 3 of which have luggage. This is riding at speed in heavy traffic with passing on the left and right, and splitting. So it was a bit stressful at times, but exciting as well. After 6 months in Asia we are pretty agile.
The family lives in a small enclave in the south east of Malaysia and they kindly offered to host the 4 of us for the night.
Their house is near their fish farm where we went to catch our dinner. We had a fun evening trading war stories from around the world and Faizal and Andy scared Apis with their GS Trophy experiences into starting his training for the Mongolia GST next summer.
There was a massive rain storm during the night, but it was just misting when we left at 8. Apis and the kids were going to have breakfast with us, but the local place was packed when we arrived and the one at the main road was closed and so we headed off alone towards the highway. We found an open spot for some spicy sticky rice and egg pancakes.
The other 2 guys took off from here for KL (390 km on the freeway) as Andy has to be at the airport at 6 pm for his flight to Bangkok.
We went about half way back on the secondary roads until it started absolutely pouring and we then headed west the 25 km over to the freeway at Yong Peng. It had stopped raining by then and within 15 km we were air dried.
The traffic got a bit heavier 30 km from the city, but not too bad until the last 10 km. Here we had to ride in the ER lane on the shoulder and sometimes squeeze by on the left when there was no lane. Otherwise we would have been cooked in the very humid 34 degrees after 429 km. We checked into the hotel, which is located on the 4 th floor of a parking garage! Well the access is and the hotel is built onto this so the parking is stellar. Our lucky day again as there is a coin operated laundry right across the road and ALL of our cloths reek and can almost walk on their own. The suits are horrific, but we will send them to Faizal’s laundry “guy” next week. We stopped next door to the laundry for some dosas and yummy chicken biryani.