There are 2 ways to get to Kota Kintabalu, Malaysia where the air cargo terminal is located and this is by several ferries or by riding…. Ride of course.
Today we have 321 km to go to kota Kintabalu, but we have 4 border crossings to navigate. We have to exit Brunei, enter Malaysian Sawawak again, enter the Brunei enclave, enter Sarawak a third time, and then enter Malaysian Sabah. This means in total we have 10 passport stamps in the last 3 days.
The borders here are easy and are drive thru kiosk style.
Step one is drive 27 km to the Brunei border. Here we did not have a exit card (as we did not get given one on entry), but they just waved us thru to passport control. Here we got our exit stamp from Brunei.
You then ride 200 m to the Malaysian crossing for a quick entry stamp.
Next step is you ride 59 km across this small piece of Malaysia that divides the “Bruneis” by passing the town of Limbang, Malaysia. Here we stopped for something to eat at a roadside kiosk. Noodle soup for breakfast of course. The next border we crossed was to get the exit stamp from Sarawak Malaysia.
Then there is a 500 m ride to the next station for the entry to the Brunei enclave and here they stamped us in and handed us the tourist cards to fill in.
You then ride the 28 km across the Brunei enclave to the next border with Malaysia. Here we handed in the exit card and got an exit stamp from Brunei again.
The you ride a km to the Malaysian Sarawak crossing for another entry stamp.
Finally we headed north to Kota Kinabalu, but has to stop after 58 km at the Sabah Malaysia crossing for our final exit stamp from Sarawak, Malaysia and entry stamp to Sabah, Malaysia.
It was super hot and humid today in Brunei and Malaysia and may be the worst we have had recently. It makes you pretty irritable when you are riding all suited up and with all the borders.
We pushed on the 151 km to Kota Kinabalu and had little traffic until the last 25 km. We made for BMW as they said they have a shipping service. As usual all talk no action. They use a service that “no longer uses air” and the boat by container takes 2 weeks. They also do not have palates as the bikes come from KL on an airline skid and are not crated.
We then headed back to the airport and to MASkargo, which is the cargo division of Malaysian airlines. We had contacted them over a month ago and they had said just to show up here about this date and they would ship the bikes…real story is the boss screwed up and did not make the booking and the flights are now all full and the next plane for us to Kuala Lumpur is in 3 weeks time. The receptionist was helpful enough to give us some other names.
We called another cargo air service Raya Air and headed over there. They also arranged for a shipping agent from Capricorn Airfreight to meet with us there at Raya. They were super helpful ladies and are trying hard to get us sorted out. This means sourcing or fabricating palates if we want the bikes to go to KLIA and on from there and putting us on the wait list for cargo. They also said that if they reserve an entire air cargo palate space we can get the bikes on the plane at the earliest in 10 days time! This means we have to call around and try to get palates, but this is unlikely as you do not need a palate to and from KL, but we think we need the bikes on palates since they can not leave KL without one. Shipping is such a horror.
After much negotiating the new plan is in place. The bikes fly domestically and to the Subang cargo airport 60 km from Kl international. The issue of clearing the carnet, which we had wanted done here will have to be done in KL. The issue of the palates, which will need to be fabricated we will leave for KL as well. The usual shipping of bikes from Borneo to KL is roll on so crates and palates are impossible to come by. Time for lunch and coffee.
In the end we have decided to roll on and send the bikes domestically to Subang airport and pick the bikes up and ride them to KLIA. So done this way it seems they will fly in 6 days time to KL.
This all took about 24 hours to sort out and we can now can drop the bikes off tomorrow at Raya Air (without storage charges) and then we need to find something to do for the next week.
We finally had a break in the rain so we could ride the 7 km over to KKIA 2 and Raya air and drop the bikes at the shipping warehouse. Here we sorted our some of the gear we wanted to ship, removed any liquids and aerosols, and secured the gear. The agent Christine met us there, drove us back to the city, and even bought us lunch.
It is very hot here and we are a bit burnt out mentally and physically so instead of organizing excursions or a big adventure by air or 6 hour bus to see more wildlife we hung out in the air con in the mall and went out to explore only after dark. Got to like a Gin and Tonic like this. Glass of gin and tonic on the side! Is any alcohol Halal???
We did take a GRAB 25 km over to the Low Kawi Wildlife park to see the pygmy elephants.
We tried out a few local places for food, but the best place was a real Italian restaurant 2 blocks form the hotel. The night markets are packed with people and all kinds of fish and fruits. There are a huge number of seafood places and one night we went all out at “Welcome Seafood ”.
The shipping saga continues to get the bikes out of KL…Air China quote is Pivot rate (entire palate space) and is 24,000 $ for 2 bikes KL to JFK…no. Next was 18,000 $ if we ride them to Singapore (plus its 400 each for TVIP and insurance)….no. Back to Maskargo that will ship them to Frankfurt for 25 Ringet a kg = 2000$ per bike. Then we need to pick them up and ride them to Air Canada (this means getting a green card and help from MotoCamp Bulgaria again = 200$). AC has a flat rate to ship to Montreal of 1300 per bike.
The plan now is that we will fly from KK to KLIA July 17 and the bikes fly the same day to Subang 60 km away. We will be able to pick them up July 18. We are booked into a hotel at KLIA near the cargo terminal. We will drop the bikes at Maskarco July 19. Orvar used them this week and all went easily. They strapped the bike to a metal air cargo sheet, “measured” it very loosely and very much in his favor for the rate to Amsterdam un-crated!
We will then fly to Frankfurt July 21. The bikes will fly from KlIA to Amsterdam July 20 and then they are to be trucked to Swiss air cargo (same price as fly only to Amsterdam according to MAs?!?) and arrive July 22 at 5 am. The say we can pick them up here after customs clearance formalities and then we will either ride them the 10 km to Air Canada cargo to drop them off or we will have some time on our hands in Germany until we have another flight for the bikes to Montreal.
Either way we luckily have Ivo from Motocamp Bulgaria to help us out. He bought our green card insurance today for us. We have no choice but to spend the 120 Euros for the minimum coverage as we don’t have a flight confirmed yet and even if we did the fees for an agent to bond the bikes and truck them the 10 km is actually more expensive. This way we have the safety net in-case for the Air Canada flights we have a delay. We have sent in the shipping request and the request to the company that issues the dangerous goods certificate, but have had no reply after 4 days! (Later we found she mistook our request for a date at the end of September and when we called she immediately gave us the date we requested July 24 th).
Finally after killing a week its July 17 and the bikes fly from KK to Subang KL. We had a photo from the shipping agent of the bikes lashed to the cargo palate…It looks like they could withstand a crash!
We got a GRAB to the KK airport for the 2.5 hour flight. This was a bit turbulent, but otherwise uneventful.
We arrived to KLIA 2 and walked to the nearby TUNE 2 hotel where was had some lunch and then got the shuttle to TUNE acropolis at the cargo terminal (1/3 the price of the first Tune). We are booked here 3 night and then will swap to TUNE 2 at the terminal 2 as we have to be at the airport terminal 1 at 6 am on July 21. We confirmed the bikes arrived in Subang today and we can pick them up tomorrow morning. This is a 64 km trip (65Ringette) from KLIA.
The first step to get the bikes was to walk 200 m over to the Day Pass office to get a pass for the secure customs and shipping area. We are doing this now so we do not have to do it later all suited up in the heat. You have to hand in your drivers license and get a wrist band and a plastic card on a lanyard.
From here we got a GRAB for the ride 64 km to Raya air at Subang Airport. This was a bit of a challenge as all the drivers are at the main KLIA terminal, which as the crow flies is not far, but takes about 20 min to get from there to us around the secure zone. The first driver said “ he had 2 flat tires” after we had waited 20 min for him. He wanted us to cancel him, but if we did that it would be very hard to get another driver. He eventually cancelled on us and we had to wait 20 more minutes for another ride. So far the day is not going that well.
When you get to Raya you report to security, hand over your passport, and get a day pass to allow access to the secure site. We were directed to walk 150 m over to the warehouse and report to “24 hour” pick up doorway. Here thru the cage we could see the bikes on a palate on a dolly.
The guys here were very nice and set the palate and dolly up with a ramp. They un-lashed the huge number of straps and helped us wheel the bikes off. We just had to unstrap the suitcase with the riding gear and helmets and change. By then they had done all the paperwork and had time for a photo op. We were in and out in about 45 min.
From here we retraced our route 50 km back to the cargo terminal with a stop for 3 l of gas each. This way we have enough to get back, ride the few km in Germany and get out of the airport in Montreal.
We arrived to the customs security gate at KLIA and said we were going to Maskargo (no one asked for our pass 🙂 ) The first step here is to go to the customs office ahead and to the left. You park here and then walk over to the 6 story building to the right. We of course arrived at 1230 and they are closed 12-2 for lunch….
At 2 we went up to the 6 th floor (there is no signage in English and multiple offices are along a long hallway). When you exit the elevator turn down the hall and the office you want is the first on the right. The counter is about half way down the room and the desk has a “Carnet” sign above it and you speak to the officer here. They look at your carnet, copy your passport, and give you a huge ledger book. You take this back to the customs office across the parking lot for a carnet stamp and “vehicle visual inspection”. They signed and stamped the carnet, but did not even come out to look at the bikes. In fact they could not even see we had bikes from their office!
Then it was back to the 6 th floor. The officer here then takes the ledger and carnet to the first floor for another stamp. All that took nearly 2 hours. From here you ride 500 m to enter another secure area for the cargo docks where MAs is located.
We rode to the Maskargo export acceptance office, which is thru security down to the very end of the road turn right, ride to then end again and go right again and then go 200 m to the Core 1 door.
Just inside here is the office you want. Long story short this was a 2 hour nightmare. First the office guy says “by the way did they tell you that the bike has to be crated to Frankfurt for the truck”. Recap we had explicitly discussed this with Maskargo sales re price and options and were assured that price was the same to Frankfurt and that no crate was needed.
Orvar went last week and this was the case so we were feeling confident. He had a very loose measurement of the bike and the cost was 6050R. Here they measured and told us it would be 9000R for the 800 and 7000R for the 650 plus 1000R per bike to crate! Long discussion about all the issues including their mistake on quote and the fact that Orvar’s bike, which is bigger than Sara’s went for 6050. Much discussion among the staff…bottom line take panniers off and wind screens, crate here for 750 R each…total 14000 R. Still more than our quote, but we have no choice now.
It is now almost 5 pm and we have had the crate guys over to look at the bikes. They will store them in their warehouse overnight as they can not leave this zone off carnet. They were nice enough to give us a ride back to the hotel as well. Tomorrow we have to meet them at 2 for the set up and strapping.
Well of course we show up at the warehouse at 145 and no one else does until 230. The assistant then tells us the boss is on the phone for us and wants us to ride the bikes back to Maskargo so they can do the packing there (of course). The truck with the palates arrived and we followed him over the 500 m to Mas. Here we parked and then waited until 315 when the guy finally arrived with a second helper. That said the palates were amazing.
They riveted the hold points on where Dan wanted and then strapped the bikes, helped us wrap the baggage and then they wrapped the bike, covered it in plastic sheet and then wrapped it again. They look shrink wrapped. He had decided to give us a 25 % discount on his packing service and that was very nice. We then went into the Maskargo office while the bikes were sent to the scales. Final bill was 1000 R less than the quote per bike YEAH!
We were finally out of there just after 530 and walked the km back to the hotel.
Today is Thursday and the bikes will fly tomorrow after noon at 3 to Baku Azerbaijan and then onto Amsterdam by the late afternoon Saturday. They are then transferred to a truck for the 456 km drive to Swiss Air cargo in Frankfurt by 5 am Sunday. We will be able to pick them up there (pay the port fees) and unwrap the mummies.
It is only 10 km ride to the Air Canada Cargo. Our friend Wolfgang shipped his bike from there Today! He says it was easy and under an hour. Just ride up, push the bike onto a palate, take off luggage for xray while team straps bike, put luggage back on, pay and leave!
Our SPOT since May 1, 2017!
Tonight we are meeting another Malaysian friend that we met first in Ushuaia in 2014! Made Saad and he kindly drove a long way out the our hotel to get us. He brought along fellow riders Ayuni and Nurul for dinner as well. They kindly treated us to a massive seafood feast on the sea at Bagan Lalang. We were in bed by 11 for our 5 am wake up.