Riding out of KL along the freeway with the twin towers on the horizon and the long road in front was a very liberating feeling – we are on our way! Feizal is leading us out of town and Pete has hired a bike to join us for the day. The Genting Highlands is like a racetrack to the top with spectacular views of KL – a place for expats and locals to get away from the heat. Then we carve up some old favourites on our way to the Cameron Highlands. We always said that the ultimate would be to bring our own bikes here to ride these roads – awesome dry tarmac with no speed limits, no cops, perfect temperatures and the bike you know inside and out! It was very special for Pete to experience Feizal’s charisma. Paul, Mark and I headed off and stayed in a wonderful little inn just behind the main street. We met some Dutch expat bikers from Singapore over dinner who gave us great tips for our border crossing to Thailand.
The boys have planned a route to Gerik which means carving up more amazing Malaysian roads. The paranoia of a cop over the next crest with a speed gun is now long gone!! We are the only vehicles at times and all of sudden – with very little warning – the road is no more! The massive bridge ahead was taken out just before New Year and there is no choice but to backtrack – and do a two hour diversion. We travel through a lot of mountainous country and miles and miles of palm oil plantations which always evokes the question of our planet and what are we doing to it! The temperatures soar later in the day and we are drinking copious bottles of water – luckily they only cost 33 cents AUD! We find a little cheap hotel in Gerik run by Chinese. Coming from Oz I’m always fascinated by the lack of bugs in Malaysia – very few flies, cockroaches, spiders – but lots of cats and dogs!
Our last day in Malaysia has another beautiful road past a hydro lake – no traffic again – and we discover a barricade with a huge slip beyond it. Local bikes are going round so we decide to do the same but Paul breaks the little bridge and my bike is still to come! The boys prop one side with rocks and over we go…the sign to say the road is closed is interpreted for us by some truck drivers at the other end! The three of us are riding well now and making good time. On previous advice we head to the duty-free shop near the main border crossing to Thailand and purchase our third party insurance. Then we carry on west over some interesting, rough rural roads to the smaller crossing nearest the coast. Our carnets and passports are stamped and we get the important “Information of Conveyance” which is a must-have document to get out of Thailand! In under two hours we are on our way – we have the first of many border crossings under our belts! We are now in another land – of gentle people, temples, heat haze, rubber trees and no helmets. A long days riding comes to an end in a wonderful little local resort – we are the only guests and they deliver cold beers and a meal to our little balcony overlooking the river – bliss!
We head north and stop for fuel and food in Trang – the town that eats Mark’s Qantas Cash Card for breakfast! We get local currency at the bank instead and decide to not wait for someone to clear the machine! The roads in Thailand are a different tar mix and can be quite slippery on the corners if you’re not careful. We are on pleasant rural roads – lots of little villages, rubber plantations and heaps of little bikes! We’ve decided to avoid Phuket and head for Lanta Island to the south – it involves two ferry crossings – just like going to Straddie (maybe a one stubby trip!) except they are more frequent. Lanta’s sea front is jam-packed with accommodation and bars and we find a very reasonable one that doesn’t disappoint! Food in Thailand is beautiful – always fresh and lots of subtle flavours. Our breakfast earlier in the day was $2 AUD each and the little resort is also very cheap. We will have a full day off the bike here and give the boys time for more route planning with good wifi – Paul is as meticulous as ever with his planning and paperwork. The water is warm and the beers are cold…say no more!!
We left KL with Feizal as our escort – riding us off into the wide blue yonder of Malaysia – it was a privilege to spend the day with him as he was due to fly to Australia in two days time with his family. Malaysian Motorcycle Getaways (http://www.ridemalaysia.com.my) will be at the Ulysees Convention in Albury, Victoria, to find new business for their great tours. That is how we met Feizal and it was in 2013 when we took a group up there (including Mark) that Feizal asked us to ride overland to the TT Isle of Man! Back then we just said “yes”, came home and started thinking about the logistics. As it turned out, the seasons do not work in favour of a timed overland trip to the UK and he also could only allocate 3-4 weeks off work. We each designed our own trips and the planning began. Feizal and a group will meet in Baku, Azerbaijan in 2016 to ride to the UK over 3 weeks. Paul and I decided we would go from Malaysia in 2015 – even if it meant just the two of us. Mark was by now very interested and we were well into the planning when we advertised at the Cavendish HUBB meeting for people interested in sharing the costs across China. Pete and Tili took our info and committed in November – we had five riders for China and the booking was made!
These three characters have been captured on our Polaroid Z2300 – the fun is watching their faces as it prints out and then being able to gift them the print.