A Travellerspoint blog

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6320 km: Kuala Lumpur - Starbucks Heaven

-17 °C

After a couple of days with a road to yourself, sharing it with Trucks passing by within half a meter is a bit of a dissapointment.

So we treated ourselves on a day with the train, on a nice line through lush Jungle forrest, beautiful ride and nice little town.

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We ate at yet another Chinese Restaurant (the only place in town where the beer flows), and right after dessert the Hygiene Inspection Department raided the place with about 15 people and closed down the joint due to "Poor Hygiene". A Sikh man sitting next to us told us it might as well be due to the fact that they are Chinese......

Anyway next day we wanted to make some speed so got on a local bus to Raub 40 km from Bukit Fraser where we wanted to go.

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Turned out that the only road up the mountain was closed and that to get there the only option left was a detour of about 200 km, through Kuala Lumpur (KL). So...too bad for the Hills, we headed straight for the Petronas Towers.

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And the view from our Balcony....

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KL is great, on top of the common China Town and Little India you've got everything from local-local food to fancy restaurants, mega-shopping, and a laid back park around the towers. Most surprisingly KL has more Starbucks then there are 7-Elevens in Hong Kong...and then you are in for some serious competition.

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We took the opportunity to catch up with my sister and family under a glass of German Paulaner, with Pork Knuckles, Schweinbrat etc.... Who would have thought......

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A big surprise was the announcement of Bettie that she bought a ticket to KL and would be arriving next day..... I like that kind of planning. Bike is secured, and off we go, me and my 2 women Harem!

Posted by HoYing 02:16 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

6540 km Melaka; the people you meet on the way

One tip for anyone wanting to cycle in malaysia; skip the getting out of KL bit............it's messy. and no matter how you'll end up cycling on a freeway sooner or later. Instead do as we did; leave your hotel by bike to impress the guy at reception who will surely think you are insane, cycle straight through chinatown and little india, preferrably against traffic and add some nice obstacles such as kerbs, drains etc to add to the city-off-road experience. Then just as he freeway seems to be impossible to avoid, hop on a train and leave KL smothly though illegally (we called the commuter train headoffice just the night before and they confirmed that bikes are indeed not allowed - this is why you board at a tiny deserted station without a ticket seller and not at KL central........). We got on a nice looking highway that seemed small, pitoresque and quiet on our map but was busy and industrial in reality. Highway 5 got more and more beautiful though, it changed into a nice beachroad and we rode it for 3 days on our way to Melaka.

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Betty was cycling with us. she was afraid she would not be able to keep up. No such thing of course........ usually we just saw a little pink-hatted dot in the distance in front of us and could do nothing to even try to keep up with her. Either we are lazy as hell or Betty is insanely fit.........we'll stick to the excuse that her bike did not have a luggage rack so she did not have 20kg's of extra weigt to haul up the tiny but steep hills.

Malaysia has proven to be he best country for meeting people. Everyone speaks english, everyone always has time to chat and everyone has endless stories to tell. Just a few examples:

Arn - the sporty guy. Catches up with us just before the town of Banting. Rides next to Bunno on his scooter and keeps saying "wow, I always wanted to go touring......wow" He decides we need to try the local speciality of chendol and takes us to a roadside restaurant. Chendol is an interesting mix of shaved ice, coconut milk, syrup, jelly, red beans and green spagetti. Not your usual mid afternoon snack but very nice indeed.

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We meet Rambo about 70 kms from melaka. He is dressed entirely in red with huge army boots and rides a yellow bicycle. He is an ex marine and migt have been hit on the head just a few times to many as he doesn't always make that much sense but who cares. He takes us to his house where we meet his mother and grandmother and eat bananas. We try to refuse he bananas as we know that Rambo just cycled 15km to go to the market to buy them. now that he gave all bananas to us he will have to go again.....he has plenty of energy though and would surely be diagnosed with ADHD in Holland. He promises to visit us in Amsterdam soon.

And there are loads and loads of people who we don't really meet but who hang out of car windows with thumps up as they pass us, blow their horns in greeting and yell "welcome to malaysia!". This is a lovely country.

Posted by Whiskey 02:41 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

Happy queensday from Melaka/ Dumai

We celebrated queensday one day early on April 29th, very apropriately in Melaka, a town filled with dutch history. We started the day with breakfast with Pieter, Aline, Ilse, Joris and Betty. Yes, visitors a plenty. Better be quick if you want to join too!

We waved goodbye to Pieter, Aline and kids and explored town. Funny to see old Dutch architecture of the stadthuys (town hall) and the church.

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Then we had a fabulous lunch with real dutch KROKETTEN! We realize that this all time high of Dutch quisine is not appreciated by anyone else but the Dutch (and advise you to never ask about the ingredients of this dish because you will be disgusted) but man....... these were good.

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We talk a lot about food when we are cycling up hills on empty stomachs which by our lack of planning and good maps happens regularly and kroketten always feature high on our dreamlists. So do chocolate sunday ice creams by the way. yes, our conversations on the road are very intellectual indeed.

We had a little goodbye party for Betty at night with superb indian food in little india and a few (too many) beers in china town. According to the Betty credo "never leave a bar early as you are sure to miss all the fun....." We had to stay until everyone else was gone. We met some great people; a tri-cycle driver/ student with great stories and a slightly if not completely drunk kiwi lady who insisted that we should move to NZ immediately as "we really need some Dutch people, we really really do...." why exactly did not become clear but we think it is because we cook some mean kroketten.

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This morning we waved goodbye to betty who had to go back to Shanghai and took the boat to Sumatra. Indonesia did not originally feature on our destination list but since we have a month "left over" as we are nearly in Singapore already we have decided to extent the route with some nice jungle cycling in Sumatra......

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Posted by Whiskey 02:57 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

6780 km: De-Touring Sumatra

From Melaka to Singapore it is only about 300 km, so about 3 days cycling.... But, since we still enjoy the trip, we decided to do some de-touring of Sumatra. So all of a sudden we ended up on the Southern part of the globe...

We took the boat over to Indonesia, and arrived in the country of Gado Gado, Satay, Beef Rendang!!, chainsmokers, and suicidal mini-busses.

The difference was once again rather large. Eventhough the language is more or less the same with Malaysia, the prenounciation is way different and makes it difficult. Luckily there are some words leftover from a shared past. Jus Wortel (Carrot Juice), Doorsmeer servis (car check up), Knalpot (muffler) etc...

One of the top cigarette brands is "Gulden" and has a coin with our former Queen on it...

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In contrast to Malaysias soaring tourist numbers, Indonesia seems to be so 90s... There is hardly another tourist to be found. It is a bit weird it seems that until the mid 90s numbers were picking up, and the tourism business was booming Hotels were being built, and the future was bright. Then came political turmoil with riots in Jakarta.... and people went elsewhere. So cities full of empty hotels, skeletons of gigantic hotels that never got finished, and too many people for too few tourists. Here in Bukit Tingi, once a prime tourist destination people want to take a picture with us, since we are foreigners, and they do not see them that often....

The first leg from the boat quay in Dumai was through oil fields in cleared jungle (never high on Tourist Itineraries), but wealthy. We stayed in a top resort style hotel to compensate. The next day the surroundings became prettier through highlands with Vulcanoes, and rice fields.... unfortunatley they don't generate as much money as oil, so the hotel standards dropped a bit.

Here is an impression of our hotel room and attached bath room, and me (with hair) taking a shower.

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From there it got progressively better and here is some impressions from along the way.

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We are now in Bukittingi and are having a day of NOTHING, great! I did some bike maintenance and had a long overdue haircut.... why does it always take about 6 months for me to go to a barber... barbers are nice people! Anyway no longer blond, and 2 pounds lighter, I am all geared up for the next set off mountains.

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First, we are off to the jungle on a trekking for 2 days and then we will cross the Equator once again and get back into the Northern Hemisphere.

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Posted by HoYing 04:56 Archived in Indonesia Comments (1)

6850 km: Stunning Lake Maninjau

From Bukkit Tinggi we left on foot for a change for a 2-day trek to lake Maninjau.... what to say.... the jungle was great, with some scattered villages where we saw the farming of coffee, cinamon, tiger balm!, and lots and lots of rice. Through that scenery cut some rivers and there are some Monkeys jumping around. All great, the best was definitely the "home stay" at Anas. A wooden shack mid-way on the hill in what tourist still think is jungle but is actually Mr. Anas' garden, with stunning views of lake Maninjau. Sleeping in the junlge with the sounds and then waking up for a view like this.....

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Down in the village well, it was more of the same.

I'll leave it up to you to decide (and book your ticket).

Here we go:

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traditional Minangkabau house
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Shaving...can it get any better

The way out of the crater lake to the top of the rim, we had read, has 44 amazing hairpins. Well we enjoyed every one of them. To make the attraction even better the local sigarette company had even put the numbers at every bend!

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Padang food.... you do not order, they just drop everything they have on the tbale and you select! Why don't we do that in Holland???

Posted by HoYing 07:55 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

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