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Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and maby more. Unplanned Adventure!
I don't know what direction this report will go in. I'm not trying to achieve anything or prove anything. I have no where to go or any time to be there. I don't know where i will or wont end up. And I couldn't be happier!
Hi I'm UnderCoat and am currently backpacking around Asia. I was in a Singapore hostel when I decided to check what countries it would be best to buy a bike in turns out its Malaysia which is only a bridge away. I have always wanted to do a big bike tour some where in the world.
So I did.
With the Malaysian bike I can get in to Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. I’m not sure about Burma (or whatever it’s called) and I think Vietnam is doubtful as well. I brought the bike in KL from Kok motor (hehe) spent way too much on it. I ended up getting a new Yamaha FZ 150i because I wanted an actual bike not a scooter. Mostly because that’s what I am used to and the scooters I test rode just didn’t feel right. I think this is important in the traffic over here. I’m paranoid about it getting stolen so I got an alarm installed and also have a cable lock and a fork lock. because selling it may be my getting back to Australia money.
I chose the black over the white colour because the white one looks amazing and I didn’t want it to stand out too much.
I brought my gear at the same time at a different place Sunny Cycle just off the top of the Monorail a short walk from Titiwangsa station (hehe titi wangs). They have a pretty good selection there. I brought a full face Helmet, Gloves, jacket (with all the padding) and knee/shin pads. I couldn’t find any pants that fit. Which I am not happy about, I’m a firm believer in kneecaps going inside the knee. I also brought a massive canvas Yamaha rain coat.
As far as bags go I brought a big 65L dry bag called ‘Splash defender’ which is the worst name ever for a dry bag. That I keep my 40L back pack inside and strap to the back seat. Took my ages to find a camping store that was open. I also brought a smaller dry bag I thought I could strap to the tank. As far as other stuff gos I only really brought a map book of Malaysia all my other gear is my backpacking stuff.
I switched that Tank dry bag for an actual tank bag when I got to Melaka I needed something easier to access.
My previous touring experience.
- 3 day trip to ride the Great Alpine Road. Went 300km in the wrong direction almost left the state.
- Rode from Melbourne to Perth. 7 days. Didn’t oil the chain once had to replace chain and sprocket.
Omg I’m going to get lost and die . Both trips done on a naked 250 Hyosung gt.
Any way on to the trip!
Well not much of a trip so far I only went 150 km from KL to Melakka and took the freeway almost the entire way. Taking it easy as I start off with.
Navigating my way out of KL wasn’t as hard as I thought but that is probably just luck. Riding the free way over here on a low cc bike/scooter you stick to the left (outside lane) and treat the breakdown lane as a bike lane. I stayed in the lane next to it moving in to the breakdown lane to overtake(undertake?) and to get out the way of buses. Drivings not too bad over here every one is very bike aware which is a nice change from Australia where drivers are generally arseholes. The car drivers here are also hesitant about brutally running you over if you are going too slow or make a mistake, which is neat.
Got to melakka ok and managed to find my way to where my hostel should have been. But after about an hour and with the help of two nice locals I found the address but it was just some apartment. Not sad I didn’t stay there I don’t think it was the best area to keep a bike. I found a place to stay that night and a cheaper dorm to stay in afterwards.
Melaka’s a pretty nice place good food around. If you come here go to Pak Putra Restaurant and try the tandoori chicken it’s the best meal I have ever had. Ever!
Pak Putra Restaurant if you go to Melaka and don’t eat here you don’t deserve to be happy!
Some pics of Melaka.
View from the top of a hill with a church ruin on it.
More food! I eat breakfast here most days. Low yong mow open till noon.
How could I not?
Some fort ruins from around town.
More to come I’m still trying to work out my next route. Hope my horrific grammar was not too unbearable.
Sorry for the lack of updates I have been very busy. That’s a lie I have been the extreme opposite of busy. So lets blame I don’t know lack of WiFi?
No WiFi here to update my ride report for some strange reason didn’t bother me.
Spent some time in restaurants and bars planning my route for the next couple of days. My planning pretty much involves circling interesting places on the map in my Lonely Planet and joining the dots. I kinda decided the way I wanted to go in KL, a 1000km or so loop back to KL for my first bike service. My rough plan was to head down to Melaka then over to Mersing/Tioman island then up to Cherating then back to KL stopping by Tamen Negara.
Blue lines where I have been circled places are interesting places I could visit.
Melaka to Mersing and Tioman island.
Took me a while to get everything secured to the bike the FZ 150 definitely needs more tie down points. I wonder sometimes if this bike is even designed for touring. Had to stop along the way to resecure the bags but eventually found an arrangement that worked. Need more adjustable occy straps.
The ride was quite uneventful the rode was mostly main road so quite straight and boring. There were a few long sweeping corners but not many or anything too ‘twisty’. The route was pretty simple down then across. I didn’t get too lost although I wasn’t always on the roads I intended to take but it worked out in the end. The best way to navigate Malaysia is by the road numbers. E.g I followed route 5 down then across on route 50. You do have to watch for road signs to make sure you stay on them.
Scenery wise there wasn’t much to see mostly just palm oil plantations. Which Malaysia is almost entirely covered in. there was some nicer bits but not many closer to Mersing.
Palm oil plantation on road out of Melaka.
In mersing I stayed at the embassy hotel for 55rm the most expensive place I stayed in malay yet. It was ok but far from good value. They let me store my bike gear and bike there while I was visiting Tioman island. The bike just sat out under there veranda on a main road. Its got an alarm and lots of locks so it should have been safe but I was still worried. Im pretty sure there is a long term parking area near the ferry.
Mersing picnic area not sure what the beach is like. Probably rubbish coved.
Woke up the next day to the town shrouded in smog this smoke continued through my Tioman visit as well. The smog is from Indonesia because once a year they set their country on fire and the smoke blows over.
Took the ferry to Tioman island I think it took 2 hours. Tioman is a pretty cool place different from where I had been previously infinitely more relaxed and that’s what I did. Spent most days on the beach did lots of swimming and relaxing at beach bars.
Tioman island also has duty free shops where grog can be as much as 50% cheaper than the main land. Got a bottle of Jameson for 60rm and a bottle of grants whisky for 50rm.
I stayed in a small bungalow at ‘moktars place’ (not si-fi themed and no relation to mentok(the mind taker)). Nice shady spot under some trees so the bungalow wasn’t too hot. Had a fan and attached bathroom all the luxuries.
A german back packer staying opposites me had some food stolen out his room by monkeys.
Met some other nice backpackers and celebrated the Swedish midsummer together. Im Australian so I had no idea what was going on. We played drinking games(circle of death), kids games (musical chairs, duck duck goose) and sung weird Swedish songs and danced. One of the songs ‘Sma grodorna’ or ‘little frog’ is still stuck in my head. Kinda glad my camera battery charger stopped working so there is no proof of this. We did the dances on the beach and in a crowded beach bar. Lots of confused locals and other tourists. Google Sma grodorna to see the dance. Oh, and you had to wear leaves around your heads at the same time. Very fun random drunken night.
I didn’t do any tours or diving while there but it looks like they had some nice ones available.
Getting back to mersing and seeing my bike was ok was a huge relief.
Ill add Mersing to Cherating in the next few days which will have more riding.
The photos appearing too big should fix it self.
Mersing to Cherating.
Simple ride today straight up route 3 for about 250km or so I thought. Had a bit of trouble staying on the right road you really got to be careful going through towns. Went a few km in the wrong direction when I made a turn but missed the very next corner that I had to take to get back on the right road. But when I noticed the wrong route No. on one of the route marking tombstones I had to turn back. The tank bag with large map window on top really helped.
Met a nice guy and his wife in Mersing riding a BWM when I was packing. I found out about Indonesia burning itself from them wasn’t sure where the smog was coming from before that. The smoke is pretty bad it followed me all the way to Cherating which is a fair distance from indo, Malaysians and Singaporeans must really hate it.
Sorry not many photos today not too many interesting places to stop. There were a couple of nice corners not far out of Mersing but you would need a faster bike to really appreciate them.
Did a beautiful dodge of a goat today, textbook counter steer quite proud of it. I saw one goat run across the road and a second start once I got closer. I also noticed a third in the small drainage ditch that to cross the road would have to jump out. I couldn’t go behind the second goat because the third might jump on the road at any moment so I had to go in front. It was a clear straight road with no cars in font or behind me. So looked down and across to lean the bike over and went about 1-2m in front of this goat. I heard its hooves scraping on the road as I went past and scared the crap out of it. I straightened up and continued on my way flicking the goat the finger over my shoulder as I rode off in to the sunset. Well the last two bits aren’t true but should have been.
Took me a while to find the actual turn off to Cherating, there are a bunch of shops saying Cherating on the main road that are quite far from the actual Cherating beach. Cherating is alight place quite small but a nice relaxed atmosphere. Still plagued by the smog from Indonesia for a couple of days I was there, even this far up the coast it’s still a problem. Must be quite bad in Singapore being so close.
They have a very good seafood place there you point at what you want then it is cooked in a banana leaf with chilli sambal. The Squid is fantastic.
Yep I’m that guy always posting pics of food.
The night before I left I did a firefly tour which was very good. You’re not allowed to take photos but its definitely worth it. You take some small boats up the river then stop near some glowing trees the guide will then flash his light in a special way. The fire flies will then fly off the tree and over to you. Very cool seeing these blinking lights slowly getting closer. I recommend this if your there.
Cherating to Tamen Negara (Kuala Tuhan is the town)
Tamen Negara is a large national park in the center of Malaysia and luckily some more interesting roads. The route today was to take the main highway across part of the way then head up to TN (Tamen Negara) via smaller roads.
I left early in the morning because I wasn’t able to book accommodation online and wanted time to find some where to stay when I arrived. Riding down the high way I noticed this place off to the side. It’s some sort of safari park the animals stared at me while I was taking the photos which is weird because I was very far away. They made me unconfutable had to find somewhere else to pee.
Stoped in a rest area just past a toll area (no toll for bikes) walked in to the Muslim prayer room looking for the toilet very confused for a second before I realised what happened.
Good little bike. Definitely the most secure I have managed to tie my bags down yet.
Weird woven birds nest they look quite alien pod like if you see a tree with lots.
Finally some fun riding roads with actual rain forest!
Came across this temple I’m not sure if its Indian or Chinese. One of the more interesting ones I had seen they must have built it around that tree. The tree is coved in vines and at the base they have attached religious paraphernalia to the vines. I wasn’t sure if I could just walk in it felt rude and no one was around to ask.
The tree actually goes through the roof.
Should have got my bike blessed or something.
The base of the tree.
Later that day crossing one of the rivers. The bridge I’m on looks a lot better. You can actually get a river boat out to Kuala Tuhan which I heard is a nice cruise.
The roads out there are fantastic lots of twisty bits majority are quite smooth corners. Very nice riding roads I was having such a good day. When going through palm plantations watch for cows (water buffalo?) the road is usually marked clearly by their shit. Also some corners have oil slicks caused by spilt diesel from trucks.
About 20 km outside of Kuala Tuhan I came across a Decreasing radius bend coved in an oil slick and rain which I would describe e as a ‘doosie’ of a corner. It’s one of the only corners with a gravel run off area if you have been there.
Or I would describe it with this face
I remember the entire thing clearly which is great because that means no head injury! I will try to describe what happened as best I can. What I was thinking at the time I’ll show like ‘this’.
Came around the corner and instantly knew it was wrong. Had that adrenaline rush that’s makes everything clear and slow it all down, felt like my brain would have tensed up if it had muscles. ‘Tight corner, water on the road, shit oil. No cars coming. Take it easy. Just take it wide. Smooth out the turn’. That’s where I made my biggest mistake. I went over to the other side of the lane so I could take the corner wide. But must have gone out too fast when I turned back in to the corner I Instantly went down. I don’t even have scratches on my gloves. I landed with all my weight fully on my shoulder. ‘**** I’ve crashed again. ohh that’s (my shoulder) injured’ my head then hits the ground spraying up gravel in front of my visor. ‘Oh wow my helmet worked great.’ It did but I don’t know why I thought it. Ended up sliding through the large gravel stones and came to a rest on my stomach with my arm under me. I remember groaning loudly more in annoyance that I crashed then pain. I was wearing helmet, gloves, jacket and shin/knee pads under normal pants I was after proper motorcycle pants but couldn’t find a pair that fits.
My gear held up really well. Small scratches on my wrist are the ONLY skin damage I had. My shin/knee pads saved my knees and legs from serious injuries, look how shredded my pants leg top left in the photo. Injury wise I’m very lucky, well I don’t want to say lucky I didn’t wear this stuff by chance. All up my good luck heavily outweighed the bad luck of crashing.
I managed to get up lifting my arm which was pretty bloody sore and sit with my legs in a nearby concrete culvert. I got my helmet off and managed to wave the next car down a white sedan with a large crack or spider sticker on the windscreen. They stopped to help me I told them I needed to sit for a bit so they got my bike up right. I was probably alone for only 2-5 mins it’s a busy road. Next some Fireman instructors stopped who were going to Kulan Tuhan for a conference or something. They really helped me out they drove me to Kulan Tahan doctors with all my gear. We followed the other guys who stopped on my bike who dropped it off somewhere.
The docs told me I had to go to the hospital in Jeranntut. I hadn’t taken any pain killers by this point it was only sore if I moved it. If I didn’t go to the docs I probably would have waited for it to heal.
The Fireman Trainers gave me a lift to Jeranntut regional hospital about an hour and a half away. Got xrays done hear they originally thought it was a dislocated shoulder and gave my some painkillers so they could adjust it. Thank **** they didn’t it turned out I had a fractured/dislocated collar bone and a fractured Shoulder blade. If they had it would have a whole new world of pain. I broke the shoulder blade all the way through horizontally just below the shoulder joint, image getting Africa griping it by the wide end and the pointy end then snapping it over you knee.
I was poorly organised with my emergency contacts and had some trouble contacting home. I had a diary that had international dialling numbers in it so was able to call my home (the only number I can remember) luckily my mum was home because that would have been a sucky voice message to get.
I got a privet ambulance in to kl later that night which was extremely painful and expensive. Any bumps on the road sent pain shooting around my arm and shoulder. I was airborne off the bed a couple of times and it’s a 3 hour trip, not a highlight.
Got to Pantai hospital eventually which is accentually very nice modern private hospital. I recommend it as far as hospitals go. Got more xrays and scans including a fancy 3d rendering of my shoulder blade that turns my stomach just think about it, broken through and apart. Stayed there for 2 or 3 nights before deciding to come home for the surgery because it would be easier to recover.
Make sure you double check your insurance before you do this. My travel insurance doesn’t cover me when I got home, not unexpected. So I kept my old health insurance just in case, unfortunately I only somehow had Essentials? Which doesn’t include hospital. Luckily I live in OZ not America so medicare has coved everything well so far.
Got a plate put on my collar bone that will have to be taken out in 3 months time. So I’m currently stuck here in Perth for a while. It was also like 8 degrees when I arrived home which sucks.
I’m not sure if I will be resuming my bike travels. I was having second thoughts before I crashed. What I was doing was backpacking with a bike which while fun is something extra to worry about. It’s just so touristed in Asia it’s not hard getting around and having a bike can be restricting. Having to worry about parking and storage. It was fun but I think even taking buses I would have enjoyed it the same.
This is in no way the last time I’m touching a bike and I may pick one up to tour around ‘merica or Mongolia or something. Maybe not Mongolia going across in a small 4x4 sounds like a laugh.
Thanks to ADV and Horizons Unlimited for all the inspiration and advice.
Sorry to hear about your bad luck. Glad to read you are ok and back in Oz. Smart move wearing that protective gear. Lots of riders think it won't happen to them. It could have been so much worse. Chin up and hope to hear your back on a bike in the near future.
Just an recovery update.
Thanks Dirtdog, I don't know how people can ride without safety gear. The stuff just works so much better then skin.
Shoulders feeling pretty good had the hook plate taken out about a week ago. I think most of my pain recovering was caused by the plate now its out I'm feeling almost 100%. Got a wicked scar out of it. I don't think i will have any long term issues with it. Thanks to Charlie Gardeners Hospital and Medicare.
I will be resuming my travels after the Oct 20th so i can attend the Perth HU event. Heading back to Malaysia to pickup my bike then i will probably keep riding it up through at least Thailand.
Managed to upload my x rays and scans from Malaysia.
I don't do things by halves.... except shoulder blades.
The end of the collar bone is out by about 2cm.
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