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  #1  
Old 30 Apr 2006
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Unhappy Penang - Belawan RoRo ferry

Just an update as to the Penang - Belawan RoRo ferry, it's a bit unreliable at present, having not run for the past two months. We've been told there should be a ferry next week to Aceh, if not the week after...here's hoping!
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Old 1 May 2006
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I spoke to Alan Ban two weeks ago and he said there is a ferry leaving Penang to Aceh on Friday, May 5. Looks like we will find out some more information tomorrow. Assuming we can get our 60 day visa from the Indonesian Consulate tomorrow or the next day, we will be on it.

Em and Hame, are you in Penang now?
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Old 2 May 2006
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Hi David,

We've spoken to Alan Ban nearly every day for the past month and have yet to establish a fixed sailing date, so whilst keeping our fingers crossed for the 5th, we're not too optimistic. I met with Alan in Penang last week, who said the 5th was a possibility, however the 12th was perhaps more realistic...

We were banking on a ferry departing in April as our Malaysian visas expired 30/4 and therefore as a result are now in Thailand chilling out on the beach waiting for confirmation on the ferry.

Let's hope there's a ferry before long - we'll see you there!

Hamish
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Old 2 May 2006
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I spoke to Alan today who said that it looks like the ferry may be delayed a day or two from the 5th of May. We will meet him in person tomorrow to find out more. He seemed optimistic that it would be going shortly, but who knows?
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Old 3 May 2006
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Wink

I'll bet you a bottle of Tiger the ferry doesn't sail 'till the 12th!
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Old 4 May 2006
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Mmm, a bottle of Tiger? I will have to get back to you on that one...

We spoke to Alan in person today. Apparently the ferry is stuck in Belawan at the moment undergoing "certification". Supposedly there are several vehicles here in Penang waiting to be shipped across the water. He said the earliest the ferry will leave is Tuesday. Alan seems like he is trying his best, but it looks like he is at the mercy of the Indonesian officials. He also said the last ferry sailed in February.

If we don't find out any more solid information in the next day or two, we may be investigating the "chicken boat" option from Melaka.

So the RORO ferry is not a regularly scheduled vessel anymore. Looks like the "chicken boat" may again be the only option for most of us...
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Old 5 May 2006
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Beer and chickens

Hi David,

Thanks for the update. Yeah Alan has been good at keeping us updated, I just wish something would happen! We were first planning to leave on April 18th, and were pretty sure the ferry would have started to run again by then...We were living in Melaka and had investigated the onion boat option but we don't have a carnet and with a Malaysian reg bike the Penang RoRo is OK without one. We can get the bike onto a boat in Melaka, no problem but had been warned the bike could be impounded in Indon without a carnet...so that would be a last resort.

Let us know if you need a contact for Melaka, found a helpful guy.

Meantime we just have to wait a bit longer, but waiting on the beach ain't too bad! Our visas for Indon expire on May 23rd and I'm not too sure we'd get another 60 day one if we don't use this, so our only option would be go straight to Aus, if the ferry doesn't happen before then.

Keep in touch, we may yet see you on the ferry on the 12th....

How long will you wait in Penang for?

Em (the pillion half)
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Old 5 May 2006
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Hi Em,

Today we made alternative arrangements for the trip to Sumatra. After looking at the shipping reports in the left column on the HUBB, we have decided to use Mr. Lim here in Penang. Our bike will leave on a cargo boat (uncrated) from Butterworth on Monday, May 5 in the evening and will arrive late in the afternoon on Tuesday in Belawan. We will be taking the passenger ferry on Tuesday morning, May 6 and arriving in Belawan on Tuesday afternoon.

Mr. Lim charges 300RM for the bike and another 10RM for the crew to "watch and take care of the bike". The passenger ferry tickets are 150RM a piece from another agency.

Mr. Lim's phone number in Penang is +042625879 and his mobile number is +0124709717. He seems pretty sharp. I am not sure if this will work for you without a carnet. We have a carnet.

The RORO ferry would certainly be convienient, but even Alan has expressed his frustration at not knowing when it will sail. Mr. Lim's vessel is a sure thing, it leaves every Monday and Thursday and is pretty reliable.

I think Mr. Lim's service is going to be the most convienient way for travellers to get into Indonesia, at least with a carnet. The only disadvantage is that you and the bike have to sail on separate vessels. I will have more after our shipping experience is completed in Indonesia.

Best of luck to you and stay in touch, hope to see you in Sumatra sometime!
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Old 6 May 2006
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Hi David,

Thanks for the info, good to hear you're transport's sorted for Sumatra. We contacted Mr. Lim last week, however as we've no carnet, he can't ship our bike. We'll just have to wait and see what happens with the ro-ro.

Anyway, enjoy Indonesia, hope we meet up along the way. We can be contacted on emandhameatyahoodotcom, any up to date info appreciated.

Cheers, Hamish
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Old 11 Sep 2006
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Just a follow up, the shipping experience with Mr. Lim went all according to plan. Dealing with the Indonesian authorities took a bit of time, but they were friendly. Just make sure you get receipts for any port charges or you will probably pay a bit extra. I will post a full shipping report when I get a chance.

Getting to Sumatera is easy, getting out of Indonesia further east is a bit more challenging...
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Old 14 Sep 2006
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Is there any news on the ferry? Running or not?

Thanks for any updates.
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Old 14 Sep 2006
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Your best bet will be to give Alan Ban a ring to check the status. He was pretty easy to contact with the number on Striking Viking's thread. When I spoke to him in person last spring, it sounded like this had changed from a regular service to an "as-needed" service.

If you have a carnet, Mr. Lim's boat goes every Monday and Thursday and is very easy. So you can still get to Indonesia quite easily.

Entering Indonesia from Penang is probably the way to go as the highlights of Sumatera are in the north, IMO. If you leave from Malacca, you will miss the best part of Sumatera, and for us, our favorite part of Indonesia.

Give us an update when you get some news.
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Old 15 Sep 2006
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Thanks very much Dave.
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Peter.

Europe to NZ 2006-10
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  #14  
Old 5 Nov 2006
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Has anyone got up to date info about a vehicle ferry from Sumatra to Malaysia?

There's heaps of stuff on the hubb, but mostly slightly older and I know things change quickly.

I hope to be in Bulawan in a day or two to try to get over, I gather thats the best place to try?

Tim
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Old 8 Nov 2006
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Exclamation

Read Linda's post on the subject, so you don't get your bike confiscated. Good luck, I'm some way behind you.
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