Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Entering Cambodia with a Malaysian Registered Motorbike

This is a guide some sort but as rules will change with time, I have no idea if it will be relevant to those seeking this information in the future. This attempt innitiated in August 2018 and I have successfully Cross over to Cambodia on the 13 November 2018 

Poi Pet Customs & Excise Office 
Important Note: I am a Malaysian Riding a Malaysian Registered Motorbike.

Preparation From Home Malaysia (Maybe Not Worth The Effort ... read till end to understand)

First off I visited the Royal Embassy of Cambodia to gather information which was at

46, Jalan U Thant,
Taman U Thant,
55000 Kuala Lumpur,
Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur.

The consular was very nice and helpful but the Officer thought I was organizing a convoy. For which charity he asked, which made me feel a little guilty on my very personal and selfish travel nature.

So I needed to prepare a few documents such as

1. Supporting Letter from Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Malaysia)
2. Personal Letter to Request for Entry into Cambodia via Motorcycyle (Self Written & Sign) (SAMPLE)
3. Vehicle Registration Copy( I am the owner fully paid )
4. Insurance & Road Tax Copy
5. Passport Copy
6. Driving Licence Copy
7. International Driving Licence Copy (Purchase at any JPJ Office for RM150)

Once you get all this come back and submit the documents to me the officer said. I will then forward to Cambodia side for processing but no promises that you will get the permit to enter via motorbike.

.... so a possibility but still no assurance

So next I visited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Malaysia at

Wisma Putra, No 1,
Jalan Wisma Putra, Precinct 2,
62602 PUTRAJAYA

There was no real procedure for this and I had to ask from one counter desk to another until I met Officer Mr. Farhan which listened to my request quietly and ask me a few question such as why I was doing this, how many countries I planned to ride through, and for how long I was planning to go on this journey. He gave me the to do list in order to get the supporting letter from the ministry.

1. Letter address to Ministry of Foreign Affairs Malaysia requesting the supporting letter ... (Sample)
(Must include purpose, timeline, duration, countries, route, anything you think that could be of importance )
2. Vehicle Registration Copy
3. Insurance & Road Tax Copy
4. Identity Card Copy
5. Passport Copy
6. Driving Licence Copy
7. International Driving Licence Copy

With this items submitted it would take three working days for the ministry to prepare the letter and I could collect it from the same place.

Throughout the process with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Malaysia, there was no queue ticket taken, nor were there any fees and even all the document that was submitted was returned after they have used it for reference to write the supporting letter.

As I stated the route which will pass Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos, the Ministry gave me four letters, one for each country to request facilitation and support on my quest and journey.

With the final document in hand I returned to the Royal Embassy of Cambodia in Malaysia and submitted the documents. A copy of the letter from Ministry of Foreign Affairs Malaysia was made and stamped received date and I was told to wait for one month for the reply.

.....

One Month Later came and passed and I visited the Royal Embassy of Cambodia in Malaysia again but the Officer had no reply from his counterpart in Cambodia. He promised to send another inquiry to his counterpart in Cambodia and will contact me if there was any news.

At this point I decided to take the risk and started my Journey North towards Thailand.

Entered Thailand 15 October 2018

Email Contact from the Ministry of Tourism Cambodia

On the 16 October 2018 I got an email from a guy I assumed works at the Ministry of Tourism Cambodia requesting for additional information such as Motorcycle colour, Make, Capacity, Weight and Price of the Motorcycle.

I knew it was risky for it was an informal email but I took the risk trusting that not many people would have known about the documents I submitted and since no query of engine number, passport ID or any sensitive information that was already provided in the initial submission, I replied the email and waited.

A few days later another email query requesting the actual date of entry and departure. I was sure now this was genuinely from Ministry of Tourism Cambodia for I have put in the month and year of entry/exit and purposely left out the specific date. Replied and wait.

A few days later I received a document which was a letter nicely drafted and addressed to the Ministry of Tourism stating a request to enter Cambodia with Bluey particulars and finally my name at the bottom. I signed and replied and wait. (SAMPLE)

A week later I got an email informing that the documents has been processed successfully and I should retrieved it at Phnom Penh Ministry of Tourism and proceed to Stage 2 where I have to bring the documents to Customs in Phnom Penh for import permission approval then finally bring these documents to the border and enter with Bluey.

You can now understand why I say the first preparation works in Malaysia is really Redundant. I manage to get half the permit done remotely ... but half done is as good as not done ...

Below is a photo of my incomplete document (print out copy) and a completed document sample presented to me at Customs in Poi Pet border. Your document is incomplete the officer at Customs Poi Pet border said to me. 


My Incomplete Document on the Left & The Completed Sample shown by the Customs officer on the Right
Getting the Permits to Enter Cambodia with a Motorbike.

In the end, there was no avoiding the painful system Cambodia have in place for obtaining the Permits for Motorbike entry. (The alternative method is to sneak through .... but this post is not about that)

I left Thailand easily completing all the necessary documentation for export of motorbike and entered Poi Pet, Cambodia. Parked Bluey in-front of Imigration and got my passport stamped for entry then proceeded to ride on looking out for customs. 

I actually went pass customs with no one stopping me at all, but maybe I am naive or afraid ... I went back and asked around inside the customs office for someone who knows about bringing Bluey into Cambodia.

Imagine that ... if I did no effort on my part to follow the rules, I would already be riding in Cambodia. I requested for my motorbike (Bluey) to be parked inside the customs building just to be safe and they gladly accepted. The officers and people were really polite and helpful, sympathetic even but follows the rules.

Bus Ride USD 10 (K.S.O Bus Services) from Poi Pet at 10am and reached Phnom Penh at 8pm

Find a Hostel and sleep

The next day I went to the Ministry of Tourism (Map Below) to finally meet the kind young chap that helped me processed the first document in advance. I obtained the original documents from the Ministry of Tourism and proceeded to Customs Buildings which misleadingly not what is shown in Google. The actual place is at Vattanac Capital Tower Level 5. (Map Below) 


Ministry of Tourism Phnom Penh 

Location of Ministry of Tourism Phnom Penh 
General Customs & Excise @ Vattanac Capitol Tower Level 5 

Once there I just flash the Ministry of Tourism Letter around and the people will point you to the right location. Submitted my documents and wait. I got back the document close to 5pm just before closing time of the Ministry. 


General Customs & Excise Office at Level 5 of Vattanac Capitol Building 
Hop back onto overnight bus USD 10.50 (168 Sorya bus service) from Phnom Penh to Poi Pet

Back in Poi Pet .... ( Seriusly tired by this point )

Reunited with Bluey but not before waiting for another 3 hours for the customs papers to be processed. The customs process cost USD 15 and came with a receipt and I used a runner for USD 10 to get the documents processed at various customs departments at the border.

The officer explained to me that I could do it on my own for free but I’ll probably be lost since there were places that need a copy of the letters to be exchange for chops, and then there were forms to be filled up to print out the custom release note, etc, etc ... plus all these were not in English. USD 10 I parted with the money mentally exhausted.

So now I have these current documents with me travelling in Cambodia with a Motorbike

1. Letter from Ministry of Tourism & Endorsed by Customs at Phnom Penh & Endorsed by Customs at Poi Pet ( at back Page)

2. Motor List Document stating Motor & Rider Particulars endorsed by both Ministry of Tourism & Customs at Phnom Penh

3. Endorsed Cargo Release Note from Customs Poi Pet

4. Endorsed Customs Declaration Document from Customs Poi Pet

5. Official Receipt Payment for Customs Processing Fees (USD 15)

6. Additional Letter Requesting Change in Exit Border ( Read on for this )

Additional Information in Changing the Content Inside the Import Permit if required.

While I manage to obtain the approval letter from the Ministry of Tourism in advance, the problem was the information that was given for the application of that letter was outdated.

I initially wanted to exit Cambodia into Vietnam via Bavet border but as I have still no formal/legal way of entering Vietnam with a motorbike, I decided to change my plans and exit back into Thailand.

The letter from the Ministry of Tourism clearly states that I would be entering Via Poi Pet and leaving via Bavet. Hence when I submitted the documents at Customs Phnom Penh, I made it a point to inform the customs officer of my intentions to change the exit border to Cham Yeam Border instead of Bavet.

The additional measures I had to do was find a computer and write another letter requesting change in exit border with reference to the original Ministry of Tourism Letter and submit it to Customs. (SAMPLE)

I of course ran like hell to find a computer in Phnom Penh, quickly draft the letter, print, sign and submit it to the officer the same day which he gracefully processed it together with the original submission.

Back on the Road ... Welcome to Cambodia 
Traveled on: November 2018
#bordercrossing #poipet #motorbike #motorbikebordercrossing #cambodia #blurtravels

Camping in Tanjung Rhu Beach Langkawi

Camping at Tanjung Rhu Beach seamed like a good idea, but with all the glamour of camping one tends to forget about the pains in camping. I have been considering camping in Langkawi for the longest time now while I am here and everyday, while touring around for basic food of lunch and dinner, a potential camping spot was always marked on the back of my head.

In the end, I narrowed it down to three location for best possibility of camping in Langkawi.

1. Beach by the Airport Runway ... this was actually pretty nice but there was lots of Gerai’s , van stalls that would go till late at night and setting up camp while there were loads of people watching seamed like a not so suitable idea since i was alone and cannot leave my stuff unattended. The other problem was I had to leave my bike on the road ... out of sight from where I can pitch a tent .... still it was a viable option ... placed it as my worst case scenario since this was definitely doable and no private beach resort security will chase me away

2. Pantai Kok was the next best viable option ... secluded, lovely white sand beach and still clear calm waters .... problem was that my tent required some kind of support from the ground pegs. This was a pure sandy beach type so would be tricky but still doable .

3. Since I saw Tanjung Rhu Beach the first time, I have had dreams on how to camp there and the beauty of solidarity ... nearby there was a resort, Tanjung Rhu Resort with a open swimming pool up to the beach front and based on the design, no where near the reception hence no guards, no security and in my mind it was the perfect place to take a bath at night around 10pm when no one is expected in the pools. Plus this beach was so secluded it was actually a private beach.

Touring around on my bike yesterday after checking out of the hostel, I rode around and went from Option 1 to Option 2 to finally stop at Option 3 Tanjung Rhu Beach. Brought some beers, water and ciggy and it was time to engineer my home for the night since it was nearly 6pm in th evening.

I pitched my tent as far away from the resort and behind a tree that would give me some sort of cover so that the resort people would not see anything. Best part was I could ride bluey all the way in albeit a bit tricky with the sand and thankfully I did not get stuck. I pitch my tent next to bluey .... beautiful and lovely loneliness. 

Camping at Tanjung Rhu Beach Langkawi 

There was nothing to do really since by 730 pm when the sun is fully set not a soul was at the beach. Even the small rows of shops at the edge of the road was fully closed. No food, no drinks, no toilet, no nothing ... darkness illuminated only by a crescent moonlight. 

I took a slow stroll towards the resort around 8pm and beautifully lit in dim lights was the pool with no one in it. I jumped in and soak myself like a bath ... a much needed one, since after setting up the tent I was stinking all over. ... it was bliss I guess finding this hidden gem semi illegal ... the thrill was always in the illegal stuff. Wanders.

Back to the tent after a good soak, I was now ready for bed. Felt refresh and after changing I lit two candles up in front of the tent where I played some light music on the phone and then quietly ... the crabs came out to play ... they were huge as well ... the size of my palm ... that whole night I would here movement of the crabs all around my tent ...*click click click* one even came in the first tent compartment but alas I was protected by the second layer. 

My Company for the Night ... 
Early morning came and as I prepared to dismantle the tent, the urge to go shit came over me .... No toilet so somewhere in Tanjung Rhu Beach I marked my spot and stroll down to the sea semi-naked to wash my ass. Good thing it was really early and no one was around in this private beach.

They say go to the beach and take nothing but photos and leave nothing but footprints ... I left much natural ferterlizer from my shit and piss the whole night .... no more camping for a while for me I am thinking ...


Traveled on: October 2018

#campinginlangkawi #camping #langkawi #tanjungrhu

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Daytrip to Pulau Tuba, an Island not Known to Tourism in Langkawi

To tell this story right I have to go back a bit and tell how I found out of this unknown Island in Langkawi.

At one point of time, I stayed at MotoDorm Hostel in Langkawi. The Hostel was only listed on AirBnB and not on any other booking websites. Why MotoDorm ... well because I had free money from AirBnB and it was expiring so I find it interesting to stay at a hostel where if you book a bed for the night, the owner will lend you a motorbike or a bicycle for a day. Imagine that ... it came together ... bed and transport.

Moh the owner was a mechanic and seeing my bike and chatting with me for many hours gave me tips on how to go around solo biking South East Asia and a crash course of Bluey mechanics. He was the one that mention Pulau Tuba in Langkawi that is not part of any standard tourist package, for the traveler and not the tourist.

Getting to Pulau Tuba

The departure point to Pulau Tuba is at Pekan Rabu jetty, by a boat locally operated and cost RM5 one way per person. There is no schedule ... you get to the jetty and ask around to make sure you are at the correct jetty and just wait. People started gathering and waiting around ... wait till someone yells Pulau Tuba, Tuba Tuba Tuba, and everyone gets up and follows him to the boat.

So the boat operator will only depart when he feels there is sufficient number of people to make the trip worth while. The same goes for the way back to Langkawi Island from Pulau Tuba so a Day trip to Pulau Tuba will need a lot of luck to be quick and easy or lots of time and patients.

The boat ride was about 15 minutes and they let everyone off at the jetty of Pulau Tuba. There are two jetty at Pulau Tuba and its kinda of random which jetty the boatman wishes to go. Regardless of which jetty the boatman bring you to, there will be a few locals with many motorbikes parked at the jetty for rent. 


Boat Ride to Pulau Tuba 

Pulau Tuba Jetty 

Getting Around Pulau Tuba

There is really only one way to see Pulau Tuba, which is renting a motorbike/scooter. Motorbike rental for the day cost RM15 per bike and the business is very chill too. I got a bike for RM15, paid the man on the spot and off we go. I never showed any licence, no paperwork, just money = bike. 


No helmet was given, and is not really needed in this small Island. Returning the bike after touring can be done anytime at the jetty by just parking and leaving the keys in the ignition of the motorbike. 

Rent a Bike at the Jetty of Pulau Tuba 


Sightseeing Pulau Tuba

Pulau Tuba is like Langkawi trapped in a time-loop stopped at around 1950 where all this here never change. The small community here farm little fields of rice and vegetable for their own need and farm animals such as cows, buffalo, goat, chicken, etc all roam free around the Island.

The loop was pretty small and one can finish seeing Pulau Tuba in 20 minutes if one goes too fast, so relax and slowdown the pace to match this forgotten place and enjoy chilling around for a few hours. 


Pulau Tuba

Pulau Tuba

Pulau Tuba

Pulau Tuba

Pulau Tuba

There is also a new bridge which crosses from Pulau Tuba to Pulau Dayang Bunting. While Pulau Dayang Bunting is famous for the freshwater lake and Island hopping which is sold as day trips to tourist, this part of Pulau Dayang Bunting on the other side of the tourist attraction gets no visitors apart from the day trippers to Pulau Tuba. 

Bridge to Pulau Dayang Bunting 

Local Communal Hall at Pulau Dayang Bunting 
Finally, is food ... the famous Mee Udang (Prawn Mee) of Pulau Tuba. There is not much food around but somehow the local local people that was visiting Pulau Tuba when I was on the boat with them told me about the most famous stall in Pulau Tuba.

Ordering the Mee Udang, the Makcik asked if I wanted the special or the normal one. One Special please. RM 12 for a humongous bowl of Mee + Prawn ... 


Mee Udang - Pulau Tuba
Mee Udang Stall 
Once bored with doing nothing at Pulau Tuba it was time to head back to the Jetty and wait till there was enaugh people again to get a boat back to Pulau Langkawi.

Traveled on : Oct 2018
#blurtravels #pulautuba 

Friday, 2 November 2018

Just Chilling at Langkawi

All throughout my journey in Malaysia I held myself back from the drinking. If there was a place in Malaysia where I recommend to just chill, that would be Langkawi. 

Its been many years since I been to Langkawi and those were back in early 2000, when just after high school the boys would plan a holiday trip, on our own with no supervision from pestering parents or adults where we could enjoy some crazy adventurous taste of traveling or in Langkawi taste ... drinking and smoking. 

Langkawi Graffiti in Old Town Kuah 

Beers were still cheap now at RM 2.20 for a can of Carlsberg. Cigarettes were more expensive now but still cheaper than the mainland. The duty free Langkawi status together with many white sandy beach, a hot-spring and a true authentic township and not just Resorts on a beach makes Langkawi the perfect place to lay back, relax and just enjoy the time pass by.

My routine for a day in Langkawi would start out by waking up .... taking a beer ... head out riding around for cheap RM 2.5 Nasi Lemak, then head back to the hostel for another beer. Maybe some smokes in between putting the pipe to good use then more beer before going out for a dip in the sea just in time for sunset before buying more beer back to stock up the hostel fridge.

I had many reason to stay longer in Langkawi than most places I visit in Malaysia such as cheap beers, making the RoRo ferry ticket worth its money, enjoying the large Island of Langkawi slowly like a beach a day but ultimately the most important reason for chilling in Langkawi was to burn time waiting for 15 October 2018 where I would enter Thailand and start a grueling ride almost every alternate day to get out to Cambodia.

Hence My -> 

Top 10 things to do in Langkawi on a shoestring Budget (Seriously Low Budget) 

1. Camping at The Beach

This was a great way of saving money but with Hostel at RM15 a night really the camping was just pure fun to be really alone at the beach at night. Plus point if you manage to camp at a private beach by sneaking pass the Resorts. 

Camping at Tanjung Rhu - Langkawi 
2. Hot Springs

Cost RM 5 per entry. Better than a foot massage is soaking your feet knee deep into hot natural spring water on a heavy thunderstorm rain day. When you are already wet from dipping into every beach sea you see along the way and riding in the rain ... 5 minutes of leg soaking will give back that warmth and energy boost to go find a waterfall 


3. Waterfall
There are three waterfall in Langkawi, but my favorite one is Temurun Falls. A short 50m walk from the road and not many people this cool but deep pool waterfall is just the place to be on a rainy day or hot day. Riding there was quite fun as well since its off the main road on a winding trail 

Temurun Waterfall - Langkawi 

4. Pulau Tuba

Langkawi back in time, this is a hidden gem, untouched from the mass tourism that has prospered Langkawi, this little island is a good day trip exploration for those that have too much time in Langkawi. I’ll probably write a detailed guide on this one next 

Pulau Tuba Jetty -Langkawi 

5. Chasing Sunsets

With so many beautiful beaches facing the west, one can only chase sunsets everyday looking for that special moment. 

Sunset at Tengah Beach - Langkawi 

6. Playing Hide & Sneaking into 5 Star Resorts

Guard : Where you go sir ?

Me : Checking In (Pretending to be going to the Resort to check in but in fact just wan to snoop around)

Guard : You have booking confirmation ?

Me : No ... I walk in customer

Guard : Sorry sir, I cannot let you in without a booking confirmation

Me : Fine .. I’ll go to a more expensive resort then (Dang it ... shitty Resorts just wanna hog all the good beaches to themselves) 

7. See Food ? Seafood ? 

Nom Nom Nom ... ok this one can be pricey if not careful but alas I found only ONE really nice local places to eat seafood in Langkawi which had no tourist in sight. Price was reasonable too 

Local Seafood Restaurant ... not on the map ... Along Jalan Penarak Near the Mosque facing the Sea 
8. Riding up Gunung Raya (Highest Driving Point in Langkawi)

Did you know, Langkawi has Horn bills? Yeah .. you don't need to go all the way to East Malaysia Borneo to see them but instead you just need to be lucky enough to see them in Langkawi. I actually saw one crossing the road near Gunong Raya.

The horn bill stopped right at the middle of the road ... slowly tries to shift gear into neutral without throttling too loud then fumbling with my pocket to take out my phone, the car behind-behind me blared his hon. F*ck ... guess only those in front who stopped could see the Horn bill and the queue of cars behind couldn’t see it was impatient wandering what these idiots were doing. 

Road to Gunung Raya - Langkawi 

9. Watch the Jets Fly

I love the airport in Langkawi ... the beach on one side and the runway on the other with a little truck cendol / rojak shop by the road side making it perfect to just sit and watch planes land and take off every hour. 

Ok I forgot to take a photo ... but this special DIY plane by a Hobbyist I actually saw in Langkawi ... Takes luck to see him

10. Drinking & Smoking Cheap Duty Free Goods

It had to be this one right .... took away all my money hence the shoestring budget for the rest of the activities ... haha

Traveled on : Oct 2018

Friday, 26 October 2018

Camping in Kuala Perlis

Kuala Perlis was the stop before I could board the ferry together with Bluey towards Langkawi. Only at Kuala Perlis can one take a vehicle on a RoRo ferry to Langkawi hence the other port at Kuala Kedah was out of the option.

A quick check online and shows no hostels in Kuala Perlis and all the cheap hotels were at least RM70 per night. I took a risk and did not book anything just starting the ride as late as possible from Alor Setar since it was only a 50km ride to Kuala Perlis. 


Camping at a Grass Patch in Kuala Perlis (Chinese Restaurant Behind)

Camping Front View of the Beach - Kuala Perlis 

The ride was beautiful in a way going by the coastal road with barely any people around. The loneliness of travel and the peace that comes without thinking of anything. Thoughts wandered everywhere and nowhere at the same time. 

Coastal Road to Kuala Perlis 
Patch of Grass for Camping ??? but that is swampy paddy fields  

However one thing at the back of my mind constantly was, where am I going to sleep tonight.

Oh that patch along the side of the road looks like camp worthy ... a lil dangerous since if a car pass-by he might hit me since the patch is only so large. On and on I go enjoying the view and ride while looking for a possible place to rest for the night.

Reached Kuala Perlis and checking the location of Ferry and also the check-in counter, I was all good by 4pm and it was time to make a decision, go to a hotel or really really find a place to camp the night. 


Langkawi RoRo Ferry Counter at Kuala Perlis 

Loading Port to Drive on the Bike / Car onto the Ferry 

Along a small park was a grass-patch which was facing the sea, lots of lovers and bikers would ride up and hang out by the parapet of the beach lepaking as the Malaysian way it was. Behind was a Chinese restaurant, large but not open. A few small huts for resting was around and I thought ... yea this will do ... I could camp here nicely with Bluey parked just next to me. 


Lepak Corner with a View - Kuala Perlis 

Time to burn time .... time passes very slow when you want it to go faster ... I was outdoors and wont be able to pitch a tent till sundown ... Dinner nearby at a restaurant was a 2 hours agenda to purposely pass more time and use the toilet one last time

I rode back to the spot at 7pm and dammit the Chinese restaurant that was close was now fully open with loads and loads of customer. .... so i decided to eat a second round since I was getting feasted by the mosquito at the park. Most people lepak no more than 30 minutes for after blood donation to the mosquitoes it was time to go.

I saw so many police cars and policemen at the Chinese restaurant too ... oh boy ... just lay low and wait it out I thought ... wait till everything is close then pitch the tent. So apparently the restaurant was quite popular with the King of Perlis state, that the car park had a special reserved spot for him .... I wondered if he was there that night since there was so many police around.

10 pm arrive somehow slowly and the restaurant had no signs of slowing down ... lepak group was small enough now and I was now too tired to bother of what people think of me. Pitch up the tent in darkness with a few street light away while donating more blood to the mosquitoes.

Seaside breeze ... where the f*ck is the seaside breeze ... there was no seaside breeze at all and all i got was still warm air. Google weather said a thunderstorm would arrive at 10pm but no signs of it. Avoiding the mosquitoes was a priority now with me sticky and sweaty pitching up the tent but alas inside the tent where the was no mosquitoes there was also no wind and hence an even more hotter environment. ...

I had to remember back to childhood days where one had to master the art of fanning oneself to sleep and once asleep try to dream of stuff such as sleeping in a puddle of water shipwreck in the middle of the ocean with nothing around floating and sleeping in the comfort of dampness ...

I was sweating and semi-sleeping .... at least I was saving RM 70 i thought ... its just one day ... too late to back out now. Somehow by 2am by my estimation the restaurant closes and the morning dew came making sleep possible ... by early morning it was a lovely sleep only to wake up by 7am to pack and get out before someone ask me what I was doing there that night.

More time burning till 1245pm and it was a sweet ride on the ferry to Langkawi ... 3 hours on the boat and once i checked in to the hostel it was a shower a beer and sleep in that order ....


Traveled on: Sep 2018
#blurtravels