Tuesday, 5 December 2017

7 Day Road Trip Malaysia – Banjaran Titiwangsa

Woke up in the morning and had a chat with the Royal Belum Resort hotel manager and he gave some suggestion on where to stop by along the way to Kota Bahru. Started driving and immediately detours after 200 meters when I saw the sign public jetty. Jetty was not accessible by car but driving to the end I saw a rubbish dump being attacked by wild pig and her piglets. That was a sight worth detouring. 

Belum Lake
Back on the Grik highway and it was not as I remembered. Those crazy drops and amazing scenery are not there anymore. Most parts covered by trees and roads not as windy anymore. 

A Quiet Drive .... Watch out for Wild Elephant Crossing - Grik Highway

Titiwangsa Reststop - Grik Highway
I stopped at Titiwangsa rest stop as suggested by Andrew and the Belum staff and it was a great view .. the highest point of the Titiwangsa Mountain Range in Malaysia they say or at least by driving. Also the tasty lunch of Ramly burger was worth the stop.

The Virgin Tropical Forest of Malaysia - Banjaran Titiwangsa

Me at Banjaran Titiwangsa

A work of Art - Ramly Burger
Back on the road again and no detour till I reached the border of Thailand … Rantau Panjang. So this part of the border town it was a duty free zone and I drove pass in ave that this would be the way to go next time into Thailand if I manage start my 2 year road trip around south east Asia. 

Scenic Drive - Northern Malaysia

Logging Activity .... - Malaysia

Entrance to Border Town of Malaysia - Thailand - Rantau Panjang

Border Town - Rantau Panjang

Entering Thailand ..... ( ... but I did not go in ... no passport ... cries ... )

Bus Stop at Rantau Panjang - All you need tickets & Insurance vice versa
All the way to Kota Bahru … nothing of interest but the drive was relaxing if not tiring … almost 5 hours on the road and I decided another two to get to Kuala Terengganu would not be a good idea.

Travelled on: Dec 2016

Sunday, 3 December 2017

7 Day Road Trip Malaysia – Kota Bahru

Day 5, Woke up early at 8am and I was eager to get out of the grimy house / makeshift bed and breakfast. Visiting Kota Bahru was refreshing, I could not remember the last time I was here and everything seems weird. Almost familiar Malaysia yet sublime difference. 

One thing I remembered today in the morning was that I could not communicate with the locals. Trying to buy the first “Keropok Lekor” I saw and I asked ‘berapa ??’ And I got the answer ‘leper’ …. I figured it was eight such as ‘lapan’ and it was true but it took a while to click and after that every time I try to ask something it felt like I was in south America again learning a new language, trying to not stick out. 

Felt weird referring them as the locals, as it was Malaysia and I am Malaysian yet thou it seems like another culture and country altogether. 

Kota Bahru is a vibrant town, as I walk around everywhere visiting markets, streets and even old Chinatown in the city you see a blend in culture comparable to Penang and even Malacca.

Town Centre - Kota Bahru

Handicraft Market - Kota Bahru
I learned to appreciate the little things in life observing the locals around yet as a city boy finding tranquillity in Kota Bahru, I can only wonder how many of them felt trap and wishes to migrate to a large city like KL. 

Big Bazaar Market - Kota Bahru

Kota Bahru Streets

Hokkien Community in Kota Bahru

Mural & Street Art - Kota Bahru

Streets - Kota Bahru

Deep Fried Chicken - Malaysia Style
Some parts of the old palace and monumental buildings were open to the public … taking full advantage as a Malaysian … for once I only had to pay the customary fee of RM 2 instead of the tourist price I had to fork out visiting places throughout my travels.

Traditional Long Boat - Kota Bahru

Travelled on: Dec 2016

7 Day Road Trip Malaysia – Detours Detours and more Detours … towards Gerik

The drive to from Taiping to Gerik was simple taking it slow and easy till I reached Sauk where I did a slow drive though the kampong (village).
Town of Sauk - Malaysia
After driving pass the town crawling at 10km an hour, I decided this was the place for lunch and picked a restaurant for fresh water fish. Or at least I think it is … how much I asked and they said about RM 7 a fish … all this was in hokkien/Cantonese mind and I am rubbish at it but at RM 7 I tot it was dirt cheap. 

"Pak Su Kong"
One fish “Pak Su Kong” a vegetable dish called “Mak Choi” and rice … the bill came out to be RM 49 … so apparently the fish was RM 7 for 100 gram … felt so cheated but it was a great meal non the less. 

After lunch I took the detour trying to get to Chenderoh hydroelectric Dam but at the end of the detour there was a guard post and he said not open to public. Apparently people work there and a small community stays there within the government quarters. Wasted detour but oh well back on the road to Gerik.

Somewhere between Sauk & Gerik
Every chance I get I took a detour off the main road to the parallel small road but other than plantation there was not much to be seen. Reached Gerik and it was decision time … to stay or to try my luck at Royal belum rainforest resort …. Could not find anything worth staying for so after topping up fuel I headed to Royal Belum resort. 

Somewhere Between Sauk & Gerik

Approaching Gerik

Onwards from Gerik into the Jungle
Internet booking.com price was RM 330 without tax but walk in price was RM 400. I guess Malaysia is the kind of country where booking in advance is cheaper than walking in. I stayed the night in the resort in a room that could accommodate 3people … 

Royal Belum Resort
Slurge but it was a beautiful place to spend the night. At the fringe of the tropical Belum Rainforest it was the gateway into the oldest Rainforest in the world. Even at the fringe I already encountered tons of mosquitos, a family of monkeys and a few bite of leaches when walking around the more forested part of the resort. Eco-tourism is expensive in Malaysia but without it the forest would never survive the hoard of tourist.

Jetty at Royal Belum Resort - Gateway to hire guides into the Tropical Rainforest

Monkeys .... Slowly back away ... - Royal Belum Resort

Jungle Survival Training .... Maybe

Nasi Goreng Kampung - Royal Belum Resort
Travelled on: Dec 2016