TravellingStrom

Riding to the end of the world, and beyond!

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The Final Border and the Final Country – Malaysia!

Posted by TravellingStrom on March 20, 2013

Having gone to bed without beer on board last night, I was awake early, which suited me real fine as I had a long day ahead. Brekky was a bit of hit and miss, it cost 100baht and was classified as American Breakfast. They did bring the eggs and some sausage stuff, but when I asked where the tea was they said it wont happen because the kitchen is broke? So I asked for some juice instead and I am not sure what answer he gave except the kitchen is broke! I finished off the runny eggs and stuff just as he brought the juice and the toast, a bit late, but I drank the juice as it was all there was for moisture. Hopefully when the renovations are complete they will be a bit better organised.

Anyway, I was packed and on the bike at 8am, a miracle and proceeded south 🙂 I had planned to take in a few Geocaches on the way, time permitting, but wanted to be at the border before lunch. The only reason I stopped at the first cache was because it had never been found, I just liked the thought of my final Thailand cache to be a First To Find (FTF) The cache was pretty easy to find and even had parking off road, although I missed the exit and parked up on the shoulder. So I was successful and collected a FTF for the day 🙂

Cache is Welcome to Mae Khri

After another hour or so of riding I entered some hilly country and then not long after the border area. This is where the fun started 🙂

I had been told that this border is quiet and so it seemed, compared to a number of other borders I had been through anyway. The Thai side was easy, it took no time for them to stamp me out of the country and reclaim the TVIP for the bike. Then it was on the the Malaysian side. There is no excuse to be had in this country, if you want to play with drugs, pay the penalty, it is on a huge sign as you enter!

The initial part of the process here was fine, I was stamped in on my passport and then for the first time of the whole trip I got to use the Carnet!! I have carried this set of documents for nearly a year now and no country wanted or needed them. Even the ones that the AAA said needed them, didn’t, so it was a pleasant surprise to sit in the office while the customs chap followed a precise step by step procedure on how to use and fill one out 🙂

This process did not take long and I was ready to go, except for one thing. I asked about bike insurance(3rd Party) and was it needed in Malaysia? After a few chats with the local cops, one of the cops told me I needed to get some insurance back on the Thai side, I also needed copies of my rego, international drivers licence(which was expired) and passport, then bring all those documents to him and he would issue a CPI certificate, or something along those lines. Well, I was confused, why do I now have to leave my bike here in Malaysia, walk across the border to Thailand to buy Malaysian insurance. In the end I tried, but the insurance office sent me back across to Malaysia and said get it there. Well, there was only one office and it was locked!!! Lucky for me a lady saw what I needed and pointed to another lady in a car, she said she had left her keys behind and they would arrive in about 20 minutes, well, OK then, time for lunch 🙂

Not very inspiring lunch, chook rice and apple juice, but it filled the hole. By the time I had finished that the office was open and then I found out that their company could not supply foreign bikes with insurance, only Thai or Malay registered bikes!!! Now what??? When I explained that the cops would not let me pass without it, she got on the phone and talked to them and said to me, it is OK, just ride on through? What else could I do, so I did and nobody stopped me. But, I still have no 3rd party insurance, so I better not hit anybody as I don’t want to go to jail here!

Selamat Datang(Welcome) to Malaysia at the Wang Kelian border point 🙂 The final country of my journey home for this leg. And, I had some caches to find, there are 3 right here at the border point. I knew one of them was a FTF, but it was a trek up in the forest/jungle and I probably did not have time for this one now as I lost time at the border. But, the first one was at the duty free area market. According to the online log it had been found by a German a while back, it is called Gateway to Thailand: Wang Kelian – Wang Prachan There is not much to read about as the cache is a premium member only cache. But, I did find it and I annoyed a small mother bird in the process. While searching(the ground zero was 15m away for the supposed location) I disturbed an egg sitting mum in a fire extinguisher housing 🙂

If you look at the last photo above you will see a clean log sheet, totally empty, yet the German chap had claimed FTF? I took these photos so I could document that I had found it and wanted to claim FTF. If a new cache is found, it is practically unheard of for someone NOT to sign the log, but as I could not read the log entry as it was in German, I gave them the benefit of the doubt, in case they had no pen or pencil handy 🙂 I later sent an email to the cache owner asking his/her opinion and they said the German chap had said the cache had been lost but he was claiming FTF, his log entry has now been deleted as he never found it and I have been awarded this one. )You ripper, a FTF as my last in Thailand and my first cache in Malaysia is also a FTF, a good result, things are looking up 🙂

Onwards I go but not far as the next cache is quite close, only a km away. This one was a bit of a struggle to get to because my GPS took me to a carpark and once I left the bike I had a nearly impenetrable wall of jungle with no machete!

I was only 60m from it, which might as well be a mile! I stopped and re-read the cache description
The Danish Trail and the top line said Cache is placed in a wooded area, little undergrowth and beside a paved walking trail So, I was looking in the wrong spot as I had not seen any paved trails. I went back to basics and looked at the massive big photo map board next to my bike and on that I could see a few red lined walking trails and building outlines. I soon oriented myself and found the trail out the back, and yes it was overgrown and hard to see. Lucky there was a sign. I soon found the cache but it was damaged, it had been holed and there was no log to sign, so I just put it back where I found it.

So, I had found three for the day and I decided that was enough for now. The other one around here was also about 1km away but it was going to need a trek to find it, no time now I need to press on 🙂 As I mentioned yesterday, I had a place to stay waiting for me and I still needed to cover 350km. The roads were quite good as soon as I moved off with some nice curves and hills to keep me busy. I reached a junction and saw on my GPS yet another cache, just right there, so I went for a look, it was at the entrance to a cave system, but this one was missing, a bit of a shame 😦
Gua Kelam, Perlis This one was made for premium members also. From what I understand, there is a lesser chance of muggles finding it if not every man and his dog is approaching the cache all the time. But, this one was a small container stuck to the back of the large M in the sign. The building behind has many many windows and this particular location is not a good one for a muggle free cache 😦

Back heading south and I decided I would not stop, except for fuel of course. The roads were good, but I seemed to be in all the traffic, I was hoping for a freeway or something, that was when I checked my GPS settings and I had told it to ‘avoid’ toll roads, bugger, but in Thailand it is illegal for bikes to use them! Not that I like paying tolls, but I had been told bikes are toll free here so when I changed the settings, it seems I had missed the earlier opportunity to find an on ramp and would have to wait another 40km or so. I noticed while riding through the smaller towns and secondary roads that the scoots and other bikes would ride to the left in their own special lane, that looks good and it worked too. As the traffic bunched up at lights, it was easy to filter to the front 🙂

I did find the next on ramp and I was now on the toll road, as I entered I went up to the window but it seems I have missed some basic information. The girl waved me through and I set off alarms as I went over the sensor? Oh well, not my problem is it 😉 On the freeway I noticed for the first time in over 25,000km actual proper traffic control signs, lane closures and even mechanical waving men to slow people down, I must be in a civilised and more western safety concious country!

I mentioned the alarms at the last toll booth, well, I found out at the next toll booth, it seems that there are special lanes for bikes, just what we need back home 🙂 All I had to do was stay left and squeeze on through 🙂

I think I like this country already, they make the bikers a part of the road use and don’t ignore them like back at home(except in the pocket of course). It was getting close to 5pm when I stopped to fuel up, I was not far away from my destination, but the clouds ahead looked ominous, so I pulled up at the first drop and for the first time in many many months put my goretex waterproof liner in, the jacket only. I could not be bothered taking my pants off on the side of the road this time.

Of course I then rode in full sunshine!!!

After about 20 minutes I nearly decided to stop and take the liner out as I was boiling, but lucky for me I didn’t as I then crossed a mountain range and got absolutely bucketed on, this was a major torrential thunderstorm with thunder and lightning crashing all around. I must be in the tropics 🙂

The sensible thing to do would have been to stop, but there was nowhere on the mountain range I considered safe to pull over. I figured a moving target would be harder to hit by lightning and just sloshed onwards 🙂 I finally reached the town of Batu Gajah and headed for the address I had been given. I did stop and call Amzah, the owner and he said he would meet me there. Well, funny thing, I arrived at the correct street but could not find number 44, it only went up to 28. I asked quite a few locals and showed them the address and was directed in a few different directions? I circled the block a few times but eventually I stopped and called Amzah again, I had no choice! At least it had stopped raining now, but my pants and boots were soaked but I was not cold.

Amzah drove around and found me and I followed him to his place. Well, in the photo above of the street address it is basically OK, but substitute the 3 for a 2 and I would have found it myself, just a communications typo error 🙂 So I met Amzahs wife Sue and they showed me the flat and I was soon in dry clothes, which was a relief. It was now 7.30pm and they had a dinner engagement, so I thanked them and would see them tomorrow. In the meantime I did some shopping. There was a small restaurant about 200m away one way and a street market the other way. Over the next few hours I managed to buy some dinner, basic chook and fried rice and I bought a SIM card from a phone shop. I had to return a few times as the 3G I was promised was not happening 😦 I would have to go back tomorrow and get a replacement card from a different company. There was no internet at the flat, there was local people WiFi, but they were all locked and my hacking skills suck 😉

So, it has been a long but successful day, two FTF caches, a bike that runs perfectly and a place to stay to base myself for some fun riding in the hills 🙂 Tomorrow Amzah said he would call around 11am or so, in the meantime although I had no beer, I did have me old mate Bundy to keep me company 😉

It was a late night, gone midnight before I crashed out 🙂

Cheers from Batu Gajah
TravellingStrom

4 Responses to “The Final Border and the Final Country – Malaysia!”

  1. Bob said

    Any thoughts yet where you will go (if anywhere) after this trip. Africa? India? New Zealand?

    • Hi

      I am thinking Brazil and the east coast there, or buy a bike in Europe and duck over there every few months and see some sights. Not interested in Africa really

      NZ would be nice, cost of import and quarantine is very high though

      I need to earn money first

      Richard

  2. Hi Richard,

    Uncle John here,I see that your Malaya, I spent the lat 50’s and early 60’s traveling in much the same area that have. Still looks the same although the road system is much improved. Have fun in Ipoh, which is where the camp we lived in, I think it was called Ramalies.

    Regards John

    • Hi John

      I am staying at a small place south of Ipoh but have gone through there a few times. I even passed a Gurkha barracks the other day as well

      I like it around here, but it must have been hard in your day without aircon

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