MALAYSIA: 06.03. - 11.04.2005
Route: Tenah Merah, Kuala Besut, Pulau Pehentian Besar, Cherating,
Kuantan, Johor Bahru, Melakka, Kuala Lumpur, Georgetown
Distance Bike: 1688 Km Ascent (in total): 3400m
|Preface: In most of the countries of Southeast Asia
the state religion is Buddhism, but not so in Malaysia. The state
religion of Malaysia is the Islam. Compared with the most countries
of the Middle East, the woman are quite free in Malaysia, although
they normally also have not to wear a scarf. Malaysia is a multicultural
society, with the Indians and the Chinese as the strongest foreign
groups. Like in Singapore, although not as successful, all these different
groups live quite peaceful together. For us the best of this multicultural
society was the great cuisine. Everything was available from the traditional
Muslim dish, to a Chinese soup to the delicious Indian bread (Nan).
The roads are pretty good, and most of the time we even had our own
line (the emergency line). Camping was also no problem. For traveling
by bicycle Malaysia is a great country, and there are many things
to see and to do (snorkeling, diving, national parks, mountains, beautiful
|Pulau Perhentian: Our first destination
in Malaysia was the island Pulau Perhentian. After a two hours rough
boat trip, we arrived on Pulau Perhentian Besar, the bigger one of
the two islands. And this island was really great: lonely beaches
with white sand, and coconut trees for the shadow and an impressive
underwater world. Of course there was neither a supermarket or a small
shop, but just some guesthouses and some restaurants. Robinson Crusoe
would have loved this place!
|Snorkelling: Just some meters
away from our Guesthouse was a very beautiful riff for snorkelling.
Thanks to the snorkelling equipment we bought in Bangkok, we had the
chance to snorkel the hole day round. And it was really great! Besides
the normal fish you can find at any riff, we saw some sharks (black
tip fin), some blue spottet stingrays, some clownfishes (the famous
"Nemo", from the Walt Disney movie), a big green seaturtle and some
barakudas. We tried to take some pictures with our camera, but the
autofocus couldnīt manage it. So we just have the picture we made
from the boat.
|Diving on Pulau Perhentian: Having
finished my first diving course in Thailand succesfully I of course
wanted to dive also in Malaysia, and so I made two dives. Together
with Uda, our divemaster, me and two other divers went under water.
Besides a morea eel, some kingfishes and a queenfish we also saw some
really big fishes I wouldnīt like to meet on a dark narrow road. But
the absolute highligt of this dive were two huge black blotched rays
(the disk oft he ray had a diameter of about 1,5m without the tail!!!!!).
Suddenly they came straight towards us, crossed diektly in front of
our eyes, made a U-turn next to us and disapeared in the ocean. The
two Rays were accomobined by a big scool of kingfish, following them
like bodyguards. On our second dive we went to a pinnacle in front
of the island and again we saw many fascinating animals: Bamboo Sharks,
diffrent kinds of rays, some morea eels, on giant morea eel (diameter
of 40cm!!!), a big schools of barrakudas and 2 giant triggerfish.
The two giant triggerfish started to attack us, but we were able to
defend us with our fins. Besides the great feeling to "fly" through
the ocean also the underwater world is absolutely fascinating for
me. Whilde diving or snorkelling you can observe so many diffrent
wild animals, even not swimming away from you, like otherwise it is
only possible in a zoo.
|Batik Malaysia: So far I always thought,
that batik is the name for the colorful "Hippi"-textile. In Malaysia
batik means, that the textile got a pattern while it was somehow made
coloured. Besides the classical "Hippi"-batik also silk painting is
called batik. In a cultural centre in Cheranting we had the oppertunety
to see the making af a traditional malaysian Batik. Athe the beginning
the artist painted a picture with melted syntetic wax (paraffin of
colofonium) on a white textile. Then he took the textile in a fixing
fluency and afterwards in the color (classically: dark blue). Now
the superfluos colour was washed out of the textile with water. The
last step of the process was washing out the wax with boiling sodawatwer.
For a good artist, it takes just some minutes to make a beautiful
|A monkeyīs job: We also saw a show with a monkey picking
coconuts. The monkey was trained for picking coconuts in a special
school in Thailand. There the monkey learned to distinguish between
a young and an old coconut, and to pick the demanded quantety. After
the monkey got its order he quickly climbed the palm, picked one young
and one old coconut and returned immediately to its boss. For its
job the monkey got served a fresh coconut and drank it with a straw.
The monkey was quite friendly, but wen a tourist came to close, while
it was drinking its coconut, the monkey bare its long teeth.
|Islam in Malaysia: In Malaysia the
state religion is the Islam and were were really looking forward to
see a muslim culture in Southeast Asia. First we were amazed from
the futuristic style of the mosques. We also were really happy to
see that the woman, altough also forced to wear a scarf, were quite
free. Diffret to the Arabic coutriesthey were working on the market
and in restaurants, and they were allowed to ride a bicycle or a motorbike.
The women also behaved totaly normal (als normal as the man) while
having contact with us and especially me. Additional we also had one
of the best things of all muslim countries: no drunk man driving a
car, truck or bus!
|Huge Cycle-riksha: Although our boat is
now back in Germany, we still had too much laguagge, so we decided
to change to a bigger bicycle with more space to store our luggage.
Because our "new bike" is a little bit toooooo big, we now have to
share one bicycle: Nadine is steering while I have to pedal.
|Kuala Lumpur: Like Singapore Kuala Lumpur (KL) is
one of Asias upraising industrial cities. KL is not as clean and organized
as Singapore, but the Skyline ist also very impressive. Also the public
transport system is very modern. The subway for example is driving
without a driver below the city, and at each station the doors are
opening on their own. I didnīt feel comfortable in this ghostlike
anonym subway. But on the other hand it ist very busy and chaotic
on the roads, and Little India and Chinatown are everything but not
an oasis for relaxing. We had a windowless box like room in a chomfortable
guesthouse with the charme of an old French villa. Because we had
to apply for our visa for Australia we nearly stayed one week in KL
and we really enjoyed this busy city.
|Petronas Towers: The landmark of Kuala
Lumpur, and Malaysia as an uprising industrial nation, are the amazing
Petronas Towers. The twin towers were finished in 1998 and are with
491,5m the highest in the world. With a Skybridge connecting level
41 and 42, each tower has 88 floors.The footplan is based on a eight-sided
star, and each towers five tiers represent the five pillars of Islam
(daily prayer, tax and donation, pilgrimage to Mecca, fastening at
Ramadan and Jihad the holy war). The costs of the futuristic towers
were 1,9 billion US$. The beautiful fasade of the towers is completely
made out of steel and glas.
|1st Invitation since Pakistan: During the
dusk, with us not yet having a place to pitch our tent, suddenly a
big thunderstorm came. We had good luck and managed to hide us in
a small bus stop, before we were completely wet. Now we were sitting
at a dry place, but it became darker and darker from minute to minute,
and our chance to finde a place for the night disapeared. We were
already looking for a place to pitch our tent during the last 15 Kmīs,
but we couldnīd find one, and in the dark night it would be nearly
impossible. Behind of our bus stop was the entrance to an Oilpalm
estate an so wedecided to ask the guard, it it would be possible to
pitch up our tent besides his small hut. The guard made some telephon
calls and told us, that we could stay durig the night in the small
Hindu temple of the estate. We were really happy about this, because
we had a safe and dry place for sleeping and we also had the chance
to sleep in a Hindu Temple (so far we slept already in a church, a
mosque and in a Buddhist temple). We were still happy about our luck,
when the Assiastant Manager of the estate came and invited us to his
house. Some minutes later we were sitting, after a refreshing shower
and a hot chocolate in our hand in the livingroom of hostfamily and
told them about our journey. By the way, the grandfather of the Assiatant
Manager came from Sri Lanka to Malaysia. We really had good luck to
stay together witht his really friendly family, and because we had
no chance to stay together with a family since 9 months ( last time
was in Lahore in Pakistan), we enjoyed it twice as much!
|Oilpalms: All over the east coast of Malaysia there
are huge plantations of palms with huge fruits. From our host we finally
learned more about this palms. The fruits of the palms are used to
produce the palm oil. The fruits are very big (like 2 watermelons)
and 1/3 of the fruit ist the precious oil. The production of palmoil
is such a good business, that all the rupper plantations are now replaced
with palmoil plantations. On the photo you can see a company producing
the oil from the fruits.
|David a cyclist from Malayisa: Two
days later, we just cycled 15 Km, David suddenly appeared next to
us with his bicycle. He introduced himself asone ofthe few malaysian
cyclists and invited us to his home. Normally we only wanted to stay
for one cup of tea, but David persuaded us to stay overnight. We brought
our panniers into the guestroom, took a shower and then went wtih
David to explore the neighborhood with his car. So we sawa place where
a strong Coconutliquer was produced, to a small fishermen village
and a ecompany producing slalty dugeggs (the dugeggs are cleaned and
then covered with some salty clai for conservation. Then the "claieggs"
are covered with some black ASCHE from burned ricestraw an packed
into boxes for shipping. We went back home and at 3pm. David left
us to go to work (late shift). He told us, that his wife would arrive
in about 30 minutes and in about 1,5 hours a friend of him would pick
us up to join the "Hash Run". He gave us his card and dissapeared.
When we were on our own we looked closer to his card and the copies
of his website we found out, that we are sitting in a Guesthouse.
We were quite confused and decided to ring up David. We asked David
about his Guesthouse, but he was just loughing and told us, that cyclists
wouldn have to pay. The Guesthouse was fare away from the next town
and only cyclists are able to find it. We still were quite confused
and decided to leave. When we started to fix our panniers to the bikes
Davis wife, she arrived in the meanwhile but didnīt care about us
at all, asked us about our plans. We told her that we didnīt knew
what was going on and that we are planning to leave. Now she made
a telphoncall to her husband, and 15 minutes later David was back.
Now David told us, that a friend of him had made the website and the
visitcard for him and that he is offering his guesthousservice only
for backpackers. We still were not really convinced, but we decided
to stay. We also had to make the Hash Run!
|Hash Run: In the late afternoon one of Davids friends
picked us up to join the "Hash Run". The Hash Run is a Running Club,
the first club was founded in England. The clubmember meet once ore
twice a week, make the run and sit together for some eating and dringking
afterwards. Each week the location is different, and the todays run
was in a oilpalm plantation on a hill. While the other participats
were dressend with the latest running shoes and long socks (against
leeches and thorns) we only had our sandals. We had good luck because
the members of this clum were all but no profis, and so we were able
to walk the entire distance; not the worst idea with over 30°C in
the shadow! The next 1,5 hours we were walking uphill and downhill
right through the jungle. One of the clubmembers told us, that last
week he was running together with a tourist from England and they
got lost in the jungle. It was completely dark after 8pm and the other
clubmembers couldn find them earlier than 11pm!!! After the run we
really enjoyed the small party, allthough most of the food was much
too hot (too much chilly) for us. Then a whole army of mosquitos decided
to attack us everybody was running to his car after shouting a fast
|Georgetown: We spent our last day in Malaysia
in Georgetown. Georgetown is the first settlement of the British Empire
in Malaysia and is the biggest city of the island Penang. Like everywhere
in Malaysia there are also many people of Indian origin in Georgetown
and so we used the last change to enjoy the great Indian food; especially
Nan or Chapatti and Dhal. From Georgetown we took the ferryboat to
Sumatra, the biggest island of Indonesia.
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