Sunday, 1 April 2018

The Hunt for that Special Ride

A road trip starts from the very beginning. Previously I wrote about converting my license from Singapore to Malaysia and the whole purpose was so I could be more aligned when travelling. Passport Malaysia, License Malaysia, Motorbike, bought, registered and MADE IN MALAYSIA.

All this for the paranoid traveler like me preparing for the future event if I were to try to sneak cross over borders of difficult nature such as the Thai-Myanmar Border or the Myanmar-China Border or the Cambodia-Vietnam border or the Vietnam-China Border. Best to get your story straight …. Especially when not speaking the same language. Best not to confuse the already confused officers when going about some unimaginable road trip.

So I decided in Sep 2017 that I was to be using a motorbike instead of a car for the road trip …. Now I just needed to buy a motorbike.

The dilemma was real :-

What kind of bike should I get ??

What was my budget … RM 5k ??

Second Hand or Brand New ??

250cc or 125cc or should I upgrade my license and get a Harley … ??

Could I afford a classic like Vespa??

Can I maintain the bike on the road myself??

What about Carnet & Insurance??

Those were just the basics that go over in my head while looking at adverts and adverts of bikes for sale on the internet. In the end money rules them all … I managed to streamline to a few models

Demak D7 125cc

Demak D7 150cc ( but its not out yet … only picture in theory on the internet )

KTNS GP 125cc

KTNS GP 250cc

As you can see …. I have a thing for the classic look. This all started after looking at my landlord bike in Singapore a Suzuki GN 125 which he maintained lovely like a vintage …. Alas I could not buy the bike off him for it would be in SGD 5k plus the other hassles of Carnet in SG insurance in SG registration to a non-citizen non-pass holder … Short story … I like a old mechanical no nonsense bike which I can strip apart myself someday and custom built it to my liking

My Singapore Landlord Bike - Suzuki GN 125 
So one fine week while I was back home in KL doing nothing … took my dad for a bike shopping trip … Demak D7 was about RM2900 but there was no stock in all the cycles shop we went in KL ... this covers from Setapak area to Ampang to Kajang … anyplace on the web that says there was a Demak D7 …. There was no more stock when we reach the place …

Next Best thing Was the KTNS GP 125cc – Price about RM 6k … imagine that … now I had to think very hard on how this was going to be …. Did not jump the gun but saw the other more beautifully sleek KTNS 250 cc … - Price about RM 12k … both had stock but need to order and wait …

I did not buy any bike that trip back to KL …

A month later late Nov 2017 … scouring the net like crazy for some hint a of a decent bike …. I found the authorized dealer shop that sells Demak and an expensive phone call from Singapore the guy tells me ya we have stock, but not much left …

Thinking it might be a false news like all the calls that say yea we have it till I reach the shop and they run out of stock and tries to sell you the double the price KTNS GP 125, I decided to drop a message on their facebook page. …

One day later the reply came … yea we have it … not much left thou …

Ng Brothers Motor
No. 37, Jalan Pakis 1, Taman Sri Pulai, Johor, 81100 Johor Bahru, Malaysia

So one nice weekend I made a trip to Johor, took the expensive long distance taxi ride to their shop and it was time to buy a bike …. Price was RM2900 ++ the guy said … just let me confirm the stock he said … a short phone call later

“But” …. He says …. My heart fell … thinking it must be the same thing again … no stock … run out … some other nonsense excuse ….

Motorshop: But only one color left – Black … are you ok with that … this is old stock no more in production this model he says …

With a big grin I paid the deposit and cant wait for the next week to come into Johor to pick up my new bike.

Somewhere in the middle of the week I got a call from the bike shop … they have a problem he said, … my heart fell even harder this time thinking its gonna be some shitty excuse that they made a mistake and now they don’t have the bike ….

Motorshop: I made a mistake … they don’t have black color … only blue, is it ok with you ….

Heck yea of course it was ok with me, better yet I prefer that color initially just did not say anything since there was no choice anyway …. But that was just my heart screaming YES YES YES

To him I said

Me: Haaar … no more black ah …. Got discount or not ? ( I just had to asked )

Motorshop: Haha … no discount, this is old stock and actually hor there is another thing, because its old stock, ppl are jacking up the price and selling it …

Me: Huh ?? Sorry I don’t understand. ( I fully understand … shit shit shit … how much is this extortion gonna be? Maybe I should not have asked for a discount .... too greedy ... instead of getting a discount i am being asked for more money *facepalm* )

Motorshop: I mean I get the old stock from other people and they not selling at old price anymore, they are selling higher price

Me: How much higher ( all kinds of random possibilities ran through my head even thinking if this was a big scam or not )

Motorshop: RM 300 more

Me: Ok ….

So I got the bike, an new but old bike if that make any sense … It was a bike that was manufacture in 2014 and sat in the store till I bought it in 2017 … 3 years … not too bad I hope … the shop settle all the insurance, road tax and stuff which was about RM 100 …

That next weekend I went to Johor and straight to the motorshop. Before even entering, I could see my bike nicely parked outside … it was one of a kind … no other bike looked like it. Paid my balance including the extorted RM 300 … I think it was extorted … well maybe not from this motorshop chap but definitely from someone up the line that pass the bike to him and finally to me.

Demak D7 - Ready for Collection

Demak D7 - My First Ride
Checked my Ownership document, Road Tax, Insurance …. Wait … what … I am married ??? Looking at the motorshop guy I pointed to the insurance which says martial status : Married …. Err this is wrong …

Motorshop: Ah !! no problem … its ok … you anything just come back … if I put you married its much much cheaper the premium … else at least 5 times more !!

Rolled my eyes …. Ok I am married I guess ….

Demak D7 back at Home - The Adventure Planning is in full swing now 

Sunday, 11 March 2018

7 Day Road Trip Malaysia – Last Day of Mini Adventure and A Near Miss Adventure

Last day was rush day to get back to KL as soon as possible so I could go down to Singapore the following day and not miss my own Elder Brother wedding. Well who’s to know what will happen it was a long drive from Gua Musang to KL anyway. 

Nothing much to note about the drive but the road was marvellous new and wide big double lanes newly laid and amazingly quiet with no cars around. That was the stretch from Gua Musang to Kuala Lipis. There was also nature crossing bridge and much of the overspill from Taman Negara was evident. Not too bad a drive actually … peaceful but boring nonetheless. 

Quiet Drive from Gua Musang to Kuala Lipis - At the Fringe of Taman Negara
Kuala Lipis was stop for lunch going all the way to the central town parking and even walked around for 20 minutes. Nothing of note again … I guess the last day was that sort of trip …. Loss of energy and the sad feeling that the road trip is going to end

Kuala Lipis Town - Malaysia

By the time I reached Bentong just before merging with the main Karak Highway I saw the detour … old road to Gombak and instinctly I veered towards the potential adventure. The roads were small windy with no road sideguards and almost thrilling to drive through full speed and slamming the brakes at corners going as fast as I dared till I almost collided with another on-coming car doing the same shit. 

The car skidded as I slid the rear tire off the tarmac and onto the grass but not before regaining control. The 206 now looked like a rally car, mud splatter and dirt ridden …. I drove on more mindful now that even if I keep to the lane, some other idiots might not. Radio reported massive accident at Karak highway and re-routed people to the old road. More cars appear and thus end my peaceful journey in old road as it become a main one. 

Reaching KL I went home first then with Kim & Bijan confirmation got out to Puchong to finally meet the two riders who travelled round the world for two years straight. Kim & Bijan, unbelievable that they actually gone to south Africa, travelled Mongolia, ride all out in South America and seen much more things than I ever have. 

Alas I have ran out of stories till my next adventure …. 

Next plan is ........ :P  
I’ll leave a link for Kim’s & Bijan adventure for those that are interested in their story :)

Kim & Bijan Travel Memoir
They also published a book which I highly recommend …. Sure did sooth my travelling itch for a few days … but then after … the withdrawal is so so much worst … ( it’s written in good Bahasa Malaysia thou )

Saturday, 10 March 2018

7 Day Road Trip Malaysia – Gua Musang, The Hidden Temple at Kampung Pulai

Gua Musang town is a very small town with not much to do. I resorted to wikitravel to see what there was to explore around the area and in a tiny map somewhere shows a 400 year old temple at Kampung Pulai a short drive from Gua Musang town. 
Temple Inside the Rock - Kampung Pulai
I found the temple overseeing a beautiful lake. Walk towards the lake and I saw the huge rock sticking out in the middle of a plain of trees and I could see some man made structure going up to the caves and on the top left a Chinese character in bright red.

It was beautiful but it was across the lake. Saw a mini stay wire bridge and walked across to find a grave path kind of road going both left and right around the lake. Figured right was shorter and I took a walk.

Mini Stay Cable Bridge To the Lake - Kampung Pulai
A Walk Into the Woods

I had time I figured and slowly took a 15minute walk toward the rock. Walking in I realised I was in a rubber tree plantation. It was serene and reaching the base of the rock I could see the majestic of the structure hanging onto the rock. 
A Walk Pass Rubber Tree Plantations

Rubber Tree Tapping - Kampung Pulai

Almost there ... Mini Shrine Along the way

Two locals was chilling out and as I approached the staircase going up, one of them told me that the old caretaker was no longer working so the temple is now closed permanently. I climbed up the stairs anyway but could not get pass the iron grill. The view was a gem forgotten in time. You could even see that it connects inside the caves and out to pockets of holes around the big rock. 

The Base of the Huge Rock at Kampung Pulai

Entrance to the 400 Year Old Temple at Kampung Pulai - The Bright Red Chinese Character was what I saw from A Far

Temple in a Rock - Kampung Pulai, Gua Musang
I may not find Gua Musang or pay my respects to the temple but just seeing the temple forgotten in time is a joy that I have found a gem off the beaten track.
Travelled on : Nov 2016

Sunday, 7 January 2018

7 Day Road Trip Malaysia – Kota Bahru To Gua Musang and a Traffic Offence Ticket

The drive from Kota Bahru to Gua Musang brings me through one of the few roads I have never travelled in Peninsular Malaysia, highway number 8 – Central Spine Road …

Along the Central Spine Road - Nasi Kerabu Stall Everywhere
So a drive down the central spine road of Malaysia and traffic was heavy surprisingly yet enjoyably boring of sorts. Nearby Kuala Prai and I was in a tail line behind this very very slow truck that hogs all the way up front. 

Central Spine Road - Malaysia

Cant See Sh*t tailing a Lorry behind .... - Central Spine Road Malaysia
Cars after cars slowly overtake the truck but I notice every time they do the opposite flash lights came up. My mind dismissed it as danger warning flashes as the cars overtaking were quite dangerous. A few more cars overtake and again the flashes and my dismissal. Finally only one car in front of me and the truck ….

I saw the road opened up but it was kinda like a turning opening not a double lane yet in country road no people takes turning or rarely one does to an even more secluded road … car in front gave the signal and begin overtaking and I tail behind …. Immediately after overtaking the slow ass truck I regretted my decision. A police road block ahead and all of us was flagged to the kerb of the road. 

Did you know you overtake on a double line ??? 

I could only scratch my forehead …my blemish look and surrendered my driving licence. Nothing else was said and I was issued a ticket for dangerous overtaking …. Carry on the police said after returning my licence plus a ticket, focusing on catching more drivers 


So the drive to Gua Musang was boring as hell with a ticket behind my mind all the time. I reached Gua Musang at 130pm … was ahead of schedule since there was no detours this time and checked into the Airbnb home stay. After check in it was off for a town drive to explore. Driving around the new town of Gua Musang I saw the JPJ (Road Transport Authority) office and decided to stop and get the ticket offence over and done with. 

Police Station - Gua Musang
Wrong department the guy said … Balai Polis behind and next road he said. A short turn and into the police station where everyone was so friendly. RM 150 Fine and I paid it with heavy heart. Thought that RM 150 should earn me some information I proceeded to ask about the actual caves in Gua Musang .

Behind the old railway station the officer said and you need to hike a bit and there is no trail and it takes hour and hour or so. Malaysia need to promote eco-tourism better and not just all the shopping shit I feel. First Ipoh and now this. Sadness in my heart for my country.

Old Railway Station of Gua Musang

Gua Musang -  I have no idea where the actual track is to visit the caves
Travelled on: Dec 2016

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