Day04 Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia to Narathiwat, Thailand

Malaysia, Motorbike/Motorcycle, Thailand, Travel No Comments
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Departure Time 8:13am
Departure Location Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia
Arrival Time 6:45pm (7:45pm Malaysia time)
Arrival Location Narathiwat, Thailand
Distance Travelled 279km


We started the day early, so that we could spend some time enjoying the scenery along the way.  The first stop was the Kuala Terengganu Market.  It is called a wet market because it sells seafood, etc and is constructed with good cleaning facilities.  You can see that many of the stands are using tiled areas for easy cleaning.  The first photo shows two children sleeping – the mother is sitting a few stands away.


Some of the houses are built on the river.


After the markets, we returned to the hotel to pack and post the weblog for our first three days.  On the wall in the business office was a huge kite – kite flying is a significant activity in this part of Malaysia.


It was 12:35pm by the time we actually left the hotel.  As we departed Kuala Terengganu, we noticed that there were several new Mosques all side by side.


We reached the little beach town of Penarek at 1:45pm, and decided to stop for lunch.  It is a very beautiful spot – the locals were very friendly, and we got a special meal cooked for us as there was nothing vegetarian to choose from.


This is the spot where we ate – beautiful islands in the background.  Notice also the locals having a siesta under the gazebo, and the many goats that are around..


As we drove further north, I couldn’t help but wonder when I had ever seen this many palm trees before.  The locals aren’t rich, but they sure live in paradise.  The roads were great too!


At 3:20pm it was time to stop again for a break.  Rebecca was starting to fall asleep again.


Once we left Terengganu state, the roads got a lot worse.  At 4:32pm we arrived in Kota Bahru, and instead of looking for a hotel, we decided to push on to the border.  Rebecca slept for about 20 minutes, and at 5:06pm we were on the road again.  This photo shows the bus terminal where we rested for a little while.


As we headed to the border, I was a little concerned because I didn’t see any vehicles with Thai license plates.  However, about three 3kms from the border I spotted a couple and felt a lot better after that.  This is the Malaysian Immigration building.


The first picture shows the border – with Malaysia on the left side of the water, and Thailand on the right side.  The second picture shows the immigration building as we were leaving it – the photo was taken from my rear view mirror.  The final two photos are the immagration buidings for Thailand.  As you can see, it is almost an ‘honour system’ – locals can cross the border on their motorbikes without having to do any paperwork or show any identification.


Once we arrived in Thailand, the sun was starting to set, but the roads were great.  We were able to travel quickly and arrived in Narathiwat without any issues.


Once we arrived, we had to find the hotel that was mentioned in our travel guide.  Some local youths noticed that we were looking for something and provided us with assistance.  They were very helpful and friendly.


After we checked into the hotel, I went out to get some cash.  There were military at each intersection, but I didn’t really realize the full scale of the military presence until the next day.


Day03 Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia

Malaysia, Motorbike/Motorcycle, Travel No Comments
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Local Travel Only Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia
Distance Travelled 31km

Day three was very much a rest day.  We got up early, had breakfast and tried to find out where the Adventist Church might be.  Unfortunately there isn’t one in this area – the closest was back in Cukai, about 10km north of where we had spent the previous night.  So we decided to have our own worship and take it easy.


Around mid-day we wandered into town – this really is a pretty place.  There were lots of boats coming into the harbour.


We had lunch with the locals, and then rode around town looking at the nice architecture and gardens.  We then had afternoon tea – all very relaxing.


We realised that we hadn’t taken any photos, so I dropped Rebecca at the hotel and went back to take some photos.


The market was very quiet, as it was late afternoon.  Notice the boy doing the ironing.  Also notice the McDonald’s sign in Arabic script.  When the Muslim missionaries came to Malaysia, they brought with them the Arabic script and developed a system for writing Malay using the Arabic characters.  For this reason it is common to see Arabic writing in Malaysia.


This is the hotel we stayed in.  Notice the poor housing surrounding the hotel.  Notice also the satellite dish on the roof of one of those houses.  I went for a swim just as another storm was coming in from the north.  However, it never actually arrived where we were.


We closed Sabbath as the sun was setting near the ‘floating mosque’.  The mosque is not actually floating, but it looks that way as it is built on water.  As you can see from the photos, it was getting dark while we were there.


Then we headed to Chinatown (Jalan Kampung Cina – literally Street Town China).  The family was resting on the floor of one of the restaurants – it really was a quiet night.


We had a lovely dinner in one of the restaurants, and then returned to the hotel to watch the moon rise.


Day02 Cherating to Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia

Malaysia, Motorbike/Motorcycle, Travel No Comments
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Departure Time 11:21am
Departure Location Cherating, Malaysia
Arrival Time 3:37pm
Arrival Location Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia
Distance Travelled 175km

We had an easy morning.  After breakfast we wandered down to the beach and then had a swim in the pool.  Then we went back to our room, where Rebecca packed while I started writing this travelogue.  We almost got our clothes dry before it was time to get on the road again.  We decided to take the back country roads, rather than following the coast this time.


The sun was rising fast as we sat down for breakfast.


The countryside was very beautiful – very green with nice windy roads.  The scenery reminded me of Australia’s lush coastal hinterland.


Every now and then there was a settlement – this one had a huge mosque and a nice little ‘restaurant’ for the locals.  Because most of the buffet was made up of meat dishes, we asked them to make us a fried rice and a fried noodle.  The food was very yummy.  We saw a cat that had caught a lizard of some kind, and a huge moth loaded on Rebecca’s sleeve.


When it was time to leave, dark rain clouds had gathered.  This is the monsoon season, and rain is to be expected.  However, I didn’t particularly want to get wet, so we drove fast to try and outrun the rain – it worked, and we only got slight drizzle for about a minute on three or four occasions, before we completely outran the storm.


Of course astronaut Rebecca was well prepared for ANYTHING, except being lulled to sleep – the bike is such a soothing place to be that it just rocks you to sleep.


While I was lucky to outrun the storm brewing behind us, we did meet up with another one only 11km from the hotel.  We decided to stop for an hour and wait while it passed!  We took cover under the roof of a workshop.  As you can see by the photos below, we weren’t the only one who chose this spot.  The Malaysian crouching in the distance (in the photo where it is raining) also came in for cover.  He didn’t speak any English, and I don’t speak Malay – he looked like he wanted to be left alone, so we left him to his own devices in the corner.  The rain cleared after an hour, and we got to our hotel safely.


This was the view from our hotel room.


We went out for dinner, and found that parking is a creative endeavour in northern Malaysia.  This whole street is supposed to be parallel parking.  Notice the red car on the far right – it is also parked.


We returned to our hotel just after the sun had set, so we opened Sabbath and went to bed.


Day01 Singapore to Cherating, Malaysia

Malaysia, Motorbike/Motorcycle, Singapore, Travel No Comments
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Departure Time 7:11am
Departure Location Geylang, Singapore
Arrival Time 5:07pm
Arrival Location Cherating, Malaysia
Distance Travelled 447kms

I got up at 5:00am, although Rebecca had been up since before 2:30am.  She told me that she has plenty of time to sleep on the back of the bike :-(.  By the time I fitted a new battery to the bike and we were all loaded up, it was already 6:45am.  We finally rode out of the drive at 7:11am – we were on our way at last.  By 8:05 we had crossed the border into Malaysia, and stopped for fuel (the bike and us) soon thereafter.

By 9:30am, Rebecca was fast asleep (which repeated itself often).  But I was also sleepy, so we stopped at a shelter by the side of the road and slept for 1/2 an hour.  Then we were on the road again, and rode all the way through to Mersing.  Along the way we passed two Germans who I knew were traveling south on similar motorbikes (BMW R1100GS).


Mersing is a beautiful little seaside town.  We had lunch right by the beach with the many islands as a backdrop.


Even though we followed the coast for much of the day, it was unusual to see the sea, as most of the area is very flat and the road is usually a few hundred meters from the beach. We rode for an hour after lunch, and then found a lovely little village called Nenasi wedged between a river and the coast.  There were so many goats – they were very cute and full of attitude.


After our afternoon drink Rebecca was very sleepy again, and because she was sleeping a lot while we were riding, I thought it best to have another break and give her a chance to have a really good sleep.  Otherwise she misses all the wonderful things I see.


However, this 1/2 hour stop caused us to be caught in a massive storm jut before we got to our hotel!  We decided to ride through it, and arrived completely soaked at 5:07pm.  After we unpacked our stuff, I went for a swim at the beach for about 45mins, and then swam in the pool for another half an hour.

We had dinner in the hotel restaurant, where we were told that the buffet was only for groups, and that we had to order A-La-Carte.  For dessert, I ordered Ice Kacang.  It is the biggest one I have ever seen – there was no way that the two of us would have been able to finish it.


We went to bed early and had a great sleep under the mosquito net.