South East Asia - Singapore to Kuala Lumpur

Blog South East Asia – Singapore to Kuala Lumpur. written on: 23-11-2023

Overview day 358 - 370

26 october - 7 november 2023

412

Km’s Cycled

1750

Altimeters

6

Stages

0

Defects

Singapore tot Kuala lumpur fietsroute
Singapore - Johor Baru - Sri Merlong - Muar - Melaka - Labu - Kuala Lumpur

Putting the bikes on the plane

The alarm clock is set at 03:00 in the morning. Well before 04:00 we are on our bikes and on our way to Napoli airport. It will be the first time that we will fly with our bikes, but we have prepared well. Around 04:30 we arrive at the airport and start dismantling. We need about an hour for each bike and around 06:30 we stick the last pieces of duck tape on the bike boxes. We have separate boxes for the panniers. The first hurdle has been overcome. Now let’s hope that the check-in goes well.

Fortunately, no one makes a fuss at check-in. We get the necessary labels for our luggage and can go to the “special luggage” department. Our belongings are not weighed and no one makes a fuss about the sizes. That’s a good thing. We’ll see our stuff again in Singapore. Relieved that the check-in went so smoothly, we walk through customs. Now it’s time for a big cup of coffee before we start boarding.

Kebabs in Istanbul

We have a stopover in Istanbul and appropriately order a nice roll of kebab. We don’t know exactly how expensive it is because we don’t have internet and the prices are indicated in Turkish Lira. Afterwards it turns out that we paid almost 40 euros for 2 kebabs! There goes our budget… We might have been better off checking the price first. Good news for some of you: 40 euros less in the bank so we will come home 40 euros earlier. Fortunately, The kebab tasted good.

After a 4-hour transfer in Istanbul, we fly on to Singapore. Moment of truth: how are our bikes? The bike boxes look pretty battered but we get the bikes back together without too many problems and all parts are still in the box. Only the bolt in the stem of Rob’s bike is broken, but that happened during disassembly. We have that fixed the next day at the bicycle shop in Singapore. Assembling some parts requires some concentration and that, in combination with fatigue, is not always easy. Before we leave the airport it’s about 13:00 and we still have about 35Km to cycle.

Warm-showers in Singapore

The next few days we will stay with Jin, our warm-showers host in Singapore. He’s in his 50s and already retired. Once or twice a month, he receives cyclists from all over the world and likes to show them around Singapore. For us, of course, super nice. Especially since we don’t really know anything about Singapore. The first night, however, we go to bed around 7 o’clock. Including the time difference, we are awake for more than 40 hours (apart from an airplane nap) and we are now longing for a good night’s rest.

The next few days we will go out with Jin to see Singapore. Singapore is once again the exception to the rule. A very beautiful city where it is clean, the people nice, little to no crime, the traffic is quiet, as a tourist you have little to complain about. There is something for everyone. Jin knows the city like the back of his hand and takes us to beautiful viewpoints, a beautiful island near his house, cheap eateries and also teaches us how to order coffee in Malay. In this way, Singapore is surprisingly affordable for us. In addition, we enjoy the conversations about culture, politics and of course cycling.

Singapore tot Kuala lumpur fietsdoos
Singapore Marina bay sands
Marina bay sands by night
Warm-showers Singapore
Gardens by the bay lightshow
checkers in Singapore
Singapore
Malaysia

After 3 nights with Jin, we cycle on to Malaysia. The first part towards the border Jin cycles along for a while, and then we say goodbye. We continue to the border alone. The roads there are not made for cyclists. However, cyclists are allowed to use the lane of the motorcycles/scooters. After a while we find that roadway, but it turns out to be the viaduct above us. After some up-and-down cycling, we find the right road and for the rest the crossing goes smoothly. We are in Malaysia! Our first stop is Johor Baru where we have another warm-showers address. It is a family that rents an apartment in JB for a while because they are expecting their second child. When the little one is born, they want to continue cycling. With 2 children they have a lot of stuff to lug around. Compared to them, we have very little to carry with us.

Hot pot

Together with our hosts we go out for dinner and they can give us valuable information about Malaysia. We go to a restaurant to hotpot. In the middle of the table are two large soup pots. You order two flavors of soup of your choice and as many side dishes as you want. You throw the side dishes in the soup and when they float to the top they are ready to be eaten. Fortunately, we don’t have to bother with the menu, Connie orders everything for us in Malay. Ideal! The only thing we have to do is enjoy the delicious food, with chopsticks of course. After a delicious Dim Sum breakfast, we say goodbye to this nice family and jump back on our bikes.

Johor Baru
jungle Maleisië
Kei grote fiets
bananen plantage

First impressions of Malaysia

We continue our way further north via the west coast. We take as many small back roads as possible and occasionally we cycle right through the palm oil plantations. We don’t have to worry about food or water, we find more than enough of that along the way. Monkeys along the road are no exception and we see all kinds of beautiful birds flying and large monitor lizards along the road that occasionally give us a good scare. Don’t worry, they always run away, but it’s precisely that rustling that scares us. Day and night it’s somewhere between 25 and 35 degrees, which is doable, but because of the high humidity we sweat constantly. Especially when we don’t cycle because we miss the wind from moving.

Melaka

Our next stop where we will stay for a few days is Malacca. It was occupied by the Dutch during the VOC period. In the old town you can still find a lot from the Dutch colonial past. Near the Stadhuys is a small cemetery where you can still read old Dutch texts on the tombstones. On weekends there is also a large food market in the city center where you can enjoy some delicious local specialties. Of course we want to taste that. Malacca is nice to visit, but after a good day you have seen it. So we cycle on to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia.

Hospitality

On one of our stages, a moped stops and asks if we want something to drink. Coincidentally, we just said to each other that our water needs to be refilled, so we gladly accept the offer. Zainal invites us for very sweet mandarin juice (or something similar). In this heat, any cold drink is tasty. Zainal’s house is a true museum with 2 beautiful bicycles as pieces of furniture in the middle of his living room. When he hears that we are cycling towards KL, he immediately invites us to stay the night a little south of it, where he has a small house. A few days later we meet him again. We are pampered a lot. He has a lot of food ready for us and wants to show us a few things in the evening. That evening we drive all the way to KL to see the city in the dark. It’s more than an hour’s drive but that doesn’t seem to matter to him. The next morning, after a big breakfast, we stuff our bikes into his van and get a tour of KL. Around noon he drops us off at our next warm-showers hosts including a big package of food. It’s unbelievable how hospitable this man is. Something we Westerners can learn something from.

12000Km
water dispenser
gastvrijheid in Maleisië
fietsen door palmolie plantage
Molen in Melaka

Borneo

As you can read, we use warm showers quite a bit here in Asia. It’s a great way to get to know people and the culture of a country and get tips on cycling routes. We are also using it again in KL. With Simon, Isabelle and Leo we can safely leave our bikes behind, because it is time to fulfill a long-cherished dream of Rob. Spotting orangutans in the jungles of Borneo. We immediately take advantage of the situation and order some stuff for our bikes. This can be sent to the address of our hosts when we are in Borneo. We stay a few nights to prepare ourselves and on November 8 we fly to Borneo. This time without our bikes. Time to explore the jungle.

Petronas twin Towers
I Love KL
fietsen in busje van Zainal
Extra foto's

It was difficult keeping this blog short and still tell the compete story. Hence, some extra pictures. 

See you in the next blog!

flinke storm in Johor Baru
Fietspad door winkelcentrum
Mega ijs
warm-showers in sri merlong
muurschildering
warm showers sri merlong

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