Hot, sticky and full of pollution surrounded by hundreds of motorcycles as we crossed from Singapore into Johor Bahru, Malaysia.
Motorcycles seem to be way of life here, from the whole families balancing on with babies and toddlers wedged precariously among them to the school children that race ahead of us then stop and wait to say hello as we catch them up and for carting around all manner of objects such as giant vats of petrol, scaffolding poles and watermelons.
Cycling in Malaysia never fails to excite with acres of palm, mango and coconut trees either side and stalls lining the roads selling ice cold coconut, payapa, watermelon drinks and fresh fruit. Monkeys swing along the branches, lizards dart into bushes and unfortunate snakes squished to the tarmac. Even warnings of elephants, but the electric fence that lines the jungle eases our fear of having to attempt to out cycle a running tonne.
Our journey began through central Malaysia and small cities all with mosques bellowing out the prayer calls. Curious stares and giggles at our appearance followed us but overall toots, waves and shouts of hello, welcome to Malaysia!
Heading east, we caught a boat to an island for spot of snorkeling with parrot fish over coral reef. We discovered that bikinis and flip flops are not suitable attire for jungle trekking. No island visit would be complete without pina coladas and dinner on beach watching a storm in distance lighting up the sky over the ocean.
Continuing up the east coast with zilch hills, we made quick progress of 250 miles in 5 days so have stopped in Cherating, a surfers haven during moonsoon season which we missed although a storm pounded and shook our chalet last night.
Mixture of Malaysian, indian and Chinese cuisine here means the food is delicious and every region has a speciality. Although unluckily for Ella it is usually spicy and/or seafood.
Selamat tingghal for now!