Another photoless post – super speedy Usain Bolt aka Virgin coverage hasn’t made it here yet so will have to make do with our tales.
Continuing along the East Coast, we couldn’t resist another island jaunt to Pulau Kapas. We were due to spend only the night and day there but we met an American couple; Bill and Kim who are sailing around the world on their yacht ‘Doin It’ and we were invited onboard to spend the afternoon drinking rum like pirates. Very fun times but the next day as you can imagine was a shaky write off. We also received our first wedding invitation, another display of Malaysian hospitality after only meeting the sister of the groom for an hours – thanks Sarah 🙂 See you in Kuala Lumpur?
After leaving the island, we headed to Kuala Terengganu and stayed in a beautiful wooden chalet on stilts over the river which was built by the owner, also a boat builder. Awi, the owner adopted us for our stay and took on his speedboat to the local market, and for dinner with his famous watercolour artist friend, Chang Fee Ming – we were hoping for tutorials on how to use the watercolour set we brought in NZ that has laid at bottom of panniers since first failed piece of art.
Reaching the top of the East Coast, our cycling troupe increased to 3 when a local joined us for the days ride. He was on training for his upcoming cycle tour from UK to Malaysia on a fixed speed bike. He was cycling up the East and down the West, sleeping on beaches, in mosques and ATM booths as survival.
Finishing our tour of the East Coast, we wanted to cross over to Cameron Highlands onto the West, but unfortunately were not able to obtain any information about the 250 mile road from locals or any other cycle touring blogs so we reluctantly boarded a mini bus for the journey. It was a good decision as the road had no food or accommodation facilities up the unshaded mountainous hills.
We drove through tea plantations and fruit & vegetable farms which are located in Highlands because it is 10 degrees cooler. Disaster struck and as you would say in India, Emily got Delly belly so needed a couple of days rest.
Recuperated and ready to leave, we happened to meet a local hostel owner, Kassim who bought us lunch and asked for our help in exchange for accommodation and food for a few days. As Emily had been ill and we hadn’t had a chance to get our jungle trek on – we decided to stay.
The last couple of days were an experience; we helped paint the new hostel with his gang of Bangladesh merry men accompanied by Bollywood music and sweet tea & roti breaks, scrambled tree roots up a 2000m jungle mountain, had a poor imitation of cream tea at a tea plantation, learnt to make chapatis and did some terribly awful dancing in the local disco.
As the Cameron Highlands is 3 times the size of Singapore we still had a 15 mile strenuous climb out before the sweetest ever so windy 25 mile downhill which we flew down in an hour.
We are now a days ride from Penang which is a UNESCO world heritage site, and the last stop of our tour in Malaysia before we enter into Thailand.