Where We Went
Our first day on Tioman Island was a rainy one. We took advantage of a short break in the rain to explore the tiny town of Genting, and ate a decent but pricy lunch at a Chinese restaurant, one of the two open places to eat in town. That night, we ate dinner at our homestay, and got the unfortunate news from our host that a major storm was headed for the island. The ferry back to the mainland was cancelled for several days while the storm let up. Luckily, he was willing to host us for free until we were able to head back to the mainland. He even gave us a free (and rather large) glass of Sake to go with our meal. From the moment we arrived on the island - when he met us at the dock with umbrellas - our host Uncle Pang was nothing short of amazing, and we were happy to spend an otherwise uneventful stay on the island with him.
We only intended on staying on Tioman for a couple of days, but the monsoon season had other plans. After the rain caused the ferry to be cancelled for two days in a row, we were finally able to board one and leave the island on Thursday. We spent the rest of the time hard at work on the next MarcyMoji pack and a couple of other projects we have in the works. We would have loved to explore more of the island, but that'll have to wait for another time when we come back during the dry season. Arriving back on the mainland in Mersing, we stayed at a house belonging to a Malaysian guy named Omar. I had contacted him through a hospitality network for cyclists called 'Warm Showers', and even though he was out of town he arranged with another traveler to let us into his place for the night.
Back on the bikes! We left Mersing at sunrise and headed towards the west coast. We had mostly empty roads and beautiful scenery for the ride, and we were lucky enough to have cloud cover for a large portion of the ride. The last couple of hours was brutally hot however, and we were really happy when we arrived at our guesthouse in Kluang. We were also excited to discover that the guest house had a washing machine, meaning we could finally properly wash our clothes that had never fully dried (and thus smelled pretty bad) when we tried to clean them on Tioman Island. We got out first taste of what Chinese New Years means here in Malaysia when the fireworks started going off at 10pm.. and kept going until 3am.
Our second taste of what Chinese New Years means came when we tried to book a night in the next town on our route and discovered that only two (expensive) rooms were left. Luckily, we found a cheaper room in a closer town, and resigned ourselves to making less progress up the coast in return for a cheaper place to stay. Since we didn't have far to go, we stayed at our guesthouse until late in the day and got some work done before riding the 20 miles to the next town.
We got a late start leaving our hotel, and headed further up the west coast towards Malacca. We didn’t have a place booked as the only ones we could find online were expensive and dingy looking, so we decided to wing it and see what we could find. Normally that’s not a problem, but over Chinese New Year we had been warned that everything would be booked. As we started to near the end of the day, we saw a sign for a guest house in a tiny town near the coast. Something about the sign seemed right, and we decided to head the mile or so down a tiny road and investigate. When we arrived, we found paradise. A sprawling complex with beautifully painted houses, a pool, and lots of cool outdoor spaces to hang out. When we asked sheepishly if they had any rooms available, they replied that they didn’t. But, they added, ‘we do have a treehouse’. The treehouse was nothing short of amazing. 3 stories tall, and directly next to the pool, it had everything we needed (two tiny foam mattresses and a fan) and nothing we didn’t, and was cheap too. After unpacking, we headed down the street and found a delicious fish curry called Adam Pedas (pictured in the food section below), which we devoured. After we returned from dinner, we discovered that one of the families staying at the resort was having a BBQ, and they invited us to join. They had everything - chicken, sausages, lamb, burgers, all smothered in a delicious herb butter sauce. Despite having just ate, we feasted on a plate full of delicious BBQ. We slept very, very well that night.
We’re continuing our ride up the west coast of Malaysia. First stop is Malacca, where we’d like to spend a few days exploring, then we’re off to Kuala Lumpur to meet up with friends.