Week 4: Ipoh and the Cameron Highlands

February 6-12

 

Where we went

Days 1-3: 

 

After an exciting week 3, week 4 was pretty mellow and honestly a bit boring in comparison. After four days in Kuala Lumpur, we left to head north to Ipoh on Monday. In a sign of what was to come, the week started off with a few days of boring highway riding. We had hoped to cover the distance to Ipoh in one or two days, but the heat (over 90 degrees most days) and our inability to get out of bed early enough meant that it took three full days to get there. 

Day 4:

Arrival in Ipoh! After one of our hottest days yet on the bike, we arrived in Ipoh and promptly collapsed at our hostel, leaving only to grab some Indian food for dinner. 

Day 5: 

We decided to ditch the bikes and rent a car for a day to explore. The Cameron highlands is a mountainous region just to the east of Ipoh, and is known for its beautiful green mountains lined with tea and strawberry plantations. We woke up early and drove up to the mountains, which ended up taking around 3 hours. Once there, we were pretty disappointed with what we saw - overdevelopment has really ruined a lot of the area. Giant industrial buildings and huge greenhouses directly on the highway make up a lot of the area. Luckily, there are still some pockets of real beauty and we managed to find a gorgeous tea plantation and spent the whole afternoon there. 

 

Day 6:

After spending the night up in the Cameron highlands, we headed back to Ipoh early in the morning to spend a day exploring the city and getting some work done. Ipoh is famous for its food, so we headed to 'old town' Ipoh to explore and get some lunch. Unfortunately, we didn't have the best luck - the restaurant we went to for lunch which is well known for a famous salted chicken soup and ended up misplacing our order. After an hour of waiting, the waitress came over and started yelling. We thought she was yelling at us, but eventually came to understand that she was upset that other tables had been served before us and sure enough they ran out of chicken. We returned to the same area that night with the hope of having better luck, but everything was closed! Ipoh and us just weren't meant to be. 

Street art in Ipoh - and the sole photo we have from that miserable town..

Street art in Ipoh - and the sole photo we have from that miserable town..

Day 7:

We woke up early and got on the bikes to head to Taiping, a town about halfway between Ipoh and our next big stop, Penang. We had our best day of riding yet in Malaysia - sunny skies, not too hot, empty roads, and even a bike lane at one point! Around noon - with temperatures increasing to about 92 degrees - we found a cafe and spent a full four hours there working and enjoying the shade, wifi, and iced coffees. Afterwards we road the rest of the way to Taiping, finding some few beautiful tiny back roads to ride through along the way. 

Ostriches by the side of the road! They’re like big chickens. 

Ostriches by the side of the road! They’re like big chickens. 

If you squint and use a magnifying glass and maybe some photoshop you can see Marcy on the left.

If you squint and use a magnifying glass and maybe some photoshop you can see Marcy on the left.

What we ate

 

Baked egg and ratatouille on our last morning in KL. 

Baked egg and ratatouille on our last morning in KL. 

Grilled beef, lamb, and chicken with rice. Perfect bike touring lunch. 

Grilled beef, lamb, and chicken with rice. Perfect bike touring lunch. 

The best meal of the week - clay pot chicken over rice and spicy tofu. 

The best meal of the week - clay pot chicken over rice and spicy tofu. 

A giant plate of noodles, meat and veggies. It came with a raw egg on top to stir in. I wish I could remember what it was called. 

A giant plate of noodles, meat and veggies. It came with a raw egg on top to stir in. I wish I could remember what it was called. 

Buffet lunch - all this for 75 cents.

Buffet lunch - all this for 75 cents.

Delicious tandoori chicken. 

Delicious tandoori chicken. 

"Steamboat" - fresh veggies, noodles, and meat (chicken, prawns, squid, etc) which you add to the boiling water in the middle to make a kind of soup. Delicious. The jellyfish was omitted.

"Steamboat" - fresh veggies, noodles, and meat (chicken, prawns, squid, etc) which you add to the boiling water in the middle to make a kind of soup. Delicious. The jellyfish was omitted.

Fish with durian! This was our first experience trying durian - we were stopped at a tiny roadside stall for lunch, and the owner came up and asked us if we had ever had durian. We hadn't - it smells awful and we hadn't been brave enough to try it yet. When we answered no, he showed up a minute later with this fish for us, on the house. It was deliciously sweet and the cats at our feet devoured the leftovers. 

Fish with durian! This was our first experience trying durian - we were stopped at a tiny roadside stall for lunch, and the owner came up and asked us if we had ever had durian. We hadn't - it smells awful and we hadn't been brave enough to try it yet. When we answered no, he showed up a minute later with this fish for us, on the house. It was deliciously sweet and the cats at our feet devoured the leftovers. 

Simple roadside meals - chicken, rice, and a fried egg. 

Simple roadside meals - chicken, rice, and a fried egg. 

What’s next

We have a couple more Malaysian islands to explore and then it's on to Thailand - we're expecting to cross over by the end of this week!

What We’re Digging

  • The Scrabble App - It’s amazing how many times we’re stopped somewhere without wifi and just want to play a game or two to pass the time out of the sun. Marcy consistently wins every game. 
  • This song which we can’t seem to get unstuck from our heads all week.