On November 4th Fred the bike is embarking on a six month journey across Southeast Asia. Starting in Singapore, Fred plans to make his way up the west coast of Malaysia, across Thailand, Cambodia, up through Vietnam and into Laos. After that... who knows? Fred invites you to follow him through his adventure. Any advice from fellow travelers is always welcome.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Kota Bharu-Kuala Besut (Perehntian Islands)

Total Distance:58.27km
Total Time:3h17m16s
Average Speed:17.7km/h
Maximum Speed:45.0km/h
Total Distance So Far:10,431.89km

Leaving Kota Bhura was my first day cycling back in Malaysia. Overall it went pretty well, although I found the road signs a little confusing. They aren't as straight forward as in Thailand, which sticks me as a little odd as Malay is written in roman script. I made it to Kuala Besut in one peace though, which is all that really matters.
From Kuala Besut I took the boat out to the Perehntian Islands. It isn't really possible to bring a bicycle with you, so i had to leave Fred in storage at one of the travel agencies. I hope he's safe there. It seemed pretty secure. I guess we'll see when I get back. i intend to spend a few days here. Do some snorkeling, laze around on the beach, that sort of thing. I've been going pretty hard lately. I can really use a little break, and this seems the perfect place to do it.
The Perehntian Islands are a beautiful sight. They are often described as a backpackers paradise, which is a pretty fair statement. The white sandy beaches gaze out upon a crystal blue ocean. There is all sorts of wildlife, both aquatic and on the land. They have sharks, stingrays, and a verity of other exotic fish. There are giant lizards roaming around. It's really an interesting place. However, talking to some people who have returned here after visiting the area years ago, things have changed a lot. Good snorkeling can no longer be done off the shore. The fish are a little sparse and the coral is starting to die. You pretty well have to charter a boat to take you out further in the ocean if you want to see anything spectacular. There apparently has been quite a bit of development over the years. It has become a tourist hot spot, so everything is busy and prices are high. Still it is a great place.
One great thing about biking in Malaysia is the ability of the people to speak English. Not everyone speaks English, but it is easier to find people who are fluent than other places I've travelled.It's nice to have conversations that aren't limited by a language barrier. The people here are nice. Less cyclists pass through Malaysia than Thailand or Vietnam, so people are generally more curious when they see you, not to mention a little more willing to help you out. For example, where I am storing my bike they are not charging me. They seemed pretty content to hear all about my trip as payment for locking Fred up in their office.
A major downside of taking a bit of a break from cycling is the pain of getting back on the bike. I'm already dreading how hard it will be. Especially in this heat.

No comments: