28th MAR. 2007 KUALA LUMPUR
We arrived in Malaysia amazingly jet lagged for such a short flight. We hung around the superb airport gathering information from the 24hr desk, wasting time until a decent hour of morning to arrive at our chosen accommodation.(If there are 4 of you it is cheaper to get a taxi into town, if not then the train is your best option.) We chose a home stay called Ben Soo in the Chow Kit region of the city, not a very glamorous area, but we never felt unsafe, everyone was exceptionally friendly and it was close to the KTM and LRT train lines, which serve the city centre and Port Klang areas.
Ben has a choice of rooms and we stayed in his two bedroom, one shower room “apartment” which we paid 35Rm’s a night per couple. It was ideal for the 4 of us. We spent the next 9 days exploring the superb city of KL, slack jawed at the clean streets, European standards of shopping and the amazing blend of modern and old architecture.
One day we were walking along the street, trying to flag a taxi, when a local stopped and asked us where we were going, after explaining that we were looking for a local solar panel shop, he told us to hop in, phoned the company for directions and personally drove us there! Every day we experienced this standard of hospitality - it has got to be the friendliest city we have ever visited and has a great selection of things to do and see.
We purchased a DiGi SIM card for 8Rm and then bought 42Rm of call credit, when we loaded the credit we were actually given 47Rm’s worth, which meant that we only paid 3Rm for a sim card. Bargain! Not only that, but the whole process was completed within 5 minutes and only involved copying your passport details and a call home to a landline for 15min’s only costs 3 Rm’s!! Next we sourced car insurance. There are 3 companies in Malaysia that will cover you on 3rd party short term they all charge around the same price. We chose Kurnia insurance and, after EVENTUALLY finding their office in KL, it was a simple process of handing over our passport and registration details, a quick photograph of the car and we were insured for our 3 month stay, 3rd party for £12 or 84Rm. We had a nightmare finding them, even with a KL city street directory, so our advice is to drive north of the city to their office in Rawang , it’s easy to find and just 10 minutes away from a bush camp area we give details of later.
7th APR. 2007 LANDROVER OWNERS 10TH ANNIVERSARY PARTY
Today’s the day we collect the cars! Look at our top tips page for the full story. We have been invited to the 10th anniversary party for the Malaysian Landrover owners club in the Cameron highlands, so we dash up the expressway to meet up with the wonderful Alyna and her friends. www.lrom.com Meantime our friends stay behind in KL to refit their solar panel and generally set their vehicle up after the shipping process. We arrived 3 hours later and met up with 2 other overland vehicles plus all the members of the club. It was a great night with a fantastic buffet, landrover cake, slide show and prizes for the “fun” 4x4 course that everybody had been driving on that day. Alyna and her friends showed us some wonderful Malaysian hospitality and the following day we were all interviewed for a 4X4 magazine– 4 wheel driver magazine. email@example.com
8th APR. 2007 CAMERON HIGHLANDS to KL
We head back down to the city to meet our friends at the Talents Motor Park Hotel—we booked only one room and shared the facilities. Weekend rate is 86Rm but it is very close to Port Klang, Tesco’s, Giant and Mr Loke’s office. (Tesco’s is sign posted from the Giant store.)
9th APR. 2007
Today we savoured the delights of Tesco’s– ginger nut biscuits, chicken breasts, English honey ham and WINE!!!!! Heaven. Next we took Nessie to a garage recommended by our landy friends to get a very much overdue check, we know that we have problems with our suspension and have been waiting to arrive in Malaysia to get them resolved, as India doesn’t really have garages that know land rovers. We were in for a shock and we had to leave Nessie at the workshop overnight. We are hoping to get replacement suspension on our purchase guarantee. Our friends drove up to collect us and we went back to the hotel.
10th APR. 2007
We wake up wondering what on earth the outcome will be. Worse case scenario is a huge bill, which we would rather avoid– especially after just having booked flights back to the Uk for a holiday. By the end of the day, we leave the garage with new suspension and huge OME stickers on the car, feeling very relieved and amazed at how unbelievably lucky we are. Because of the time we decide to spend one more night at Talents before setting off to start our bush camp adventures.
11th APR. 2007 TEMPLER PARK
At last we are heading off to start camping. We stopped on the way out of the city to buy our new solar panel system and coleman dual fuel stove. See Vehicle page 2 for details. The turn off for the park is not easy to find but it’s a great area to camp. We found a spot by the clean stream with a sheltered sitting area and settled in. There is a staffed toilet block a little distance away which costs 30sen to use but includes a shower if you want one, we were happy to wash in the stream. We spent the next 4 days with our friends helping us to fit our new solar system, taking a walk up to the waterfalls and generally relaxing. Templer park is within 10 minutes of KL city limits and is just south of a town called Rawang (the town where there is a Kurnia insurance office.)
15th APR. 2007 TEMPLER PARK to PORT KLANG!!
We drag ourselves away from the comforts of the park and drive to Kampung Kuantan ( an area renowned for fireflies). Taman Alam park in nearby Kuala Selangor has camping facilities but, due to a private booking, were full so we continued to drive south toward K.S Buloh. There is a large stretch of beach here that during the week may be ok to camp but today is Sunday and it was mobbed with families and youngsters on motorbikes- so we moved on. We found ourselves near Klang and it was getting dark so we booked into Talents Hotel again! Unbelievable.
16th APR. 2007 KLANG to KUALA PILAH
Today we decided to split up for the days driving and meet up at the end of the day. Keen to avoid the confusing expressways of the city, we took the side roads south and decided to pop into the Formula one circuit on the hope of getting to drive around it. Well, you can only ask! We turned up at the end of a lunch break and, with some very fast talking, we managed to drive Nessie onto pole position at the starters post for a photo. There was no chance of driving the circuit as a race was starting in 3 minutes so we had to get off the track quickly! We met up with our friends just outside Seremban where our landy friend Alyna also happened to be.
We said our goodbyes to Alyna and her friends and drove to Sri Menanti to visit the old palace museum, passing by some lovely Minangkakbau houses,( these are traditional houses that look very similar to Australian queenslander houses but used to have roofs made of buffalo horn) unfortunately the roofs are now made of wriggly tin. We ended up bush camping by a quiet road.
17th APR. 2007 KUALA PILAH to PENG. BALAK
Our L.P book described the beach at Tanjung Bidara as being good so we aimed for there. Unfortunately the road does not allow vehicular access so we turned north and found a spot to camp on the beach, overlooking a small island by the beach. We had settled in before noticing that there were some soldiers sitting on the beach a little way up, we were still wondering why when a police car pulled up and stopped to ask us what we were doing. We explained that we intended to spend the night and asked if it would be ok, the police said yes but wrote out the local police hotline telephone number “in case we met any naughty people.” We had a good nights sleep between the patrolling police cars but wondered what it was all about. It took a week for us to discover what the police and army are up to.
18th APR. 2007 PENG. BALAK to MELAKA
We left early today and drove to Melaka where Dave purchased a wi-fi connector for our laptop and we spent the next 3 hours surfing in MacDonalds. Just outside of the city you will find a recreational forest area where you can drive in and camp for free. As normal in Malaysia, the heavens opened for the usual daily downpour and it was great to have a large area to sit in.
19th APR. 2007 MELAKA to GUNUNG LEDANG
After a morning of sightseeing around Melaka, admiring the outrageously decorated tricycles and buying tea in the Chinese area, we drove to Gunung Ledang (the highest mountain in Johor) arriving at the Resort hotel where the manager, with typical Malaysian hospitality, invited us to park within the grounds and use the resorts facilities. The following day we took the short walk up to the waterfalls for a cool swim in the water, disturbing a huge water monitor lizard who was trying to raid the rubbish bins. He was at least 5 foot long! This is one of the hottest areas in Malaysia and we sat sweltering in 40degree temperatures with a humidity of over 90%. Mr Foo Soo Eng ,the resort manager, came along to ask us if we were staying for another night as he had journalists turning up the following day for a mountain event and they wanted to interview us. We made our apologies and explained that we were meeting up with friends in Mersing tomorrow, so had to move on. He gave each of us a tie pin as a complementary goodbye gift– what a nice guy.
21st APR. 2007 GUNUNG LEDANG to MERSING
We arrived in Mersing and immediately found a spot to camp- it’s on the sea front, south side of the town, past the hospital. We were woken the next morning to the sound of locals taking their early morning Sunday promenade. Mersing is a small town that is mainly used as a departure point for boats travelling out to the Seribuat Archipelago.
ALYNA with a well named Landy!
22nd APR. 2007 MERSING to TG. RESANG
All along the coast line there are numerous bush camp spots and we drove less than 20km’s before finding another site that could not be passed! We were all snoozing when a fellow overlander turned up on his bicycle. Roman has been travelling for 15months and has cycled over Tibet at heights of 5,000metres- made us feel like a right bunch of middle aged lazy sods!
For your interest: there is a jetty on a dead end road at Kg. Penyabong - the local fisherman will take you over to a nearby island where you can stay in a stilted wood water bungalow.
23rd APR. 2007 TG. RESANG to BATU SEMBILAN
Goodbyes said we drove north to another beach where we once again met with police patrol cars?! An unmarked car pulled up later and a young guy got out to chat, he was an undercover policeman who patrols the beach along with the uniformed cars looking out for smugglers. It seems that a lot of cigarettes, watches and clothing are brought into Malaysia by boat from Indonesia and this is why you will see an army and police presence on some of the beaches. After showing us his I.D badge, Smith and Wesson 45 gun and handcuffs he waved goodbye as he reached for his binoculars and went on the hunt for another popular law breaking beach activity– unmarried sex!!
24th APR. 2007 BATU SEMBILAN to KG. CERUK PALUH
Just a short distance up the road is Pekan, a relatively quiet town where the main “attractions” are a watercraft gallery and a rather grand polo field.
We moved on to what has to be our favourite beach spot yet. Try to get onto the C17 road that follows the coast line and you will find a sign for Ceruk Paluh this road is a dead end but, if you continue on the sand track, initially keeping to the left, you will eventually come to a large flat grass area right beside the beach and backed by trees. Fantastic. So good that we spent 5 nights here- twice packing up to drive into Kuantan for shopping and web surfing before returning for the night.
A NEW COUNTRY FOR US THAT HAS BEEN A DREAM BUSH CAMP LOCATION.
ARRIVAL DATE: 28TH MARCH 2007
6.85 Ringgit Malaysian = £1.00
$1. 97 =£1.00
Kuala Lumpur Petronas towers
Fellow overlanders at the Cameron Highlands Landrover party
Camping in Templer Park
Kg. Penyabong jetty
SOME OF THE SIGHTS AROUND TAMAN NEGARA NATIONAL PARK
29th APR. 2007 KG. CERUK PALUH to KUALA TAHAN
We only left the beach because a small military exercise was taking place (2 camouflaged landies) and the Major had “popped by” to ask “where we were going next?” Hint taken we left and drove to Kuala Tahan where the park headquarters for Taman Negara National Park are. It was not what we hoped for– full of modern buildings and nowhere to bush camp. We thought about parking up right on the river side but, after spotting how high the flash flood markings go, we decided it probably wasn’t one of our brighter ideas. We ended up parked outside a hostel for the night and it poured with rain– again– just as well we were on higher ground!
30th APR. 2007 TAMAN NEGARA PARK
Next morning we got up early to catch the first boat to take us across the river and into the park, which was a waste of time as the park ticket office doesn’t open ‘til 8am. Armed with our tickets we walked to the jungle canopy walkway, (which doesn’t open ‘til 9.30am). Lucky we did arrive early as the queues are huge and it’s not uncommon to have a 2 hour wait. There is no chance of seeing any wildlife with so many people about so, for me, it was purely an exercise of scaring the hell out of myself whilst Dave had a good giggle at my terror. It’s not for the faint hearted! Rather disappointed we got back to the cars and drove toward the west gate of the park at Merapoh through some lovely scenery, the area between Kuala Lipis and Merapoh is littered with limestone outcrops surrounded by palm plantations. Sungai Relau gate at Merapoh has a superb camping area. We parked up by the river on the flat grass and took a walk over the bridge and into the park at dusk, where we spotted some wild boar and heard some of the amazing sounds of the jungle. Taman Negara Park is claimed to be the oldest untouched jungle in the world– having escaped ice age, volcanic and other geological disturbances.
In the office you will see some superb night photographs showing the various species that can be found here. You can organise various activities with the rangers including night walks in the jungle or you can do some of the walks yourself such as the 2 hour walk to a limestone cave that wild elephants use. If you can only visit one part of the park then make it this area, it’s wonderfully quiet and undiscovered-absolutely fantastic. The following day Dave and I went for a walk and came across fresh elephant tracks and dung as well as seeing lots of amazing plants, insects, small mammals, monkeys and birds.
2nd MAY 2007 MERAPOH to TASIK KENYIR
With great reluctance we left the park and took what was meant to be a gravel track but is now an almost completed surfaced road to Tasik Kenyir- a gorgeous lake just north of the park. We stopped to admire the scenery and were rewarded with our first sighting of a Rhinoceros hornbill flying across the road and landing on a tree. Further along the road there was a floating village so pulled over for a look and couldn’t believe it when we saw our friend Alyna again– she gets everywhere! They were organising a tri athlete jungle event so we arranged to meet up with them that night by the dam. We drove on to just before Pangkalan Gawi and parked beside the lake passing the time by having a swim. We have been told that there are some rather large nasty biting fish in these waters, we reckoned we smelt so bad that we were safe enough. Alyna and friends turned up later and we spent the night chatting and meeting new people.
3rd MAY 2007 TASIK KENYIR to BATU RAKIT
One of the LROM members has a beach house here and was kind enough to rent it to us for a week. We spent the time relaxing, swimming and watching a famous Chinese soap opera being filmed in the next door building– the crew invited us to their Xmas party episode as extras but, as normal, we said no thanks as we had planned to move on that day. Couldn’t imagine us in a Chinese soap opera– wonder if they have a Dot Cotton type character??
11th MAY 2007 BATU RAKIT to TOK BALI
On our way north we stopped at Penarik beach for a swim and lunch before moving on to Tok Bali where we found a quiet spot by the beach with lovely views of the islands. From Merang to Kuala Besut is bush camp heaven– you’re spoilt for choice!
12th MAY 2007 TOK BALI to TAWANG
We stopped at Kota Bharu to do some internet searches then moved on to Pantai Seri Tujuh beach, which is meant to be the nicest beach in the area. Oh dear– we stayed 10 minutes and moved on. We found a quiet corner by Tawang but would probably recommend that you miss out this area and head inland from Kuala Besut.
GEORGETOWN FORT, PENANG KEMASIK BEACH Checking out the en suite facilities at ???
13th MAY TAWANG to ???
Having made the decision to head west, we took highway 4 to Melintang where we stopped for lunch. There is a clear water river here plus a lovely karst but the mossies are fierce! The scenery from here on is lovely– dense jungle and hills. We stumbled upon a fantastic overnight spot-there is a gorgeous waterfall, at night wild elephants use the highway above you as a short cut and you can fall asleep to the deafening noises of the jungle surrounded by ABSOLUTE darkness. FANTASTIC.
14th MAY 2007 ??? to PENANG
The drive to Penang was lovely and Temengor Lake could have been a scene from Switzerland. We arrived in Penang and, after topping up our supplies in Carrefour, we found a beach to camp on.
15th MAY 2007
We tried to find a beach bush camp spot on the west coast– there were none. We did find a good place on the north side- the beach was very clean, there were 3 stray dogs and 2 kittens so we were all happy. We decided it would be best to leave after we started to name our favourite dog– it would only end in tears!
18th MAY PENANG to ???
We enjoyed Penang but it wasn’t the beach camp heaven we had been led to believe so, with time to spare, we revisited some favourites and headed back to our favourite unnamed water fall for the night. If you don’t fancy camping here then Banding Resort on Lake Temengor has a nice camping area with facilities that are free.
19th MAY 2007 ??? To PENARIK
This lunch stop beach was sooo lovely that we had to revisit. Follow the signs for Penarik beach chalet/ Mangkok– immediately after the beach chalet turn right and park up on the beach. The beach is clean, the water clear and, because the sand bank is steep, you can sunbath without being seen from the road.
We swam in the sea every night surrounded by fluorescent plankton– it was a stunning experience!
22nd MAY 2007 PENARIK to KEMASIK
We stopped off for supplies before driving south toward Dungun. We thought we had found a great bush spot in the middle of nowhere near Jambu Bongkok but after 2 hours of being stared at by locals who were trekking their way along the beach to participate– we moved on. We finally arrived at Kemasik beach just before dark and were mighty relieved to see that no-one paid us any attention. We woke the following morning to a fantastic view and decided to stay another 2 nights. There’s a group of monkeys with babies who come down to watch you every day and, if you're lucky, you can spot reef sharks and 5 bar wrasse in the warm waters.
25th MAY 2007 KEMASIK to CHERATING
With great reluctance we moved on to Cherating, another good beach area and decided to set up further along the bay away from the resort area. We had the entire stretch of beach to ourselves, tucked behind some trees and with no-one around.
26th MAY 2007 CHERATING to CERUK PALUH
With bare cupboards we had to move on, so we drove to Kuantan, stocked up and stayed at another of our favourite beach spots for the night.
27th MAY 2007 CERUK PALUH to KUALA LUMPUR & EUROPE
Back to K.L via the elephant sanctuary at Kuala Gandah .N 03.59271 E102.14420 Entry is free and you can wash, feed and ride the nellies on certain days from 2pm. We spent 2 nights at Templers Park before parking our car at a friends place and catching flights up to Bangkok and onto Europe due to family ill health. We return to Malaysia at the end of September.
© www.nessiesadventures.com, 2006,,All rights reserved
Nessie on F1 circuit!
Dave & Frank having a cooling dip
at Gunung Ledang
Beach camping at Tg Resang