Just to be lazy I copied this from my blog, hence the weird spacing. Formatted version available here.
After a hectic few months at work, I managed to book a couple of days off for a solo trip north into Malaysia
Long stretches of motorway, torrential rain, mad drivers and a whole heap of the world's best roads.
I was late starting off on a sunny Sunday morning in March 2010. A fresh pair of Conti Trail Attack tyres on the steel pony, I wanted a trip on tarmac and I figured these would be better than the TKC80s.
Leaving Singapore via the Second Link at Tuas I headed into Malaysia and followed the North-South Expressway. I took a wide berth of Kuala Lumpur to the West via the E6 and E35 which delivered me to Rawang, just north of KL. After 400km of tedious and very hot motorway miles, I head up Route 1 towards Fraser's Hill.
The minute I got onto the fun roads the heavens opened with the kind of tropical rain you can only get in this part of the world. 60km to Fraser's Hill, climbing 1260 metres along twisty roads with severe drop-offs in the rain...nice!
Fraser's Hill or Bukit Fraser is named for the Scotsman who discovered tin ore in the area and mined the wealth with a heap of opium-addicted coolies. Like Jim Thompson, he mysteriously disappeared one day but the area keeps his name. It's a small 'resort' area and much less commercialised then Genting or Cameraon Highlands...but the standard of accomodation is pretty dire. Not a five star hotel to be seen!
Despite the rain, the cooler temperatures were welcome, down from 36 celcius around KL to the mid 20s up in the mountains
I eventually arrived at Ye Olde Smokehouse where they were filming a Malaysian TV show, but luckily they had one room left which I took gratefully.
"Quaint" is the word, a small slice of colonian England in the mountains. "expensive"would be another word, at over RM300 for a room for the night. The room was obviously very nice at some stage in it's life, but a little tired and damp. No heater to dry the bike suit out, and barely any hot water, but I was out of the rain and happy.
Nature obliged with some fabulous views when the rain cleared, with some incredible views from the room.
Later on, we were treated to nature's own lightshow when the sun set. I don't normally post millions of sunset shots, but the colours were amazing:
The food was good, the mattress lumpy, but the next morning was a whole new (dry) world.
Met this little fellow on my morning stroll...wish I knew how to get better photos of this stuff.
I timed breakfast perfectly to getaway in time to make the 10am "Gap". The last 8km of roads to Bukit Fraser are so narrow and winding that the traffic is only allowed one-way at a time. Odd hours to travel up, and even hours to travel down.
Unfortunately just before I got to The Gap, I stopped to take pictures of the picturesque town square and managed to drop my bike. On someone's car. Outside the police station. Doh! I had to hang around another 90 mins to wait for the 12pm gap.
But looking at the GPS, I could see that there was fun right around the corner. Lots of corners. (This is a thing of beauty when you live in Singapore, where the roads are almost entirely straight and interupted with traffic lights every 500m).
Given the late start and thought of a long hot ride back from Cameron Highlands the next day, I decided to have a day on the twisties and followed Highway 55, 8(old), 9 and 61 down to Melaka.
From the start there were no views more than 100m distant, as every corner was greeted with another corner.
Too much riding fun to stop and take pictures. I mostly managed to keep ahead of the locals on their Honda Wave 125cc scooters. I guess familiarity with the roads helps when the turns are this thick and fast.
Further down the mountain, the roads began to open up into long sweeping bends that could carry 100km/h without any fuss. After Singapore, anything less than totally vertical seems like an insane lean angle.
The air was getting warmer lower down, back up to 28 celcius or so.
The jungle vegetation and 15m bamboo forests thinned out to open up some spectacular views across the Titiwangsa mountain range.
The rest of the route to Melaka was also plenty fun. No sign of traffic police on the back roads, or maybe it was too hot? I stopped for Nasi Goreng in one village and felt like a rock star when surrounded by what seemed like the whole village wanting to oggle the bike. I guess anything over 125cc here is still a novelty. I was surprised not to see any other big bikes on these roads, it think if I lived in KL all my spare time would be on these mountain roads.
Rain hit again for the final hour's ride into Melaka, and didn't stop until I was nearly back in Singapore the following day. After another 500km I arrived in Melaka with just enough time to check in, massage and eat before bed.
I decided to splurge and stayed in The Majestic, one of the Small Luxury Hotels of the world. The room with its 4-poster bed and claw-foot bath open to the room was very nice, and the food was incredible. Only 5/10 for the balanese massage though, would expect more from an expensive spa resort.
The final leg on Day 3 was a short 250km hop in the rain back to Singapore via a mix of back roads and NSE. Back into Singapore via the Second Link again and home in time for Cucumber sandwiches.
All in all I did around 1200km over the three days, and it was the first proper outing for my Touratech Standard Breathable seat. Comfort levels after 450km were as good as the first km. Its a great seat that maximises the long-distance ability of the bike, but in this kind of heat I guess any biker will suffer from monkey butt and a hot arse. Prickly heat powder liberally applied at every stop helps, but after 6 hours in the saddle I still get hot bits where the back of my thighs meet the seat.
The Conti Trail Attacks are an incredible tyre. The pattern doesn't suggest much use on trail, and I didn't take on any gravel roads during this outing. But on the pavement, there was almost no difference between the dry roads and roads with 2" of standing water, I am very very impressed with these tyres. I am sure better bikers than me will easily scrape not only the pegs but probably the engine casing too with these tyres on.
I've got to say that the highlands of Malaysia are a must-do for anyone biking in the area. Send me a message if you want a GPX file of my routes.