Muar is a delightful working town loads of real shops including a great bike shop who sold me a Panasonic inner tube for 10 Ringgits but didn’t stock puncture repair kits.
I started the day with some lovely egg roti’s at The Soup House, joined later by Sabine. As we were finishing the French couple appeared. They had decided to take the coast route to Batu Pahat which isn’t very far at all. Sabine and I had decided to head to Kluang about 100km away.
The road was very busy but we made very good time, with Sabine struggling ever so slightly to keep up 🙂 . In fact I started to think that maybe instead of having total rest days it might be a better idea to just have partial rest days doing like 30 miles instead of zero, I’ve noticed after zero days my legs really hurt to begin with.
An advantage of having someone with me is that I can share a watermelon, they are truly delicious here, but way too much for one person and even for two a bit of a struggle. For lunch we found a guy making delicious peanut/honey pancakes 🙂
Close to Kluang we couldn’t resist dropping in to the Zenxin Organic Park for a smoothie and a look around, a bit like a garden centre and obviously used to demonstrate organic food growing although most of it was closed.
We managed to just escape the rain storms so arrived in Kluang without a soaking. The White House Hotel at £9 per room per night was OK but the internet was totally rubbish. Interesting that the last two hotels have been run by old men. Both Kluang & Muar have dozens of hotels and it’s really hard to see how they can make a living from it.
We ended up eating at the Battown Hawker Centre after visiting a very disappointing heavily themed Kluang Rail Coffee cafe. An excellent day.
The Mullah woke me up by blasting his prayer of the day at me, once awake the incessant pounding of the rain kept me up. I met Sabine loading up her bike at daylight downstairs and we agreed to hang on for the rain to clear, since it was only a 30 mile day. It cleared just before 8. I checked my tyres before loading up and all seemed OK.
I had only been on the bike a few minutes and I got that sinking feeling 🙁 a few minutes later and it was a total flat with the tyre coming of the rim 🙁 Fortunately the Madras Cafe was next door so after changing the inner tube (and not finding any nail etc 🙁 ) I had a wash and enjoyable breakfast chatting to an ex bank manager who trades derivatives on his own account. Interesting talk on risks etc
Then we started on Highway 5 which has a split personality, a new version that makes a loop, wide & boring or the old 5 more interesting but narrower through the villages. We discovered a couple of side roads which made it quieter and more interesting for a while.
Whilst having a drink in Kampung Pengkalan two French cyclists stopped for a chat, Guy & Noèmie have been biking for almost a year covering about 8,000km in Russia, Japan, China & SE Asia, their blog is at Escapade En Velo
We soon arrived in Muar past the huge semiconductor plants to find a very pleasant provincial town totally non touristy & really very pleasant. We bumped into Guy & Noèmie again whilst searching for a hotel eventually homing in on the Hotel Kingdom where the two old men were going to put all 4 of us in one room at 45 Ringgits (£9) a night for the room! Eventually we got through to him we wanted 3 separate rooms. The restaurant opposite, The Soup house is really excellent too.
Today I was playing at been a tourist again by joining the free 2 hour walking tour of the old city. Organised by The Melaka Museum Corporation & Melaka Tourism Promotion. Not free enterprise as in my tours of Bucharest & Ljubljana
I could only understand about 1 word in 3 that the guide spoke & to be quite honest he rambled of topic quite considerably eg In Christ Church we had a diatribe about Dengue fever in Singapore! Then in the Buddhist Temple it was plain that he disapproved of all the offerings and ‘lucky’ charms etc. So disappointing compared to my previous city tours. For myself I was fascinated by the Dunlop building, Bastion House, now the Malay & Islamic World Museum! Obviously Mr Dunlop was very powerful out here in 1910 as it’s on a prime site.
After a recovery shake I ventured down the river to what will be Melaka’s tallest building with 42 floors which will have views over the straits.
An interesting sort of day but sad to say that the original small factories, blacksmiths are all getting priced out by T shirt shops, & cafe’s like in Cambridge.
Tomorrow it’s back on the bike to get closer to Singapore which at a push is only 3 days away.
I’ve been looking forward to visiting Malacca as it has a fascinating history and lots of good reviews from other travellers.
We left at 7.20 at the crack of dawn not because of the distance but just to get biking in the cool. The traffic on the road soon thinned out and became quite pleasant, following the Google bike layer we headed on a real country road to a small fishing village ,all very pleasant with lots of cheery waves and no traffic. In fact at one place we even had a free drink with a family at their beach bungalow with tremendous ocean views if you looked right, looking left you saw all the offshore gas & oil platforms 🙁
At Kem Terendak, Google maps screwed up big time by trying to take us through a military base, the soldiers with the rifles were less than impressed! making us do a circuit back onto Highway 5 and round their base. How do you tell Gmaps about this mistake? I easily edited Open Street Map using the Go Map! app (whilst a Burmese waiter was giving his story about escaping from the Muslim/Buddhist conflict their.
Malacca was every bit of good as folks suggested, it has a real nice arty vibe with a more mature type of person so all very civilised. Cafe 1511 is a very grand stylish place to stay although the loo & shower are a floor below and the staircase up to my room would fail any UK building inspection, being very steep & narrow with no balustrade
So another short 50 miler but given the heat more than enough! The Strava is here