The Brat and Nat trip

Discussion in 'Global Trip Reports' started by brat, Mar 1, 2007.

  1. brat

    brat Ol'Timer

    It's December the 3rd 2006 and I'm finishing my 28 day shift in

    Nhulumbuy Northern Territory Australia.

    4 weeks previously I'd packed the Uly in a crate in Melbourne to be

    trucked to Sydney to be shipped to Kuala

    Lumpur Malaysia! Unfortunately, as I got ready to pack the bike the

    sidestand bolts snapped (subject to

    recall) and the Uly fell across the back of my legs as I was walking

    away. No damage to me or the Uly!

    [image]http://www.badweatherbikers.com/buell/messages/142838/261307.jpg[/image]

    I had to leave Melbourne to fly 3 1/2 hours the next day, Luckily

    Harley agreed to send a mechanic to fix

    the Uly while I was away, the bike left on time!

    It's now 9am December 4th, the Uly's in Malaysia, I'm about to get on

    a plane to get me to Brisbane, then on

    to Melbourne. I get there at 7pm, have dinner with my girlfriend

    (Natalie) and mum, then Natalie and I get

    on a plane at midnight, off to Singapore, then on to Kuala Lumpur

    getting there at 8am December

    5th....pheeewww!

    [image]http://www.badweatherbikers.com/buell/messages/142838/261308.jpg[/image]

    The next few days we chilled out, waited for the Uly to clear customs

    and generally got screwed around by

    our shipping agent! We spent a day climbing

    [image]http://www.badweatherbikers.com/buell/messages/142838/261309.jpg[/image]
    [image]http://www.badweatherbikers.com/buell/messages/142838/261310.jpg[/image]

    , another sight seeing!

    [image]http://www.badweatherbikers.com/buell/messages/142838/261311.jpg[/image]

    I eventually spit the dummy, hire a car, go see the customs minister

    (not kidding) and get the Uly

    out......wwwwoooohhhooo!

    [image]http://www.badweatherbikers.com/buell/messages/142838/261312.jpg[/image]
    [image]http://www.badweatherbikers.com/buell/messages/142838/261313.jpg[/image]
    [image]http://www.badweatherbikers.com/buell/messages/142838/261314.jpg[/image]

    The Uly's great, the roads are easy, how's this for exotic, a foreign Coke sign!

    More later!
     
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  3. scot harper

    scot harper Ol'Timer

    Brat & Natters, stage 1 post was good, keep the whole shebang coming, worts an all.
    More pics of Natters, she brightens the shots....Scott
     
  4. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    yay Brat
    Great to see the report finally coming and a pic of the bike on the road & out of the crate. Please keep 'em coming.
    While Im off the road I need a steady fix of road & trip reports to keep me going.
     
  5. brat

    brat Ol'Timer

    Nat's view!

    The whole story started as a bit of a dream – then dream became reality and we were sorting our way through the ‘what, where, how’s and whys’ etc.

    I started by sourcing a shipping company that would take the bike to Malaysia. That may sound easy, but it is surprisingly not, as many companies will only take full containers, depart on certain days or other hurdles. But we found Precision Forwarding a company based in Sydney. So we got the bike to them from Melbourne (A$100) via a trucking company – all quoted very similar rates, but a friend had an account so we managed to make it a little cheaper, this friend also allowed us to pack the crate at his factory with a forklift which made life easier (something to consider).

    Back to the freighting of the bike – the paperwork can be a little fiddly and there seems to be many loop holes (ie do you need a carnet de passage for Malaysia) of which I’ll go into later. The freight of the bike to Kuala Lumpur from Sydney was $436.96 this did not include insurance.

    Once the bike is on the ship, their really isn’t much more you can do – but organise yourself! This I found rather interesting. Packing for 2 on 1 bike. We had the Buell custom made panniers (with the liners.. love the liners… they make life so much easier), a pack on the back and all our climbing gear attached to the tank. As we were going to Asia where you can live in affordable comfort we only took our clothes. I found some cargo pants (zip off above the knee) by Draggin’ Jeans with kevla lining. This was fantastic as it was safe riding but could be made into shorts to go for bush walks throughout the day. We also only took kevla tops (like a jumper/ sweater). This was great as it kept us cool and relatively safe. It also saved so much space.

    Once we got to Kuala Lumpur we straight away organised to get the bike… This was through Lim Key Kuan (Precision Forwarding Agent – United Logistics) this is where things got messy. Firstly if you want to bring a bike into Malaysia don’t go through United Logistics. Mr Lim does not value keeping the customer satisfied. It is all in his time. He was also the first person we uncounted to say “you are not doing it the RIGHT way” …. It took us a long time to realise that meant a bribe. After days of tooing and froing Chris and I decided we would go to the ‘top dog’ to get our bike out of customs. To cut a long story short we hired a car and ended up in Putrajaya (Malaysia’s government area) and in the office of the Chief of Customs. By the time we had finished we had the Chief and the Deputy onto getting our bike out of customs. Again this became a rush as it was Friday and the Muslim population stopped work early. Once we got all the documentation back to Port Kelang we go.

    By now Chris and My nerves were pretty thin and evil growls crept out every now and then.

    Back at Port Kelang …. And the hassle to get the bike became a joke. We were sent from one port office to another. Then finally we got to a the South Port. Well again we had some guy telling us ‘you are not doing it the RIGHT way’ and again we said “tell us and we’ll do it” but they never said. Then finally when Chris’ shaved head became a dark scarlet and I am sure steam was emitted from his ears, we were sent in to see the person in charge. Back and forth it went again (it really does become tiresome) when I remembered the Chief of Customs name (Chris’ jaw nearly hit the floor – I am no good at names) and mentioned his frustration. It was amazing, within minutes all was done and we were being pushed out the door with ‘go go just get out of here’. I guess since bribery is illegal they wanted us gone.

    By this stage another day has gone by and we drove back closer to town. Stayed at a beautiful hotel with a bath, room service and enough luxury to placate even the most ferociously frustrated and tired couple in town.

    The next day we caught a train out to the port. This time we were determined to ride out…. And we did! But not with out another ‘run in’. When we arrived, Chris was un packing the bike doing all the bloke things, while I was doing the paperwork. I was told under no circumstances to leave without at K2 (which to me seemed like the biggest hardest mountain in the world even though it was just deport papers for the bike) again Mister Lim who was responsible for this seemed to have vanished on holiday and refused to give us one saying the paperwork we had was enough. Well I wasn’t convinced but since nothing seemed to work in a logical manner we left KL as soon as we could with ‘good riddance’ and an audible sigh that we are on our way.

    As a side note – KL is a great city with as many things to do as most cities seem to offer. Though being ‘stuck’ and stuffed around doesn’t aid in the enjoyment.

    So off we went on the bike. It was great to be free and on the way. We headed straight up to the Cameron Highlands. That was an amazing ride. Lost of hairpin corners and kamikaze drivers. The road are thin and in lots of corners wet from waterfalls. Needless to say being the passenger I enjoyed this road immensely. Seeing bamboo villages and people picking tea. All the different flora and waterfalls and the smells – wild Durian fruit… I couldn’t point most things out as Chris needed to keep all eyes on the road.

    From Cameron Highlands we headed to Penang. The roads in Malaysia are very well maintained. The highways have a separate lane for bikes which can be good when you want to pass traffic. The Toll booths have a path that goes around the paying booths for little bikes. This is an entertaining ride to see how supple you are at riding a big bike, as the path is not as wide as the bike with the panniers on with little gutters on either side. I was sure we would stumble on one of them (as even the little mopeds have trouble) but when I opened my eyes and let out my breath we always seems to zooming off upright!
     
  6. scot harper

    scot harper Ol'Timer

    Natters, a top read so far, I look forward to the next post.
    Scott....Land of Oz
     
  7. daewoo

    daewoo Ol'Timer

    When I saw the first line of this post I thought we were giong to be treated to a few more photos of Nat [:D] ...

    Having lived and worked in KL I can agree that it is indeed a great fun city, and so completely different to anywhere in Thailand...

    PLEASE keep the story coming, it is a great adventure you are about to undertake, and I can't wait for the next installment...

    Cheers,
    Daewoo
     
  8. brat

    brat Ol'Timer

    Text by Nat, pics and comments, brat!

    Another side note from the Cameron Highlands – it was a welcome relief up in the mountains as it cooled the body down and (once getting around the buses) you could take a huge deep breath of FRESH air! Bliss.

    [​IMG]
    Watch the gutters, the roads were great!

    [​IMG]
    Ye Olde English Guesthouse, com plete with cold showers etc!

    In Malaysia there are the Malays, Indians and the Chinese. Up in the highlands it was the first time I saw how different they were, as each had their own little town. The Malay town was very private, the Chinese town had the eateries and the souvenirs while the Indian town had the hotels and very tourist oriented. It was amazing to see the differences.

    [​IMG]
    Nat at a tea plantation in the Cameron Highlands!

    [​IMG]
    The bridge to Penang Island!

    Penang is an interesting place. There is a lot of evidence of the British, while still having such a huge influence from the Chinese, Indian, Malays with a large Muslim population. With the different cultures comes the food and the colour of the place. It was here we discovered the importance of 'looking at the surroundings' when choosing a hotel. We had no problem leaving the bike in relatively secure places, (we used an alarm 'just in case'), and it wasn't the night clubs or markets as they are places you either gravitate to (or away) from.

    [​IMG]
    Georgetown in the background!

    It is the Mosques. Often beautiful structures, and it is a sight to see the procession of men with their caps and long shirts going in and out of the temples..... It is only at 5am in the morning do you ever notice the MASSIVE speakers on the top of the spire angled in every direction to ensure all hear the call to prayer. (by the time the journey was over I could tell the difference between a good call and a bad call – bad sounded like a dying animal, good – was poetically musical).

    [​IMG]
    We didn't notice this Mosque at the back of our hotel until 5am in the morning!!!

    We rode around the island, it was great having the freedom to explore. This island is small but you have the ability to ride into mountains and 'get away' from the hustle and bustle of Georgetown.

    [​IMG]
    Tropical fruit plantation in Penang, this plate cost $3!

    Another thing to note about riding in Malaysia. Firstly in KL every highway seemed to lead to where you are going. It may not be the quickest way but if you stay on it long enough you will see a sign heading in your direction. The other thing to note is Place names.

    [​IMG]
    Suer highway straight up the middle of Malaysia, made getting out easy! We will be back to explore the back roads!

    Sometimes they are in English (with various spelling, but sound it out and it works) other times the signs disappear, this is when you realise the new signs have a Malay name that you've never heard of. Luckily they are at least using the Alphabet.

    [​IMG]
    The bike lanes Nat spoke of!

    As we headed further north the scenery started to change into the limestone cliffs, it got hotter, the houses were more traditional and the towns were more remote and not so tourist friendly, not such a bad thing when part of having a bike was to get off the beaten track.

    [​IMG]
    Quiet village, no tourists...yah!

    The further north you go the greater the Muslim population and being outside tourist areas where they don't often see tourists I did my best to respect their culture. I always wore a T-shirt and had the long bike pants on and whenever I took my helmet off it was a sprint to throw a scarf over my head (for some reason I never quite looked as beautiful as they do) I didn't mind that. The hardest part for me was – if Chris was around I did not exist. All conversation went through him, Chris didn't like it, as I was often shopping for something for me – so he'd hand me the cash and walk off.

    We ended up crossing the border at Kaki Bukit. This was an interesting road to get to the border. I certainly wasn't the main highway option. The mountains were beautiful and apart from some of the corners being covered in gravel, the ride was good. Up and down the mountain range it really was lovely. Then we hit the border. The next saga of the Malaysian odyssey.

    [​IMG]
    Woohooo, Thailand here we come! :eek:)

    We arrived at the border crossing and guess what! They asked for the K2.... or the carnet and we had neither. So we ended up having to pay another $80 to get some guy from the closest town to get all the paperwork out and signed etc. What a drama. 3 Hours of looking at the Thailand border craving for the freedom of the country we know without any of the hassles we had experienced in Malaysia. While we were waiting we watched all these massive Utility vehicles piled high with who knows what going back and forth. One way there was no suspension the other they'd be floating. Not once stopping at either crossing. When we asked what was in the trucks the customs, police and army all said “what trucks”, definitely suspicious!

    After all the hassles back and forth we were finally allowed through. with much ado at the border... just to keep our opinion of Malaysia high. As per usual our inability to recognise bribes makes life harder. We could have driven through quite easily - though doing the right thing kept us with them for a few hours. It was a beautiful place to get stuck.

    We hit the Thailand border (20 metres up the road) and gave them all the paperwork etc. They didn't want to know about the bike, then they thought they would be 'legal' and put the paperwork into a computer and gave us nothing. Oh well at least we are doing things right. How about our side strip and the hill tribe!!

    The ride away from the border was wonderful. The road fantastic and all stresses behind us. We were gone from Malaysia and into Thailand.

    In Thailand we were going through places that has seen very few white people. It also made it very hard as nearly all the signs are in the Thai characters. Not easy to read. We didn't bother filling the bike up in Malaysia preferring to get out, and believing Lonely Planet when they said all boarder towns take the Ringet, baht and US$. Well this wasn't the first time Lonely Plant was disastrously wrong.

    We ended up getting fuel in this little servo - well the ad says visa or amex is accepted everywhere - NOT TRUE! I ended up on the back of this little girls moped going 25km! to get money out of the bank. I think they were to scared to let Chris on the back. It was funny - normally they toot their horn to show you are passing etc.... this time she was beeping away pointing at me! Did I feel on show... she could have at least let me change my shirt and do my hair! :eek:)

    [​IMG]
    Where's your helmet!

    We didn't get far that night, we are still not sure what town as it was very small - 1 hotel. But we found it Thai writing and all. They had a fair on that night - it was great fun. The music... interesting. Some Thai singing Chris Isaac is pretty funny. It was great to see the freedom of everyone. Not worrying when the small kids run off. It was like my childhood in Australia, certainly not what it is today.

    As we headed further north up the peninsular we decided to take a side trip to view a waterfall... and what a sight we saw! We followed the sign off the main road, kept going straight as we saw no signs. The road went from bitumen to gravel, to packed dirt, to a dirt track. We kept winding around mountains, creeks and all of a sudden we turn a corner to see a hill tribe on the side of the road all wide eyed, stunned, dumb struck at the look and sound of this monster going past. It was amazing! A tribe with spears, babies and all their belongings on their backs. We kept ploughing forward as the road got worse.... and no waterfall. When we couldn't go any further we turned around (a rather difficult and slippery effort on the side of a hill). On the way back we saw the tribe again! We weren't dreaming. I tried to get a photo as we zoomed past (pretty poor effort) but a muddy slope isn't the place to stop. What a side trip!

    [​IMG]
    A hilltribe.....we looked in amazement at them, them at us!

    We kept heading north to Krabi where we had previously been to go rock climbing (a favourite memory of ours) We went to dinner in Ao Nang - this was the most magical place for us last time we were there.

    [​IMG]
    Our special place, this is part of the view!

    We were there just before the Tsunami, it is now completely covered in hotels etc. The restaurant we loved then as only locals came and was cheap as chips.... is now the flavour of the tourists and charging accordingly. It is still as beautiful as ever.

    The next day we left our bike in loving car at the Krabi guest house (Thai people are very acomodating and willing to help) and headed off to Phi Phi Island.

    [​IMG]
    The river out of Krabi into the Andaman Sea, on to Phi Phi!

    Again a major tourist attraction - but in saying that you can get something other than noodles or rice. We had a few days on Phi Phi getting our scuba diving certificates and attempting climbing (not a smart idea diving all day then climbing exhausted in the afternoon).

    [​IMG]
    Diving builds up nitrogen in your blood, less energy, not good for climbing, that's the cliff in the background! :eek:(

    [​IMG]
    But the view from the cliff is special! :eek:)

    We had a great break eating and enjoying the beach...... and letting our bums recover from all that riding, I needed the rest (well my bottie anyway).
     
  9. scot harper

    scot harper Ol'Timer

    Thanx guys, keep posting and I'll keep reading a top trip so far, i guess its a memory now[:D]....Scott
     
  10. rhiekel

    rhiekel Ol'Timer

    Was reading your posting of troubles with Malaysian customs with a big smile on my face. Do not know what is the matter with them. Think it is a make work program that has gone horribly wrong....If you enter Malaysia by bike from Thailand they do exactly.........nothing. They wave as you ride in. If you bring it into a port it is like the end of the world, with endless paperwork and shuffling from office to office. After five hours of this crap in Penang trying to bring my bike back in from Indonesia, I threw up my hands in disgust, and stormed out of the office slamming the door after me. So I feel your pain !!! Are your still traveling in Thailand or is this trip report ex post facto ???
     

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