Cool breeze from the South China Sea - The Trengganu Experience

Discussion in 'Mountain Biking - Road Trip Reports' started by Abg Acid, May 26, 2011.

  1. For some reason, I kept posphoning this write-up of an overnight cycling trip we made in mid April 2011. There were 8 of us, mostly from Kuala Lumpur, drove our cars with the bicycles loaded to a little town called Cukai, in South Trengganu. From there we left the cars at a friend's home and unloaded the bikes to start our journey northward. Road distance was 68 kilometers to our destination the for the night at Paka, a comfortable distance for a weekend cycling. We took some detour away from the trunk road, sticking to the smaller coastal road from Cukai till Kijal when we were forced to re-enter the trunk road northwards.

    The state of Trengganu which is situated on the eastern part of Peninsula Malaysia, is a rich oil producing state. Oil wells are situated off-shore , but along this route at Kerteh we will see the gigantic infrastructure of Petronas's Refinery Station.

    Enlarged view of part of the Tengganu state. At the most southern part, Cukai (Kemaman) we will begin our journey. Green line is the intended route we will cycle and red is the main trunk road that links Cukai to the north.
  2. 13.
    Unloading the bikes from the car at Cukai as early as 7.00 in the morning. and me had drove all night from Muar for this trip. It was a hard drive and we exchanged the drivers' seat for rest. It was approximately 400 kilometers from Muar. The rest of the gang drove from Kuala Lumpur

    Just before the cycling began, a group photography was taken. From right is Abg jaa, Raha, Ebol, Faiz, and Moto1.

    10 kilometers North, we had already made a detour into the smaller coastal road. This was the site of a heavy industry of Teluk Kalong, manufacturing steel. It was actually a part of the main trunk road, before a new hiway made to bypass this industrial zone back in 1990s
  3. 114.
    Just south of Kijal, at the entrance of a 5-Star resort Strawberry Kijal. The resort was built on water, A nice place to stay, if you had the money. We stopped for rest here, our first rest point.

    Me posing, at the same location. Awaiting for the rest of the group to arrived. They were late,as they had their first flat tyre behind.

    Ashburn, with minimal luggage at rear, rolling into our first pitstop
  4. After the regroup, we cycled on aand immediately after the town of Kijal we re-enter the main trunk road. This road was quite loaded with vehicles but fortunately it has a broad shoulder to ride on. No problem for us, except that the sun was getting hotter every minute of it. We drank a lot of water. Cyclist need to drink as much as possible, so that you dont get sunstroke and dehydrated. If you ever cycled in Malaysia, look for 100-plus, an isotonic drink which is good for the body keeping it cool and hydrated. It also an energy drink as well.

    Kemasek, our 2nd stop point which marks 40th kilometer from our starting point. It the halfway point to Paka now. We stopped here for lunch and rest. Kemasek is a beach res stop with idylic views of fishermen's boat and a fantastic beach. An incident here happened to me. I was getting off my bicycle too fast and experienced a cramp on my left thigh. A painful contraction of the calve muscle. Fortunately I have my wife as my private doctor to ease the pain.

    A view of Kemasek beach with a little rocky island. You may walk to the isalnd during low tide. Great place to spend few hours before the tide returns.

    A scene probably hundreds or thousands of photographer have this site photographed. A landmark of Kemasek.
  5. After the rest and lucnh at kemasek we set off again heading north. We will pass Kerteh pretty soon, home of the giant Petronas Refinery station.

    Dr. tt, osing "one for the road". A favorite stunt by most cyclist. Its easy to do this.

    The rest of the geng, heading out from Kemasek

    Its back on the road again, broad road 3. Kinda hot here,. temperature must be soring way above 30*C

    But nevertheless its still a good cycling road. Flat and smooth surface
  6. This road 3 passes right through the refinery station. On both sides you may various structures of the plant. It stretches for some 3 or 4 kilometers. This site is a restricted area and we saw many signboards telling us photography is not permitted. Strange for Petronas to have those signs on public road. Instead they should have built another road that lead away from this site as a detour to road 3.

    The signboards on road 3, along the Petronas Refinery Plant. A new road should have been built, so the general public will have an alternative traveling North.

    A section of the Refinery plant in the background. Kerteh reinery plant is the largest in Malaysia, owned ny the National company Petronas

    Both of us took the opportunity of taking a picture at this restricted zone
  7. After the Refinery at Kerteh, we passed into the district of Dungun, we are now less then 20 kilomters to our final destination Paka. Paka is just a small fishing village, and a good place for travellers to stop for a night rest. Many intgernational cyclists opt to stay overnight here, for its laid back life style and cheaper accomodations before travelling on to Kuala Terengganu which is 100 km north. We have already made plan to meet up with a New Zelander cyclist who was currently doing a tour from Singapore to China. I met him on the website crazyguyonbike. We made the arrangement to meet at Paka via emails.

    Entering the District of Dungun, we are close to our destination now. This is the milestone that divides District of Kemaman and Dungun.

    Soon after, we left road 3 to enter the coastal road. A fascinating road, right by the beach. Spirits were high now, as the breeze from South China sea is really soothing, cool and fresh.

    Gorgeos views too. A really cool ride by the beach on a deserted road

    Its a road you can can cycle freely and casually without worries of cars and trucks tailing your behind
  8. Yeah Captain, you travelled this road 3 on your recent visit to Malaysia, however there are centain places that you missed and I will write about them as the journey continues.

    Do come back and do more advenures on new destinations.

  9. map3.
    Our destination, Paka. A small fishing village

    Finally after 6 hours of casual cycling and rest we reached our destination. Check in at Gelombang Pantai Chalet. Air conditoned, TV and wi fi. Its a beach bunglow actually though the water is not safe for swimming as the shores dropped to a depth to steeply. In front of our bungalows was a family trying their luck fishing.

    Late afternoon after some rest we went out looking for David. He was the cyclist whom we made contact for a meet up at Paka. David Cook is a New Zelander currently doing a tour from Singapore to China. You may read about his journey at

    After dinner, it was sort of shopping at the local night market for us

    In front of our bungalows where the boys sat and talked of future rides. There was a wi-fi service from the bungalow
  10. 12-24.
    Good morning Paka, ..Good morning Malysia, a very promising morning indeed. It will be a bright day again today.

    Such a beautiful morning, life in a small village away from the maddening crowd of bigger city.

    Good morning bicycles!.. Bicycles?.. Where these expensive looking bicycles come from? Tehy are not ours for sure. Actually this photo was taken at the premise of Residence Inn, a classy hotel just a few hundred meters from where we stayed. They belonged to 2 western tourists. We saw them yesterday, carrying a small child too. They must have travelled long way. If you looked carefully you will notice one have a baby seat on the rear and another have a trailer behind to haul their luggage. They stayed here at Residence Inn, its rm240 per night. Must be someone who has money but looking for adventures on bicycles
  11. We had breakfirst at a local eating outlet. It was just a wooden shack actually, but the food was good. It was a place where the locals took their breakfirst before going off to work, mostly fishermen. Being located on the east coast of Malaysian peninsular, the food here is quite different from what we have on the west. And there are a few which we cannot even recognised what they were. Soon after, we were back on the road travelling southward this time.

    The ladies, ready to go... all dressed up in new fresh clothing. Looking forward for the ride home

    Off we go,.. taking the small coastal road.

    And the guys behind... Its follow me! I am your captain
  12. South after about 20 kilometers just before Kereh, we made another detour. Earlier on during our ride yesterday we saw this signboard "Pusat Santuari Penyu, Ma' Daerah" whcih simply means "Turtle Sanctuary Centre" and Ma Daerah is the name of this village. We decided to check this place, to look at the nursery and gained some knowledge in the process.

    The Turtle Santuary, must be an interesting place to visit. So we made a detour from the main road 3 to check it out, afterall its only 1.5 km away.

    But the seal road ends immediately after a few hundred meters uphill.

    So it was a hardwork cycling on dirt road for a while, fortunately it was mostly downhill to the beach
  13. As we reached the santuary, it was closed, and we were told that this site was a restricted area and we need special permision from the head office at Kerteh. But after a short talk with the caretaker explaining that we were from the west and cycled here for holidays, he let us in. We were glad he did as we found out that this santuary is different form most other santuaries found in Malaysia. Basically, other santuries that I had visited before would nurse the baby turtles for a couple of weeks, in an artificial ponds, feeding them untill they get bigger and stronger before releasing them back to the sea. Its like a nursery in a awy. But here the eggs are relocated to safer controlled site, and the baby turtles are realesed immediately when they hatches, usually at night. So its a more natural process actually, where baby turtles are released immediately to the open sea without any prior feeding or nursing.

    The front gate of the Santuary, which is a goverment project joint ventured with some companies and under the watchfull eye of WWF. A conservation project to save the turtles from becoming extinct. They are the giant leatherback species, which currently has dwindled in numbers, a sad thing we had to pay in the name of progressing world. The shores in Terengganu has been their egg laying sites for millions of years, before this giant leatherbacks swim back to the ocean and travel as far as California. Its amzing these leatherbacks can live up to a thousand years and yet the numbers are getting smaller and smaller each day. They are the largest of all living sea turtles

    An exhibiton hall, under the fund from BP

    This was the site where the eggs are relocated. A control area, away from poachers and predators
  14. 324.
    And this is the shore of Ma' Daerah, a restricted area for the conservation of sea turtles. Its a beautiful piece , almost like a lost beach, away from mankind. If you looked closely you will notice that this beach is actually a cove, well protected with rocky hills jutting out into the sea at both corners, keeping human and predators away. An ideal site for the turtles to come and lay their eggs.

    Another picture taken towards the northern section, see the rocky hill that goes into the sea.
  15. Its been sometime since I last wrote about this trip. Actually its not finished yet, and I have few more notes and pictures to put in, but due to time constrain I seem to have forgotten about this. Very sorry.

    Anyawy, after the visit to the turtle santuary we cycled on to get back to the main road 4, and as we came out tothe juction the boys stopped but me and wife just cycled on. Little did we know that one of the boys had a flat tyre. So, off happily we cycle without knowing this and after few kilomters of cycling slowly hoping they would catch us up, I notice there was no sign of them at all. I stopped, pulled out the handphone and called them. I was informed of the incident and they advice me to carry on cycling and will meet further on south.

    As we cycled on we saw this sign Star Cruise jetty. It was a pier where a luxury boat once in service 10 years ago. However, we have heard that the luxury cruise had closed down, and now they only concentrated services on the western part of the peninsula where it is still profitable. You know, the kind of "Cruise to Nowhere" , a luxury liner with casino and lots of entertainemnt on board!

    The signboard said it was 150 meters! So we decided to check this out, 150 meters would be apiece of cake to cycle. Soon enough we had cycled that distnce and there was no Pier on sight at all. We thought it must have been few more hundred meters, so we cycled on. After 1 kilometer of cycling we stopped, and I just had to pulled out the GPS to check where the coastine should be, and we cycled on. It was 2 kilomters off land, gosh.. what a sign! You just can be too careful with road signs!

    After a kilomter into the detour, the road became too quiet and I had to check pout the GPS to check the shoreline

    Finally there it was. No more ticketing or other buildings nearby, they must have pulled them down I think. Whats left was the pier and it goes right into the sea.
  16. 414. was top eager to get onto the pier. Leading the way as quickly as she could without hesitate to check if the Pier is safe at all. All too eager to get into the long gone Liner?

    At the far end of the pier, it was the home for anglers actually. A forgotten pier that goes deep into the sea can become a heaven for anglers.

    With stuff like coldbox, there must have been some serious fishing here. Or probably a coldbox to store some cold drinks,.. its teribbly hot here, cant imagine how on earth someone can stand that so much heat waiting for some silly fish to have a bite. However, they must have thought that how silly we were to be on bicycle in the heat of the day!

    Boy! Look at em rods! You need as many hands to handle them, I think. They looked like riffles to me, a weapon of mass destruction!
  17. After the detour to the Star Crusie jetty, I made another phonecall to the guys asking their location. They seemed to have passed us and now 10 kilometers south at a Petronas Petrol Station, cooling off for a rest. If any of you ever cycled here in Malaysia, a petrol station is an ideal place to stop and rest. You can cool off yourself in the airconditoned kiosk and there are plenty of cold drinks in the freezer. The favourite drink is of course 100 Plus, sort of Gatorade drink you get in the US of A.

    My last picture for this ride. This is the killer hill, less than 10 kilomteres to our destination. Yesterday we came through the oppoite direction and we managed to clock almost 60kmh going downhill, and today we will need to climb, its the payback time!

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