Phuket-Supang-Cameron Highlands-Phuket

Jun 21, 2006
Phuket – Sepang – Cam Highlands – Phuket

This year was my 3rd trip to the MotoGP in Sepang and 4th trip in total as have also ridden down to watch the F1 in Sepang.

I cheated this year and took the car, had a good excuse as my 1150GS I have left with Peter at Siam Superbike to sell for me, and my Phantom needs a bit of maintenance done on it before undertaking a long trip.

For anyone not yet ridden on the roads in Malaysian, the expressways are brilliant, a good road surface, signpost that at least use the English alphabet, mileage boards every 100m, (or should that be kilometer boards every 100 metres), and no one doing u turns in the middle of the road and no cars driving towards you on the wrong side of the road, (quite boring really).

The tolls are all free for bikes, they have a special lane on the left, that bypasses the tolls. After this trip in the car, my girlfriend suggested we go back to riding the bike down in future as we spent over 600 baht on tolls for the car.

Also on expressways there are fuel stops about every 60kms, and every overpass bridge has a special lay by built off the road so bike riders can park safely behind the crash barrier, and shelter under the bridge out of the rain, or to put your wet weather gear on.

Petrol is about half the price of that in Thailand, which is good.

The idea was 1st day drive Phuket to Ipoh, and the following day its only about 3 hours to Sepang, so can get there Friday midday.. Ipoh is a s***hole. We paid about 600 baht for a room, air con, lid missing of toilet cistern and only cold water. A lot of the guest houses are like this so would hate to think how much a decent hotel would cost. Next time we will stay in Penang.

As I mentioned on a previous topic, MotoGP in Malaysia, is a real bargain, especially compared to a World SuperBike race in brands Hatch UK, I went to a couple of years ago.

About 200 baht, total, gets you 3 days parking, 3 days camping, and 3 days entry to the circuit. You can lie in your tent and watch the bikes going past, the mars halls complained to me again, same as last year, as we were cooking bacon and eggs for breakfast and they are literally just the other side of the fence, and could smell the cooking. We had just the 7 of us sharing a whole toilet block, and I bought along a solar shower this year, not so much to heat the water but to hang up on the fence and get a decent shower. The 2 guys from Surin trained it to Bangkok then flew to KL, they were armed with an electric jug, but didn't realize they have different power points in Malaysia, so I lent them an adapter so a they could get their cuppa.

We had 4 tents in our little community, myself, Dean and friend from Surin, an English couple from Cha-Am, and Zaidi a Malay guy who comes every year from KL, on his Cagiva. The only other tents were members of the Yamaha RZ club, presumably in KL, and they went right down the other end of the field. You could see their tents on the tv, but ours were hidden behind the Pollini advertising bridge.

Friday is actually free to go everywhere, and you can even get into the pits. Also its best to splash out the extra 500 baht which lets you in to the grandstands on both the 2 main straights. Bummer it rained all Saturday afternoon, we sat in grandstands for 4 hours hoping they would resume practice, but they made announcement no more practice today. You would have thought that building a race track in Asia that is prone to monsoon weather that they would have had sufficient drainage. Sitting in the grandstands if you have some binos, which I have, you can see straight into the pits, watch them stripping the bikes down, and can see the riders sitting in their chairs.

Saturday nite there is always entertainment laid on, as all the KL teeny boppers come out for the party. Last year it was a live band, this year it was a disco with laser lights etc. There were all these youngsters (I'm 55), in their fluro flared trousers. That party went on till about 2am, and most weren't interested in bikes they just came down for the party.

Sunday nite we checked into a hotel in KL. is an OZ web site, that does late availability hotels all around the world, you can book about 1 month in advance, and their rate is always cheaper than what the hotel can give you. We always stay in the Swiss Inn, in KL, 1000 baht a nite, including buffet brekkie for 2, right in the heart of China town, and their back entrance leads directly into Petaling Street, the main night market in KL. They also do a reduced rate in the nearby multi story car park, 70 baht a nite so at least your bike/car is under cover.

This time in KL, we went up the Petronas Twin Towers, (well actually only one of them), its free to go up, and you are only allowed as far as the sky bridge on the 42nd floor, you can walk on the sky bridge and can stay for about 10 minutes up there. Last year we went up the single tower, where at the top you get a good view of KL.

This time on the return trip we decided to have a couple of nights in the Cameron Highlands. This is certainly a “must do” place to visit. Our 1st time there, (The Ride Thailand guys normally call in there on they way back from their trip to Sepang). You turn off the expressway at Tapah, and its 60kms to Tanah Rata the main town, up there. The road up is good tarmac all the way, there are so many bends it takes about 2 hours in a car to cover the 60kms, but on a bike you will have a ball.

We stayed at Fathers Guest house a great friendly place, and for those of us living in Southern Thailand, it was a pleasant change to get some cool weather, its all right for you guys up in CNX, having 2 seasons but down here in Paradise ... oops I mean Phuket, its always hot, hot hot.

To change the subject briefly, on my last trip to the UK, I bought a Heinz Gerrick jacket. It is basically 2 layers with holes in both layers, if you hold it up you can actually see through it. It has all the armour in place and is really cool to wear. (thats cool temperature wise, not poser wise). I was doing regular trips Samui – Phuket, and the first time I did the trip wearing the new jacket I arrived after the 4 hour ride, with my t'shirt still dry. Only down side is that its not waterproof, so have a High Viz bright yellow rain jacket to wear over the top.

Anyway back to Cameron Highlands, Fathers Guest House has a large stone house with rooms in, or the bunk house, which consists of about 4 nissan huts. For those of us bought up in the UK, this is what was on all army camps, just semi circular corrugated iron sheets that came down to the ground on both sides. (Come to think of it, I believe Brisbane Airport had same same way back in 85 when I flew in there...).

As the temperature up there is same same as the UK, there are tea plantations, a honey farm, strawberry farm etc. If you have your own transport, you just go wandering around, its all free to visit. We started off with a tour of the tea factory, (15 mins), then had a cuppa, whilst looking down on the workers harvesting the tea crop, on this huge tea plantation. I bought a mug as souvenir, along with tea bags and loose tea. From there the next stop was the strawberry farm, strawberry's and ice cream there, then on to the honey farm, where we bought some honey.

Now, on all the Malaysian maps I have, some only got this year, they show only 1 road into Cam Highlands, so have to leave on same road. Whilst there I bought the local map, showing all the attractions etc, and it shows a road out. Asking in the guest house they told me there is a new road out which takes you straight back to Ipoh, and its a better road (for car drivers, which is good, as my poo ying was starting to feel sick on the way up, and all the delivery trucks use this road, much wider etc). But as mentioned above, if you are coming by bike you must come in via the way we did, as the bends are so much more fun going up, than down. Well I think so at least.

I have learnt from experience that its a good policy to have some spare blue Thai immigration cards with you, that way on this trip I filled them both in whist at the guest house, so its quicker when you get back to the Thai border. There's nothing worse than in the stinking heat you have to sit on the pavement with all your motorbike gear on, filling out these immigration forms, much better to have them filled out before if possible.

Also have spare Malaysian forms here at home in Phuket so always fill these out before leaving home.

So David and all you guys up north, I realize its a long trek to Sepang for you but what about making it down one year, we could have our own GT-Rider area in campsite. The RZ crowd had someone come earlier to set up tents, all the same so there must be a company down there that does this service for you if there were a large crowd coming down and didn't want to lug tents with them.

One important note. Whilst driving back just south of Penang, there was a police road block. The copper had a clip board and if your vehicle was on it he pulled you over for speeding. I was safe in my little Honda Jazz, but talking to a Malay friend when we got home, he said you have to watch out for a green tent by the side of the road, that's where they hide. Have never been booked in Malaysia, (lucky I guess as I have done a total of 4 trips to Sepang, plus numerous trips to Penang), so not sure what the deal is re paying fine/bribe etc).

so its all eyes glued Sunday morning to see how the MotoGP guys go. Sepang last year was extra special for us as thats when Rossi got to be world champion.

So hope this report gets me “off the hook” with (Sir) David, as he was badgering me for a trip report but I was a bit hesitant as I did it this time in the car. The Honda Jazz, manual, is so economical that I have only just filled up today with Thai fuel, have been running around with my Malaysian fuel for the last 2 weeks.

Cheers All