Ride to Malaysia March 2012- Trip Planning

Discussion in 'Malaysia - Motorcycle Road Trip Reports Forum' started by TonyBKK, Feb 3, 2012.

  1. Hi All!

    Group of friends are planning a ride to Malaysia from Thailand at the end of March, beginning of April and we'd love to get some advice on recommended routes and biker friendly places to stay.

    We're all on road bikes / sport bikes so we're looking for the best twisty roads and smooth pavement Malaysia has to offer naughty.gif

    Cameron Highlands is our primary destination but we've never been there are aren't sure which are the best roads.

    We want to do a loop, entering Malaysia from Sadao on Highway E1 and returning to Thailand via Betong- something like this:


    Seems like Ipoh might be a good place to stay our first night.

    Here's a short loop that looks interesting, but I'm curious to know the condition of these roads-

    We'll have three or four days in Malaysia and want to pack in as much riding as we can.

    How are the roads north of Gua Musang? D29 and 66 up to Jeli, the 4 west to Gerik:

    And are there many/any hotels along the way?

    We're very flexible and would be most grateful for any suggestions or advice on best routes and places to stay. While I'm tempted to just "wing it" some of the guys HAVE to be back to work on time, so it would be best if we can figure out a firm itinerary before we leave.

    Thanks in advance!

    Tony wai.gif
  2. Tony,

    Check out the Malaysia section and all the Capt Slash reports from last year. A lot of detail and info on the roads.
    If I remember correctly he went into Malaysia on the West and came back into Thailand on the East.
  3. Cheers,

    Yes, Capt Slash's reports are quite helpful but there are some roads he didn't cover and we're looking at returning to Thailand via Betong and just want to suss out the road conditions.

    Some of the guys are worried about getting blown up / beheaded in Yala ;)
  4. Day one is gonna be a long haul! Bangkok to Sadao- almost 1000km mwink.gif


    Day two, Sadao to Ipoh will be nice and easy. Either a straight shot on the superhighway E1:


    Or, I've heard that the 76 from Gerik to Ipoh is quite a nice ride:


    Woohoo! Can't wait! yelrotflmao.gif

    T icon10.gif
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Cheers Captain!

    Your trip reports have been very helpful and yes, we're hoping for better weather than what you experienced.

    Do you know anything about the condition of the 4106 from Betong to Yala? It looks awesome on the map, but sometimes I've gone searching for roads that look awesome on the map only to find they are a dirt trail! (Like the 1243 in Nan). I don't want the fellas to get mad at me if I take them on a goat path through insurgent country ;)

    Happy Trails!

  6. This is a great road to ride and well worth including in your trip. Also there are quite a number of things to see and do if you are so inclined. The Communist HQ is well worth a visit.

    Don't worry about the security situation. Unless you are unlucky and run into something, it is fine. Might be an idea though to keep stumm about which roads you intend riding, if staying in hotels within the 3 provinces.
    If you are crossing at Betong be sure that they log your bike in or out on the Customs' computer as they are not too clued up on big bikes crossing there.
    If you can also include Route 4 from Jeli to Gerik which is a fast 4th gear roll-on/roll-off throttle riding. Went this route when riding from West-East Coast to Penang, stunning riding until you hit the highway on the East coast, which is not so much fun.
    If you are going to be in Penang and on a Friday night, PM me and 'll put you in touch with the Penang Cop Bikers Club - great bunch of blokes.
    Also, if you can try to get down to Malacca, as it is great.
    Have fun.
  7. Thanks so much for the helpful and informative replies Captain and Rhodie!

    So happy to hear that the roads we're keen to travel should be in good shape and pass through areas worth checking out.

    I think all the bikes have a range of 200km or more, so hopefully we'll never encounter a stretch of road where we can't find gas.

    From the sounds of it Malaysia has their act together much more than their mai pen rai neighbors to the north. I've only even been to Johor and transited through KL a few times. Really looking forward to finally seeing some of this beautiful country.

    Thanks again gents!

    Happy Trails!

    Tony :)
  8. Hi Tony

    There are many choices of places to stay in Ipoh which should have sufficiently safe for bikes.
    If you need any info and assistance, do let me know and there are many bikers in Ipoh who
    rides to Cameron each week apart from bikers from other states during weekends.

    The route from Gua Musang to Jeli may be a bit bumpy for a certain stretch due to heavy timber trucks
    plying the area. Nevertheless, the ride will be just as good as ,many mountain roads in LOS abeit
    that the weather and temperature as compared to the north ie MHS, Lomsak etc.


    Lip Meng
  9. Hi Fellas,

    Just wondering what the Malaysian cops are like?

    Can you just ride off and ignore them like in Thailand or will they come after you?

    When I lived in Singapore it was just a matter of 50 ringgit and fixed. I left SG for Thailand 7 years ago.

    Still the same or has it changed?

  10. Thank you very much for your advice Lip Meng :)

    It was suggested on another forum (advrider) that we skip Ipoh and ride straight to the Cameron Highlands where it's a much more pleasant climate up in the mountains and there is no shortage of nice places to stay. Sadao to Ipoh is only 350km so I guess we could easily continue on to the Cameron Highlands and skip Ipoh, unless there's something worth seeing / doing there.

    What do you think of this idea?


  11. Hello Tony,
    First thing first. Police officers are generally polite to big bikers. BUT do slow down and Q up for your turn at the infrequent police road block. If you guys are wearing helmet, they have no reason to stop you. There are occasional speed trap set up at approx km200-250km mark area (Penag to Taiping). This stretch from border Sadao/Bkt Kayu Hitam, all the way to Ipoh or Berinchang is a straight boring fast hiway. The official speed limit is 110kph. But bikers tend to somehow not see all those 110 signs dotting the NS Hiway.

    Route wise, I think you got it pretty much button down.
    Do take 10mins detour after crossing the border at the main junction of E1-81. Turn west/right hand to Route 81and depending on your time of day, be rewarded with a vista just at the crest of 81 (not more than 500m from junction). On a clear day, you can prob see all the way to the coast line with an amazing landscape, dotted with distance limestone hills amidst acres of green or yellow sugar cane plantation...

    The Twisties are only from Ipoh/Simpang Pulai to Cameron Highlands/Brinchang. This is basically short twisties but fun too. Try going during week days as weekend tendto be crowded with cars & buses from the cities. All scaping the urban heat for the highland cool...There is a Shell station here.

    And You MUST tank up at Brinchang (last major town before heading east) to head towards Gua Musang/.
    The long sweeps here will guarantee you guys grinning from ear to ear. Gua musang has a few petrol station. Go to the town and its a cowboy town of olde. Go check out the railway station and then you will know why its called Gua Musang ( Fox's Cave)...yes, there is a huge cave just next to the station.

    Tank up here too. But there will be smaller petrol stations along the way. Departing here will take you to Route 66 enroute to Jeli. Passing Jeli will take you uphill along the spine of Malaysia. They called it the Titiwangsa range. The highest point here is worth a little rest. Coffee shops here do have refreshment. The air is cool and again, you can be rewarded with greens as far as the eyes can see. Who knows eagles will be soaring above you too.

    Watch and pay attention to the Wild Elephant Crossing signs. Along this stretch of East West Hiway, are centuries old ellie crossings. The wild ellies will stop at nothing to cross the road and they get spooked easily. If your group is lucky enough, pls stop a distance away and let them pass first, lest the bull might think you blokes are after his gfriends! HAHAHAHAH!

    After another long sweeping mountainous route (grinning again and again), you will reach the junction of Grik and thereafter to Pengkalan Hulu. the road here is a combo of straights and short dangerous twisties with lateral settlement along the way. Kids on bikes are common. Ditton old fella too! All helmetless of course! Last tank up before you enter Thailand again via Betong...

    Betong to Yala is an adventure ride. This stretch is mini Mae Hong Song for us Malaysians.This is NOT a dangerous stretch in terms of meeting fanatical extremists all eager to behead you.. AHHAHAH. My scariest mo was a ride with good Old' Gary Schackter, some years ago when we were tailing a long convoy of military vehicles on a mission. We cannot overtake as the road is narrow and there were so many kind of armed vehicles from humvee to ATv armed to the teeth. My personal fear was road side bomb then...

    Anyway, we did stop at a few roadside stalls to lengthen the distance between the armed convoy and su...the muslim villagers told us to ride/travel in the day time. No one knows who is in control at nite. An advice we took/take seriously.

    If you are keen, get hold of Gary and have my mobile contact. I more or less have biker friends along the whole route you are taking...

    BTW, there are plenty of hotels in every town in Malaysia. Those along the shop lots are usually around Rm60-100/nite. We usually park just outside the hotel and they more often than not have 24hr security guard...And if you are into Rm100-200 range, there are plenty of 3 stars for your creature comfort. Forget the massage..they cost a bomb and not as relaxing as LOS...

    Good luck and Enjoy.

    ~ joko~on the GO!!!!!!!!
  12. Thks Joko.

    Tony , If it was me I"d choose to enter Malaysia via Betong - do everything youve already mentioned and then head towards Kota baru and exit thru Sungai Golok. Ive done it before and found it very exciting.
  13. Hi guys

    Just came back @ 5.00pm just now as today is a public holiday. Rode the Ipoh-Cameron-Gua Musang-Jeli-Gerik-Ipoh loop alone on my @T(old & slow). I did not check the mileage as it must be somewhere 550km as I started from Ipoh approx 9.30am tank-up and pump the tyres as I have not ride the bike for more than 3 weeks. I rode the entire loop for about 7 hrs with only tank-up @ Gua Musang, Jeli & Leoggong before reaching home with a short lunch @ Gua Musang-Malay stall chicken rice with milk tea and then have a coconut juice with ice-cream toppings at Jeli and a isotonic drink @ Lenggong.

    Didn't take any pics although I brought along my camera just as always but never stop for pics as I often ride alone for short day trip.

    The road from Kpg Raja (Cameron) to Gua Musang is not as good as the road from Bertam,Ringlet to Sg Koyan-Kuala Lipis. The are many road repairs and loose sands along the that route and unlevel surface-just some bumps here and there.

    The road from Gua Musang to Jeli is approx 115km and there are many pot holes along the first half of the route as the timber trucks are overloaded and thus damaged the road surface. Guess there stretch may not be enjoyable for sportsbikes.

    The mountain road across the main range (Titiwangsa range) from Jeli to Gerik has some road repairs along the early part from Jeli onwards and have many patches of damaged surface thus be wary of the corners.

    Maybe I ride again the day after tomorrow somewhere to Bentong and nearby as I be on leave till the weekend is over.

    I opinion is that Simpang Pulai to Cameron is nice and Bertam, Ringlet - Sg Koyan is better than the Gua Musang route for sportsbikes.


    Lip Meng
  14. Thanks for the advice JOKO ......lots to consider and wishing we had more time in Malaysia ....just have to do another trip soon :))
  15. Hello TonyBKK and friends. Just some pics of this road to tickle your fancies ... (pix taken Jan 2012)




  16. Thanks for the great pics. looks amazing and we are all getting revved up looking forward to this epic trip.
    Appreciate you posting these for us .
  17. Hi Tony

    I've just joined today and started checking things out on the site. I live in Phuket and brought a Versys a couple of months before last Christmas. I have done a tour of Southern Thailand and I'm keen to go further afield. Is your tour open for other riders to join ?

  18. Looks like a very fun trip. Some of us from Phuket had planned this same trip October 2010 for MotoGP but took a truck last minute due to mechanical issues with bikes.


    I never encountered any road blocks when I rode to MotoGP a few years ago. From what I saw they seemed to operate as western police. They use radar and will pull you over from behind. As you can see they have bikes capable of catching most of us. I never paid much attention to speed limits and never had a problem. Enforcement seemed scarce.

    Sounds like you guys might use a different boarder than Sadao, but they are all probably similar. At the boarder on the Thai side, it's a bit chaotic. Park your bike and get your passport stamped out and turn in the temporary export form (see link below) for your bike at the marked customs window. They should give you something for checking the bike back in, but this process has changed since I made the trip.

    After you get through the Thai side, you will drive 500M to the Malaysian side through the bike lane to have your passport stamped in.

    As others mentioned, you will need bring your bikes book and an official translated copy in English to properly get your bike road legal in Malaysia. Book must be in your name or you must have a letter from the owner granting permission to temporarily drive the bike outside of Thailand. If your bike is financed, some finance companies will allow you to borrow the book after a certain amount of payments have been made. The English translation is done by the Thai Land Transport Department for a small fee. Usually takes overnight. Some people are being told that the translation can only be done at the LTD at which the bike is registered.

    Just after the boarder there is a row of shop-houses on the right which sell 30-day insurance for about 700 baht. They will also make for you the romanized sticker of your Thai license plate. Then go to the last building in the row with insurance, book, translation and park where your bike is visible to them to pay small tax and get a paper with a circular emblem authorizing you to drive in Malaysia. ICC I think it was called. This you must keep with the bike and be able to present it if questioned by police.

    Many bikers/drivers don't fuss with getting the insurance or ICC and had no problem. Just don't crash or get pulled over. I don't recommend that. There is at times another checkpoint 500M after the boarder that checks docs, but they might just be checking passports.

    A DL from Thailand or your home country, motorcycle endorsed of course, is valid in Malaysia as long as it has a photo and is in English. No IDP needed but of course it doesn't hurt.

    Boarder at Sadao.

    Sunset just over the boarder.

    Racha (King) Hotel in Hatyai. Decent, cheap, bike friendly with indoor bike parking locked at night and guarded. Just down the street from downtown shopping and restaurants.

    Some pics of Cameron Highlands






    Helpful links:

    Attached files 276761=8964-Customs_Declaration_Import_Export.
  19. Scoobie!!! Dude! Awesome to hear from you! I thought perhaps you'd gone back to the US.

    Trip is coming along nicely and we're stretching it out to 7 days now so we won't have to rush and can modify our route / itinerary as needed.

    Many thanks to all the kind folks who have provided valuable advice and guidance in this thread.

    We're really looking forward to this ride!


  20. Hi captin, quick question. Do you know places in Malay that rent bikes? Most convenient would be JB, but open to anywhere. Thanks in advance. Robb
  21. Woohoo! Only a few more sleeps before the big ride to Malaysia!

    Was good to sit down with Frank and Neil the other night to finalize our itinerary- I'm really excited for this ride!

    Have been playing with Google Maps to determine routes and distance.

    Here's what I've got so far:

    Day 1 Neil and Tony ride from Bangkok to Surat Thani:



    Brian and Frank are sending their bikes on the train so we'll meet them at the Surat Thani train station in the morning and then we're off to Betong!

    Seems there are a few ways we can go, and I'm not certain which is the best, so have a look at the following options and we can decide which way to go-

    Google Maps recommends this: http://maps.google.c...mra=mrv&t=m&z=8


    Google Maps doesn't always plot the most efficient route. I rather suspect that the road along the coast after Hat Yai might be congested and not very fast...

    This variation might be a better way to go: http://maps.google.c...&via=1&t=m&z=12

    Betong to Ipoh is only about 180km.



    I reckon if we don't suffer any delays at the border that we can easily continue on to the Cameron Highlands if the fellas are keen. I think it might be nice to spend a night in the highlands where we can do some sightseeing and enjoy the cool mountain climate. But if the group wants to to spend a night in Ipoh that's fine too smile.png

    If we continue to the Cameron Highlands it's still less than 300km from Betong-



    Ok, that's as far as I've gotten so far. Will continue tomorrow.

    Questions, comments or suggestions welcome!

    Happy Trails!

  22. Awesome! You guys will enjoy the ride in northern M'sia. I have to postpone my end march/early April ride...
    So, Have fun and keep the shining side up.



    p/s TonyBKK- Pls check your PM. :)
  23. Cheers Joko!

    Thank you for the PM - shame we won't be able to hook up this time, but no doubt we'll revisit Malaysia again!

    Thank you for your kind offer of assistance.

    Looking forward to a great trip!

  24. Continuing on with the maps and routes-

    From either Ipoh or Cameron Highlands it's a short ride to Jeli via Gua Musang. I've been told that Gua Musang is an interesting "Cowboy" town, and a good place to stop for lunch.


    Google Maps link: http:/http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=Ipoh,+Perak,+Malaysia&daddr=D29+to:Jalan+Sungai+Sam+-+Dabong+-+Jeli&hl=en&ll=4.941829,102.150192&spn=0.554797,1.056747&sll=5.691149,101.845279&sspn=0.017316,0.033023&geocode=FaZeRgAdot4GBinjM0DzeezKMTFZ6FJpRp_cjw%3BFZtYSgAdNLITBg%3BFSDjVgAdvAgSBg&mra=mi&mrsp=2&sz=16&t=m&z=11

    I'm told Jeli is a very quiet town and not many hotels so we're toying with the idea of continuing another 100km to the east coast and spending a night at the beach in Khota Bharu...


    Google Maps link: http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=Jeli,+Kelantan,+Malaysia&daddr=D1&hl=en&ll=5.945948,102.328033&spn=0.553871,1.056747&sll=6.193547,102.276095&sspn=0.00865,0.016512&geocode=FQDoVgAdK_ARBikxWn8YejG0MTF8hk3eh3WjYQ%3BFd-KXgAdZZIYBg&doflg=ptk&mra=mift&mrsp=1&sz=17&t=m&z=11

    To be continued!

    Attached files 277796=9860-IpohGuaMusangJeliMap.

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