We didn’t plan for our ride distances to double everyday, but that is how our three-day weekend turned out.
Leslie, Simon, Ridzuwan and I met at the Bank Negara KTM station for the Komuter train ride to Tampin.
As is usually the case, there were only one or two other people with us and our Apidura saddle pack-equipped bicycles in the carriage at the back of the train.
Tampin is the last stop on the Komuter line that starts from Batu Caves, to the north of Kuala Lumpur.
It took about two hours to get there. Long enough for an appetite for lunch to develop. So our first stop was at Restoran Nasi Kandar Impian in Tampin.
The Fenix Inn in Melaka is 40km / 25mi from Tampin. So it wasn’t very long before we were on the outskirts of Melaka.
One of our rooms at the Fenix Inn wasn’t ready when we arrived there. So we did what most people do when in Melaka. We went cendol hunting.
We found a shop selling cendol on Lorong Hang Jebat. But the guys spotted Sid’s Pub across the road. Cendol lost out to cold beers and lime juice.
While we were on our second round of drinks, the sky darkened and thunder rumbled. We had had enough of riding in the rain in Southern Thailand, so emptied our glasses and rode back to the hotel.
It didn’t rain.
After a shower and a nap, we gathered for what Arthur described to me as a Melaka tradition. Satay at 5pm.
Arthur, a Melaka boy, couldn’t ride with us as he had hoped. So he drove to Melaka to act as our guide while we were there. You can’t beat local knowledge. Arthur knows which tourist traps to avoid, and where the hidden gems are. The satay at the restaurant he took us to was excellent.
8.00pm is dinner time in Melaka. Arthur took us towards Umbai, in search of grilled fish. We found the Medan Selera MBMB, at the end of Jalan Alai Perdana 21. The Medan Selera (food court) houses a number of restaurants, all selling fresh seafood, cooked to order.
Arthur and Simon chose this place.
Simon loaded up a bowl with fresh prawns, cencaru (torpedo scad), pari (stingray), and squid, under Wan’s watchful eye. The prawns and fish were grilled, and the squid was batter-fried. Delicious!
Thank you Arthur for being our food guide, and driving us around Melaka.
We slept in after all that food the evening before. At 9.00am Arthur led us to a restaurant that is fabled for its fish ball soup. Unfortunately the stall owner was on holiday, so we settled for soft-boiled eggs, and toast with kaya.
Then we headed north along Lorong Hajah Maznah toward Port Dickson.
32km / 20mi later it was time for a drink. And some roti canai. We shared two rotis between us. It was, after all, only 75 minutes since we ate breakfast!
Eight drinks and two rotis for the princely sum of RM10 / USD2.45. You can’t complain.
At 52km / 32mi we crossed the Sungai Linggi. Worth a few photographs as the Sungai Linggi at that point forms the border between the states of Melaka and Negeri Sembilan.
A few kilometers later we saw a sign advertising mango floats. It was 36° C / 97° F.
There was a buffet with grilled cencaru and curried ikan parang (wolf herring). It was as good a time as any for lunch.
At Pasir Panjang I led the guys on a detour from our planned route. We left Route 5 and rode along Jalan Kampung Sungai Sekawang toward the sea. It made a nice change to be on a road with no vehicles.
Jalan Kampung Sungai Sekawang rejoins Route 5 near the Eagle Ranch Resort. As the tepees indicate, the theme of this resort is the American West of cowboys and log cabins.
By 2.00pm we were on the outskirts of Port Dickson. We had time to burn before check in time at the Waterfront Boutique Hotel. I saw a sign for Pantai Purnama. That seemed a better bet than the beach further along at Teluk Kemang, which was likely to be crowded with weekend holiday makers.
This photograph of Purnama beach is misleading. There was a reunion event going on at the beach. Just out of shot, there were lots of people on the beach and in the water.
We enjoyed the shade and sea breeze, and our ice cold rose syrup and lime drinks.
Leslie bought eight packets of drinks. We could only finish one packet each, so we gave the other four packets to the family having a picnic behind us.
40 minutes later we were riding past Teluk Kemang beach. It did look very crowded.
It was about 85km / 53mi from the Fenix Inn in Melaka to the Waterfront Boutique Hotel in Port Dickson. Day 1 distance x 2.
Arthur had headed back to KL after guiding us to the Melaka breakfast spot. So we didn’t have access to a car in Port Dickson. Which made the Waterfront Boutique Hotel, located on the boulevard walk, an excellent choice. Within walking distance of the hotel entrance are a variety of food outlets, bars, a bank, a 7-Eleven, etc.
As per Day 1, a shower and nap were the immediate priority after getting our room keys. Also as per Day 1, we kept up the Melaka tradition of tea at 5pm.
We sat at the Pattaya Bar, and had food delivered from the neighbouring Double Q Thai Cuisine restaurant. A selection of Thai appetizers, and plates of pad thai.
Dinner followed at 8.00pm. We walked to the Arab place a bit further along the boulevard. A family platter of chicken mandi, with an extra serving of lamb, and Turkish coffee and crème caramel for afters.
The one downside of the hotel’s location made itself apparent at about midnight. That is when the pub near the hotel sprang to life. Pounding music and arguments in the car park kept us awake until 3am. Except for Leslie, who brought earplugs. Smart man!
Port Dickson to Kuala Lumpur was the longest leg of our trip. An early start, despite our lack of sleep, was necessary.
We checked out of the hotel at 6.45am, and rolled the 500 meters to the McDonald’s at the end of the boulevard. The jazzy music which accompanied our McMuffins made a cool change from the Hindi-pop of the night before.
We were on the road at 7.20am. Our target was a 9.30am rendezvous at Morib beach with Luanne, Chew, Mark, and Shawn. They were riding from Kota Kemuning to Morib. The idea was for us to take a break at Morib, and for them to ride with us from there back to Kota Kemuning.
The highlight of this leg was the ferry ride across the Sungai Sepang. The ride from Tanah Merah New Village to Pekan Sungai Pelek using the ferry near Kampung India is 7km / 4mi shorter than it would be if we stayed on Route 5 to Pekan Sungai Pelek.
The N4 is a quieter road than Route 5. The 1km to the ferry is even quieter.
The river at that point is no more than 100 meters wide. The ferry crossing costs RM0.80 / USD0.20 per person, including the RM0.30 / USD0.07 charge for a bike.
The banks of the Sungai Pelek are lined with mangrove forest. Sadly, one of the Earth’s most rapidly disappearing ecosystems.
Back on Route 5 in Pekan Sungai Pelek, we came upon the first road sign indicating the distance to Morib. I had underestimated the distance from Port Dickson to Morib by 30%. I said, with misplaced confidence, “About 50km / 30mi.” It was actually 65km / 40mi.
It was clear we weren’t going to be at Morib beach at 9.30am. We got to Tanjung Sepat at 9.00am, and needed a break. We stopped at a roadside food stall for tea, coffee, and you char koay (deep-fried strips of dough).
The four we were going to meet at Morib beach had arrived there at 9.00am. They were already tucking into their nasi lemak as we were ordering our coffee etc. at Tanjung Sepat.
Morib beach is 18km / 11mi from Tanjung Sepat. I sent Mark our live location via WhatsApp. (That is such a cool WhatsApp feature). Simon messaged Mark, suggesting that he and the others start riding and meet us on our way to Morib.
Which is what they did. We crossed paths about 5km / 3mi south of Morib beach. By then the Port Dickson crew were ready for another pit stop. The Delicious Bread Café in Morib was our first choice, but it was closed.
So we rode a further 10km / 6mi to Restoran Madam Kopi-O in Banting.
From there it was on familiar roads to Kampung Seri Cheeding, Bandar Rimbayu, and Restoran BR Maju in Kota Kemuning.
The Morib four were done for the day. Kudos to Shawn, who rode almost 100km / 62mi – his longest ride by some 60km / 37mi.
Simon and Leslie decided to call it a day as well. They accepted Luanne’s and Mark’s offers of a lift home. Wan and I had a relatively flat ride to get to Jalan Ampang, so we decided to ride on.
22km / 14mi later, we wondered if we had made a mistake. It had been more overcast than sunny all morning, but by the time we got to the Kinrara R&R it was 35° C / 95° F and bright.
The die had been cast though. We each downed an iced 100 Plus, and headed back out onto the KESAS motorcycle lane.
Fortunately for us, the clouds rolled in again, and we didn’t get roasted alive during the following 20km / 12.5mi to Mak Jah Corner in Ampang Jaya. Which is just down the road from where Wan lives.
Mak Jah Corner is noted for its Malay kuih. These were delicious. I had two more iced teas in quick succession before saying goodbye to Wan and heading home.
I ended up riding 163km / 101mi. Day 2 distance x 2.
The four of us had an excellent weekend. Helped in no small way by Arthur being with us in Melaka, and Luanne, Chew, Mark and Shawn joining us in Morib.
We had dry and generally cool weather over the three days. And no punctures or other mechanical issues enroute. And lots of tasty food, good company, and laughter.
We are already thinking about where to tour next.