Camping, jungle, leeches and into the deep

Spending our days at the tea plantations of the Cameron Highlands is great. The temperature drops here to 20 degrees and that is fantastic after all the days of heat and humidity.

During the evening we even wear our fleece sweaters and during the night we sleep under our sleeping bags. We make some nice hikes trough the plantations with all the tea bushes. We are having a great time again with all the bikers and eating at the Indian restaurants is delicious. Steven sees some rusted parts on our cycles and he polishes them enormously!

When we wake up the morning we want to leave rain falls down like crazy and we turn around to sleep again. But after a while the clouds are gone and the sky looks clear. Adam and Danny are the first to leave and are heading to Kuala Lumpur. We wave them goodbye and then it’s time for us to go. Maarten and Ilse are waving us goodbye and then they leave as well on their bike. We have to find a way through all the people that came to the highlands to pick strawberries. With big bags full of fresh strawberries they have to jump aside for two people on a bicycle: “Hello hello, welcome to Malaysia!”

We climb up to 1500 meter where a new road is waiting for us to bring us to the east coast. The road is big, smooth and empty: perfect for a nice descent……and with 60 k/h we go down hill. The beautiful descents don’t go on forever. We have to climb as well, and those climbs are very steep. It’s very hot and there is no shade. Our water bottles are getting empty and there are no villages where we can refill the water. The moment Steven is trying to find some water to filter, I am sitting in a bit of shade from a road sign. I make a wish there would stop a car to give us some water. And yes……a jeep passes me but returns. “Are you ok?” “Yes we are fine, but do you have some water?” The man gives me a bottle which contains a little bit of water and tells me that there will be a shop after 20 km. When Steven returns from his search we drink the water and we continue. We are just on the road when we see the same jeep coming in our direction. The same man brings us 10 bottles of water!!!!!! Now we can camp without any problems. We find a nice and quiet place offside the road where we put up our tent.

The next morning we eat some porridge before we cycle further. After one kilometer there is a little shop where we can buy some water. The road goes a bit different then it is showing on our map, but slowly we return into the living world. We eat some Nasi Goreng in a small restaurant along the road. In Gua Musang we do some shopping for the next couple of days. And then we are heading to the National Park. When we arrive at the office of the park, we have a nice welcome. There is a beautiful yard where we can put up our tent. We find a good spot and at he end of the afternoon the weather changes and water drops down from the sky. There is thunder and storm and Steven runs around the tent in his boxer short to make sure the tent is fine. I watch my hero from under a roof and make him a nice and warm cup of coffee!

We survive the big rains and the next morning we are ready to have a look in the elephant caves. There are wild elephants living in the park and the caves can be reached by a walk through the jungle. We walk trough the jungle and we hear the gibbons sing. After all the rain the path has become very muddy and soon we discover the first leeches at our feet. At first we start to count the little animals but soon we quit that game because the leeches are gathered on our feet. During this trip we get very professional in getting rid of the leeches.

We don’t see the elephants, but we do see their marks in the mud. We are greeted by a group of wild boar. They are as frightened as we are when we suddenly see them and run away very fast. When we return to our tent we see a hornbill flying in the sky and we see the gibbons jumping in the trees.
It doesn’t stop with seeing special animals. When we cycle out of the park we see a small leopard lying at the edge of the road. Probably hit by a car, he didn’t survive it. While cycling between the limestone rocks we look at a really big snake besides our wheels. A little bit further we see an enormous turtle. Unfortunately all these animals didn’t survive the traffic. But the monkeys are jumping around lively in the trees. This night we are looking for a place to camp as well. After a while of searching for a good spot we decide to ask at a little factory. The men who are working in this stone factory point us to a place where we can put up the tent. We cook our meal besides a brown river and we enjoy the beautiful sky with a lot of bright stars before we go to sleep.

After four nights of camping we arrive in the small village of Kuala Besut. From here there are boats leaving for the Perhentian Islands. There are a lot of small offices which arrange the tickets for the boats and accommodation as well. They tell us that it isn’t wise to take the bicycles with us because there aren’t any roads on the islands, everything is sand. It’s not easy to find a safe place for the bikes and at the moment we decide to skip the islands we meet a very nice guy. He shows us his office and he tells us he will take really good care of our cycles. We buy tickets and he even arranges a chalet for us.
The next morning we bring our bikes and bags to the office and with only two bags we step on board of a small but very fast speedboat. We are on our way to the biggest island of the Perhentian and soon we are impressed. The water is amazing clear and when we are dropped of at the beach in front of our chalet, our holiday can start.

Our house is on the beach just a few meters walking on the soft, white sand. We can jump into the water and the coral is just there which is perfect for snorkeling. Steven likes to continue his diving and we find a very nice place where he can do his advanced course. The dive instructors are from Turkey and they think it’s totally great that we cycled almost 25.000 km to get here. Fez en Oze have left their Turkish homes to give dive lessons and by hearing about the adventures we have had in Turkey they feel a bit homesick. Steven enjoys every minute of the dives and everything he sees. The fish are big and they have the most beautiful colors and forms. He sees sharks, which are vegetarian ones, dives to a wreck and in the middle of the night. I enjoy the snorkeling and see a turtle, many parrotfish and wave to Nemo many times.
At this beautiful island we celebrate Stevens 27th birthday. We are invited at the dive school to join the barbeque. Everything is fresh from the sea, crabs, prawns, squid and fish, everything is delicious. The guys ordered a real birthday cake from the mainland!

After great days we have to move on. We are going back to our bicycles to continue our trip to Kuala Lumpur.

Cameron Highlands – wild camping: 84 km
Wild camping- Camping National Park Taman Negara: 72 km
Camping National Park Taman Negara – wild camping: 116 km
Wild camping – Kuala Besut: 112 km
Kuala Besut – Perhentian Islands – Kuala Besut: speedboat!



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