To Singapore Along Malaysia's West Coast

We chose to cycle the more populated west coast of Malaysia and it was a bit rough. We avoided the monsoon on the east, but our ride took us through some of the densest traffic and hottest weather we'd experienced on the road. It wasn't very pleasant.   Yann on one of many stretches of busy Malaysian highway that we couldn't seem to avoid

It took us two days of riding and a short ferry to get to George Town on Penang Island. We actually had a nice little five day holiday in the bustling city, famous for its hawker food. And as a nice surprise we were joined by Margaux and Arif who bused from Kuala Lumpur to spend a few final days with us. We ate a lot and did a more recent activity on the George Town tourist scene: the "Street Art Trail".   George Town's most iconic art installation "Kids on Bicycle" by Ernest Zacharevic

  With Margaux and Arif at art installation "Brother and Sister on Swing"

With Margaux's encouragement, we also tried durian fruit for the first (and last) time. Here is a video of the experience, you can see how gracefully I handled it. We met up with Margaux and Arif one more time in Ipoh, an important Malaysian city at the height of the tin-mining boom at the turn of the 19th century. We had read that it had a certain gritty charm due to its important collection colonial architecture, much of it neglected. We had a fair bit of time before having to meet my parents in Singapore, so we planned for 3 nights in Ipoh. As we rode into the city there seemed to be more grit than there was charm. So we stuck it out for two nights, walked the "Ipoh Heritage Trail" and moved on. Not that there was much improvement until we reached the town of Melaka.   Our charming Ipoh Hotel neighbourhood

  Concubine Lane in Old Ipoh, where rich merchants kept their concubines at the height of the tin mining era

We rode from one unfriendly, ugly highway motel to the next. We didn't have a very good Malaysian map, so we ended up on fairly busy highways, none of which had shoulders. We had tried to avoid the high prices and crowds of Chinese New Year but it meant staying in the middle of nowhere with not much to do. We probably should have ridden into the mountains but the temptation of flat riding was too much to overcome. By the time we came into busy tourist destination of Melaka, it was a welcome relief to see the crowds of travellers. We stayed in Melaka for a few days without doing much because we knew we'd be revisiting with my parents.   Yann at a lunch stop along the highway

  Friendly "no trespassing" sign frequently spotted at palm oil plantations

We had one last 3-day push to get to Singapore including a long 130km day. No climbing but high temperatures and crazy traffic as we approached the city of Johor Bahru connected to Singapore by the Woodlands Causeway. The big event was hitting the 10,000km mark outside the town of Pontian in the middle of nowhere. We took photos but didn't pick out a celebratory treat until a few days later when we bought a caramel donut in Johor Bahru.
  Hitting the 10,000km mark - somewhere between Muar and Pontian

After many weeks of heat and highway we couldn't have been happier to arrive at fellow cyclist Rajiv's apartment in Singapore where we would relax for a few days before my parents' arrival and a two week break from cycling.   With our host Rajiv on a tour of Singapore

We've been cycling in South-East Asia for almost 5 months and our tolerance for heat and crowds is definitely at its breaking point, so after much deliberation we booked flights to San Francisco where the next part of our journey will begin.

Stats for Thale Ban National Park (Malaysian Border) to Singapore:

Days of cycling: 12
Days of rest: 14
Kilometres cycled: 1006
Metres climbed: 4000
Cycle-tourists crossed on the road: 7

Partially sponsored by Mountain Equipment Coop Expedition Support