Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Perak : Ipoh-Teluk Intan-Kampar Bike-Packers Day 3

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Perak : Ipoh-Teluk Intan-Kampar Bike-Packers Day 3

Perak : Day 3, 28th September 2014 - Around Teluk Intan
Medium Group Ride : Around Teluk Intan town.
Distance: 6.54 km.
Time : Just a fun ride.
Time Taken : Just a fun ride.

Route Recommendations :
1. Teluk Intan town has several interesting spots to see and some good food outlets too:
    - The Leaning Clock Tower.
    - Temple of the East Sea Dragon King.
    - Liew Kee Ansoon Chee Cheong Fun are sold by vendors in town, but for real fresh ones
      get it from their cottage factory which is opened only at night.
    - Teck Kee Restaurant serves good Nyonya food and the place comes with a bonus; all
      antique furniture and decorations in the shop are up for sale.
    - Tiger Brand Biscuit Factory.
    - On return journey south, if using the coastal road, Sungai Besar has some good and
      cheap seafood place, one of which is Keong Hin Seafood Restaurant. Do try their
      signature shark meat soup.
   
This blog comes in a few parts. This Day 3 blog, is on the ride around Teluk Itan town. To see other parts:

PRELUDE
Firstly, I must apologise to my friends and readers, this blog has been long overdue. With a busy travelling and cycling schedule, I had not been able to get down to penning it; so here it is.
The previous day (Day 2), we had cycled from Ipoh to Teluk Intan. It was a taxing ride that started well until the mid-day sun set in causing the day to be scorching hot, but this was made up for by a good fresh water prawny lunch at Tanjung Tualang. A short while after leaving Tanjung Tualang it started to rain; not those normal rain but the torrential monsoon type rain. We got caught in the rain and were fortunate to find shelter at a remote hardware warehouse. Burning hot and then drenching wet, we were glad to reach Teluk Intan after a more than 12-hours journey.


THE RIDE


Cycling Route: This is a quick stint around down-town Teluk Intan to grab some breakfast, view the renown Leaning Clock Tower and do some shopping for biscuits. After cycling around the town; the younger ones will ride to Kampar and take a ETS train back to Kuala Lumpur.
The previous day's riding under the alternate scorching heat and torrential rained had zapped the older ones, so we will just leave it to the young 'uns to continue the riding adventure. Us? How did we get back to Kuala Lumpur... well we had our means... heh! heh!


Here we are cycling down Glutton Street in Teluk Intan looking for a suitable stall to eat. The one selling beef noodles that we wanted to try was closed, so we had to settle for "less".


"Less" wasn't that bad, in fact it was pretty good. We ended up having some good dry "kon loh" wantan noodles and some Curry Yong Tau Foo together with fairly good coffee and tea.
The wantan noodles were good, with the noodles of the springy QQ type. Mine was the wide flat noodles with some curry added. The Yong Tau Foo was respectably good with the fish paste really tasting fishy - Hey! Teluk Intan is fairly near the coast so one should not expect less.


The problem with eating Ala Street is that many street food area don't have toilets around. Nature called so I asked the stall owner whether there is a toilet around. There was none at the glutton street but there was one at a small temple around the corner.
My natural problem turned out to be a bonus, as it gave me a chance to have a quick look at the temple, the Hock Soon Keong Temple. It's a small temple, under renovation and was rather deserted, i.e. no devotees praying there.


I was a bit concerned about being all alone in the temple and hoped those temple guards painted on the entrance doors will protect me while I answered nature's call. All was good and I left after saying my thanks to the guards.

Stomachs sated and bladders eased, it's time to see the town.
First of course will be the famed The Leaning Clock Tower of Teluk Intan. We parked our bicycles and had a good view from outside before going in for a view. The tilt of the tower is most pronounce when viewed from the junction of Jalan Bandar and Jalan Ah Cheong, near the Hong Leong Bank..


Inside, at the ground level is a museum of sorts with photos and write-ups recounting the history of the tower. The Perak River, back about a century ago, was deep enough for small ships to come up-river to the town. Teluk Intan was a fairly busy inland port back then, and the very visible clock tower acted as beacon for the ships.
At the ground level is also a well which is still filled with water. Back then, water from this well was pumped up to the tanks at the top-most level and the tower was a reservoir until it started tilting. The well is now a wishing well for visitors to throw in coins and make hopeful wishes.


The water tanks are now empty but the tower is still an operating clock tower, its clock working along the principle of a Swiss Cuckoo clock. At mid levels of the tower, the cables holding the weights of the clock shows the pronounced tilt of the structure.


From the top there is a good view of the surrounding houses, which I believe has been kept to not more than three-storeys high.
(... read more at Leaning Tower of Teluk Intan blog)


9:30am - It's time to say goodbye to our younger friends; they will be riding via kampong roads to Kampar and from there take the ETS train back to Kuala Lumpur.
Ride Well & Ride Safe, my friends!


Over the years, I have enjoyed eating the Tiger Head "Biskut Kosong", these are semi-spherical, crispy biscuit with nothing inside; just layers and layers of crispy skin - empty biscuits as the name implies. Without the usual sweet molasses inside, it goes very well with hot black coffee.
I have always bought these biscuits from elsewhere. Knowing that they are manufactured in Teluk Intan, it was time to make a short cycling pilgrimage there. I am that loyal a fan of the brand!
The factory was in fact and timber house at the old quarters of the town, quite near the river; so my "pilgrimage" turned out to be a good ride through the quaint area.


A surprise was in store for me when we arrived at the "factory"; it turned out to be a modern looking sales outlet for the Sin Joo Heong Confectionery. There were shelves after shelves of all sorts of biscuits and similar items; it seems many others also have that quirky taste for empty biscuits. Hah!
To be fair to them, the place also sell a good range of biscuits (including durian flavoured ones) and other sweet stuff which they made themselves. They also sell favourite confectioneries from other manufacturers.


Ok, for those curious people wondering what the hue and cry about the biscuit is about, above is a photo of the biscuit in the conspicuous pink packaging with the iconic red Tiger Head label. Try it, it's good.


Our tour of the town had to come to a quick end. See, we had the previous night contacted a friend who is on a business trip in Sitiawan. Today, he will be driving back south and has agreed to pick us up and was on the way. We checked out just in the nick of time as he arrived soon after.
But our appetite to see more of Teluk Intan was not sated yet so we dropped in to visit the Dragon King of the East Sea Temple which is just behind our hotel.


This temple is dedicated to Au Guang, the Dragon King who controls the eastern sea. And as to be expected the place is full of dragons - dragons on the roof, dragons wrapped round columns, dragon paintings, etc. It is a relatively new temple and yet a very beautiful temple, one that should not be missed when in Teluk Intan.
(... see more at Temple of The East Sea Dragon King blog)


It's bye to the Dragon King and his beautiful temple and it's time for desserts.
We are back in town for that, at a place called Teck Kee Nyonya Restaurant which is another place not to be missed. Other than serving pretty good Nyonya Food, the place is a living antique shop; meaning all the antiquities on display at the shop is up for sale. The shop is stuffed full of antiques from old posters hanging on the walls to old clocks and statues on shelves.


Heck! Even the old bamboo chairs and tables on which we are sitting while eating is up for sale!
(... see more at Teck Kee blog)


It's time to leave Teluk Intan, but just before that a quick stop at a place just on the outskirts of the town, to check out a home-stay for future overnight trips to the town. This is the TnT Novelty House which have a large, comfortable and homely decorated common living and dining area. We found out that the rooms are very reasonably priced too, much cheaper than a hotel offering similar comforts. The contact numbers and email address in in the photo above.


Okay.... finally.... it's time to begin our road trip back. But instead of using the North-South Highway or the federal old trunk road, we will be using the coastal road that will take as pass Sabak Bernam, Sungai Besar, Sekinchan before reaching Kuala Lumpur. Why that road? Well... hmmm..... it has more interesting foodie places for us to have lunch than those boring food courts at the highway R&Rs.
This being a Sunday, we decided to avoid Sekinchan which will definitely be crowded with tourists and instead headed for Sungai Besar to have a seafood lunch at Keong Hing Restuarant where amongst other things we had their signature shark-meat soup (shown above). Shark meat? What can I say, there are man-eating sharks and their are sharks-eating men! Suffice to say the food was very good and very reasonably priced and anytime better than the limited choices along the highway.
(... read more at Keong Hing Seafood Restaurant).
__________________________________________________________

Er.... you must be wondering what happened to our young friends....
Well, after a good letting-off-steam cycling trip, on reaching Kampar they had their own foodie adventure at the 36-stalls food court. At one of the stall they had what is claimed to be the best Assam Laksa in south of Penang!


 And then a memorial photo at the train station before boarding the ETS train back home.

Overall it was a good trip, one with a challenging ride, good food and somewhere in between cyclo-tours of Ipoh and Teluk Intan.
Thanks Kong for including us into your adventure.

This blog comes in a few parts. This Day 3 blog, is on the ride around Teluk Itan town. To see other parts:


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You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Cycling Malaysia / Perak / Ipoh-Teluk Intan-Kampar Bike-Packers Day 3     | Go to Day 1 / Day 2-1 / Day 2-2
(comments most welcomed below. if you like this pls share via facebook or twitter)

Friday, February 20, 2015

Selangor : UPM Nature Loving Ride

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Selangor : UPM Nature Loving Ride
University Putra Malaysia : 14th February 2015
Cycling Distance Covered : 18.2 km.
Time : 8:00 am - 12:25 pm
Time Taken : approx. 4hrs. 25mins. (including stops for rest & regrouping at checkpoints)


Route Recommendations :
1. Most of the route is on tarred roads that are fairly flat, a couple of slopes may be difficult for newbies. Bring along adequate water and sun block lotions as certain stretches can be hot in the late morning and afternoon.
2. The off-road section should not be missed as it takes one through rustic sights. Most of this section is laterite with the tail end section being grassy. The laterite roads are doable with normal tires unless it rains, and some slopes are a bit steep and need pushing. When cycling on the laterite roads, cycle where there are grassy patches if you are not using off-road tires.
3. Lembu Tenusu is a cow farm where cows are bred for milk, fresh milk can be bought there, call to enquire first.
4. Deers at the Deer Farm are fairly tamed, those in the cages can be fed so bring along some food pellets. Those on the loose are tame too, in fact they are more afraid of people than people of them. Still do not go too close to them and view from a safe distance.
5. Bring along carrots chunks to feed the horses at the Equestrian Centre, they are friendly but sometimes can be over-friendly, biting and pulling on your clothes.
6. The heritage Malay kampong houses at the Muzium Warisan Melayu (Malay Heritage Museum) are old houses from other states that had been dismantled and rebuilt at the new location. They can be viewed by the public from the outside only.
7. The Basikal is a bicycle shop/service centre that also runs bicycle maintenance courses. Presently located within UPM, it will be relocated to Bangsar soon.


PRELUDE
Photo from a previous ride at UPM.
Univerisiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), formerly called Universiti Pertanian Malaysia is the country's top university that provides courses on agricutlural sciences, etc. It's grounds are the largest in the country for a public tertiary institute, and within it are orchards, farms, paddocks, stables, etc. - all of which are used for research and some for actual day to day use, like the horses stables and cow farm.
We had previously rode there more than two years ago, and that time we covered more on the orchards (... see A Fruitful Ride blog).
This time round Siew Yung, organized a ride that will cover more on the animals-side taking us to visit deer farms, stables, and other interesting places at the campus grounds. And on top of this it's on Valentine's Day, a day of loving - this time it's one for loving nature.



THE RIDE
The route will take us around UPM to it's pastoral and veterinary sections for viewing of cows, deers and horses. The children loved these as there was much interaction with the animals. Towards the end we also visited the Malay Heritage Museum. Part of the route is off-road.


Akmal who runs The Basikal will be leading the ride. Being located here, he is familiar with the grounds and will be taking us on an interesting route, part of which was off-road. The turn out was very good, all in fifty-six took part. Looks like many these days, after being cooped up in the city, are ready to get away to bond with nature and interact with its denizens.
Akmal was concerned about the size about the group but assured participants that it will be a slow ride and that all will be taken care off. Additional regroup points were added and a few volunteered to be sweepers.
He was also a very good host, sandwiches and hot drinks were prepared by his mum and sister for the participants' breakfast. In a way it was a farewell ride for Akmal, a farewell from UPM as his shop will be relocated to Bangsar soon after this.


We kicked off and within ten minutes we hit the first slope (actually the only major slope). The more experience cyclists took this slope well, the newbies just came down and pushed. For some it was a family day out, bringing their children with their small bikes (and helping them push up this slope). A couple even rode along with their baby, riding in a baby seat attached to the mother's bike.


8:30am - We are on to the laterite roads. A light shower the previous night had made the road slightly muddy and it was harder to cycle here than on the tarred roads. But none was complaining as the natural surroundings were just so beautiful.


LEMBU TENUSU
Our first destination, the Lembu Tenusu. This is a cow farm, a part of the agricultural park run by the veterinary section of the university. Here cows are bred and research is carried out on their milk production. The cows are free to roam on a grassy range, but in the morning productive females are led to a barn.


Arranged by Akmal, one of the staff gave us a briefing on the breeds of cow bred here, how they are milked, what affect they milk production, etc. Here, the cows are milked by machine. It's all very clinical and clean with the milk pumped straight to a storage tank.


We got a few bottles to sample; this is really good, it's super fresh milk which has just come from straight from the cows. How much more fresher can it be?


The farm is an interactive one, we were allowed to feed the animals...


... and even pet them.
Yes, this is a nature loving and bonding trip. The children loved it and the adults more so, it must have brought back memories of their younger days.
_________________________________________________________________________

Those tracks we were riding on were also used by riders from the Equestrian Centre, we came upon these riders; or rather they came upon us as they stood tall on their horses looking down on us on our bicycles.


We should have expected those horse riders as the place we were riding at was beside large areas of paddocked grazing ground. Cycling along while enjoying the place, I was also looking forward to our destination.... DEERS!


THE DEER PARK
Over at the Deer Farm, most of the deer are free ranging, roaming about freely within the grazing grounds.


The deer with their antlers were much more elegant looking creatures than the cows...


... but when it comes to feeding, they were as eager as the cows.


The earlier cow's milk came in handy to attract the fawns and show them some maternal (Oops... paternal) love. Hey! It's Valentines Day, it's okay to show love.


THE STABLES
We are still on the perimeter tracks around the paddocks, but now there is no road, tarred on un-tarred. It's just green, green grass. This was a pleasant area to cycle through, but the long grass made our cycling hard, their traction impeding us.


"Steady now.... don't cringe..."
The horses at the stables went by various names: Jade, Hunter, Bullseye, etc.
Call out their names gently to them and they will respond, sometimes with a friendly neigh and sometimes coming close for some petting.


And some come super-close for a kissing lick....
MUAKS!!
Eeewww.... but I love it!


As in the other places, a trainer briefed us on how the horses are fed, how to be gentle with them, how they respond to their names. We were even shown how to walk the horses.... "always keep them to your right".


MALAY HERITAGE KAMPONG HOUSES
From the stables we are back on the roads again, cycling back to the main campus area, towards the Faculty of Modern Languages and Communications. At the grounds next to this faculty is the Muzium Warisan Melayu. This open air museum displays old houses from other states that have been dismantled and transported here. Piece by piece they have been reassembled back to their original form.


There are three such houses here, all restored as best as possible. The one with the clay roof tile is from Terengganu.


The houses, standing on stilts, are museum of sorts. Below each are traditional Malay paraphernalia such as rice milling equipment, sampans, etc.


A group photo for memory's keepsake and one which brought back memories of younger days when some stayed in houses like these.


 From the kampong houses it was a short ride back to The Basikal where a surprise feast was awaiting us - delicious chicken curry noodles prepared by Akmal's mom & sister.
Needles to say, the ride has worked up all our appetites we dug in and many went for seconds.


Because of the large size of the group, we had additional stops for rest and regrouping, and due to time constraints missed out a couple of destinations. One of which was the "Largest Bowl in Malaysia". After the ride, I drove round looking for it but could not find it, but I did drop by the campus mosque, the Masjid Universit Putra Malaysia, to view it's unique neo-classic dome and minaret.

Many thanks to Akmal for leading us on an interesting and educational ride, to his mother and sister for making us feel very at home with the good food, to Siew Yung for organizing this event; and to all participants for making this a very memorable ride.

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