Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Pahang : Taman Negara Day 1 - Road Trip PJ to Jerantut

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Pahang : Taman Negara Day 1 - Road Trip PJ to Jerantut
Day 1 - Road Trip From Kuala Lumpur to Jerantut : 20th June 2014
Small Convoy Drive : Petaling Jaya>Temerloh>Jerantut
Distance covered : 205 km.
Time : not relevant as this is a road trip.
Time Taken : not relevant as this is a road trip.

Drive Route Recommendations :
1. The relatively new East Coast Highway is pleasant to drive on but note that there not many rest stops for toilet duties.
2. The rest stop at Lentang do not have toilets, but there is a nice forest nursery there. It's a restricted area, so ask permission before going in.
3. Temerloh is famous for it's Patin (river Cat fish) but for a change one could try their ikan bakar (grilled fish).
4. We stayed in Jerantut overnight as the bike ride starts early the following day. There are many hotels at Jerantut, do choose one to suit your budget and comfort level.
5. Wau Hotel where we stayed in is reasonably priced. Booking via the phone did not include breakfast. A friend booked on-line and it include breakfast; but note that breakfast is only starts from 7:30 am.
6. We chose 
Wau Hotel as it was only a twenty to thirty minutes drive to Kuala Tembeling, where our following day's ride will commence.
7. Note there are no accommodations at Kuala Tembeling.

This is a three page blog, click on the following to go to the other pages:
Taman Negara Day 2 : Dragonslayers!
- Taman Negara Day 3 : Rolling Down The River

I have note done much bike-packing this year. Other than my regular trips to Penang (where are had a nice morning ride to Gertak Sanggul), my only over-night biking trip was down to Malacca (see Peranakan Bikers).

Ride route map posted by Wong Kt
So when Wong Kt (... see his blogs at "The Great Outdoors") organized a ride to Taman Negara, I was of course keen to join him. Afterall it has been ages since I had been to Taman Negara. Wong and Chris Ng had earlier done a recce of the area and found a nice rustic route to ride on; how nice and considerate of them.
The bike ride would include an overnight stay at Taman Negara; but as we will start early on ride day, many of us opted to go up a day earlier and stay a night at Jerantutt. This Day 1 blog is on our road trip to Jerantut.


View Taman Negara Bike-Packing Day 1 (205 km) in a larger map
Drive Route : Petaling Jaya>Temerloh>Jerantut 
Starting from Petaling Jaya in three cars, we will drive to Jerantut to stay a night there. En-route we will stop by at Temerloh for dinner.

The girls at the Lentang nursery park.
We met up at the Gombak Toll Plaza in mid-afternoon and our convoy of three cars proceeded on with our journey along the Karak Highway. At Lentang we decided to make a quick stop at the rest area and was quite disappointed, it was just that a rest area - an open tarmac area without even proper drawn parking bays. And NOTE, there are no toilets there, so any toilet duty would mean embracing nature and doing it in the wild.

But fret not, for just round the corner is a nursery connected to Lentang Forest Reserve. The nursery seems to be a government run nursery and is a restricted area. Request for permission before going in. In a inner section that is fenced off is a large nursery. Pity that we could not go in there as there were lots of plants, mainly flowering ones being grown there. It would have been a nice place to visit.

Somewhere near Karak town, the Karak Highway merges into and becomes the East Coast Highway. Traffic on this Saturday afternoon was surprisingly light and we drove with ease along this four-lane (dual carriageway per side).
This highway is definitely a boon for the east coast states of Peninsular Malaysia as without it driving on the old trunk road was a nightmare, especially if one happens to tail on of many slow Balak logging trailers.

Exiting at the Temerloh Toll Plaza, we were pleasantly surprise to find mangoes growing on trees nearby. The fruits were too tempting and a resourceful Nash borrowed a cleaners mop to pluck some mangoes.

The girls showing off the fruits of our harvest.

After the toll plaza is at T-junction; on the left the road leads to Jerantut while the right leads to Temerloh town. We decided to drive the 11km into Temerloh and have dinner there, afterall it's one of the girls' hometown and she recommended we try some ikan bakar (grilled fish) and other barbecued seafood.

As we will probably be back to eat again around here, it was a change eating at seafood restaurants. The stall that we stopped at is the Ikan Bakar Abc, where we had these attractively grilled prawns ....

.... and this nicely grilled fish cake. Mmmmmm..... YummY!
(... see more at Ikan Bakar Abc blog).

Happy with that nice dinner, we drove to Jerantut and checked into the Wau Hotel. It's a small hotel located at a row of shop houses along Jalan Sungai Jan. The hotel is very clean although the air-conditioning for some rooms were not up to par. The reception staff was very courteous, answering our curious questions patiently and told us that it was only 20-30 minutes drive to the Kuala Tembeling Jetty. Thank goodness, we don't have to wake up too early then.

Here are the girls, emulating the Three Monkeys.
This will be what we hope will be happening on the following day's ride:
Speak No Evil - no cussing and using of foul language.
Hear No Evil - pray that none will hear any unwelcomed whisperings.
See No Evil - let's hope we do not see anything apparitions.
We will be riding along a road surrounded by the jungle and it's best not to disturb any spirits that could be lurking there.
I went to bed, dreaming of tomorrow's ride, dreaming of cycling through a jungle area; hopefully we may catch sight of some wild animals - a tiger perhaps?


This is a three page blog, click on the following to go to the other pages:
Taman Negara Day 2 : Dragonslayers!
Taman Negara Day 3 : Rolling Down The River

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You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Cycling Malaysia / Pahang / Taman Negara Day 1     | Go to Day 2 / Day 3
If you like this, view my other blogs at Jotaro's Blog
(comments most welcomed below. if you like this pls share via facebook or twitter)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Pahang : Janda Baik - A Ride To Treasure

You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Cycling Malaysia / Pahang / Janda Baik - A Ride To Treasure
                                    AhPek Biker - Riding Adventures                                 
Pahang : Janda Baik - A Ride To Treasure
Genting Sempah to Janda Baik: 15th June 2014
Distance covered : approx. 30.00 km.
Time : 8:25 am - 3:35 pm
Time Taken : 7 hrs. 10 mins (including stops for swimming, lunch, photo shoots)
Route Recommendations :
1. The route from Genting Sempah to Janda Baik is undulating but mostly downhill all the way and up hill all the way on the return, do stock up with enough water to beat dehydration.
2. From the old trunk road down to Kampung Bukit Tinggi the road is quite steep, do ride with care. On the return upwards on this steep road do not be embarrassed to come down and push your bike.
3. The De River Resort's riverside is cozy with ample open green space and a cooling cascading stream next to it. Do ask permission from the owner before entering.
4. Lunch at Restoran Kolam Ikan is fairly good and reasonably priced.
5. If shopping for fruits and vegetables at Kampung Bukit Tinggi do bargain as pricing could be tourist pricing.
6. Bukit Tinggi is renown for it's old ginger. However lately there has been rumours that some vendors mixed the good local ones with imported China ones. So do shop with prudence.

What makes a good ride?
For me it's a challenging ride to a nice destination. And more importantly to have good friends to enjoy the ride and destination with. This here is one I will treasure and hold dear as it had all three elements. Oh, what pain and fun we had.
Happily lifting my Dahon Dash P18 during the ride to Bentong, Pahang.
I had seldom rode in Pahang; my début ride in this largest state of Peninsular Malaysia was a ride from Genting Sempah to Bentong. That was a tough one for me as I was then still a newbie, having taken up cycling for only nine months (.... see Breakin' Bentong blog). Since then I have done the same route a couple of times more, and have managed those rides quite well. As one cycles more, one's stamina improves. More importantly one is psychologically more prepared to take on the tougher rides. One's muscles are physically more trimmed and the mind is more steeled to take on taxing challenges.
But the physical and mental strength is secondary to the fun that one have when cycling with good (... and perhaps slightly crazy) friends.

When our friend Harry Chan posted photos of a nice stream with cascading waters at Janda Baik and inviting us to cycle there, it looked like an interesting place to visit. 
In the end I was most glad that I joined him on this trip; as it turned out to be a challenging ride to a beautiful place to enjoy with good friends. We did really had loads of fun there!


We will start from Genting Sempah and ride uphill to Janda Baik. Our destination was the De River Resort, it's a homestay place. On our return we will have lunch at Kampung Bukit Tinggi and do a bit of shopping there too.

Group photo at start point, McDonald's Genting Sempah.
Harry's posts of photos of the destination, and also of food and fruits from Kampung Bukit Tinggi attracted a fair number of us to join him; all in fourteen of us met up at Genting Sempah to make the journey.

Harry was a good organizer, having a support car driven by Rudy to bring up food for a picnic at the stream. Anne like a hungry mouse could not help but steal a nip on one of those nice kaya paos (steamed egg jam buns) even before we started riding.

8:25 am - Roll off! And it did mean literally rolling off; not much pedalling, just coasting down the winding slopes on the old trunk road heading towards Bentong.

We were joined my Min Chan; she's one tough lady. A newbie to cycling, she has nerves of steel and a good stamina to take on tough rides like this, pushing on at her own pace to finish all rides that she takes part in. Oh yeah... like some of our other cyclist friends she has fixed a basket on her rear carrier. Baskets are the "in thing" accessory these days for bicycles. Yes, she will be ready for our shopping for vegetables and fruits later on.

We were also joined by Melody, a lady cyclist from Hong Kong, who has been working in Malaysia for some time now and had joined us riding on and off. She will be returning to Hong Kong soon and of late has been cycling with us more frequently. I guess once she returns home she will be missing us and missing Malaysia, the land beyond the tropical sea. We dedicate this song - Oh Malaysia! - to you Melody to hold on to memories of Malaysia until you come back. Click on the title to view a YouTube video of this song showing scenes of Malaysia.

8:40 am - Our easy downslope coasting ended as we turned into a junction heading for Janda Baik. But it will only be a short climb after which it's mostly undulating down hill.

The roads here were shady and the higher altitude made the weather cooler. This was a most welcomed change during the present hot weather in the lowlands. Many were the happiest rolling down those slopes. But then... there will be the tougher return ride later. Oh dear!

Cyclists Joy Jump at one of the forest reserve park where we stopped a breather. Well must as well jump now, as later we may too tired to manage even lifting our legs.

Along the way the tropical forest was inter-spaced by clumps of bright green bamboo...

... and meandering streams running besides our route. Yes, other than the difficult climbs, this place is definitely a joy to cycle on. Come to think of it, it is with the pain that we learn to appreciate the beauty more.

When it comes to some of the tougher slopes, there is no need to be shy to come down and push ...

... after all the place does have a certain romantic atmosphere that's rewarding.

Along the way we made several rest stops at small parks or just at scenic roadside view....

... where Patric snoozed below a signage with an appropriate message.

... where Chris Lee and a few of us had thirst-quenching, heat-beating ice cream sandwiches. I guess that up till then many of us had never realized how good an ice cream sandwich can be.

... where Harry stood proudly, flanked by two pretty ladies.

... and where the trees and clouds composed a good photo.

While Anne was playing with the flowers ...

... I was playing with my camera, taking close-up shots of tiny things. There is beauty everywhere, one needs to only look closely.

10:10 am - About fifteen kilometres from our start point, Harry signalled us to turn right onto a narrow road. This will lead to De River Resort, a nice homestay place with a large open but shady grounds. It's just right next to Sungai Benus.

Me and a couple of friends were on sweeper duties bringing up the rear. When we arrived, the rest of our buddies were already getting comfortable on the rocky banks of the cascading waters of the stream. Promptly, I quickly shed whatever unnecessary clothings and jumped in to join them.

 After a challenging and sweaty ride, there's nothing more relaxing and invigorating than lying in that stream, letting the cool water rush by our bodies.

In that cool stream, I chilled; letting the choppy water massage my aching body. I could have just laid there for hours on end.

The calm surrounding with the staccato rush of the water put Harry into the mood for some meditation. Er...... he IS meditating. Now then, don't get any naughty wrong ideas!

We were like little children again, frolicking and splashing water at each other.

Even the dragonflies decided to join in on our fun.

Baki was like going "This is GREAT! I can't get enough of it!"

And Patric was his snoozy self again, dozing off on the rocky bank. Perhaps he was waiting for a pretty princess to come wake him up with an enchanting kiss.

Yes! We are happy cyclists indeed!

With our hearts happy and our souls contented we were able to take the even tougher ride back in our stride.

One last crazy thing we did. We rode down that steep slope down to Kampung Bukit Tinggi to have lunch at Restoran Kolam Ikan, did some shopping for fruits. AND then pushed our bikes up that steep slope before riding back to Genting Sempah.

Many thanks Harry for a wonderful ride filled with fond memories.

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Yong Tau Foo Factory @ Bagan Sekinchan
Sekinchan, Selangor : May 2014
Want to see you Yong Tau Foo is made in a commercial way, visit this factory then!

You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Cycling Malaysia / Pahang / Janda Baik - A Ride To Treasure
If you like this, view my other blogs at Jotaro's Blog
(comments most welcomed below. if you like this pls share via facebook or twitter)