Saturday, September 13, 2014

.Perak : Parit Buntar Fishing Villages Day 2 Pt.1

You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Cycling Malaysia / Perak / Parit Buntar 2014 / Day 2 Pt.1    | Go to Day 1 / Day 2 Pt.2 / Day 2 Pt.3 / Day 3 Pt.1 / Day 3 Pt.2
                                    AhPek Biker - Riding Adventures                                      
Perak : Parit Buntar Fishing Villages Day 2 Pt.1
(Photo by KT Wong)
Parit Buntar, Perak : 6th September 2014
Distance: 90.44 km. (Cycling distance= 59.6 km. & Boat Ride distance=30.84 km.)
Time : 5:45 am - 5:25 pm
Time Taken : 11 hrs. 40 mins. (including boat rides, stops for breakfast, 2 lunches, visits to cottage industries, rest, regrouping and photo opps.)

This is page 2 of a 6-page blog, on our journey from Parit Buntar to Kuala Kurau. Click Here To Go To Title Page.
Go to D1 Parit Buntar        |      Go to Other Days     |   Go to 2-2 Kuala Sangga >

Route Recommendations :
1. Being at the coastal area, the route is relatively flat.
2. We were riding during the rainy weather and the rain clouds afforded us shade. But I can imagine that the padi field section would be hot during the dry season.
3. The river mouths with fishing boats is scenic.
4. Eventhough it was drizzling when we rode through the padi fields, they still look nice in the rain.
5. At these smaller towns, the locals are warm and friendly. Food is also relatively cheap, and surprisingly some are better than those found in the big cities.
6. Don't miss the good and cheap dim sum at Lee King Coffee-shop.

We had taken the overnight Senandung Langkawi train up from Kuala Lumpur. Most of us had only managed to snatch a couple of hours sleep - probably we were not used to sleeping on the train; but I think it was more likely because of our excitement over this ride.
Nevertheless when we reached Parit Buntar at 4:30 am (and irrespective that we were suppose to kick off at 7:30 am), we were so eager to ride that as soon as we had unpacked and unfolded our bicycles, we rode off.


View Perak Parit Buntar Fishing Villages Ride (90.44 km) in a larger map
Ride Route : Parit Buntar>Bagan Tiang>Tanjung Piandang>Kuala Kurau>Kuala Gula>Kuala Sangga>Kuala Sepetang
This REALLY is a multi-mode expedition. From Kuala Lumpur we took a night train up to Parit Buntar to start cycling. From Kuala Gula to Kuala Sangga and then onwards to Kuala Sepetang we were in boats. Later, after cycling from Kuala Sepetang to Taiping we took a bus over to Ipoh for some riding there too. We then took the ETS train back to Tanjung Malim and then a taxi back to Kuala Lumpur.
Why not take the ETS all the way to Kuala Lumpur? Well, that's part of the story which you will find out about later. 

5:45 am - After a light pre-breakfast at one of the local 24-hrs mamak coffeeshops we started off with a climb up the bridge spanning across the railway tracks. That small climb was a good warm up. (Huh? Pre-breakfast? Yup, KT coined that word as our actual breakfast was scheduled to be at Tanjung Piandang).

Twenty minutes into our ride it started to drizzle, nine of us quickly headed into one of the kampung houses with a larger porch and took shelter there; and just in the nick of time too, as the drizzle suddenly turned into a heavy downpour!
Not wanting to wake up the residents, we tried to be as quiet as possible while we were putting on our raincoats and covering our bags with waterproof ponchos. Come to think about it, they were probably up already as we could hear the early morning azan call for prayers from a nearby mosque.
Later we found out that our other friends were also taking shelter at another house just slightly ahead.

7:10 am - After more than an hour's rain it slowed down to a drizzle and we decided to brave this and continue our ride.
Nope, the above photo does not show us riding on another planet with many moons, nor are those bright lights UFO's coming to visit us. They are light reflections of rain droplets on my camera lens. This photo shows how surrealistic our cycling there was: in the early morning blue dawn sky riding by the padi irrigation canals.

We must have seem a strange sight to the waking kampong folks, a group of crazy people cycling in the rain; having nothing better to do when they should have been sleeping comfortably in this cooling weather.

7:50 am - Reaching Bagan Tiang and it was time to take in the calm scenery of a boat on the riverside near a tall blue irrigation sluice gate ...

... and it was time to take a breather and relax among the colourful river boats.

As we were about to leave - a first casualty! No, it was nothing serious, just one of bikes having a puncture.
While the puncture was being repaired, Betty and Anne went into tom-foolery mode, playing with the fishing nets. I wonder what they were trying to achieve? Was Betty trying a local-style cure for Anne who was "vomiting" down on of those round nets? Whatever it was, it must have worked as Anne was happily cycling on later.

As we continued on, the route led us to some stretches of roads that were gravel roads. It was still drizzling and we tried to avoid the puddles, not because we were scared of water but more because who knows how deep those puddles are?
Riding at along these gravel roads made me realize that I should be getting one of those tougher tires like the Shwalbe Marathon Plus. Little did I know that my wish would be coming true the following day.

The padi fields in the rain has their own beauty, the green are a darker green with the silhouette of the faraway coconut trees more soothing in the less bright skyline. The chirping birds that are flying lower complement and completes the whole picture.

8:40 am - Arriving at Tanjung Piandang, we took a short ride over to Kedai Kopi Lee King, situated at the newer side of the town.
What an appropriate name LeeKing is! After the cold ride in the rain, our bladders were full and we were keen to use their rest rooms to take a leak!

Jokes aside, this place serves very good dim sum. One of their specialty was Chai Kueh of which they have verisions filled with turnip slices, taro cubelets; and the best one is shown above - the Chives Koo Chai Kueh. One of our buddies by herself walloped four plates of this!

Lee King, also serves this "Mini Burger" - i.e. minced meat sandwiched in between two Mantou slices. It was a good balance of soft meat in fluffy and yet crispy-skin pastry. YummY!

Glancing over my shoulders, I saw some locals eating this delicious looking Sole Fish in bean paste sauce. Calling the waiter over, I tried to order this. Sorry was his answer, these locals brought the their own fish over for the restaurant to cook..... Oh my ....
But all was not lost, the locals seeing this offered to share with us despite our gentle objections. They called the waiter over to bring a plate over and split this with us; how warm and generous the people at these small towns are.

A testimony of how good the dim sum was - plates totally gleaned; as the saying goes, Waste Not Want Not.
And the food here is cheap too, it came to Rm7-50 per head for the nine of us. For a similar meal in Kuala Lumpur it will probably be around RM15-00 pax. Pssst.... please don't tell the locals.

Heading off, we were cycling on narrow and shady village roads. Due to the soft nature of the earth at these coastal areas, these roads had settled and developed cracks; at times we rode in a zig-zag pattern to avoid them.

The kampong children were mighty glad to see us and came out to wave us on. Seeing so many of us cycling by was a welcomed change to the daily pattern.

By now the rain had stopped and the sun had come out to play. Although the sky was still overcast, our photos of these colourful fishing boats at the river mouth by the sea came out quite well.

A bit of a dilemma here; what was shown as roads on the maps turned out to be laterite tracks on a seaside bund. The previous night and early morning rain had turned this bund road muddily soft and it was impossible to cycle on them. We alighted and pushed our bikes onwards.

At certain stretches, the muddy road got so soft that it was difficult to walk on, and we carried our bike onto the rocky shores.

Half a kilometre into that muddy bund, a motorcyclist coming from the other directions advised us to turn back as even his motorcycle could not proceed. As Kuala Kurau was still more than 10 km. away, seven of us decided that  carrying and pushing our bikes that distance will be too exhausting. We chickened out and made a U-turn back where a kind owner of a kampong house allowed us to use his garden tap to clean the mud off from ourselves and our bikes.

Through some short kampong road detour, we reached and proceeded along the main road Route A180 to Kuala Kurau. We called the other group to let them know about our turn around, and hoped that later we would not be embarrassed by being called chickens.
Well, at least we are riding on shady AND non-muddy roads. *Smiles*

In a way our detour was a blessing as we passed by some nice sights like these fluttering Malaysian flags at a school field...

... rustic old timber kampong houses ...

... and quiet reflections on a calm rural stream.

11:45 am - Alriiiight! We have reached Kuala Kurau, one of our major destination.
KT had some difficulty trying to locate a locally renowned prawn fritters stall for our lunch stop. His GPS unit could not give the right directions; sometimes this happens, especially if roads have recently been changed. Often things on the ground is not is as shown on the maps.
Oh... dear.... I hope we are not lost....
What shall we do?
We will find out in the next episode.

This is page 2 of a 6-page blog, on our journey from Parit Buntar to Kuala Kurau. Click Here To Go To Title Page.
Go to D1 Parit Buntar        |      Go to Other Days     |   Go to 2-2 Kuala Sangga >

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You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Cycling Malaysia / Perak / Parit Buntar 2014 / Day 2 Pt.1    | Go to Day 1 / Day 2 Pt.2 / Day 2 Pt.3 / Day 3 Pt.1 / Day 3 Pt.2
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