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  • Writer's pictureClotaire Mandel

Tricks and tips : Malaysia and Singapore

A malaysian crossing who ends up quicker than expect because of the border crossing race, but at least a few infos for when you guys will be able to cycle through again !

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Visa : For heaps of nationality, is a visa exemption between 30 and 90 days. So for most of us it's easy peasy. To stay a bit longer, the easiest option remains a running visa with the countries around. About the overstay, the fine should e around 30 ringgits per extra day, with a potential risk of being arrested and deported. Well, considering how easy it is to get an other free visa exemption, would be stupid to overstay for too long...

Borders : Nothing thrilling. Classic and efficient way to enter the country. Still a few ferries available to reach Indonesia. ` Currency : Ringgits Time zone : GMT+8

Land border crossing : Malaysia - Thailand : - Wang Prachan - Wang Kelian - Padang Besar

- Sadao - Bukit Kayu Hitam

- Betong - Pengkalan Hulu

- Sungai Kolok - Rantau Panjang Malaysia - Singapore : - Tuas Checkpoint - Woodlands Checkpoint - Tanah Merah Ferry Malaysia - Bruneï : - Sungai Tujuh - Sg Tujoh - Tedungan - Pandarua - Ujung Jalan - Labu Temburong - Mengkalap Malaysia - Indonesia : - Serikin - Lintas Batas - Tebedu - Entikong - Lubok Antu - Nanga Badau - Port Klang - Dumai (ferry) - Mallaca - Dumai (ferry) - Port Dickson - Dumai (ferry) - Muar - Dumai (ferry)

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To sleep : Not any complication to find a patch to ditch the tent in this country. The notion of camping exists, and on top of that, it seems that nobody cares at all, at least on my way, if you camp around. Hostels are pretty cheap, and hotels can be if you're not travelling on your own and ready to share a room. It mostly helps to escape the outside furnace and to take refuge under AC. Not good at all for the environment but it's sometimes way to brutal to care much about it anymore... No special camp spot I've been you absolutely might target tho. Only a few hostels I've been who could be helpful. - Angmoh hostel, Penang. Probably the cheapest hostel of Georgetown in Penang. But also probably the most shabby. Does the job for a couple of nights, but not mind blowing at all. At least bikes are super safe there. But in this part of the island, you can grab a very decent and cute hostel for a few more euros per night. So if you're not on a shoestring, I'll say look somewhere else. - Mari hostel, Ipoh. Cool hostel in Ipoh, probably the best quality price rate. Clean and cheap, bikes are safe and steff is chill. Well located as well, even tho is not much going on in Ipoh. Good option before or after the cameron highlands.

- CH Merlin Inn, Tanah Rata. Where we finally crashed after the climb. Nothing crazy at all going on here but in this touristic area price can quickly fly as well. So let's say it's a decent option considering the price. Bikes slept outside but was not really concern in this part of the world about safety. - Town Inn, Jerantut. Just a random address if you have in mind to escape the heat and humidity. The cheapest option around, clean and efficient. We were 4 at that time, so prices become often decent.

- Wild camping, everywhere. Never had any trouble to wildcamp, cause even tho it can be quit densely populated, it's also easy to find a patch of grass between two properties in order to make it yours for an overnight residency. All in an exchange of broken English and wide smile. Had the feeling that was making them smiling more than anything else. Some lovely nosy people can come to see what's the crack but never been a problem. Some drop some fruits, say hi and disappear. Well, easy. - Tree inn lodge, Singapour. For sure the place to be in Singapore. Cute small hostel where the cyclists have 50% discount cause the owner is a cyclist himself. With an owner full of infos and tips, this place is a cosy place where we could clean up bikes and gear, and being super central as well. So, in a clear panic to set everything up to fly to NZ, we made a proper mess, and we've been helped a lot. A bit disappointed that we had to leave this place sooner than expected, and in a proper rush. I'll have to come back I guess.

Note : By my experience, being many times and for a while in hot and humid countries, I understood that it cost most of the time less money to give up and get yourself a room instead of trying to survive outside and buy a lot of cold crap.

Coffee shop : With a bit of organisation, no risk to live any single day without good coffee ;) It's clearly not Thailand or NZ but you're never too far from a roaster, and that's pretty cool. I unfortunately had no time to explore the KL or Malacca options, but you might find good option considering what I already found in Penang.

- Coffee lane, Penang. Nice cafe in the main street where you can find a fair amount of different beans and even some gear like grinder, filters... - Norm, Penang. My fav'. Not enough serving very good cuppa in a cosy place, they also roast some beans, blend or SO. Not really cheap, but good good. Good coffee is never cheap anyway. Anyway, my fav' place for my morning second cuppa. - Ome by coffeespace, Penang. This one comes right after. Beautiful cafe with natural light where you might feel at home. Good coffee and cool staff. Nice place to work, write or read. - Coffeehead, Kuantan. Probably the best option on the east coast for coffee beans. A fair range of SO beans, and a bit of gear as well. Food is pretty good, and coffee as well. A bit out of town tho, especially coming from the west. It's a detour, and through a non enjoyable city. But if you need beans, no questions... - The coffee jar, Malacca. Haven't been there but eared about it. Supposingly the best option in this touristic area.

Bike Shops and outdoor shops :

Fair amount of options between KL and Singapore. And for the bike shops, even the random towns might be able tu offer something.

- Syarikat Chin Aik, Penang. The only I had to deal with in Malaysia. Relatively cheap for spare parts and the labour. A tiny bit of bikepacking in stock. Nothing crazy but good enough to solve some issues. - Camper's corner, Singapore. Super cool outdoor shop where you might be able to find all you need. Was expecting higher prices but that was actually fairly average. So not a problem at all if you have to deal with gear issue, Singapore might be the best place for a while. And this shop is just one among others.

Foooooooood : Perfect places are Singapore and Malaysia to treat yourself wit good, cheap and tasty food. A bit like Thai food but because of the migration flux who clearly influenced the cuisine. Pretty much everywhere communities are melting and offer you a bunch of good food. And as Malaysia is fan of night market, turns quickly int a food paradise. - Satu Satu Tiga 113, Penang. Just a small adress where I use to eat. Cheap dumplings and homemade noodles, don't ask more. Two steps away from the city center and some of the best coffee shops in town. - Night Market, Penang. Whatever if you pick the one in the main street or the one a bit further, you'll obviously find what you want. - Pak putra Tandori, Malacca. Super famous Paki restaurant, and well deserved. The food is so gooooood. Don't miss the quadruple cheese naan. - The famous roti canai, everywhere ! As a traditional brekkie, nothing better. Can be found pretty much everywhere, this roti canai is a sort of light flat bread/crepe to dip in curry. After 12 it's getting hard to find, only morning treat ! A few each morning before starting it's the perfect diet.

To know : I didn't make my whole way to Singapore as planned because of the virus. So barely any infos about Singapore and I also skipped a part of Malaysia I was still planning to go across. Next year maybe ! For the cultural point : Malaysia has 65,877 km of highway. This is more than earth’s circumference of 40,075 km !


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