23th, 24th, 25th and 26th October

We get up around 7, to meet Akira at breakfast, before he goes to work. Like this, we speak one last time with him. He may be able to join us for the Kilimanjaro ascent next year, so great!

After pack up our bags, and enjoy a last time the swimming pool. We leave the house at noon, towards Malaysia. We will cross the border through the Woodlands causeway. It takes us 1h30 to cross the whole city. We pass the border without any problems, just some stamping of the passport. But once we are in Johor Bahru (the Malaysian city just on the other side of the border), we get lost. We are supposed to meet a German-Mexican couple of cyclotourist, but we cannot find the place they are waiting for us: there are many roads, highways, and no real place that could be a meeting point. After more than one hour of turning around the Malaysian customs, we agree and succeed in meeting at the station of JB (Johor Bahru), for a short drink.

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Annika and Roberto have already been travelling for two years, from Europe till here. And they plan to be on the road for three more years. We knew them through Akira, our couchsurfer in Singapore: they’ll sleep at his house tonight. They are travelling to taste the cultures of the world by bicycle. Don’t hesitate to have a look at their adventures: www.tastingtravels.com. Since we are travelling in opposite directions, we can exchange tips on the countries we recently visited.

After separating from Annika and Roberto, we have our first Malaysian lunch, and take the road again. We head towards the West of JB, to go to the house of Kak Ju, the cousin of Kurt, a Malaysian friend of Julien. Now we see that we are no more in the calm and relaxing country of Singapore. We have to cycle many kilometres on a very busy road. In Malaysia, there are mostly cars on the road. And they drive quite faster than what we were used to in Indonesia. We finally arrive in the residential area at dusk. However, we are incapable of finding the house. The address is something like “road A 3/4, #17″. After many turn around in the neighbourhood, we understand that all the roads of the village are called A, that it’s organised by block, and we have to go to the number 17 of the road 3 of the block 4. Unfortunately, no one knows where the block 4 is, there is no logics! Kak Ju has to come to pick us up in the middle of the village.

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Tonight, we go to eat a specialty of Malaysia: Nasi Lemak. The originality is that the rice is cooked in coconut milk. It is really delicious, with a subtle taste of coconut in the rice.

This morning, the alarm clock rings at 6:10. That’s pretty early but we need to bike about 25 km to get to the train station and catch our train to Segamat. Beforehand, Kak Ju brings us to a small restaurant where we can have tea with delicious roti planta (kind of crepes-pancakes). As the breakfast is so good, we leave the restaurant late! and we have to impose ourselves a time-trial to arrive to the station before the train. Our GPS gives us distances on straight line; we knew that we go 16 km away but didn’t imagine that it would make it 25 km. We cycle as fast as we can and eventually catch our train the very last minute. This remind us of Indonesia although, this time, it’s our fault if we are late. Anyway, we get in the train ‘ Juju is literally smoking !! After cutting the air conditioning in the wagon we spend a nice trip.

Linda, another cousin of Kurt (Yes, they have huge families in Malaysia!) comes to pick us up at the train station and we cycle ten more kilometres to her parent’s house. They have a really nice house with lots of trees and flowers all around. There, we are serve a really good meal; we rest, shower. Later on, they bring us to the local school, mosque, fish pond, palm oil plantation, the neighbours! We have a good time around the small village.

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When coming back, we are served some kind of cold infusion (more like a syrup), with Roselle flower. A pure delight !

For the evening, Linda brings us, along with her sister, to a restaurant in Segamat where she uses to go. Their specialty over there is Sate, which is small brochettes of chicken, beef, mutton, or cuttlefish. That’s very good.

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We get up at 7. After a consistent breakfast, we take the road for Jasin, near the city of Melacca. We have a wonderful day this morning. The road we follow has little traffic compared with what we saw until now. And we have a beautiful landscape bordering the roads, with many palm tree plantations. On the one hand, we are sad to see these plantations and imagine that they have destroyed the precious original forest of this place. But on the other hand, we have to admit that the tree bring freshness, and the landscape like this is beautiful and different from Europe.

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The kilometres grow smoothly this morning. We pass through Sagil, and its entrance to the Gunung Ledang National Park. The main attraction of this park is the mountain, Gunug Ledang, with the legend of a princess associated to it. In the legend, the princess refuses to marry the sultan of Johor by setting seven impossible conditions, that the sultan does his best to fulfil but cannot. The park contains a stream with waterfalls, where it is very relaxing to bathe.

Unfortunately, as we pass by, the weather is already quite threatening, so we prefer to continue our route to Jasin. At the next village, Tangkak, we stop for a quick lunch. As soon as we have decided to stop, and headed for a restaurant, the rain starts to fall. Within a couple of minutes, it’s pouring heavily, and we are more than happy to be sheltered. Just imagine we were not in the city, but in the middle of the countryside, with no shelter! we would be totally wet within seconds. The shower lasts one hour, just the time to eat, then we can continue, under a much clearer sky. We arrive in Jasin around 16h30, where we meet Husaini and Hadafi, two brothers, friends of Kurt.

After a rest at their house, we go out in the evening with Husaini to visit the UNESCO recognized city of Malacca. It was an important Malay port in the 15th century, then was taken by the Portuguese in 1511, then by the Dutch, and finally by the British. The government has made strong efforts to rehabilitate the heritage of this colonial history, and it is pleasant now to stroll in the old city. After visiting a Chinese flea market, and having dinner in a North Indian restaurant, we go back home for a much desired night.

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Today, we had originally planned to go to Seramban, but since there are many things to do here, we’ll stay in Jasin one more day. So we can have a rest day today, and we enjoy the morning to compensate our lack of sleep of the last days. After lunch, we go with Husaini to the Gunung Ledang Park. In the end, we will visit this mountain, which is supposedly the most climbed in Malaysia.

There are many tourists playing in the river. It’s quite idyllic: after sweating to climb up, given the humidity and heat of the place, you can just relax in the water. And have some massage from the waterfalls.

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Once back home, we cook spaghetti in the European way for the family.

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In the evening, we go with the family to eat grilled fish, in a village near the sea. There are many kinds of fish and sea food, and all require some different preparations. It’s for sure one of the best meals we’ve had in our travel.