Singapore, Malaysia & Thailand (1992)

There will not be much useful information in this report as it was quite some time ago and much alcohol was consumed so the memories may be enhanced by time.

Ross and I were working  as commercial divers for Oceaneering at the time. I had just finished a 6 month tour off the coast of Taiwan and was in desperate need of some time on land away from the company of smelly oil field workers. So we decided to get some bikes and explore Malaysia.

The bikes

Ross got a Yamaha SR250. It had a fairly laid back riding position so was quite comfortable to ride long distances but vibrated like a blender full of rocks. After a few hours on the Yamaha, your were shaken so much, you could hardly hold a small beer.

I got a CBR400 which is not exactly a touring bike but was not too uncomfortable uncomfortable compared to Ross’s vibrating massage chair. I was able to strap a overnight bag to the back and comfortably cruise along at 140 kph where the road permitted.

Leaving Singapore

Starting in Singapore, we heading in the only direction available to us (north). Crossing the border into Malaysia is each with a Singapore registered bike and with a stamp of the passport, we we through Johor Bahru and heading through to windy roads aiming for Kuala Sungai Baru where Ross had a local diver friend who offered to show us around Melacca.

The roads into Melacca were good but as we got closer to Kuala Sungai Baru we started to hit more pot holed roads which were a bit tougher to traverse on the road bike. So because we dis not have a map or speak the local language, navigation we a bit of a challenge.  But the  locals were very friendly and the tried their best to head us in the right direction. So it was not too late in the evening when we pull into Ross’s friends place.

I spent a day in Kuala Sungai Baru then decided to push on to KL (Kuala Lumpur). Ross decided to stay another night as he had fallen in love. We agreed to meet up in the KL Hilton foyer two days later. Being the time before cell phones and the internet, arranging a meeting in a town neither had ever visited before was quite a challenge. Looking back we should have arranged a middle man we could both call if we were unable to find each other in KL.

I took the most coastal road I could to KL which ended up being mostly gravel roads and single track through plantations. Great tracks on a trail bike but still good fund on the CBR. In KL I decided the Hilton was out of my price range to settled into a home-stay/backpackers. I did all the touristy things in KL and managed to find a few beers in the evenings.

Malaysia, like Singapore is hot and humid day and night. I road in jeans and a tee shirt which was quite comfortable for a 20 year old. As a 50 year old now, I would not feel safe without my Kevlar jacket and pants.

As we did not pick a time to meet, I ended up spending the day in the Hilton bar waiting for Ross which was not all bad, but would have been more fun if we had picked a cheaper bar. Ross and the new love of his life Audrey turned up late in the afternoon. Audrey showed us around the more interesting places in KL. The next day we left Audrey behind and headed for Penang.

Off to Thailand

We left the west coast of Malaysia and headed north to the Thai border at Bukit Kayu Hitam. With no planned we just turned up and hope they would let us and our bikes in. Nowadays, you probably need carnets but you can probably google to find out if it is necessary for Singapore registered bikes. After  an hour or so moving paperwork around the border, we were out of Malaysia and in Thailand where headed for Songkhla. The internet says;

Songkhla, also known as Singgora or Singora, is a city in Songkhla Province of southern Thailand, near the border with Malaysia. As of 2006 it had a population of 75,048. Songkhla lies 968 km south of Bangkok.

Ross and I knew Songkhla through work. It was the port we joined oil field supply vessels when on route to work in the Gulf of Thailand. We caught up with a girl and her friend Ross had met when passing through Songkhla while working for Oceaneering. Ross’s friend only spoke a little English and her friend none, which worked only OK as we spoke no Thai. We spent the next few days relaxing on the beach and drinking. It was very relaxing and the lack of common language was probably a good thing.

Next we headed to Phuket.

Phuket, a rainforested, mountainous island in the Andaman Sea, has some of Thailand’s most popular beaches, mostly situated along the clear waters of the western shore. The island is home to many high-end seaside resorts, spas and restaurants. Patong, the main town, has a more casual vibe and is filled with wild nightclubs, bars and discos.


Back to Singapore

Ross stayed in Malacca and I headed back to Singapore. The toll roads in Malaysia are great, only a couple of cents to ride and almost empty. Note sure if there was a speed limit but I got the CBR over 190 kph (where the speedometer finished) for quite a while and managed to trip down to Singapore in very little time. However, the CBR developed a funny rattle after that and never sounded the same again.

Got back to Goh’s home-stay in Bencoolen St in the later afternoon tired and ready to return to work.

What I would do differently

  1. Take a map
  2. Get a full face helmet
  3. Arrange a middle man contact so we could communicate if we got separated. Not an issue with mobile phones
  4. Go to Pattaya rather than the Bridge over the river kwai (If I was still in my twenties).
  5. Ride up to Genting Highland. Great windy road and nice cool climate.