Malaysia Road Trip - From Coast to Coast
Updated: Mar 9, 2020
#Roadtrip #MINI #Countryman #Malaysia #Bekok #Paloh #Melaka #Portdickson #Sekeping #Serendah #Sekinchan #Cameron #Belum #Kelantan #Penarik #Terengganu #Tanjungjara #Cherating #Kuantan #Mangala #Desaru
4 Wheels, 3 Leeches, 2 Coasts, 1 Trip, and 0 Elephant
I'm a big fan of road trips. Hence, it's not surprising that I've made umpteen drives into Malaysia since I bought my first car some 11 years ago. Looking back and counting, I've driven about 40 times to Melaka, 13 times to Cameron Highlands, many times to other towns and cities, plus 1 epic trip to Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai (Singapore-Thailand Road Trip). Not forgetting countless times to many Singaporeans' favourite neighbourhood - Johor Bahru.
Unfortunately in the past decade, it seemed like there had not been any chance to take on a longer road trip into Malaysia beyond a 3D2N window, not until recently. Without hesitation, I quickly charted a 12-day road trip plan for Peninsula Malaysia with the aim of visiting some places I've always wanted to, including staying in the forest retreat of Sekeping Serendah, spotting wild elephants along Gerik Highway, and driving along the entire east coast of the Peninsula from Kelantan to Desaru.
Hotel booking was straightforward and packing my bag was even more so. The most difficult and indecisive part of packing was probably my photo-video equipment. DSLR or mirrorless, which lenses, which point-and-shoot, GoPro, drone, tripod - it was a big headache which system and equipment I should be throwing into my bag. And choosing the right bag(s) was also a part of that complication (equipment list at end of blog).
Being a longer than usual road trip, a quick pre-trip health check for my senior citizen MINI Countryman was done at MCF Auto (https://www.facebook.com/MCFAutoSg/). This is my trustworthy go-to workshop to assure that she is in good health and ready for the 2,000+km marathon.
With (hopefully) everything packed and accommodation booked, I set off and embarked on my most extensive Malaysia road trip to date - a trip where 4 wheels had rolled and gripped through tarmac, mud and sand; where 3 leeches had feasted on me from neck to toe; where sunsets and sunrises were witnessed on 2 coasts on 1 single trip; and a disappointing 0 elephant sighting along the Gerik Highway.
Day 1 Singapore - Bekok - Paloh - Melaka - Port Dickson
Day 2 Port Dickson - Sekeping Serendah Retreats
Day 3 Sekeping Serendah Retreats - Sekinchan
Day 4 Sekinchan - Cameron Highlands
Day 5 Cameron Highlands - Belum Rainforest Resort
Day 6 Belum Rainforest Resort
Day 7 Belum - Bukit Banga - Penarik - Kuala Terengganu - Tanjung Jara
Day 8 Tanjung Jara - Cherating - Mangala Resort & Spa
Day 9 Mangala Resort & Spa
Day 10 Mangala Resort & Spa to Kuantan
Day 11 Kuantan to Desaru
Day 12 Desaru to Singapore
SINGAPORE - BEKOK - PALOH - MELAKA - PORT DICKSON
Timelapse of the rising tide from 3pm to 7pm from my villa's bay window.
PORT DICKSON - SEKEPING SERENDAH
SEKEPING SERENDAH - SEKINCHAN - CAMERON HIGHLANDS
CAMERON HIGHLANDS - BELUM RAINFOREST RESORT
Arriving at Royal Belum, crossing the scenic bridge towards Banding Island over the Temenggor Lake (pardon the background voice from my TomTom GPS, courtesy of Yoda).
BELUM - PENARIK - KUALA TERENGGANU - TANJUNG JARA
ABOVE: Sunrise at Teluk Bidara beach, Tanjung Jara.
MANGALA RESORT & SPA, GAMBANG, KUANTAN
KUANTAN - DESARU
Shall end with a splash... literally, with a closing video of Desaru taken on a previous trip, making splashes on the beautiful Malaysian coast.
Photo/Video Equipment Used:
Panasonic Lumix LX10 (small, light, fast - my main everyday camera)
Sony RX10 III (for bird photography, e.g. catching the hornbills at Belum)
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
Nikon D750 w/ 17-35mm f2.8 and 24-120mm f4
GoPro Hero 7 Black
DJI Mavic Pro
2 X Crumpler Camera Bags