The Twisty Tour – Ride to Gerik

9 Aug 2007 to 12 Aug 2007

Route Map

Route
  • Day 1 – Singapore to Kuala Terengganu via Route 3 – 544 KM
  • Day 2 – Kuala Terengganu to KL via Gerik Highway (Route 4) & N-S Highway – 730 KM
  • Day 3 – Kuala Lumpur to Singapore via N-S Highway- 320 KM
  • Estimated total mileage – 1600 KM

A plan to ride the coastal route 3 and the Gerik Highway had been brewing since I got my Fazer in January. Unfortunately, a good opportunity never presented itself until the National Day weekend. Very unpatriotically, we decided to escape these stifling shores to ride the roads and hills of Malaysia, the country my biker’s heart keeps returning to.

We had been planning this for more than a month but as the date of departure neared, we had no formal itinerary or destinations, apart from the vague plan to ride the coastal road from Johor to Kelantan, ride the twist-ies on the Jeli-Gerik Route 4 and end up in Penang.

However, a day before the trip we almost came close to calling the trip off. The plan was for 3 bikes to ride this trip – my friend (rajoana) on his FZS1000, my brother on his Super4 and myself astride my FZS600. Unfortunately, twenty-six hours before our departure my brother had a bad crash. His bike was totalled but thanks to the almighty, my brother escaped without much injury. With his bike out of action, he was out of the trip.

This incident was enough to fill the two of us with much trepidation and raise the usual ire and concern of loved ones at my persistence to carry on with the trip. As the saying goes, the adventure begins when things stop going according to plan.

Without being able to sleep much, I woke up at 0230 to meet my riding buddy at the Tuas Link. We had to ride in via the Second Link to get a Malaysian Visa for my friend’s pillion from India. That explained the start at the ungodly hour.

We completed the visa formalities and rode on to GP Esso to tank up for the first leg. It was quite a sight. Before the first light of dawn, and a group of BMW bikers and other riders were already there doing their final preparations for their respective rides. It seems there is a unspoken feeling that the best way to celebrate our island state’s independence is to ride the country that ended our Federation with them in 1965.

The rumble of thunder and the streaks of lightning cast a burning orange glow in sky. Impending rain clouds sparked and immediate frenzy to suit up, crank the engines and gun out of GP Esso before it poured. Alas, we did not make much headway before the rain caught us.

We rode on in the rain in the direction of Kota Tinggi to hit Route 3. We rode this route all the way to Pahang and the Islamic states of Terenggau and Kelantan. Route 3 is a wonderful country road, which hugs the east coast all the way to one of the border crossings into Thailand. It has some gradual bends to ensure you are awake and kept me alert even though my teeth were chattering and the cold was wracking me a shivering wreck. Thankfully, traffic was sparse in the early morning and we were able to pick the pace to our first stop.

Our first stop was Mersing for breakfast – a coastal town in Johor famed for its kelongs (fishing houses on stilts built out at sea), seafood and the ferry terminal to Pulau Tioman. We reached Mersing just as the sun started shining but I was still quivering in the saddle form the downpour earlier.

Mersing

After some warm prata and squeezing rainwater out of our socks, we were on our way. We rode on, stopped for petrol once we rolled into Pahang and topped our stomachs off at Chukai.

After lunch, we decided to head for Kuala Terengganu and stay the night there. Pulling into Kuala Terengganu we checked into the first hotel we came across, had dinner and called it a early night since neither of us slept much prior to our departure.

View from our hotel in Kuala Terengganu. The city seems to go sleep at 7 PM. We were rushed thorugh our dinner for them to close in time for prayers.

We set off at about 8 am to find our way to Jeli. Our early start came to naught when we backtracked because we thought we were on the wrong road. Alas, we had actually picked the right road. We detoured back to the road to Tanah Merah, which would lead us into Jeli.

Tanah Merah

Looking for breakfast along the road in Kelantan proved to be surprisingly difficult. Being and Islamic state and Friday being the day of prayer most places were closed. Thankfully, we managed to find some surprisingly good mee goreng for breakfast at a stall along the road.

Satiated and with tanks filled it was on to the hills for the twist-ies on the Jeli to Gerik Route 4, commonly known as the Gerik Highway. This is a fantatstic road that starts from Kelantan and deposits you in Perak state.

It involves some awesome 30-50KM (guestimation as I was having too much fun to look at the odometer) of non-stop left and right sweepers in hilly terrain and some of the landscape is amazing. We did not stop for much pictures though as the twist-ies were the main draw for us.

The only place we stopped for pics. This was already half-way down from the height of the hill.

Is this a cliff? But gorgeous all the same!

The road was smooth and traffic was light but we had to manoeuvre past the usual coach or lorry lugging logs

Part of the highlight of the Gerik route is Tasik Banding which is a man-made lake. It was created because of the construction of a dam at Temenggor in Perak. Very scenic and tranquil. Well, at least until we and another group of Singapore bikers tore through the hills.

Some other SG Bikes we happened on at the Tasik Banding bridge

Tasik Banding

Tasik Banding

The hills were alive not with the sound of music but the roar of engines

Upon exiting at Gerik we headed in the direction of KL to show my friend’s guest some of the sights and sounds of the capital city. We decided to leave Penang for the next pilgrimage to the race track in the clouds.

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~ by Biking Nomad on 29 December, 2007.

3 Responses to “The Twisty Tour – Ride to Gerik”

  1. […] for a visual of the twists and turns on that road. It’ll probably explain the title of that ride report to […]

  2. I am from JB. I gonna do this trip but with a slight detour. From JB I ride to Kuantan . Spend some day swimming in Teluk Cempedak. Continue to heartland toward Kuala Lipis (I might do some caving at Kota Gelanggi). Sleep in colonial rest house of Kuala Lipis. Ride toward Tanah Merah to Pengkalan Kubor , enter Thailand Tak Bai. Reenter Malaysia toward Jeli and Grik. Sleep somewhere. Go north toward Thai border to Hatyai. Sleep in Danok.

    Reenter Malaysia toward George Town. Visit the War Museum. Sleep in Penang. Ride to KL (probably a stop over in Batu Gajah to see Kellie Castle). Ride toward KL. Sleep in KL

    Next day ride to JB, to second Link . Enter Singapore via Tuas toward Woodland and cross over to JB.

    Total day . 7 days

    • Sounds like a great ride! Let me know how it went and link me to your pictures. I might just try to follow your route when I get around to riding again.

      Ride fast, ride safe. BN – not barisan nasional but biking nomad

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