Malaysia, Truly Asia: Driving up North to Pahang

Running Man, stop distracting me from blogging. They are a funny bunch of comedians. Even though they speak and laugh  in an incomprehensible language, I can still burst out laughing in front of the computer. Of course, I watch the episodes that have English subtitles.

Kk, back to the main point. A few weeks ago, my family and I drove up North all the way to Cameron Highlands, Pahang. It was a great journey as usual. I love driving and nothing can steal that joy away from me. Add that to spending quality time with the family, what more can I ask for seriously.

Planning Stage

Driving up isn’t as simple as it sounds, especially with the media being ever so eager to report on the unpleasant going-ons. Since this is my first time travelling overseas with a smartphone, I jumped on the opportunity to make full use of it – by downloading ‘1 Malaysia Hotlines‘. This iPhone app allows you to easily search their comprehensive list of essential numbers. Super useful although it’s best that this app isn’t used at all.

The next thing to do is to map the route out well. Even though we own a Garmin GPS, we felt that taking time to familiarise ourselves with the route  was super essential. We also printed out turn-by-turn directions. Just in case. Mapsource, Garmin’s desktop mapping software, told us that we will need almost 7 hours to reach Cameron Highlands.

Leaving our homeland

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | The KPE tunnel is deserted

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | The KPE tunnel is deserted

With that in mind, we decided to leave at 4am to allow for a relaxing trip up with some buffer time to take frequent breaks. The need for us to check-in to our destination all the way up in Cameron Highlands at 3pm weighed on us as well. The drive towards Tuas Checkpoint (We don’t like crossing at Woodlands) at that hour was very smooth. Of course, we stuck to the 70 km/h speed limit along the KPE *yawns*. There wasn’t many cars and we made it to Tuas in good time.  We painstakingly filled up the white cards, but the immigration offer told us that it was no longer necessary for us to produce them. We were confused for a little while, wondering if we should trust the words from that officer’s mouth. We didn’t want to be jailed or something. Anyhow, we crossed into Malaysia quickly as there was only a sprinkling of cars then.

The North-South Expressway (PLUS)

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | Driving in the dark along NSE

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | Driving in the dark along NSE

I must say that driving in almost complete darkness was quite a cool experience. Cool as in cooling, and cool as in shiok. It was a new experience as we are so used to having uniformly-lit expressways in Singapore. It was quite scary at times too. At those speeds (about 110 km/h), any mistake can be deadly. I use the brightness road-legal Philip xtreme headlights, and they only can illuminate that far. At least I try to remain as brightly lit as possible. However, to me, it seemed that some drivers of trucks, lorries and 18-wheelers wanted to remain as dimly-lit as possible. It was frightening to ‘suddenly’ notice a slow-moving heavy vehicle right in front of me.

Rest stops

Here are some North-bound rest stops that we took breaks at.

Gelang Patah (N) Rest and Service Areas

  • Esso petrol station
  • Pre-paid mobile phone cards
  • Touch-n-Go top-up facilities (this is a stored-value card for you to pay for tolls)
  • Food stalls
  • Toilets

Seremban (N) Rest and Service Areas (Sha la la coffee)

  • Shell petrol station
  • Food stalls (My recommendation = Stall 4 at the main food court. It’s the stall selling Yong Tau Fu, noodles, Mee Goreng, etc. Must buy = their white rice noodles. Bagus!

Our destination: Strawberry Park Resort

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | Strawberry Part Resort (Cameron Highlands)

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | Strawberry Part Resort (Cameron Highlands)

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | Strawberry Park Resort - 1593 km above sea level

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | Strawberry Park Resort – 1593 km above sea level

 We safely reached our destination, 1593KM up in the air, 15 minutes before 3pm. Whee! I will skip the part on us driving from Simpang Pulai (NSE exit), up Cameron Highlands and finally to Strawberry Park Resort; will leave the juicy details for the next post.


One thought on “Malaysia, Truly Asia: Driving up North to Pahang

  1. Pingback: Malaysia, Truly Asia: A series of posts to come soon « big_mouse..confusingABCrandom123

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