Malaysia – 2008

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In which we go up the East Coast of Malaysia, to Perhentian, Terengganu, the Cameron Highlands and experience a little more Singapore…


We arrived back in Singapore from Borneo early in February, inadvertently, just before Chinese New Year
Essentially, already the city was on holiday and closed for business!


In the days before the event Singaporeans were preoccupied with readying themselves for the week of holiday, the streets  highly decorated and packed with people, -buying with a siege mentality.
It is impossible to get any work done


and going to town was difficult, -but it was culturally entertaining; the footpaths taken over by paper serpents


and lion dancers.
Then for the few days of the holidays it was bliss! No-one was working, nothing was open, -even Lucky Plaza closed for several days…
Cycling was delightful, there was little traffic, as the Chinese, who drive the cars, were all in their homes doing ‘family stuff’.
However, the Indians were off work and like us, enjoying the opportunity of freedom in the city. Football and cricket games were going on any vacant plot of land and, -most out of character for Singapore, -where a toppled rubbish bin is usually newsworthy; mountains of their garbage were building up everywhere!
As for us, although our ‘jobs’ were on hold we enjoyed a few days of not needing to elbow our way through the crowds of assertive little people -and having easy access over the whole island…


We left Quo Vadis in Raffles Marina while we returned to New Zealand and during the Vietnam cycling trip, leaving in her early in May to go up the East Coast of Malaysia.

We left with a firm intention to get to Koh Samui in Thailand this year, -having been foiled in our attempt last year.
Again we cleared from Singapore and went first to Sebana Cove Marina in Malaysia. While there we fitted our newly acquired AIS, a last minute purchase from Singapore and which is proving to be very effective. It is a warning to us of other ships and to them of our presence and in these parts where the shipping is so heavy, it seems essential, -every yacht should have one!


From Sebana we also took the same route as last year, via Jasons Bay and Pulau Sebu to get to Tioman Island.

As we found last year, there wasn’t the wind for sailing, -we motored, -made tolerable only by a knot or 2 of current assisting us.

Our stay in Tioman wasn’t protracted, just a few days for some bush walks, before clearing customs and immigration for Thailand and making an overnight passage to Pulau Pakas, just south of Terengganu.

Again we had little wind, it was hot and fine, but with reduced sails to lessen ‘sail slop’ and with the current assist continuing, we crept along at a maximum of about 4 knots over the ground, we managed not to have to motor too much of the way…


We had no expectation of Pulau Pakas being anything more than a convenient place to anchor for the night, being just a few miles off the Malaysian mainland and close to a major city.
It proved however, to be a beautiful little island,


the sandy beaches clean, the water very clear and with good coral and fishlife everywhere.


It’s a popular destination for mainland Malaysians on day or weekend trips, visiting on fast ferry boats and staying in cheap resorts with cabin type accommodation in fragrant and floral surroundings.



As we were heading north to Thailand we didn’t linger, we bypassed Kuala Terengganu and motored on up to Pulau Redang, another 35 miles north. It is a larger island, similarly with jungle, clean white sand beaches and perfectly clear water.
There is a small village and various resorts on the island, some larger and catering for westerners, but most of the visitors were locals from the mainland, coming to enjoy the beach.  As Muslim they keep well covered, the women still wearing their headscarves. The lifejackets are obligatory as most of them have little confidence in the water, but they also usefully serve as a visible warning to speeding small craft…that could be regarded as very neccessary!


We enjoyed the clean water and white sand, anchored in just a few metres, visibility down there was near perfect.


We had to share however with a selection of fishing boats, unlikely looking boats for the open sea, listing, top heavy, and apparently grossly overladen.
They disappeared in the twilight, but returned at dawn to repair the nets and rest for the day.


It’s only about 20 miles from Redang to the Perhentian Islands.


Arriving there we thought we really had arrrived in heaven!  Tioman,  Redang and Pakas had all been nice islands, but these were the best so far up this coast. In fact, they seemed so perfect that getting to Koh Samui suddenly became less important, -could it be any better up there?
We were very happy to stop and wait for a few days, especially as the continuing windless weather meant we would have had to motor over 260 miles; probably 2 1/2 days, in hot sun, to get there…and then come back again…Was that all worthwhile?
We stayed in Perhentian!

There are 2 main islands to Perhentian, separated by a narrow channel. They are part of the same Marine Park as nearby Redang, and although developed more, with more visitors, it is a very low-key kind of development, for back-packers and younger people wanting the beach and diving on their holidays.


We felt very plainly ‘different’ on the beach, at our age, coming off the yacht in the bay and avoiding the sun rather than baking in it!


Long Beach on Pulau Perhentian Kecil is where most of the accommodation is based, and that’s where it all happens for most of the Europeans. It is also the longest and nicest beach and happens to have the best blue water, white sand, anchorage for shelter in most conditions.
By day it’s busy with passing small boats, ferrying visitors between island and on diving excursions; by night the bars on the beach come to life, the music goes all night, rarely stopping before dawn!
We learned that we slept better if we moved in the evenings to the other island, Pulau Perhentian Besar and anchored off the most up-market resort on the islands, the patrons there go to bed before midnight…
Both islands are jungle covered primarily, there are rocky headlands separated by little secluded, white sand beaches, some accessible by walking tracks -or clambering around the rocks, -but most, only by small boat.
There are no roads and no vehicles, -even in the small village where the fishermen and most of the hotel workers live.


Although most of the resorts close over the northeast monsoon season when the weather here turns rough, the workers going to work on the mainland, the village here is year-round and a permanent home to many.
We found it a good little town for a cheap and tasty lunch, and the shops have most of the basics, although as all fresh fruit and vegetables are brought over form the mainland, supply and quality of those are variable.


Friday morning prayers are a busy time in town, as all the fishermen return to attend the mosque



the anchorage is crowded with their comings and goings


and the children are off school.

We enjoyed  almost a week shuffling between the anchorages and the village before the continuing fine, windless weather forced us to admit we probably weren’t going to make it to Thailand after all…
(Although Perhentian is almost on the Thai border and we could have crossed over and cleared in very easily, security in that part of the country is not good for a yacht; it is the area of the Muslim southern ‘troubles’ and best avoided. To go north into Thailand really entailed setting out directly for Koh Samui, well away from the land and any helpful sea breeze, -or anchorage for the night,  it would be too tedious, motoring)
…it was time to return to the Malaysian authorities and re-enter the country, having never really left it!


We back-tracked to the town of Kuala Terengganu.


It’s an old and interesting town up a muddy brown river and on an island over from the main town centre is a new marina.
This is a part of a major shop/exhibition/conference/resort complex, but like so many other similar around this area; although the facilities are good and the rates very reasonable, the demand just isn’t there. the complex is under-used, marina occupancy is low and the long term viability of the facility very doubtful.
It is another case of Asian over estimation of a need and gross over capitalisation. Sadly, then when the income isn’t realised, maintenance lapses and the place falls into disrepair and although this marina is still new, the signs of that are there.


The staff however, are exceedingly helpful, friendly and interested in us, -so apart from the muddy stains our hull, -it is as yet, a good marina to stay in!


The small ‘Royal Barges’ are available for hire, it’s a 5 minute ride over to the market and town centre.
Once there, there is all that you might expect in a major centre, (although as common in Malaysia, without local knowledge, what you’re after can be tricky to find…)
Although it’s a predominantly Muslim area, there’s a small, but vibrant China-town currently being tastefully redeveloped




with temples; old shop houses, hawker stalls and other interesting eating places.

In the old town centre there’s a large fresh and ‘wet’ market for great fruit and veges. The area is known for its fruit, -especially the mangoes, (the rule with those is, that the browner and more awful looking on the outside, the better it will be inside, as it shows it has been left on the tree to ripen for longer!)
But the market’s not only good for the food…


there always sellers of various interesting and ancient herbal remedies of indescribable origin…


but a high-point is the occasional visit of the (epitomal!) ‘snake-oil salesman’ and his son.


 complete with the flashy sales-talk, the flashy rings and the boxes of real live snakes…including a South American anaconda,


Asian pythons


and even a deadly Hooded Cobra,


-released from its box, for the benefit of us, the spell-bound audience!
With sufficient interest generated in the crowd and after all the ‘snake-oil’ sales chatter, he gave a demonstration of the potency of the product, -how it would burn through a polystyrene food container almost instantly(!)  -and followed that by an invitation for anyone to try it on their achy bits.
As no-one who did met the same fate as the polystyrene food containers, I felt sufficiently encouraged,  and curious, to try some on my knee…
It had a strong smell of Tiger Balm, was  immediately very warming, almost to the point of burning and then amazingly, it was very effective!
I had no pain in the knee for several hours afterwards, whereas normally I would, walking as I did on city pavements.
(That’s quite an admission from a medical person, -particularly an orthopaedic surgeon, ‘snake oil’ really works!!! Don’t tell my colleagues back home, I’ll be a true pariah in the Association…)

Kuala Terengganu is a holiday town for Malaysian people, they come here for the beaches and the nearby islands, but few Westerners visit. We saw no more than a handful during our 2 weeks or so there.
Because we are a novelty, the local folk are all interested in us, -where we’ve come from?… where are our wives?… how many children?…how old are we?  -the usual line of Asian questions, -but it’s just conversation and asked in the nicest possible way!

It’s a heavily Muslim part of the country, with many Mosques. Nowhere have we found the many daily ‘calls to prayer’ to be so pervasive, even up the Kumai River during Ramadan had nothing on this for early morning wakenings!

The Imans from the numerous city Mosques compete for soundspace, their tinny sound systems garbling and  echoing off the high marina buildings across the river; without being disrespectful of the Muslim faith, the resulting cacophony at prayer times can be readily likened to a field of braying donkeys!
Sleep disrupting as it might be, it would be disappointing if it stopped.  The toneless repetitions become a tune in your head and it’s a daily reminder of where you are waking up, -somewhere foreign, -Muslim Asia!

The Mosques are architecturally beautiful, despite the dissonance emanating from the minarets…


the pure white Zainal Abidin Mosque in the middle of town;


and about 5 kilometres out, the’floating mosque’, -Masjid Tengku Tengah Zaharah.
Under the bridge over to the island with the marina, Pulau Duyung, is the ‘Crystal Mosque’


Externally, without question, it’s the most striking of any in town, -and arguably perhaps anywhere, -but it’s not without its detractors. It is not a ‘proper’ Mosque at all, but rather, part of a ‘Muslim theme park’.  Behind it are a collection of replicas of prominent Mosque  buildings from around the world; Moscow’s Great Mosque, the Taj Mahal, the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and others.


Many of the local faith view the complex as an obscene waste of public money, but that’s nothing new for Malaysia and the shining glass panels of the Crystal Mosque are an undisputably, unavoidably, eye-catching entrance to the city!


A little further up the same river is the Terengganu State Museum complex, another building worthy of note but less controversial.


Complex it is too, as it is a large collection of buildings and bewildering, leg-tiring displays, too much for one visit.


It is however a great collection of Malay history in buildings in the traditional wooden style.

We were taken by one of the Marina staff to the home of one of his many godfathers, who also happens to be a second cousin of the present Sultan, (who also at the present is the head Sultan for all of Malaysia, so we were making definite connections with important people !

 The home is an old Royal Palace, in expansive, unkempt grounds


entirely wooden; and although now verging on being run-down, interesting architecturally.

with its sprawling, airy terraces,


cool, but dingy apartments,

carved wall panels and delicate traceries of the old style,

and numerous relics of its royal past.

It’s a place with atmosphere but can only boast of being quasi-royal now, struggling for funds and in need of work, it is hired out as a rather up-market home-stay experience, with some refurbished rooms, comfortable beds and quaint, but new, bathrooms to satisfy the wims of more discerning, wealthy, visiting Asians.

On Pulau Duyang, the island in the river and very near the marina are more examples of Terengganu pride in traditional building with wood.
There’s the village museum, but previously more used as a fortress, built in the days when that was what was needed.

On a sturdy concrete and tile ground floor and now restored after flood damage it’s another fine example of their traditional house building in wood

with airy open verandahs

delicate carved traceries

and musty relics of everyday living in a bygone age. It’s little visited, but open and free for anyone.

Terengganu and the Duyung Island are also proud of its traditional wooden boat building,

where a few craftsmen still build boats in the old style; heavy, wooden and without pre-drawn plans

but it is, not surprisingly, for practical reasons, boat building with a mix of new and old methods.

They still use adzes and other hand tools to shape the timber planks,  calking with bark split from a tree, but beneath the wooden  plugs there are modern metal fastenings and there’s a smell of 2 pot glue in the air!
The resulting boats are surely attractive in design, heavy and strongly built, (but I hasten to add that actually,  Quo Vadis has thicker planking and although they’re fewer, she has thicker, stronger, laminated beams!)

Terrengganu is known for its construction in wood, – but also dried fish! It, (and its various derivatives) is a speciality food of the area.

All along roadsides are stalls, often bunched together and selling the same product, -raw, hanging, bivalved and dried  fish of many forms; also fish crackers, ‘kerepok’ made of dried fish meal and deep fried, tasting reminiscently , but not unpleasantly, -if served with enough chilli sauce, -of spicy fishmeal fertiliser!
There are other food specialities in this area too, nasi minyak, satu and great otak to mention a few. They all have a fishy base and flavour, but with the spices, are usually great tasting.

There’s no shortage of good eating in this town!


About 80 kilometres (and a good ride) into the hills from town is Tasik Kenyir, a lake formed by the building of the Kenyir hydroelectric dam in 1985.


It’s developed as a tourist attraction of a ‘seeing nature’ type, with low key resorts and houseboats on the lake. There are jungle walks, cave visits and various places of scenic interest around the lake.


Because of the landforms of the drowned valleys there are numerous islets and narrow arms to explore, it is a pretty, tranquil piece of water and surprisingly little visited.


But beneath those quiet waters are said to be lurking the biggest, meanest, cat-fish ever! Trapped since the dam closed the river they’ve nothing to do but to grow both in size and their reputation for biting unfortunate canoeists and jet-skiers…

Perhaps that’s a reason the lake doesn’t  draw so many visitors?


From Terengganu we returned to Perhentian and spent another week or so, this time, with friends. The weather was less predictably good, although there still wasn’t very much wind, other than sea breeze by day, but there were some impressive evening squalls and in Long Beach, good demonstrations of anchor dragging among the fishing fleet and yachts…

The time came to look to going south again and to make our return trip to Singapore, but we’d stop in at Terengganu for a few more days before moving straight on to Tioman.

It proved to be not as simple as that however, as it so often isn’t.
Leaving Terengganu wasn’t difficult, but staying away was harder!
Our first night out from the marina was a very wet one, on anchor in Pulau Pakas, but opportune, as we found some previously undetected window leaks we would need to address soon.

The following day we made an early start for an overnight trip to Tioman.
There was a big residual swell and, by then, no wind, our progress was slow and uncomfortable; we elected to return to P. Pakas and wait 24 hours. It was convenient anyway, as it was an opportunity to seal the window leaks.
The next morning was far more promising, the sea had settled, there was a nice breeze and we sailed, with tide assistance, nicely towards Tioman , but only for a while. The wind died, we motored, the wind came up from the other direction with the sea breeze, the tide went against us… the engine suddenly stopped, -out of diesel!
Well, not really out of diesel, but effectively so. The outlet from one tank had blocked because of a build-up of ‘diesel bug’ and sludge.
Although common in yachts, it is about 10 years since we had it happen last, we thought our biocide treatment had been effective and it probably was, -but just not effective enough…
We had some clean diesel still in jerry cans, so by putting that in the empty tank we were able to run the engine again, but we didn’t have enough clean diesel, even with sailing slowly, to get to Tioman, we had no choice but to go back to Terengganu!
The up-side of that was that afternoon we had the best sailing for months, we rapidly covered the  30 miles return trip as we poled out the genoa and with 15 knots of wind from behind, streaked back to Pulau Pakas, arriving just in time for a spectacular, unusually purple sunset.

The following morning we slunk back into the Tioman Marina, located a pump, emptied all our diesel and found it was very dark in colour with slimy sludge and black debris typical for the dreaded ‘bug’, we dumped it.
After much discussion over several days with friends, about the rights, wrongs, pros and cons, (coincidentally they found a similar,-or worse problem developing in their tanks…) we located some new biocide, water dispersent and refilled the tanks with clean diesel. Then hoping for better luck this time, we departed Terengganu once again.

After another night in Pulau Pakas we made the early morning start with good sailing, but again, around mid-day as the seabreeze filled in, it went around and was coming from dead ahead.
We had no problems with the fuel, so could motor, but Pulau Tenggol looked attractive about 10 miles out to port and the nice beam reach we would have to sail there was irresistable, we turned left for the night!

Tenggol is a small island with one bay for anchoring and several small diving resorts. It’s not somewhere to be in rough weather, but a great place to spend the night in fine conditions. There are turtles everywhere and as it is a reserve, fish are plentiful.
The next morning we continued on our trek south to Tioman, but it still wasn’t to be easy!
We were fighting current, there was no wind; then there was wind, quite strong and from completely the wrong direct for us, it was straight out of  Tioman!

This was not looking good for us having an easy trip and after this time in Asia we are not used to having to sail in difficult conditions!
But we persevered sailing, tacking against the wind and into up to 2 knots of current. Although one tack was always favourable with changes in the wind direction and we followed those all day, it was hard to make much real progress!
Usually with evening the wind had dropped, but not that day, it was to be a long hard night as we beat on into it and made harder still by the many fishing pots we had to avoid… We only tangled one -that we knew of, -grateful that as we were sailing the propeller wasn’t turning.

In the very early hours we were closing on the mainland, heading into a squall, the water getting uncomfortably shallow, it was time to head offshore again, but with the wind direction and current as it was, to do so, we would have been heading away from Tioman!
There was nowhere to anchor, we had no choice and so employed some engine assistance, but even motorsailing into it, we were still heading a long way off our preferred course. In that very confused steep sea we were far from comfortable… we had to regard this as our ‘Red Sea Training’ -it was becoming a good test for us, our motor and our sails!

After despairing that we might not even make it to Tioman before the next night, with day-break we seemed to pass through a small frontal line, the wind dropped and the sea rapidly settled. Slowly we could get the nose further into the breeze and current and motorsail closer towards our preferred course.

By lunchtime it was sunny, we could see Tioman ahead and although the 1-2 knots tide flow against us never let up and the wind changed in both strength and direction every few minutes, we were making definite progress. We slipped into the marina late in the afternoon,  happy to be there, but none the worse for it.

But even from Tioman, it wasn’t easy!
We waited a couple of days before making the 3 day-hops to Singapore and thought we left with suitable weather and forecast. However, as soon as we left the lee of the island, there we were, beating again into strong breeze from dead ahead. This time we were fortunate enough to have current assisting us for the main, but as we wanted to get to an island for the night, we kept the using the engine and motorsailing with reduced sails as close into the breeze as possible, in order to get there in daylight.
That best ‘island for the night’ destination changed several times during the day as with the wind swings, one or other looked to be more favourable, but we ended up in Pulau Tingii.

Athough out of the wind, and apparently settled when we first arrived, overnight the swell came around the island and our anchorage became very uncomfortably rolly.

We left early the next morning, poked our nose out from around the corner of the island and ran straight into an impressive rain and wind squall, but that soon passed and we were once again into the old routine, beating, motorsailing into strong breeze from the southerly quarter, tacking and following the wind shifts, but also now often having to lay off a little to get the best track across the waves. There was a 2 metre swell and with the wind and comparatively shallow water, the waves had steepened; hitting them straight on sent a wall of water over the bow, frequently stopping us dead in our tracks.

However, it wasn’t far to go, we made the peace of Jason’s Bay that evening.
When we saw the fishing boats leave for the night’s work and then shortly return, we considered staying there for the next day to see if the conditions outside might moderate, but couldn’t think of what we would do for 24 hours… apart from being a reasonable anchorage, there’s not a lot of interest in that wide open bay!

By then too, we thought we had the weather patterns sorted out and for once, -we were right!

We made a 4.30 am departure in a light southwesterly breeze, off the land so it was a favourable sailing angle, for much of the morning we were sailing and on right on course, the current was with us and we were comfortable!

By mid-morning, off Desaru, as we predicted, the breeze became stronger and less favourable, more ahead, but we were shortly to turn off into the Singapore Strait, we had to make just a couple of short tacks and with 2-3 knots of tide pushing us from behind we quickly squeezed between the islands, the mainland, all the parked ships and went into  Sungei Johor to drop anchor for the night.

Finally we felt we had made it, as from there, it was only a day trip over to Raffles Marina.

We lent the next day, quick and uneventfully, we met the Immigration boat off Changi to pass our documentation over to the man with the fishing net to make our entry legal.


After a few days back in Singapore, initiating our list of boat jobs, we took a short break to meet with a New Zealand friend in Kuala Lumpur and take her to the Cameron Highlands for a few days. She had a work conference in KL after. The Highlands was one of the few remaining places for us to visit in Malaysia.
We had a night in the big city and a little time to visit our favourite art shops beneath the Petronas Towers, then took a rental car up the E1 toll highway, turning off at Tapah for Tanah Rata high in the hills.
It’s a very slow, winding road that climbs the 1500 metres, but we had a lot to talk about and it’s interesting, with jungle,


waterfalls and people to look at along the way.
At Tanah Rata there’s a very refreshing change from heat and pollution to cool, clear atmosphere, -great to be up in the hills again!


Its an area of largely undisturbed jungle, but in the valleys are established tea plantations and market gardens. Tourism has recently rapidly developed as it is a popular place for Malays and Singaporeans to escape to the cool, the several small towns are busy with resorts and high rise blocks.


As a result a lot of the original character has been smothered, or lost, but there are places where the British colonial tea-growing past has been promoted,

to the extreme! The Smokehouse Hotel here could be straight out of any English village, -it if weren’t for the tropical give away anthuriums in the garden…

Although the mountain quiet has been somewhat overtaken by the tourism boom we were there during the week and with excellent weather, it was a very comfortable place to visit for a few days.

There are numerous tourist attractions, but for us, our interest was primarily in the jungle treks and the tea growing.
There is a network of tracks around the hills of Tanah Rata, not all so easy to follow, well maintained or clear, and often infrequently used.


Apart from great views from the ridge tops, looking out and own to the smoggy flats and distant Melaka Straits, there are always interesting things to see in the rain forests, (excuses for a short stop on a steep hill)



mosses and ferns,


butterflies (!)




pretty flowers


and fungi.
Of course to find a pitcher plant makes my day!


but equally fascinating, this everyday begonia but with (when viewed from the right angle) irridescent blue leaves


-and that’s no misuse of digital enhancement…

In the valleys are fast flowing streams and water falls



and where the forest is cleared


hillsides of market gardens


and expanses of shade houses, making the most of the temperate growing conditions.

After a day of heavy trekking, a visit to the Boh Tea plantation is a welcome rest


for a cup of tea and scones


and a factory tour


to see the processing


but there’s not a lot to it here. After the tea is crushed, fermented, dried and graded, it’s all sent on to Kuala Lumpur for the rest of it to happen.

Boh is the major tea producer in Malaysia and there are many hectares here under cultivation for the past 70 years, so it’s a mature plantation.


The best part of a visit to the tea plantation is in the beauty of the tea gardens themselves.


The hillsides patterned with evenly clipped tea bushes


hectares of immaculate topiary


interspersed with trees, barrier belts of banana palms.


and flowering shrubs for show.


Tea plantation workers must have to meet a standard build requirement to all pick the top leaves at the same level…


Someone a little short in leg or arm could cut a nasty blemish across the perfectly even finish!

To experience the views is more than half the visit, the clear air and warm sunshine almost another, -we were fortunate in our day, it was near perfect; to visit in the rain and cloud could be dismal.

We really enjoyed our days in the highlands, but we had commitments, Leona to her conference in Kuala Lumpur and us to Singapore…


So now we are back in our favourite berth in Raffles Marina, we’ve a list of jobs pages long to do before going ocean passaging in 2009. We’re slowly working through them, -haemorrhaging dollars as we go…

Singapore has changed a lot it the almost 3 years since we came here first on Quo Vadis. Every time we return we find so much that’s new, not just in the obvious, -the new buildings and infrastructure, construction is always going on, -but to be here is all the time getting harder, new rules, new restrictions and it’s busier.

The roads are more crowded, the MRT less able to transport the masses, the  infrastructure struggling to handle the population.

It’s also costing more and more to stay.
We’re not the only ones complaining of the prices going up, the local people too are feeling the strain, it’s the talk of any worker in the street, costs increase, wages stay the same, they have to work longer and longer to survive.

It’s time for us to leave Asia and we’re looking forward to making the break.
Once we’ve completed our work here, including a haul-out for rigging replacement and bottom painting, (and much much more), we’ll be heading up the Malacca Straits.

We intend to park up in Port Dickson for a few 2 or 3 weeks to make a cycling trip to France, then go on to revisit Penang, Langkawi and Thailand;  leaving from Phuket for the Indian Ocean in January, (at this time anyway it seems) bound for the Red Sea and the Med…

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