16,700 km cycled! Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore
Leaving Bangkok, I was feeling refreshed after a week off the bike with my dad. The heat was still pretty rough at times, but as I was now cycling along the coast, the breeze made it more bearable than the brutal inland climate. Going down the tail of Thailand I was in a bit of a rush due to my visa running out, but it was enjoyable never the less. On the way south I bumped in to my fellow tourer Sjarel, who has been cycling from Holland, but on a route quite different to mine. We met in Tehran several months ago. Amazing how we, despite such different routes and riding styles, end up bumping in to each other towards the end of it all. It’s always a pleasure meeting other long-distance cyclists. Since Bangkok I’ve actually met quite a few cyclist. One particularly inspiring cyclist was Geordie Stewart from the UK. He’s known for being the youngest brit to have scaled the seven summits (highest mountain on each continent). At least he was the youngest at the time of completion. Truly tremendous feat, and I felt lucky to get to cycle with him for a day, and hearing about his thoughts and stories from the highest peaks on earth. Check out his website too!
Southeast Asia has been a lot of palmoil plantations and rubber trees since leaving Bangkok, but there has been some cool sights along the way. If you’ve been following my Instagram, you would know that I am a big fan of animals and wildlife. Thailand and especially Malaysia has been quite fun in that aspect. Abundant with different sorts of monkeys, birds, lizards and so absolutely massive snakes too! Most of the snakes I see are dead (roadkill), but even so they still make me jump. In Malaysia I spotted a dead Python by the side of the road that was probably about 4 meters in length, and 25 cm across. A beast like that could literally eat a person whole! I’ve also bumped in to loads of monitors, most of them alive, that also grow absolutely massive. A couple of meters in length is not uncommon, but they hide pretty well in the long roadside grass. They get startled and jump out the moment you cycle past them though, which leads to a minor heart attack every single time. In Malaysia I also cycled past a Turtle conservation center one day, and couldn’t help myself but to go for the detour and pay them a visit. It was a fairly small center, but still they had loads of turtles of different species swimming around their pools. Ironically the beach just outside of the center was completely covered in garbage washed up from the ocean. Pretty heartbreaking after watching these beautiful creatures to be honest. The amount of garbage lying around, and the state of pollution all around our world has really struck me on this trip. It’s bad. You won’t see it in the pretty towns of Europe, but once you get out into the countryside, once you get to the more rural parts of the world, you’ll see just how much garbage there really is in nature. Definitely a major cause of concern in my opinion… As a consumer it’s often hard to avoid plastic in this part of the world. Everything seems to be triple wrapped. I’ve even been refused the right to buy a banana if I didn’t but it in a plastic bag and sealed it. Now I don’t want to get too preachy here since my own usage of plastic is no better than anyone else’s, but it just seems a bit extreme at times.
Towards the end of Thailand, my feet started getting really itchy, and I got loads of what looked like insect bites on my feet and angles, even up the leg. It was super frustrating, and literally kept me up at night due to the intense itch. It nearly drove me insane, to the point that I trashed my shoes and all of my socks, worried that something was in there biting me! Slightly worrying was that one of my eyes was becoming very itchy, painful and red. After switching shoes didn’t help much, I went to see a doctor. After a short talk about the symptoms, he prescribed antibiotics and some antihistamines. He concluded that I had an allergic reaction to some sort of bite, and the bite had possibly become infected. A couple weeks later and it cleared up. I still have no clue what was actually going on, but it was some of the most frustrating symptoms I’ve had to deal with one this entire trip (which is quite a few by now).
Moving on! Eventually I made it to Kuala Lumpur where I hung out for a few days before cycling on south. Malaysia, and especially Kuala Lumpur, is very westernized. Clean streets, fancy restaurants, and brand new cars roaming the streets. I’d sort of been craving that bit of proper western feeling a bit, so it was quite nice to be perfectly honest. The weather in Kuala Lumpur worked like clockwork. It was quite impressive. The mornings were clear. The noon would get cloudy, and the afternoon would be full on lightning storm, and it would then clear up during the night. It was some of the most violent lightning and rain I’ve ever experienced though. At the peak of the storm, there would be a lightning strike every second, some of them right above our heads, with deafening thunder immediately after. One thing is being stuck in a hostel with this sort of weather but cycling in it is straight up frightening. Glad I had some high-rises around me to take the strikes.
Setting off from Kuala Lumpur, Singapore was the next stop. As I was closing Malacca, I stopped at a petrol station to buy some more water and snacks for the ride. I stood in the shop for a bit to cool off as they’ve usually got the air condition going at full blast. When I came back out to my bike, which was stood around the corner, I noticed that my handlebar bag was open, and that all my camera gear was missing, including a memory card with most of my photos from Southeast Asia. I rushed back in to the shop and asked the staff to check the CCTV for anything suspicious. We found saw a guy on there obviously hiding something under his shirt, but the number plate on his motorbike was impossible to see. I then went straight to the police station to file a report. The whole process ended up taking 5-6 hours, and an investigator was put on the case to hopefully retrieve the camera. I seriously doubt I’ll ever see any of my gear again though. I lost almost 1000 dollars’ worth of gear, and more importantly, hundreds of photos. Pretty devastating. FOr that reason this blogpost is missing some of the photos I would’ve otherwise liked to share. I couldn’t do much but cycle on though, and when I eventually made it to Singapore I treated myself to a brand new camera. An upgrade for the last one I had as well.
If Kuala Lumpur felt westernized, Singapore was like being back in Europe! Or rather, perhaps, a massive American city. A small, but extremely wealthy country. I was bumping into exotic Italian supercars on every corner. In Singapore I met up with a good friend of mine, Yeo, who I met while climbing in Nepal three years ago! He treated me to some amazing local dished, including stingray, oyster omelette, and the infamous durian. Especially the durian was an interesting experience. Almost like eating a sweet cream of sorts. Definitely one of the more interesting culinary experiences of my trip so far!
I have now come to Indonesia! The final country of this entire trip. I’ve got less than 1500 km left to cycle, and I will be flying back home to Denmark by the middle of May. The Danish Embassy in Jakarta is sorting out a “Last mile” event for me in Jakarta too, so I will be giving out more information on that as soon as it’s settled.
We’ve now got less than 5,000 DKK left to raise to hit the 50,000 DKK target! That’s about 650 euros for the rest of you! We’ve got less than a month to make it though, so I’m hoping we can do it. To all of you who have donated or spread the word, thank you! We are closer than ever. So for one last time, let’s give it our best and make as big of a difference for the Greenlandic youth as possible! They deserve it! If you want to know more about the cause I’m cycling for, please check out the link below. You can donate through that same link as well. And one more time, THANK YOU!