Wednesday, July 08, 2020

First Interstate Travel Since Covid-19 Movement Control Order - Bentong Pahang

Ever since the lifting of the MCO (Movement Control Order) we were allowed to travel interstate but within the country, going oversea for a travel is still a big no no for Malaysian. Jason has organised a trip to Bentong, Pahang for a weekend and I decided to join them at the last moment. Let's cuti-cuti Malaysia !
Jason and Kenny met me at Setiawangsa LRT Station where we started our drive to Bentong from there. Our first stop was at Kg. Bukit Tinggi and the car was parked at the commercial area at Kampong Bukit Tinggi. Unfolded our Brompton bikes and took a loop into the village to visit this river called Sg. Tanglir
A Chinese primary school in the village where the majority people living here are of the Kwong Sai dialect and Bentong ginger is widely planted in this area.
Thanks to the developer who took the extra effort to beautify and maintain the river. A spot not many many people is aware of it.
The weather was cooling probably in the region of 25°C and enjoying the fresh air and lovely countryside of the village. After completing the loop we settled down at a kopitiam for a bowl of wan tan noodle before proceeding to Bentong town.

A clip of the loop we did within the village of Bukit Tinggi.

The traffic into Bentong Town on a Saturday morning was rather heavy, it seems that every weekend one can expect such traffic jam into the town.
Kwong Fook Temple sited along the main road Jalan Loke Yew with a GPS : 3.522843, 101.909695 with a bold red paint on the building that one could miss the sight of this temple.
There are many documents on the wall like pictures of the early leaders and strong linkage with Sin Sze Si Ya Temple from Kuala Lumpur. Loke Yew was the one responsible in the making of Bentong with the tin mining industry and also rubber plantation.
Guess these are the Menshen or threshold guardian - divine guardians of doors and gates in Chinese folk ... 尉迟恭
As we were very close to Cafe Kow Po, the famous ice cream or ice kacang shop we just could not say no to its ABC. Ais Batu Kacang was good and situated at GPS : 3.522296, 101.910817, don't miss it whenever you are in Bentong.
Glad to have a local Brommie accompanying us and it was indeed an excellent way to know Bentong better.
We were able to "kidnapped" Kokhway to show us around linking the routes from one Chinese Village to another, it was really a big Chinese village community which were built during the time of Malayan Emergency under the Briggs Plan to cut off communication from the Chinese people and the communist guerrillas.
Lemang To'Ki Bentong is an extra ordinary place, never in my life I have never seen a lemang seller so popular. Thanks to Kokhway for leading us to the place, it's located at the junction between the main road Jalan Tras heading to Raub and a kampong road called Jalan Permai with a GSP ref: 3.545283, 101.899523
The crowd was overwhelming and we did not bother to eat but just to see the amazing eatery.
The last stop was a hidden shed and apparently the favourite place of our Bentong buddies.
"Anchor" is popular in Bentong and cheers to our cold beer before we check into our homestay in Bentong. Photo credit : Jason Leong.
As recommended by Jason a tilapia fish done in two ways steamed on one side and the other was deep fried. Unique and tasty.
Sinful soy sauce pork belly cut in a sinful size just nice to be mouthed.
A delicious dish of tofu with nice fried eggs, it looks simple but the taste was awesome. Besides these dishes we had giant kangkung merely stir fried but another great dish.
Nothing like a simple and delicious dinner with the company of wonderful friends. 

Place of dinner was at GPS :  3.522071, 101.906724 among a cluster of food stalls next to a covered basketball court and a stream behind the stalls.   

Friday, April 03, 2020

Itchy Ride March 15, 2020 The Last Before MCO on Novel Covid 19

It has been a while since I have blog on our communal rides in the city of Kuala Lumpur. Rivern prompted me whether there is any ride for the weekend, which I decided to organise one with a target to ride around the city covering at least 30km if not, we cannot go back home.
On March 15, 2020, 16 of us gathered at Pasar Seni MRT Station coming from various part of Klang Valley and at 7.30 on the dot we started the ride. The weather in the morning was superbly good. We could not wait to start riding immediately to ease the itch.
It was the outbreak of Covid 19 epidemic encountered almost worldwide and in Malaysia we were in the verge of executing a MCO (Movement Control Order). On March 18, it was officially implemented and our cycling activities will somehow be affected. Mahend & Joe were performing a new method of greeting with no hand contact and I guess this gesture will be practised for a long time as long as the threat of Covid 19 is around. 
Coming out from Pasar Seni MRT Station at the vicinity of Central Market going toward Independence Square.
We took control of the road in front of Bangunan Abdul Samad, Edwin was slightly a bit faster and apart from the rest. The front line was ready to roar.
It was supposed to be a KL Car Free Day but due to the Coronavirus threat City Hall has cancelled its event but the roads were still closed for the usual 2 hours. There were only a handful of people seen on the road.
With this outbreak of coronavirus, it will surely take a long time to recover and get back to our normal way of life, such activity of group riding will not happen for a long time to come.
All this while we have taken things for granted, now we begin to appreciate the joy we used to have in meeting and carrying out activities with friends whenever we could. It is not the same now we can only wish to return ourselves to normalcy as soon as possible.
The quiet street of Jalan Raja Laut on a supposedly Car Free Day, just like the current situation of MCO, on every street in Klang Valley or rather the whole nation.
The new phase of River of Life project at Tiong Nam Settlement is one of our favourite areas to visit whenever we are at the neighbourhood.
A river side that is still unpopular for cycling in Kg. Kasipillay mainly because it involves carrying of bicycles on steps. It would be lovely if the local authorities would convert this river reserve into another friendly cycling path for the community.
An obstacle on the path encountered that requires careful manuvering of our bikes, well it was part of the fun of a "cari pasal" ride.
A break of concrete structure scene to nature with suspended aerial roots hanging from a huge tree and welcoming our easy riding cyclists to an interesting place for breakfast.
A little "Haw Par Villa" along Batu River in Kg. Kasipillay, crossing a bridge to the other side for our breakfast under a big tree famous for their noodles such as fish head noodle.
Dishes savoured by the group such as KL Hokkien Mee, Braised pork belly bihun, saito fish cake besides the popular fish head noodle. Everyone was satisfied with their breakfast and half of them have never been to this eatery place before. By the way, there is a Chinese temple opposite it and it was a special occasion for the temple with some kind of celebration going on. There were lot of foods offered for prayer outside the temple.
It was then out into Ipoh Road followed by punching into Batu Muda territory to ride on the beautiful and shaded bicycle path, one of my favourite bicycle lanes in KL. 
Some referred it as an air-cond bicycle lane, I just wish it to be longer than it is.
This built during the time of ex-mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib (2015) of DBKL whom has  shown the most encouraging support to create more places to cycle. There were plans such as Wangsa Maju to Taman Melawati as well as Taman Batu Muda as seen and materialised in this ride.
Our friends love to eat and without disappointing them I took them to Gerai Makan Golden Beach Corner, Taman Mastiara for another indulgence. We need to wait as it was crowded with Sunday morning patrons.
Though Anne has to laid off her cycling for a while but nevertheless she turned up for breakfast with us, how nice of her to join us in the makan adventure.
Our precious folding bicycles parking right in front of Golden Beach Corner and it was also a head turner for those coming into the shop.
All done with over filled tummies and ready for another chapter of ride in the city. Good bye Golden Beach Corner I am sure some of them will be back for more tasting.
Crossing the the bridge by DBKL which was completed and opened in 2016 linking Kg. Batu Muda and Metropolitan Batu Park.
Flowing down the main road of Jalan Sentul we stopped by at Sri Jayanthi Buddhist Temple or the Sri Lanka Buddhist Temple. This temple was found by Venerable B Saranankara Mahathera from Sri Lanka in 1984. It is Theravada Buddhist temple of Sri Lanka Origin and affiliated with the Sri Jayanti Welfare Organization.
Opposite the temple you could see 4 sexy condo buildings by YTL known as The Fennel at Sentul East. The buildings are of 38-storey towers high. Since YTL started its development in Sentul, the property scenario in this area has changed tremendously, enhancing the property value at the surrounding.
Most of Sinhalese were either traders or artisans and skilled workers brought in from Ceylon by the British Administration to develop the colonial Malayan Civil Service. This temple was built to provide a place of worship in their Sri Lankan Theravada tradition.
So much of Sentul, we then proceeded into a different setting of kampong dwelling in the neighbourhoods of Kg. Puah, Kg. Chubadak and Kg. Sg. Mulia.
I always like to look for paths that are near to the river side, they are mostly cooling and how nice if these places could be properly designed with easy connection to attract more cyclists to use it.
I remembered telling Edwin that he will soon see a Chinese kampong amidst the extensive scenario of Malay villages.
Teng teng teng... with a loud sound of Chinese traditional drums we were suddenly at a Chinese village next to Kg. Sungai Mulia it's called Kg. Lee Kong Chian formerly known as Kg. Lee Rubber. It was named after Tan Sri Lee Kong Chian who was the founder of Lee Foundation and a very famous man during 1920's and 1930's. He was also Chairman of OCBC Bank in 1938 until he died in 1967.
We were told (in Hokkien) by the elderly lady in blue in the earlier photo above that this area was originally covered with rubber and coconut trees. We were lucky to witness a birthday celebration of one of the temple's deities with lion dancing and prayers.
Exiting Kg. Lee Kong Chian into Jalan Gombak for our next destination.
The motorcycle/pedestrian bridge crossing over Jalan Gombak into the territory of Danau Kota, we have finally reached our 30km mark for the day and we can go home if we want to. But the group was still very enthusiastic and wanted more, so the ride continued ......
From Danau Kota we moved over to Genting Kelang, Setapak and Wangsa Maju. A brief stop at Royal Selangor Pewter for a photo shoot at the iconic beer mug.
Do you know that this is the world's largest beer mug with a capacity of 2,796 litres of beer, cheers!
Another favourite shortcut cutting through Rampai from Royal Selangor Pewter to Air Panas wet market.
Do you know that there is a hot spring in Kuala Lumpur at Air Panas, Setapak. Back in 1977 when I was staying at Taman Genting nearby to this natural hot pool was a shabby zinc shed where people would come and take their therapeutic bath, today it's inside a private condo compound . It is opened to public if you are interested to try, just check with the security guards at the guard house. Located at Resource Springs Apartment, Jalan Air Panas, Taman Ayer Panas, GPS : 3.189740, 101.713616
Hello, it's me, I will back home maybe in 2 hours time, don't wait for me ok ... bye ....
Without using the main road of Jalan Pahang, we cycled using the new inner roads from Air Panas to Lake Titiwangsa Park.
Yes we were back at the nicely refurbished park.
Continuing with the ride where we were at the fringe of Pulapol Titiwangsa (Police Academy) and heading towards Sg Bunus to make our way to Kg. Datuk Keramat.
The newly repaved path in striking red colour is one lane you ought to find out in your cycling exploration in the city.
Nothing like a refreshing coconut water to quench our thirst on a hot Sunday afternoon at Jalan Semarak.
Next on the list for the gang would be fun and adventurous especially for those who have not tried it before .... the black hole of AKLEH.
The thrill of going through the black hole was the highlight (at the top left corner of the pix) of this visit. I could faces of anxiety and they must be wondering what the hell they were doing after entering into the lubang. The hole is just big enough for the bicycle to go through coupled with a steep landing. The bikes have be assisted by others when going through it and then carefully moving them down the slope to the bottom.
It was like entering into another world with a different horizon. The air was cool, a bit eerie and quiet, totally out of the city.
Obediently they followed me on a debris-less river side of Klang River, the water on the ground is drain water flowing out into the river and on the top is AKLEH Highway connecting Ampang and Kuala Lumpur.
The tension was over and it's fun time taking pictures of the so many graffiti in the secluded mural world of AKLEH.
This is my favourite playground, whenever I feel like it I would frequent it searching for new painting.
Some of the nicer drawings for one to appreciate and capture it.
I hope these guys like coming to this part of Kuala Lumpur and enjoy the  wall mural.
Bang! caught you bro.
Finally we were out of the graffiti world into Kg. Datuk Keramat and it was the end of the guided tour.
Most of us terminated the ride at Keramat LRT Station and took the train back to their respective homes. As for me I continued back to Setiawangsa.
My distance covered was 45km while some covering 50km after making their way back to the starting point. Well done guys, it was truly a fun day with wonderful company on a beautiful Sunday. Till then we hope we meet and ride again real sooooooon........covid 19?