3h 15min, 59 km, Max temp 43 degrees C
After a great visit with Jon, Chin Chuin and family, we left KL and returned to Kuantan, a bit later than we had hoped. Unfortunately, our selection of bus turned out not to be ideal. The bus did get us where we wanted to go, it was just 30 minutes late leaving and the seats were not as well designed as many of the other buses that we saw leaving on time! Oops. Yew Kong picked us up again at the bus station, and took us on a quick tour of Kuantan, including the State Mosque, the largest mosque on the East Coast. It was quite spectacular at night.
In the morning, after a wonderful breakfast with Yew Kong (thanks again!) we packed up and hopped on our bikes. We were surprised to see that despite slow packing and breakfast, we still left before 9 am (yay). That meant that by 12:30, we had arrived at our planned destination.
The roads were OK, with good shoulders but more traffic, and our ride was fast for the first 45 km – so fast that we did not take any pictures. The road followed the coastline, and we saw an interesting mix of beach resorts, small villages, and heavy industry – sometimes all at the same time. The industry included a small container and bulk cargo port, a biodiesel plant and a fuel storage facility among others. This is much more industrial than we’ve seen previously on the East Coast.
We stopped for a brief rest in Cherating, a town filled with many beach resorts and what looks like a beautiful sand beach. We were happy to not feel at all affected by the rise in temperature. Most of our ride in the morning was at around 32 degrees, but by the time we stopped for lunch the thermometer was hovering around 40 in the sun. Cherating is a beach hangout on the backpacker circuit, but was pretty deserted when we arrived. Neither of us were particularly tempted by the long list of activities or the opportunity for beach lounging though.
Just after returning to the bikes, Becky discovered that her knee was sore. It is a different kind of sore than she has experienced before, and we suspect it was a mal-adjusted cleat (she lost a cleat screw on our afternoon ride into Pekan, and after replacing the screw we haven’t managed to get the cleat back into the ideal spot yet). Scott made a minor adjustment, and with a night of ice and advil (ibuprofen) hopefully the knee will settle down.
We are staying at the Tiara Hotel in Chukai for 50 RG a night ($18 CAD) – our usual one-star (or zero-star) style. The folks running the reception are Muslim women, which is a little different from our previous hotels, where reception was run by Chinese men – very similar facilities though. It is one of the many budget hotels near the river, and the best of the few we looked at. The air conditioning works and the room is clean, so we are happy.