Another day on the highway

March 24th, 2009 by scott and becky

79 km, 4h 45 min, max temp 43

We awoke early and were doing yoga when we were reminded that we are Terengganu, one of the most strongly Muslim provinces of Malaysia. The muezzin here are much louder and more prominent than we have heard elsewhere in Malaysia. In other provinces, we have only noticed the noon prayers being called, not the other four. It didn’t help that there was a mosque right behind our hotel. Fortunately, we were already awake when the call began at 5:45, and we enjoy the poetry and music of the call to prayer.

The highway was much busier today, starting as soon as we left the hotel. With cars bumper-to-bumper and scooters and motorcycles zipping around us, it felt like rush hour in a major city. We guess that the refineries and industrial plants along this coast do a shift change between 0800 and 0900, so everyone was on the road with us at 0730. Fortunately our GPS map highlighted an alternate route (highway 145) not on our paper map, and it had much less traffic. By the time we rejoined highway 3 north of Kijal it was after 0830, and the road was much quieter.

We found this section of the coast was quite industrial, including a huge Petronas refinery complex. The towns nearby were much bigger, and included many more facilities, including the first McDonalds we’ve seen outside KL. Scott found the refinery complex quite fascinating, and would have stopped to take photos, but the prominent “No Photographs” signs along the highway deterred him. Gas flames on top of flare stacks can look very pretty if you forget about the environmental impact.

One of the things we are finding interesting is the variety in architecture for mosques in Malaysia. Some are similar to those in the Middle East, but others have shorter rounder minarets, and some look very similar to churches with only a single minaret to indicate a mosque.

We took it easy and tried not to strain, as Becky’s knee was still a little sore. Before 11 am, the sun went behind a cloud and remained there for a couple of hours. It was a nice break from the heat, as the temperature dropped from 38 degrees down to 33. It did not get really hot until after we got to town and were searching for hotels.

We chose the Hotel Sri Gate on the main street in Dungun – off the highway. They only had an interior room left for 65 RG, which was adequate for us, especially since they had a place we could store the bikes on the main floor underneath the stairs. The room was not big enough to fit us and bikes. The hotel IPM on the highway had slightly bigger rooms, but they were carpeted and more expensive. This place was clean and it wasn’t too close to a mosque, just in case we want to sleep in tomorrow {grin}.

Elevation Profile
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