Monday, April 2, 2018

A Weekend Getaway to SE Johor Day 3 - Coasting in the wet to Sungei Rengit

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We slept through heavy rains and thankfully woke up with lighter rains. It was to be a wet ride today - 67 km southwards to Sungei Rengit on the coast. 

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We had breakfast at about 9am which was a simple egg, sausage and toast Western breakfast. As the rain continued, we were not in a big hurry to leave and we took our time.

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Just as I was about to head off, I had a rear flat tire which was very annoying. My experience with these Primo Comet tires have been excellent so far when it comes to speed but they are not meant for touring. Punctures seem a natural occurrence with such light road tires almost like having to top up your water bottle! New Marathon Plus have been ordered.

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Setting off in the rain was most refreshing. We stopped at a bridge for a photo and then pressed on 35km to Tg Balau along some beautiful undulating roads. I always enjoy riding in the rain and have organised tours particularly in Aug in Thailand as riding in the wet is so special.

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One thing that is very needful are a good set of mudguards so that the muck and grime kicked up from the spinning tires are contained. Unfortunately, my rear mudguard was not long enough and it got my back a bit wet.

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KC and I spun at a very good clip and we managed this stretch in 1.5 hrs despite the hills, some rather challenging. As we pulled into Tg Balau, the rain was still falling but it did not dampen our spirits one bit. Tg Balau is just about 7km north from Desaru and has a decent beach. Despite the wet weather, many local families were picnicking there, undeterred much to my amazement.

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We stopped at the Tg Balau Beach Resort and a room there was about RM200 which was reasonable as it seemed to be a fully fledged resort with swimming pool, restaurants etc and was buzzing with people. Despite the rain, we enjoyed our lunch of a simple Mee Goreng and Nasi Goreng at a food court, washed down with hot tea.

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The next stretch to Sungei Rengit town was a mere 30km but we still have to battle the famous Desaru rolling hills. I have had to struggle through these before especially when the sun was blazing but this time, we seem to just cruise over them thanks to the cool weather with intermittent rain. When we arrived at the turnoff to Batu Layar, we veered towards the coast and was rewarded with the most beautiful scenery.

KC and I spend time with the famous black rocks and I had a drink at Batu Layar Beach Resort Cafe while waiting for him. At this point of the coast, the wind was howling non stop and my parked bicycle was covered with very fine sea spray - not good for a steel framed bike! KC took forever taking photos but I didn't mind one bit as I was happy munching on my crackers.

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Continuing down southwards, we had to go back to the highway for 3km - 4km or so before being able to turn inwards towards the coast again. This route brings back memories for me as I used to stay at Tg Ramunia Resort which sits in a beautiful private cove. We hung around for awhile and met up with the owners who told us that one night in a chalet with the sea literally 20m in front of it will be RM120 per night.

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After shooting too many photos, we continued on Hway 90, an easy 9km towards Sungei Rengit town and passed by a sign "Kg Simon". I'm always fascinated with this as it reminds me of my best friend Simon. We stopped at a stall selling deep fried snacks and we had a donut and a curry puff each. Total bill was RM2 - now this is definitely for the locals.

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As we were riding into town, I spotted a motorcycle wash and stopped to ask if they could give our dirty bikes a good spray. The kind boys did it and was not expecting any payment. We pressed RM5 to them gratefully and they were pleased, and so were we.

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We looked at a couple of hotels in town and what struck me was how this sleepy town is thriving! New restaurants and hotels everywhere with so many people thanks to the new Petrochemical Park that is being developed.

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All the hotels we used to stay Hiap Hwa Hotel etc had seen better days and as we cycled around, we spotted the brand new Sungei Rengit City Resort.

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Being the newest, there were quite a few long stayers - Koreans and other nationalities who were working nearby. The manager was kind to let us see a most suitable room and we settled there happily. They were also bike friendly which was most important. KC wasted no time to set up the laundry line!

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We enjoyed dinner at Beautiful Village Seafood, owned by a distant relative of my wife and the food was excellent. Prices were reasonable so long as you avoid lobsters and fish.  After dinner, we enjoyed a nice Thai foot massage at a very new and glitzy Loy Krathong Spa.

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It was nice to have our legs attended too after a long ride and when we were done, it was drizzling lightly. A quick ride to have the obligatory Teh Tarik made for a perfect end to a long day. Even at 10pm, this eatery was buzzing with people.

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As we cycled back to our hotel, fire crackers just opposite the entrance started and it reminded of the good old days when I was a young boy. This being the tail end of Chinese New Year, I supposed the family was making full use of the festivities to fire their biggest and best for good luck.

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Thankfully this stopped after 30 mins and we could sleep in peace. It was wonderful to be in Sungei Rengit after an absence of 5 years and how things have changed indeed.


Leon Stewart said...

Hi. Great article. I just started cycling intensely at the beginning of 2018 due to doctors orders and so I love your insightful sharing here. May I ask from where do I start off to ride up to Sg Rengit?

Oldyonfoldy said...

Hi Leon. I assume you are in Spore? If so, make your way to Changi Ferry Point - where you can take a ferry to P Ubin as well as Pengerang, Johor.

Hop into the boat and 45 mins later, you will be on Malaysian soil. Its about 22km from there to S Rengit. Hope that helps.

Leon Stewart said...

Yes sir! I’m residing here in SG in Bishan! Thanks for the info. Stay safe and ride on!