Fortunately, we had crossed the border into Malaysia strengthened, as it was Ramadan here… We had marked the Muslim month of fasting in bold letters in our calendar, but assumed that there would be little sign of it in the multi-ethnic state of Malaysia. We were wrong!

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The fact that we ignored an open (Chinese) restaurant a few kilometers after the border turned out to be a stupid mistake. It was to be the only one during the first unspectacular days of our journey to Georgetown. We mainly ate at FamilyMart, 7-Eleven or snacked as unobserved as possible on the picnic we had bought.
Southeast Asia seemed to be experiencing an exceptional heatwave, which made it even more difficult not to drink in public in tropical 35° Celsius temperatures. We hadn’t imagined Malaysia to be like this… after all, all the reports touted it as a land of milk and honey!!

When we wanted to cross a bay off Butterworth with the “course boat”, we realized that, apart from drinking and eating, not everything works as usual in Ramadan. Maybe the boat would leave at 4pm… no, no boat today, perhaps tomorrow… Inshallah. But we didn’t want to rely on him and preferred to take a 40km detour over the next bridge. After all, we could no longer postpone our accommodation reservation in Georgetown.

Even before we rolled onto the ferry to Georgetown, we found an open Indian street kitchen in the harbor area, where we were able to take a seat inside and convince ourselves of the excellent food on offer. Over biryani and spiced tea, we quickly forgot the last few rough days and all was right with the world again😊.

Things continued just as pleasantly in Georgetown: we liked the well-structured old town with its fascinating mix of Chinese, Malays, Indians and tourists. In contrast to Bangkok and Hanoi, the (historic) center of Georgetown is very compact. We enjoyed the fact that the authentic morning market, Chinese and Indian temples, mosques, the famous murals, the smelly quarter on stilts and countless restaurants and street kitchens were all within a short walking distance. This meant we only had to move around minimally in the tropical heat and could spend the (after)lunch hours comfortably in our air-conditioned room. Yes, in a tropical climate you are glad to have air conditioning, which is frowned upon in Europe😉.

After a trip to Georgetown’s local mountain, Penang Hill, we said goodbye to the extremely charming city of Georgetown on the island of Penang and pedaled on to the mainland. Ramadan still had a grip on everyday life here and we were grateful for the Chinese restaurants we found in the larger towns. They not only served delicious food, but also tasty iced coffee and were always run by very friendly, cheerful and interested Chinese people. What’s more, the Chinese have no dress code, which is extremely pleasant… and they don’t care much about unwritten rules either😊.

For the route to Ipoh, we chose a beautiful route through quite intact rainforest, including wild camping on the roadside. On the way into Ipoh, we spontaneously visited an impressive Chinese cave temple with a viewing platform. From here we could not only see the surrounding industrial area, but also the Cameron Mountains, our next destination. Before tackling the long climb, we were able to spend the night with Warmshower Alex and his cat in a multicultural settlement and visit one of the last remaining tin dredges. This 4’600-ton floating factory was used to mine tin until the 1980s. At that time, up to 104 of these monsters were in use simultaneously and Malaysia was the largest tin supplier in the world. Today, the accessible tin deposits are exhausted and/or mining is no longer profitable.

The end of Ramadan finally seemed to be in sight. What we didn’t know: the celebration of breaking the fast begins with the sighting of the crescent moon at the new moon and has no fixed date. The date can vary depending on the region. It’s like deciding on December 23 whether Christmas will be on the 24th or 25th. Until then, no drinking or eating is allowed during the day (with 12 hours of daylight and a hot and humid 35°C in Malaysia) …

After the breaking of the fast, everyone was suddenly on their feet and on the streets. There were traffic jams around the viewpoints and vegetable markets in the Cameron Highlands. We were able to cycle past the columns without any problems and found the many people in the already unattractive overbuilt landscape very amusing. Nevertheless, there were some idyllic viewpoints on small side roads overlooking the photogenic tea plantations.
In the evening, we were allowed to grab a jacket from our bags. At an altitude of 1’440 m, the temperatures were so pleasant that we slept wonderfully for the first time in a long time, even without air conditioning or a fan😊.

The coolness soon came to an end as we drove downhill into the interior of the country, in a wide circle around Kuala Lumpur. From the vegetable and tea-growing area in the highlands, we pedaled through hilly woodland until we reached large palm oil plantations. Nights in tents alternated with overnight stays in air-conditioned accommodation: to cool down and charge the batteries of our little orange friend, the fan. Whenever we had the opportunity, we feasted on a variety of Chinese lunch buffets. We preferred to spend our siestas in laundry shops with fans and sometimes even WiFi. We could sit there undisturbed for as long as we wanted.

Malaysia’s tropical climate didn’t inspire us to any extraordinary sporting performance. Nevertheless, we reached our intended destination in Port Dickson yesterday. Here, the schedule of the speedboat to Sumatra gave us an unexpected day off. We used the time to write a blog post, make (unsuccessful) attempts to repair a broken tent pole and David paid a visit to the Indian hairdresser… an experience he can definitely do without in future. After the haircut, the “treatment” was rounded off with an “Indian head crack” 🙄. How it works, you can see and hear(!) here.

Of course, we didn’t let this procedure spoil our appetite for the delicious Indian food and made the most of every opportunity to sample the diverse cuisine in Malaysia … who knows when we’ll have this opportunity again😊.

By the way: to mark the two-year anniversary of our trip, we tried to answer the question of what we liked best so far. Discover the result in our Top10😊.