Where should I go for my very first road trip after getting the car. Melaka? Getting there is a bit boring. Seremban? Too near. It's like driving to Shah Alam and back. Mmmm... Need some twisty bits, some nice sceneries...
After much thinking about the destination I decided on Kuantan. Why? Couple of reasons. The last time I went there was a good 5-6 years back. I have an uncle who lives in Kuantan who I've not seen for some time. I've heard about the highway that cuts the journey down to about 2+ hours. Not many speed traps (we'll see) apart from Karak. Apparently the sceneries aren't too bad getting there.
Quick scan on my diary if there's any important meeting on the weekend. None... perfect! Call up a friend and away we go.
We started the journey early...5.30am. Had a quick toast and coffee. Switched on the idrive navigation. Punched in Kuantan and evrything came up. The route, the next junction, estimated time of arrival. Driving in the wee hours have always been my favourite time. The journey form KL to Karak was rather quiet. Not many cars at all. Since the car was still fairly new I didn't want to push it pass 3-4k on the rev. The highway's not too bad either. Passing Karak we hit a valley of sorts and from the distant it look rather strange on Malaysian roads...FOG! I couldn't remember exactly the name of the area. It was a hilly area and the fog was thick. Felt like driving in Europe.
An hour or so the sun came up to greet us. I have to say the scene is rather magical. Warm golden lights were hitting the hills. Unlike the north south highway you don't get to see much unless you're near the limestone hills near Ipoh. As we are driving in the Easterly direction the sun came up directly in front.
Next we stopped at Maran rest area. Loads of truckers still soundly asleep. Nothing much to see or eat we pushed on. From Karak to Maran, no sign of any cops hiding under bridges. The handling was superb the whole journey. Silent, smooth and grippy. The lights are amazing. It's like using a huge spotlight and you can literally see anything on the road. At the most we cruised at 140kph. Using the 6th gear the rpm never really went past 3k. I must be grinning from ear to ear the whole time. The sport seats were great too. It fits so snugly and when we were passing the twisty parts of Karak, the seats just holds on tight to you.
I also played with the cruise control as there were some really straight roads and I must commend the German engineers for it. An hour or so we made it to Kuantan town. The navigation was great. Took us to the centre of town at the estimated time. Plus minus 5 mins. Fuel consumption was 11 litre per 100km.
As we were in town I called my uncle...and guess what? He's not in Kuantan. He's in a lil obscure town called Sungei Lembing. A million thoughts went through my head at that moment...aaarrrgggrrr all the way up to Kuantan and he's not there. Hold on said my uncle... Sg Lembing is only half an hour's drive away. I said Ok. Time to use the navi for this. I punched in Sungei Lembing Pahang and walla... it came up. Amazing BMW.
The trip's really something to write home about. The roads to Sg Lembing was twisty, deserted, monkeys by the road side, goats and the occasional old man on a bicycle. Again the navigation map was accurate. Took us to the town centre in the estimated time.
If you are planning a road trip do give this a go. You won't regret it. The food's excellent. The small town ambience is great. Lot's of old shop houses and best part there's even a Museum about tin mining in this 1 big main street town. On weekends apparently tourist as far off as Singapore comes up in tour buses to view the sunrise and have breakfast in the market centre.