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Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra » Bukit Lawang
January 14th 2015
Published: June 21st 2017
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Geo: -7.83075, 112.697

I arrived in Medan and got a local bus out to my hostel in town which took around one hour, I've stayed here before so I know the owners and some others that are around. I contacted my friend Elly who has been looking after my bike in her home in Bukit Lawang and I'm pleased that she will be down in Medan in the morning so I do the return trip with her back to the jungle.

The journey takes around 5 hours so it's great having some company along the way, I explained to her my change of plans and that I'm going to take the bike back over to Thailand and meet back up with Drew and Malmuirie. We have a great catch up along the way and it is nice to be back, but the weather is horrendous and actually I can't believe that I managed to cycle up this road, it's in far worse condition since I left and I decided there and then not to cycle back down but to put in on a bus instead.

Everyone is pleased to see me back but they all think I'm here long time which I'm not and
I explain my plans of heading back to the boat. I catch up with the crew from before, and it feels like I never left despite it being 10 months ago which I can't believe, I only planned on being away for 2 months not 10!

Janine was expecting when I left and I get to meet her beautiful son Fabian who is a real stunner, she's so incredibly happy and loving life with her new addition. Elly and Silo are great and so kind to look after my bike which was the same spot I left it, I just needed to dust it off and blow up the tyres! I managed to catch up with Janey too who runs a guest house and bakes the most incredible bread and business is looking good, despite a new building going up at the entrance to her place.

Agus is still trekking but it's been a quiet season for them, Eddie is struggling too and I feel sad that there is nothing really for them here, it is a very harsh life they lead each day as it comes and just try to keep themselves fed with a roof over their heads. So after catching up as much as possible I make my arrangements to get my bike down to Medan and carry on, it's strange being back on the bike, gosh I'm now so unfit!


So my journey took me down through Sumatra to Dumai where I literally bumped into Mosun, the teacher I helped out last year. He took me for lunch which was really kind and tried to talk me into staying again for a while but I had just booked my ferry back over to Malaysia and it leavesin the afternoon.

So with bated breath I approached Immigration in Malaysia and needless to say I was detained again and wastaken aside to discuss why I'm back in Malaysia. I explained I would only be in Malaysia maybe 7-10 days as I was planning on cycling up to Phuket to meet friends which thankfully he accepted and stamped me in. I didn't cycle far that night as it was now late and ended up sleeping behind a school building in a tiny village surrounded by palm oil plantations. I was annoyed though, somewhere from the port I managed to loose my sleeping bag and despite jumping a lift back some of the way in the morning to look for it, it was gone.

I spent a number of days cycling up through Malaysia staying in random places, and was really enjoying being back on the road. When it reached Butterworth I took the ferry over to Penang and stayed at the same guest house as before, they were delighted to see me back and couldn't believe I was now cycling up to Phuket. I wanted a few days in Penang so I could arrange a 2 month visa for Thailand which I managed to get and meanwhile I had days cycling round the island and having fun. I had never been the whole way round Penang and I'm pleased to say I managed it no problem, the fitness is coming back.

From Penang, back to the mainland and a stop in Langkawi before I leave for Thailand, I once again stayed this time with Terry on his boat at RLYC, catching up with a few friends around before getting the ferry over to Satun next morning. They really are a great bunch and have looked after me tremendously over the past year becoming firm friends, I'll see them again.

Satun up through a rural route towards Trang and onto Krabi where I thought I might meet Drew but it turns out he's 5 people on board and are out sailing further north, so after talking to him I decided to cycle round to Phuket and meet him there. I stayed in little accommodation on the journey north, instead I mainly slept in temples along the way and strangely enough a radio station where they put me up in an air con office for the night.

I'm really fortunate that friends from Langkawi have just arrived in Yacht Haven marina in Phuket, Tony and Sangtong, Joe and Anita, and Neil sailed up a few days ago and Tony invites me onto the boat to stay with everyone. My last day cycling was 140km from Krabi to Phuket and I was surprised how good I felt on arrival, none of the crew can believe I managed that trip in one day all up and down hill and I'm pleased with myself that I've still got it.

So I'll hang around here until Drew arrives in a few days and see what the plans are from there. I head round the island with Joe, Anita and Neil and have a fun few days with them before they return to Langkawi meanwhile Tony and Santong are going to stay on in Phuket for a while so are settling into the marina. Roel is also here from Langkawi, as it Jim who was our neighbour at the marina before so I know a few people around.

I think Phuket is going to be fun...





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