Saturday, 17 March 2018

Lake Toba Ride (1-5 March 2018), Day 5 - Tg Balai to Port Klang

Arriving at Tanjung Balai
Leaving Penginapan Al Karim
Jalan Jendral Sudirman
Jalan Gereja
Metal truss bridge
Along some nooks and crannies of the town
Jalan Raya Teluk Nimbung aka Jl Letjend Suprapto
Fisherman's wharf
Fresh fish market
The last 50m to the port
Tanjung Balai Ferry Terminal
MV Ocean Star II
Overseeing the bikes
Unless you pay through your nose, this Caucasian man was escorted to his seat by a kind immigration officer thus avoiding any further fees or harrasments!
Comfy seats but narrow leg space, the ferry was cold and smelled strongly of diesel plus cigarettes

This morning’s breakfast was a simple nasi uduk that came with a thick slice of egg omelette and sambal. Accustomed to eating with hands by our second meal, it was a lot easier to handle as there were no mosquitoes to slap or itch to scratch.

Requesting for black tea with no sugar, we ended up with an adulterated concoction which was still mildly sweet. The word “kosong” may not exist in the local vocabulary!

Leaving our guesthouse, Claudine was involved in yet another accident! A young boy riding on a bicycle with one hand on a packet of drinks collided with her at the junction to Jln Jendral Sudirman with the guesthouse not more than 100 m behind!!! Thankfully, she held her ground and nobody was hurt.

Once on Jln Jendral Sudirman, traffic began to pick up. It became worse as we were crossing the bridge. Fighting for space with motorcycles, cars and vans alike, Claudine was particularly worried when a motorcycle with a sidecar came too near to her. She wondered if he realizes the metal cage on his carrier was closing in on her!

Right across the bridge, a morning market was taking place. It was total chaos. Trying to imitate KC Tay who rode anti clockwise on a small roundabout, she almost collided with 2 motorcycles!

Soon, we weaved our way to a main road of sorts. Jalan Raya Teluk Nimbung saw a wider road with motorcycles coming from every direction! There was no such thing as right or wrong side of the road. The only thing that makes sense is space for passage!

Looking out for our guide, Claudine spotted Dot tucked safely behind his motorcycle. The vehicle and its side car became her shield.

Just before crossing our second bridge, VT cautioned Claudine to a man sporting a blue Barisan National t-shirt. Looks like the wick has been lighted for GE14 here in Sumatra, even before our homeland!

As we got closer to the harbour, the road became more narrow. The familiar potholes filled with dark brackish water returned. Rolling past a fisherman’s wharf, the air reeks of the sea.

Before long, we arrived at the port and were greeted by Nevii who coincidentally mans a ticket counter there. Familiar with the officers of the port, she introduced us to the person in charge to whom we took a group photo with!

As we were early, we took time to check out the dingy toilets and food stalls at the port. This is unnecessary, as a free and clean toilet is provided inside the CIQ while the same menu of fish and rice offered at the stall is given on board!

After a post mortem, we noted many hidden costs were involved in our passage from Tg Balai to Port Klang. While Nevii, acting as an agent profited from us, perhaps it is best to deal with a known stranger than not! Those that does not come under the umbrella of the Big Brother's Club will get harrased for more money during the 4 hour long journey across the Straits of Malacca, as in the case of the 2 Middle Eastern men on board!

8.3 km from guesthouse to ferry terminal

Trip Costs :
1. Malindo Airfare inclusive of 30kg baggage allowance : RM109
2. Lorry and 2 van transfer from Kuala Namo to Parapat, Return ferry crossing to Tuk-Tuk, 2 nights hotel stay at Samosir Cottages Resort, 1 night stay at Hotel Wisata Samosir for 18 pax : IDR18,000,000
3. Ad Hoc lorry and 2 van transfer from Parapat to Simpang Kawat : IDR100,000
4. Ferry costs from Tanjung Balai to Port Klang and other miscellaneous : IDR550,000 (Strangely, fee on ticket is IDR372,000 and boarding pass is IDR60,000)
5. Bike Handling Fee in Tanjung Balai : RM20
6. Bike Handling Fee in Port Klang : RM15
7. Penginapan Al Karim : RM100
8. Dinner and Breakfast at Penginapan Al Karim : RM8
9. Grab taxi fare to Subang Jaya at 5 pm : RM42
10. Commuter train do not allow full sized bikes on train during peak hours ie from 4pm to 8 pm. (Otherwise, passenger fee is RM4.30; bike fee is RM2)

Photo Credits :
KC Tay

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