Xia's Journey

A Cycle-Mania Expedition

on April 20, 2013

29 – 30 Mar 2013 (Fri – Sat)

On a bright beautiful Monday morning on 25 March, Darren watsapped and enquired if I wanted to make a trip to Pengerang that same Friday since it was a Good Friday long weekend.

3 years back, we did a trip to Pengerang on a Good Friday as well.

During that trip, I had a nasty fall and required nine stitches to stitch up my left knee. More of it has been documented here.


2 Apr 2010, Happy Good Friday !

This time round, not only did I have to relinquish my fears, we were set for an even wilder and crazier adventure!

We ambitioned to cycle from Pengerang / Sg Rengit (where the town was) to Desaru.

Pengerang is an area at the southeastern tip of Johor, to the south of Desaru. The name Pengerang, covers the dock, immigration post at Tanjung Pengelih, the village of Kampong Pengelih and the nearby town of Sungai Rengit.

Sungai Rengit is about 35km away from Desaru and our research showed that it would take 1.5 hours of leisure cycling from Sungai Renggit to Desaru.

Sungai Renggit to Desaru

I thought to myself; 1.5 hours of leisure cycling should be manageable since we cycled very much more than 1.5 hours the previous time.

How naïve and overly ambitious we were…

29 March 2013, Fri

29 March 2013, Fri, 6am – whilst everyone were still in their lala-land on a Good Friday morning, I was on my way to Changi Point Ferry Terminal.

I arrived the ferry terminal at 6.30am and there was already a huge crowd of passengers awaiting.

I placed my passport in queue and we were scheduled for the 4th boat.


Throngs of passengers at Changi Point Ferry Terminal at 6.30am

They do not have a queue system and we had to keep our ears wide open for our names to be called. We nearly missed our boat as it was too noisy and we didn’t hear our names.

The bumboats operate from 7am to 7pm departing Singapore and 7am to 4pm departing from Tanjong Pengelih.We waited for 2 hours till 8.45am before we finally got onto a bum boat.


Can you see Darren’s happy face cos’ we finally got onto a bum boat after a two hours wait. It gonna be a 1 hour bumboat ride from Changi Point Ferry Terminal to Tanjung Pengilih

The bum boat ride took us one hour and costs SG$11. It costs an additional SG$3 to bring a bike on-board. We got to Pengerang, Sg Renggit close to 11am.

(It costs SG$2 to bring the bike on-board now. Updated on 5-May-2015.)

Arrives at Tanjung Pengilih Ferry Terminal fter a 1 hour bum boat ride…

After checking out a couple of hotels nearby, we settled for Tai Hoe hotel costing RM98 a night.

We cross over the street of Tai Hoe Hotel and rented our bikes from SHH Motor at RM15 each.


Yayyy… Off we go…!!

Excited as we were, off we went on our bikes to Jade Garden restaurant for a seafood feast.


Seafood Feast at Jade Garden Restaurant for lunch

We had 2 herbal lobsters, cereal prawns (my favorite!) and a stir-fried kai lan totalling RM156.

The lobsters cost RM16 per 100gm. We had about 700gm of it cooked in a succulent sauce with wolfberries.

The lobsters and prawns were so fresh that we could almost feel the sea water in it.


Lobster in Superior Herbal Sauce, Cereal Prawns and Stir Fried Kai Lan


Gone … Wiped out… Now you see them, now you don’t… …

We started our cycling expedition at mid-noon. It was hot and scorching and we were all geared up in our arm sleeves, sunshades, sunscreens etc.

We cycled past the Kuan Yin temple which I sought refuge in during the nasty fall.

I did not realise that the temple was situated right at the outskirts of Sg Renggit, a mere 5 mins cycle away from the town.

I was so close to getting back to the hotel before I had that nasty fall! Gosh…

We got some shots of the temple as it brought back vivid memories of that fateful day 3 years ago.


Kuan Yin temple at the fringe of Sg Renggit town – a mere 5 mins away from the town.

Less than 1.5 hours into the cycling, I missed a pedal and fell off the bike (again!).

This time round, I landed on my meaty bum and there were no signs of fatal injuries apart from a huge bruise on my right shin.


Humpty Dumpty once again… : X

As we cycled on, we came across two abandoned go-downs and decided to check them out.They were dome-shaped and there were light rays coming through the high ceilings.

wOO… it exuded such a cool, mystique feel to it.


A Go-down – a rare sight for urban dwellers like us

During the initial ride, there were very much more vehicles on the gravel-lined roads.

The roads were bumpy and challenging with many huge potholes along the way.

Down the next segment, the roads got smoother and traffic was much lesser.

There were more greeneries aligning the roads.

On our rights were scores of lalang fields, lush green fields, golden wheat fields lined with coconut trees against the beautiful blue sky with white fluffy clouds.

On our left were sad sights of muddy construction and land reclamations for the petrochemical project.


Breath-taking landscapes along the way


Feels like a scene extracted from Eat, Pray, Love

When we got to the ‘third segment’, heavy vehicles hogged the roads, and we were often engulfed in dust and smoke from these heavy vehicles working on the constructions.

There was nothing else ahead.

We were going up and down slopes, never-ending.


Mind over Body with Slopes after Slopes

Many times, we had wanted to give up, but we pushed on and on.

It was a true test of determination and will-power when all we could see was another slope ahead…

By now, we had cycled for almost 4 hours and our knees were in severe strikes and every muscle in our thighs and calves were screaming for help.


Tiger Balm to the rescue

At certain points, I had to get off the bike and push the bike up the slope because I was already dead bush and my legs felt like they had been ripped apart from my body!

Thankfully, the Tiger Balm that Darren brought came to our rescue and gave us some rays of salvation.

Despite so, we could not see any form of civilization anywhere ahead.


The last point of our expedition before we finally made the painful decision to turn back….

And as much as we hated and with great disappointment, we decided to turn-around and head back to Sg Renggit as we were close approaching nightfall.

There were little street lights on the roads with long stretches of darkness.

Without any gear preparations for ‘night cycling’, we could be placing ourselves in danger if we could not get back to Sg Renggit in time.


Stopped at Punggai Beach as a consolation since we did not get to the ‘real’ Desaru beach which we ambitioned to.


We were here ~ Punggai Beach

We had fewer photo stops on our way back and as it was nearing evening, the humidity got lower and we managed to make it back in good time – thankfully!


Ganbatte to us for getting this far … !!

We clocked a total of 50km in 7 hours with many photography stops in-between.

It was of no mean feat as both of us were neither professional cyclists nor were we using one of those pro racing bikes.

Many times during the little rest breaks, we were either buttering ourselves with Tiger Balm or giving each other that little nudge we need.

We never thought we will be able to make it and when we finally did, it felt so surreal….

We pushed on, persevered, endured and survived !!

This cycling expedition has not only tested our minds and bodies, it has pushed our friendship to another ante as we held onto each other, cheer each other on, struggled on this journey fraught with challenges and difficulties together.

As we ended our cycling tour for the day, we headed to another seafood restaurant, “Laut Sin Kong” for a good dinner as a pat on our backs for that extraordinary feat that we surmounted.

We got back to Sg Renggit and decided to have another round of seafood dinner – at Sin Kong restaurant this time round. The aircon was the main draw factor!


Finally dinner…

This time round, we had butter lobsters, deep fried sotong, a mushroom soup and a stir-fried Nai Bai.

The lobsters cost RM15 per 100gm and we had two halves each. It was ‘more’ as compared to the one piece that we had during lunch. The butter lobster was equally as fresh, fragrant, sweet and less salty in relative to the herbal lobster that we had for lunch. The butter lobster simply melted in our mouths.


Butter Lobsters… My god… They melted in our mouths…!!

The sotong was delicious but a little crispier would have it perfected. The stir-fried Nai Bai was cooked in a simple sauce but it was heavenly!


Deep Fried Sotong should have stayed in the fryer for another couple of minutes for that additional crisp.

We got back to the hotel, had a shower and headed out for some cool night breeze.

We passed by the spa once again and decided to give it a shot at soothing our crying muscles.

Darren had a body massage whilst I got a foot reflexology as I wanted to be planted right in front of the ‘magic box’ (TV! cos’ I’m a well-known TV addict).

His body massage lasted 1.5 hours and costs RM130 whilst my foot reflexology was an hour session costing RM55.

Save my feet challenge

 30 March 2013, Sat

As we struggle to pull ourselves up from the bed at 9am, we were like two 80 year old elderly. Our muscles were so sore and aching so badly. Despite so, we managed to get some shots at the playground and the town’s iconic lobster before starting our ‘food trail’ for the day.


Prawn (me) and Lobster (the town’s icon). Somebody ate one of its legs…!!


One of my childhood favorites – the see-saw

When we boarded the cab the previous day, the cab driver highly recommended the Wanton Noodles and Chee Cheong Fun.

We started our food trail at Lai Lai coffeeshop with both of these dishes.

Perhaps I was not very much a gastronomy expert and could not appreciate the noodles, I felt that it was rather ordinary and nothing to wow about.


Wanton Noodle which was hmmmm so-so…

The Chee Cheong Fun was a damper as well as there were only a few pathetic slices of prawns and char siew within although the skin was soft and smooth.


Smooth and Soft Chee Cheong Fun skin but too little filling …

We walked down the streets and came to this popular, ‘Lim Choo Seng’ confectionery and bought some pastries and this huge ‘Lao Po biscuit’ to share.

The ‘Lao Po biscuit’ had just popped out from the oven and the skin was crispy and flaky and the filling was soft and not too sweet.


HUGE, fresh and yummy Lao Po Bing

Just across the street was the famous ice-kacang and chendol stall recommended by my group mates in my previous photo trip.

The stall owner was juicing the coconut when we arrived and we were the stall’s first customer for the day by having one dessert each.


Ice Kachang & Chendol… Can’t decide which to take? Both at the same time then…

 By now, we had five items and it was time to head back to our hotel to cool off, pack up and end our little adventure. We checked out of the hotel at 12 noon, returned our bikes and hopped over to Merrybrown for lunch since they were the only eatery with the magic word (wi-fi) that got us connected back to civilization.
46-2013-03-30 12.44.30

Cheers to a great ‘tor-venture’ that we’ve had…!!

44-2013-03-30 12.17.24

Merrybrown with the magic word (WI-FI !) & air-con!

After our lunch, as much as we did not want to move our aching bodies, we headed for the ferry terminal at about 1.30pm and managed to get on a 2.30pm bumboat. By the time we arrived back in Singapore at about 3.30pm, we were feeling so warm from the bum boat ride that we went for a drink and the yummy Nasi Lemak before heading home to zonk out.

This cycling adventure has been one crazy, incredible, unimaginable journey with the Humpty Dumpty fall, scorching heat, killer pains and being engulfed in dust n smoke. It was a trip of hardship with a strong accomplishment of ‘Mission Impossible’. What we thought impossible, was made possible during this trip. We never thought we could cycle 50km but we did. We didn’t think we could get back in time, but we did. What did not break us, made us much stronger than before… 🙂


4 responses to “A Cycle-Mania Expedition

  1. Jade says:

    i am planning a trip to Pengerang. And happened to came across your blog post. My partner and I was searching for a massage place in pengerang but we couldn’t find it. Just like to enquirer where did u have your massage done? Where is it located near to?

  2. Daniel says:


    i’m planning a trip as well but i’m quite in doubt of some things…

    1. i’m planning to take a ferry from changi to pengerang. my main itinerary is go for the Jade Garden lobsters and accommodation. i see that you stayed in tai hoe hotel. is that hotel still in operation?? and whats the distance within these 3 places?? cos i might cycle around that area too..

    2. do you have any problems in getting the ferry from changi?? as i heard that they won’t operate if there is less than 12 person or so…

    thats all for now.. can you email me your reply if possible?? many thanks…

    • xia says:

      Dear Daniel ;

      If you are travelling to Pengerang on a weekend, you should be able to get onto a boat quite easily, once there are 12 paxs. For a weekday, it may not be as easy, unless you have a ready group of 12 paxs. Do try to go early at about 8am or so on a Saturday morning so that you have higher chances of getting onto a boat sooner.

      After getting onto the boat, its about a one hour boat ride from Changi Ferry Terminal to Tg Pegilih (the ferry terminal at Pengerang).

      From Tg Pegilih ferry terminal, it is about 20km to Sg Rengit town where Jade Garden Restaurant and Tai Hoe hotel is. It costs RM20 per cab and takes about 20 minutes.

      Tai Hoe Hotel was still in existence during our last visit in July this year. It should still be in operation. You could drop them an email or give them a tinkle if you want to be sure.

      You may want to contact Debra Yeong or Max Lai at
      Tel : +607 8263855
      Fax : +607 8266955
      Email : taihoe.my@gmail.com
      Address : 35, Jalan Haji Abu Bakar, Sungai Rengit, 81620 Pengerang, Johor

      It is a very small town and you could easily walk from Tai Hoe Hotel to Jade Garden Restaurant within 5 to 10 minutes. You would only need to cycle if you decide to go out of the town to the Fruit Farm or to Desaru which is 35km away.

      I hope that answers your doubts. Have a great time and enjoy the yummy seafood… 🙂

      Do feel free to drop me an email at hsh.213@gmail.com if you should need more infor.

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