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Thread: Malaysia, Solo Backpack Tour. Need advice

  1. #1

    Default Malaysia, Solo Backpack Tour. Need advice

    Hello everyone,

    Plan
    I am thinking of going for a 1 month solo backpack tour in Malaysia around March period.
    I intend to travel by means of trains, buses, taxis and legs. Probably bicycles too.

    Budget
    400 SGD for food, drinks, backpacker's hostel

    Starting from Malacca all the way up north to edge of malaysia's north, Perlis.
    Take an express bus to Kelantan, another express bus to Terenganu, to Pahang via express bus again.
    Then take a train back to Johor, then take travel to the Airport to travel to Sarawak, kuching.


    Food, Drinks, Acommadation, Travel
    1. Eat what they eat (Hawker)
    2. Drink what they drink (Water bottle)
    3. Sleep almost anywhere and everywhere possible, sleep @ hotel lounge until they chase u out, then change to another hotel,or find a super cheap backpacker's inn, sleep on the bus, sleep at macdonald's if 24 hr.


    Safety Precautions
    1. Be polite, so that the locals won't beat you up.
    2. Be polite, so help will given when asked.
    3. Wear a vest with all the lens located on the front(to prevent theft) with sponge padding(protection from impact).
    4. Make secret compartments on your jeans to stash your money in.
    5. Make some more secret compartments on the inside of the jeans to put your important documents.
    6. Do 4 and 5 for other jeans.
    7. Bring a wallet and put some cash and coins inside, so when robbed just give them the wallet.
    8. Put some no longer important ID cards in the wallet to make it seem legit, don't forget to put some photos of your ex-girlfriend.
    9. Avoid travelling at night or going into secluded and dark, wet and narrow areas. You know what I mean.
    10. Memorize the emergency numbers, and know the location of the Singapore Embassy.
    11. Make sure there is enough $ for the trip back home.
    12.

    Reasons
    Reason for backpacking, finally graduate take it as a reward to self and can learn the culture of another country and also the difficulty of backpacking.
    Reason for backpacking alone, you think I wanna do it alone? No one wanna go together, interest, finance and personal conflicts!
    Reason for going around March period, enlistment uncertainty go early come back early.

    Equipment
    1. Pentax K-r dSLR
    2. 15-55mm Pentax D AL Autofocus f3.5-5.6
    3. 50mm f1.4
    4. 70-300mm f4.2-5.8
    5. Sandisk 4GB Class 4
    6. Sandisk Ultra 4GB, 32GB
    7. Sandisk Ultra 16GB Thumb Drive
    8. Tripod (Height - 1.6m++)
    9. Camera backpack
    10. 2x Waist Lens pouch
    11. Laptop
    12. 160GB External HDD(to store images)
    13. 32GB iPod Video


    Utilities
    1. Poncho
    2. Plastic Water Bottle
    3. Handphone (Charge handphone via USB, my phone can standby 2 month if no calls received.)
    4. Laptop Charger
    5. Microfiber cloth x MANY


    Hygiene
    1. 1 Big towel
    2. 1 Sports towel
    3. 5 x white t-shirt
    4. 3x White Surfing Broadshorts
    5. 5x Underwear


    Random Stuff
    1. Medication
    2. Compass


    Documents that will save my life?
    1. Passport
    2. Student EZ-Link Card
    3. Some cash for budget hotel
    4. Some cash for transportation
    5. List of addresses to hotels, airports, bus/train stations, singapore embassy
    6. List of important numbers
    7. Maps
    8. Malaysia Prepaid Card


    People who backpack toured before please give advice, this will be my first time solo backpack tour.
    I have travelled to thailand for 30 days+- but never travel in malaysia for 30days+- with a bag so heavy.
    Washing of used clothes/towel done @ hotel

    I have not thought or done research about the places to visit specifically in each state, do give some comments and i would compile them.

    I would need advice regarding things to bring and to take note of.
    Last edited by DDAphoto; 22nd February 2012 at 01:52 AM. Reason: Add more information

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    singapore
    Posts
    400

    Default Re: Malaysia, Solo Backpack Tour. Need advice

    i support your ideas

    I can give you my tripod for free... PM me if you want it..




    Quote Originally Posted by DDAphoto View Post
    Hello everyone,

    I am thinking of going for a 1-2 month solo backpack tour in Malaysia around March period.
    I intend to travel by means of trains, buses, taxis and legs. Probably bicycles too.

    I am thinking of starting from JB Malaysia, taking the trains stopping at different states with my last destination point at langkawi.
    Then travelling back by means of budget airlines @ the nearest airport.

    I would need advice regarding things to bring and to take note of.

    I will be bringing
    1. Pentax K-r dSLR(Buying)
    2. 35mm f1.4 (Buying, maybe...)
    3. 50mm f1.4
    4. 85mm f1.4 (Buying, maybe...)
    5. 28-80mm
    6. Tripod (Buying, S$80 from PhotoCam at Pennisula plaza)
    7. Camera backpack
    8. Laptop too heavy?(Thinking of using hotel cyber cafe/outside cyber cafe to upload images) OR (Bring ext hdd to store images)
    9. Umbrella
    10. Poncho
    11. Plastic Water Bottle
    12. Handphone
    13. 1 Big towel
    14. 1 Sports towel
    15. 3 x white t-shirt
    16. 1 x Singlet
    17. 1 x Jeans
    18. Passport
    19. Student EZ-Link Card
    20. Some cash for budget hotel
    21. Some cash for transportation
    22. List of addresses to hotels, airports, bus/train stations, singapore embassy
    23. List of important numbers
    24. Maps


    People who backpack toured before please give advice, this will be my first time solo backpack tour.
    I have travelled to thailand for 30 days+- but never travel in malaysia for 30days+- with a bag so heavy.
    Washing of used clothes/towel done @ hotel

    Reason for backpacking, finally graduate take it as a reward to self and can learn the culture of another country and also the difficulty of backpacking.
    Reason for backpacking alone, you think I wanna do it alone? No one wanna go together, interest, finance and personal conflicts!
    Reason for going around March period, enlistment uncertainty go early come back early.

    I have not thought or done research about the places to visit specifically in each state, do give some comments and i would compile them.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Malaysia, Solo Backpack Tour. Need advice

    Quote Originally Posted by sachokphantom View Post
    i support your ideas

    I can give you my tripod for free... PM me if you want it..
    Thank you for offering help, I have replied you via pm.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Malaysia, Solo Backpack Tour. Need advice

    What is your type of photography? Landscape/ human/ cityscape?

    Personally for 2 months I will:
    - skip JB, the place is a mess and you will be mugged easily. Start your journey in Malacca.
    - skip KL as well if you do not favor cityscape. KL is as dangerous as JB.

    For human/ streets: Penang, Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu
    For landscapes: Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis

    Not sure why your last stop is Langkawi, but you may consider going from Singapore by bus to Malacca (there are no train stations at Malacca), then from Malacca take a bus to KL, then jump onto a train visit Selangor, Perak, keep going north till you reach Perlis. From Perlis take the east-bound train to Kelantan, Terrenganu, Pahang back to Johor.
    Fujifilm X-Pro1 | XF 14, 18, 35, 56, 60, 55-200 | EF-X20 speedlite

  5. #5

    Default Re: Malaysia, Solo Backpack Tour. Need advice

    Quote Originally Posted by yrh0413 View Post
    What is your type of photography? Landscape/ human/ cityscape?

    Personally for 2 months I will:
    - skip JB, the place is a mess and you will be mugged easily. Start your journey in Malacca.
    - skip KL as well if you do not favor cityscape. KL is as dangerous as JB.

    For human/ streets: Penang, Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu
    For landscapes: Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis

    Not sure why your last stop is Langkawi, but you may consider going from Singapore by bus to Malacca (there are no train stations at Malacca), then from Malacca take a bus to KL, then jump onto a train visit Selangor, Perak, keep going north till you reach Perlis. From Perlis take the east-bound train to Kelantan, Terrenganu, Pahang back to Johor.
    I see, I would skip KL and JB as you suggested.
    So if my last stop is not langkawi you suggest I start from Malacca go north until the edge of Malaysia, perlis then take the train that is closer to the east coast all the way back to Johor.
    This idea not bad I like it! I am gonna use it, thanks!
    Langkawi no $ cannot go right? Cause all of them are resorts and everything everything would be expensive.

    ***NOTE - Change to 1 month already, cause 2 month plan was for malaysia all the way up to thailand. But out of budget.\

    **Edit - I would like to do both street and landscape photography, no point concentrating on just one on a tour
    Last edited by DDAphoto; 31st January 2012 at 08:48 PM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Malaysia, Solo Backpack Tour. Need advice

    Langkawi, you need to budget for ferry and resort-style accomodation. Maybe you can stay in Kuala Kedah or Kuala Perlis then make a day trip to Langkawi.

    I recommend you take the east-bound train to cover East Peninsula because the beaches at the East are much nicer, and you will have fun chasing sunrise and doing star trails if those are your thing. Moreover Kelantan/ Pahang are mostly Malay kampongs, abundant of friendly human subjects/ street photography. You may want to visit their "pasar" in the morning for some people actions

    Penang are mostly Chinese, something like our Chinatown but more olden-days style. Good for street shooting.

    Pahang has a National Park if you enjoy fauna and birding.

    For Kedah/ Perlis, do check what is the current paddy season. Best to go during harvest or when the paddy fields are in lushes of green.

    Remember to bring sunblock... the last time I went Terengganu I came back with sunburn after chasing sunrise/ sunset for 3 days straight =.="
    Fujifilm X-Pro1 | XF 14, 18, 35, 56, 60, 55-200 | EF-X20 speedlite

  7. #7

    Default Re: Malaysia, Solo Backpack Tour. Need advice

    Thanks for the adbundant information!

    Now... regarding camera thefts.
    I read the travel sticky regarding security and uglifying you camera, but I don't think it would work for dSLRS.
    I would be bringing 1.8k worth of gear on my body, with the camera slung on my neck.
    It would be pretty dangerous to get robbed at some beach for no reason D:

    What are the chances?

    Should I bring a film SLR and crappy lens instead? or film slr with good lens.
    Or just bring all the good stuff?

    I know it would be me making the decision in the end, but what would you do if you are solo backpacking Malaysia?

  8. #8

    Default Re: Malaysia, Solo Backpack Tour. Need advice

    if I were to solo backpacking in MY, I'll still will bring all my equipments (might consider leaving my telephoto zoom at home). Don't see any point uglify your camera as in MY DSLRs are luxurious stuff anyways, even with an entry level DSLR.

    You might want to consider getting a compact camera like the Fuji X100 or X10 if you wish to travel light.

    Do not stay on the beach at night.

    Tripod... not sure if it will be useful as slapping a tripod on your backpack pretty much the same as sticking a big sticker "I AM A PHOTOGRAPHER, I HAVE EXPENSIVE STUFF" Maybe you can keep your tripod in your backpack instead of putting it at the side if you really need to bring a tripod.

    By the way have you ever considered renting a car in Johor for a month? Last year me and my friends planned a "tour" around MY, by car. It is so much easier to travel around if you have your own transport. Heck you can even sleep in the car if you like.
    Fujifilm X-Pro1 | XF 14, 18, 35, 56, 60, 55-200 | EF-X20 speedlite

  9. #9

    Default Re: Malaysia, Solo Backpack Tour. Need advice

    Quote Originally Posted by yrh0413 View Post
    if I were to solo backpacking in MY, I'll still will bring all my equipments (might consider leaving my telephoto zoom at home). Don't see any point uglify your camera as in MY DSLRs are luxurious stuff anyways, even with an entry level DSLR.

    You might want to consider getting a compact camera like the Fuji X100 or X10 if you wish to travel light.

    Do not stay on the beach at night.

    Tripod... not sure if it will be useful as slapping a tripod on your backpack pretty much the same as sticking a big sticker "I AM A PHOTOGRAPHER, I HAVE EXPENSIVE STUFF" Maybe you can keep your tripod in your backpack instead of putting it at the side if you really need to bring a tripod.

    By the way have you ever considered renting a car in Johor for a month? Last year me and my friends planned a "tour" around MY, by car. It is so much easier to travel around if you have your own transport. Heck you can even sleep in the car if you like.
    Budget backpack tour man.. no $ can't rent vehicle D:
    Don't know how to drive a car too D:

    Think I will bring all my goody goody there, maybe will bring a film slr instead.
    So robbers and thieves might think twice.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Malaysia, Solo Backpack Tour. Need advice

    Quote Originally Posted by DDAphoto View Post
    Hello everyone,

    Safety Precautions
    4. Make secret compartments on your jeans to stash your money in.
    5. Make some more secret compartments on the inside of the jeans to put your important documents.
    6. Do 4 and 5 for other jeans.

    How many pairs of jeans are your bringing? I travelled for one whole month in America, in China, around the Mediterranean, and in Scandinavia, all during summer and all I took with me was a pair of jeans and a pair of shorts. The more you carry, the heavier your backpack. I strongly suggest you pack all your gear and clothes etc. into your backpack, then put it on and walk about 1 km. Then you can decide how much stuff you REALLY need.

    11. Make sure there is enough $ for the trip back home.

    You can have a combination of cold hard cash and your ATM card but this assumes your card can withdraw money in a foreign country and hope for the best that your card does not get cloned! I used my ATM card to draw out money in China - yes, I know the bank charges me "handling charges", but sure as hell beats using Travellers cheques. I put in a limited amount of money in the bank account from which I would draw out money - that is my loss mitigation "protection".


    Utilities
    1. Umbrella
    2. Poncho

      Why do you need an umbrella and a poncho? This is my practice - if it drizzles, I grin and bear it. If it rains more heavily, I use the poncho. If it really pours, I seek shelter. Please bear in mind that I am merely sharing my preference; different travellers have different preferences.

    3. Plastic Water Bottle

      If you intend to drink only bottled water, the water comes in a bottle. You may not need a water bottle. I like to use those 300 ml water bottles when I travel - won't break my heart if I lose it, and it is easily replaceable.

    4. Handphone

      Please remember to bring your charger! My handphone takes two SIM cards - I retain my "home" card and buy a local SIM card when I travel. This way, I am accessible on my normal number and my calls in the local place becomes much cheaper. You may wish to consider this option.


    Hygiene
    1. 1 Big towel
    2. 1 Sports towel

      I usually travel with one small towel only. It dries faster and take up less space. Do you envisage walking around with a towel around your waist while in Malaysia? If not, I doubt if you would really need a big towel.

    3. 3 x white t-shirt

      T-shirts are a good idea. Maybe white is not the best colour - dirt shows up too easily. Darker colours would hide dirt better. I usually bring a few old T-shirts with me when I travel. After wearing them a few times, the become disposable T-shirts.... Heck, I would probably be throwing that old T-shirt away anyway!

      Three T-shirts for a month - I presume you would be buying some along the way. I do that too.


    4. 1 x Singlet

      As sleep-wear? For lounging around? If not, I doubt you will be needing this.

    5. 1 x Jeans

      I thought you said you will be bringing a few pairs of jeans? (see my first comment)

    6. Underwear?

      You might consider bringing some old underwear (similar concept to the old T-shirts) and bring along some disposable undies with you. I buy the cotton based ones - more expensive, but much more comfortable than the cellulose type. I am too lazy to do laundry when I am on the road, and this is what I use/do.



    Documents that will save my life?
    1. List of addresses to hotels, airports, bus/train stations, singapore embassy
    2. Maps

      Are you using a travel guidebook? A decent travel guidebook should have these details.

    3. Malaysia Prepaid Card

      See comment on handphone





    People who backpack toured before please give advice, this will be my first time solo backpack tour.
    Have a good trip. I am sure you will have an enjoyable time.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Malaysia, Solo Backpack Tour. Need advice

    Quote Originally Posted by number2 View Post
    Have a good trip. I am sure you will have an enjoyable time.
    I meant do step 4 and 5 for other jeans, not 4-5 other jeans.
    Anyway, i think I will bring 2 jeans, wear one and bring 1.
    Or wear 1 jeans and bring 1 track pants.

    Akipping the singlet too.

    Maybe I will skip the umbrella but bring the poncho.

    Thanks for reminding me to bring the charger!
    Good point about the white t shirt, but I really like the white and I don't have other color ones.
    Guess I will wear white t-shirt and wear a casual shirt over.

    Will definitely get the travel guidebook, 2nd hand one from bras basah.

  12. #12

    Default

    You asked me a question. Give me a few days to give you a thoughtful answer.

    A piece of advice: stay in hotels or hostels. Do not sleep at mcd. You won't get rest and you will get mugged. At hostels you will meet travel buddies. You actually rarely ever travel alone.

    And don't expect the locals to beat you up. If you do that, you will act like an (insert your own expletive) and you will find trouble.
    Last edited by Tyrov; 1st February 2012 at 12:51 PM.
    Tyrov
    Flickr

  13. #13

    Default Re: Malaysia, Solo Backpack Tour. Need advice

    I personally will not bring jeans... they are heavy and it takes up space in your backpack. Why not bring shorts? Shorts are easier to dry as well.

    Bring micro-fiber towels instead of regular cotton towels. 2 years back I went backpacking with friends to Guilin, China... my towel is a micro-fiber cloth the size of a face towel. The absorbing power for micro-fiber towels are fantastic. Easy to dry too.
    Fujifilm X-Pro1 | XF 14, 18, 35, 56, 60, 55-200 | EF-X20 speedlite

  14. #14

    Default Re: Malaysia, Solo Backpack Tour. Need advice

    Please check your pm.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Malaysia, Solo Backpack Tour. Need advice

    Quote Originally Posted by yrh0413 View Post
    I personally will not bring jeans... they are heavy and it takes up space in your backpack. Why not bring shorts? Shorts are easier to dry as well.

    Bring micro-fiber towels instead of regular cotton towels. 2 years back I went backpacking with friends to Guilin, China... my towel is a micro-fiber cloth the size of a face towel. The absorbing power for micro-fiber towels are fantastic. Easy to dry too.
    I will stick to wearing jeans, maybe buy another pair when the first gets dirty.
    Cause jeans can protect the legs more compared to shorts, I don't really like shorts because it show my hairy legs D:
    But I have to agree that they take less space and weight.

    Micro-fiber towels? any example? I think the cloth we use to clean lens are microfiber too.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Malaysia, Solo Backpack Tour. Need advice

    Yes those lens cloth are micro-fiber but towels are much bigger in size. You can get them easily from army market. Not expensive.

    My towel is only the size of a coke can
    Fujifilm X-Pro1 | XF 14, 18, 35, 56, 60, 55-200 | EF-X20 speedlite

  17. #17

    Default Re: Malaysia, Solo Backpack Tour. Need advice

    Quote Originally Posted by yrh0413 View Post
    Yes those lens cloth are micro-fiber but towels are much bigger in size. You can get them easily from army market. Not expensive.

    My towel is only the size of a coke can
    What are the uses o.o
    Wiping sweat etc? bathe use hotel towel? backpacker's inn have towel one?

  18. #18

    Default Re: Malaysia, Solo Backpack Tour. Need advice

    Quote Originally Posted by DDAphoto View Post
    What are the uses o.o
    Wiping sweat etc? bathe use hotel towel? backpacker's inn have towel one?
    I am too kiam-siap to buy microfibre towel, I just use the normal face flannel as my towel. Do bear in mind the face flannel is not big enough go around your waist. It is enough to cover the front but not the back, and vice versa. You choose.

    Wipe sweat... I usually use the sleeve of the T shirt I am wearing - just do it-lah, your mother will not be there to tell you off.

    When I bathe, I do not use a towel. I only use the towel to dry my body. I usually wipe the water off my torso, arms and legs, then dry with the towel. Maybe you can try it at home first, and see if you are comfortable doing this.

    Backpacker's inns, hostels etc. usually do not provide towels. I was about to make a saucy comment on how high end accommodation will provide towels and maybe even nocturnal companionship, but some members here might be underaged, so I had better mind my language.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Malaysia, Solo Backpack Tour. Need advice

    Quote Originally Posted by DDAphoto View Post
    What are the uses o.o
    Wiping sweat etc? bathe use hotel towel? backpacker's inn have towel one?
    To dry my body after showel. Don't underestimate micro fiber towels... they have very good absorbing power; I can dry my whole body with a micro fiber towel the size of a hand towel.

    Moreover micro fiber towels are not expensive; you can easily get them from Army Market. I got mine from Novena Square (there is a shop selling camping equipments).

    Backpackers hotel usually do not provide towels.
    Fujifilm X-Pro1 | XF 14, 18, 35, 56, 60, 55-200 | EF-X20 speedlite

  20. #20

    Default Re: Malaysia, Solo Backpack Tour. Need advice

    Quote Originally Posted by yrh0413 View Post
    What is your type of photography? Landscape/ human/ cityscape?

    Personally for 2 months I will:
    - skip JB, the place is a mess and you will be mugged easily. Start your journey in Malacca.
    - skip KL as well if you do not favor cityscape. KL is as dangerous as JB.

    For human/ streets: Penang, Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu
    For landscapes: Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis

    Not sure why your last stop is Langkawi, but you may consider going from Singapore by bus to Malacca (there are no train stations at Malacca), then from Malacca take a bus to KL, then jump onto a train visit Selangor, Perak, keep going north till you reach Perlis. From Perlis take the east-bound train to Kelantan, Terrenganu, Pahang back to Johor.
    Where got train from Perlis to east coast...
    The only place to switch train from west coast to east coast is in Gemas, N9.

    And Melaka has train stations i.e. Batang Melaka, though I believe it is quite far from Melaka town.

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