Monday, September 21, 2009


1. Just had a meeting with Yeow Pheng over the weekend to take stock of the preparation for Part 2 of the Asean on Wheels journey. Looks like we are all set to begin our journey from Medan on 12 Oct 09. We agreed that we should aim to get back before Christmas, giving us about 70 days for the trip. Here's Yeow Pheng and I, at my house, next to the Pajero.

2. Taking account time and space, we reckoned we would have just enough time to cover the key Indonesia islands, E Malaysia and Brunei. Regretfully, we have to leave Philippine to another time. We plan to begin our journey at Medan on 12 Oct. The car will be shipped to Belawan the week before. From Medan, we will head North to Acheh and then travel North to South along the Sumatra island. After crossing over to Java, we will travel West to East, before crossing over to Bali, the Nusa Tenggara islands, Southern Sulawesi and Kalimantan. At Entikong, we will cross over to Sarawak, at about D+60. Travelling along the coast, we will visit Sarawak and Sabah, before returning to Brunei, our last stop.

3. Over the last 2 months, I received overwhelming support from the Department of Tourism of Philippine. Undersecretary Oscar Palabyab of the Department of Tourism and Gerosel Siquian of the Singapore office were very supportive. They had very kindly assisted with the application to the customs authority and liaised with the officials at Davao for facilitation. I am very grateful for what they had done but unfortunately will have to leave the trip to the Philippine to another time.

4. For our travel in Indonesia, I had obtained the support letter from the Indonesian Embassy in Singapore and the recommendation letter from IMI (Ikatan Motor Indonesia). In addition, we have to get our International Driving Licences registered/endorsed by IMI, which fortunately has an office in Medan. Port of entry is Belawan in Sumatra and the port of exit is Entikong in Kalimantan. Pak Hanung Nugraha of the Indonesian Embassy in Singapore and Diyah Yanuardani of the Department of Touring of IMI were very helpful. They were very responsive in answering the many queries which we had from time to time.

5. Also, we are very pleased to have received the letter from the Bruneian Embassy in Singapore informing us that the Department of Land Transport had approved us driving our car into Brunei. We like to thank Ms Hafida Alit for all the help.

6. Smog and trafficability of some roads remain our key concerns before we begin out trip from Medan. If smog in Sumatra does not ease by early Oct, we may have to delay our trip. As we are heading into the wet weather season, trafficability may be an issue for some roads. In particular, roads in Kalimantan pose some uncertainties, as different maps give different information. As we have more information on the quality of the roads there, we may have to adjust our plan. I have also arranged for the tyres to be changed to all terrain ones, something I wanted to do before the last trip but did not have the time. It seems that often such tyres have to be ordered from overseas supplier as local companies do not normally carry them.

7. Last but not least, we would like to thank Bee Lan who, as before, was particularly helpful in liasing with the various embassies for the necessary approvals.