And The Luck Runs Out
We were back out on the road by 7am and managed to hitch a ride on the back of the pick-up truck to the border town of Sadao. Once there I ran into a bit of bad luck when hopping out the bed of the truck and my glasses fell of my face breaking as it made contact with the pavement. I was pretty much blind for the rest of the trip afterward. We were then able to hitch a ride from some Thai guy who actually worked at the border, awesome! A short ride and an immigration process later we emerged on the other side with new visas on hand for Malaysia.
We walked 25 minutes outside the border before posting up and waiting in the hot sun. Before this point we never really had to wait more than 15 to 30 minutes before getting picked up for a ride – this wasn’t the case in Malaysia. We ended up waiting 4 hours outside the border before deciding to ditch the spot. Within those hours we ended up meeting another Russian traveler who treated us to some nice hot and sweet Malaysian tea. We talked for a bit and thats when we found out through him that hitching a ride wouldn’t be easy as it use to be in previous years. After a while of conversing and getting to know each other he headed out and we were on our way. We decided to walk into town or somewhere near civilization to see if our luck would change. 45 minutes later we found a gas station, posted up, and within 5 minutes we had a ride into the nearest town which was 30 minutes away.
The Secret to Hitchhiking in Malaysia
After getting dropped off in town we found a spot on the side of the road and tried to catch our next ride into the next checkpoint – Penang. We waited in the hot sun for an hour or two in which time no one stopped for us or even asked us what we were doing. Getting fed up with the spot we decided to ditch it and look for the nearest gas station. After we posted up at the gas station we didn’t have to wait long before we got picked up and that’s when it hit us! The secret to getting picked up in Malaysia was gas stations! Gas stations are your best friend when hitchhiking in Malaysia. For whatever reason the Malay people are most likely to pick you up at these filling stations and take you where ever you want to go.
We ended up getting picked up by some guy who had just finished smoking weed lace with some crystal meth, and he was chatty as fuck. He was a cool guy who was in his 50’s and was well traveled to my surprise. Most SouthEast Asians don’t really go out and travel the world and if they do go somewhere their most likely to go vsiit their neighboring country. This guys had been to Australia to visit his son, went to go to finish his MBA in the U.K, and has been all over Europe and not the cheap countries but the expensive ones. He was on his way to Penang to stay the night and hang out with some of his buddies so he was happy to take us along with him. He was fun to talk to and we talked about all sorts of topics. An hour and a half later we reached our destination. Once there he took us out for some coffee where we chatted for a bit before deciding to hit the road. The old man was kind enough to drop us off at a gas station along the main road.
The Final Stretch
We did have to wait awhile at this truck stop but probably not as long as we would have had if we were standing somewhere on the side of the road. Night quickly came and out in the darkness we decided to post up right next to the door where it was brightly lit. A couple of minutes later we got picked up by a Malaysian army pilot. I have to say that this was my favorite ride not to mention he was going all the way up to Kuala Lumpur. He was fun and easy to talk to and we were able to understand every word of his English clearly. It turns out he had gone to the States for 9 months to do some training. He stayed 2 months in Texas and 7 months in Alabama. He definitely took advantage of being in the States, going traveling all over when he had free time, exploring the east coast as well as doing some sight-seeing on the west coast. He definitely had a blast.
He treated us to dinner and introduced us to some new Malay dish I had never tried before. The long ride to KL (Kuala Lumpur) was a long ride and we were all getting tired. We stopped at a rest area to rest for a bit and he took a quick power nap. After a 30 minute rest we were back on the road again feeling a bit more energized. He told us about cool places to visit while exploring his home country and festivals that happen here. It was awesome because these were places that I probably would have never heard of or gone to. This is why I fell in love with hitchhiking. You find out about cool activities to do from the locals as well as upcoming events. After a couple of hour driving we finally made it to KL. He dropped us off in a familiar area and we said our goodbyes. The last 36 hours had been a blast and I was glad that I decided to carry out with my plan of hitchhiking. Ended up meeting a new friend and had many great experiences during the last two days instead of going on some mode of transportation, which would have been more reliable and faster, but boring and I most likely wouldn’t have met any cool people- not much of an adventure in my books. I think I will be hitchhiking more often now as it’s a fun way to travel and have cool experience. Plus its free! Definitely can’t wait for my next hitchhiking adventure.