Part Two: Stamping Their Mark On Malaysia

VisaTravel guide Mandy Page (GC handle: PageNZ) continues relating her adventures from last year’s geo-tour; this time focusing on a ‘quick’ visit to Malaysia for some of the Kiwi group.

“Let’s go to Malaysia; there’s one just across the border – GC3KC6R JB in a Box – it’ll take us 30 minutes tops.”

Singapore Malaysia mapThese words were spoken early in the morning by my sister, Tracey Welsh (GC handle: Team Welsh), or it could have been me, but it didn’t really matter as that seed was well and truly sown. We joined up with fellow Kiwi travellers Russell and Dawn (GC handle: drawp) and encouraged them to come along for the ride.

Step 1 was getting Tourist Passes on the Singaporean Mass-Rapid Transit (MRT) system. This step required a visit to the City Hall MRT station. Being fit and well after our 11-hour flight from Auckland the day before, we started out at 9am but, geocachers being geocachers, we just had to find three caches along the way so that 10-minute walk turned into 60. All good though, as we smiley-ed our way, which meant walking in a very roundabout route.

Passes purchased, we boarded the MRT to the NS8 station, which we understood was the closest to the causeway and therefore Malaysia. (Note to future world dominators, it’s actually NS7.) We arrived at the station only after displaying incredible self-control; do you have any how many unfound caches we passed?


The cause of our problems: The Johor-Singapore Causeway across the Straits of Johor.

Anyway on with the story … Step 2: Catch a taxi across that causeway into the capital of Johor Bahru. This step was false information as such taxis were not available at NS8. We could take one to Singapore Zoo or the city. How about the border control? That could be done. So our merry band cruised off in the taxi to border control. One stamp to our passports.

Step 3: Get across the causeway. How? Causeway bus – Tracey negioates a fare of U$1 each, that bus driver saw her coming but, nevertheless, it’s a means to an end and we are that much closer to our goal, that precious cache.

Step 4: Get through border control on the Malaysian side of the causeway. Have I mentioned all the barbed wire, CCTV, guns and guards – lots! We all pass this test and Tracey receives a special sticker in her passport, none of us know why. That’s stamp No 2 in our passports.

It's not about the numbers ... especially when it takes this long to find one cache.

It’s not about the numbers … especially when it takes so long to find one cache.

Step 5: Get to the cache. The GPS tells us it’s a mere 1.5 kilometres away, so we decide to walk. Several escalators, hallways, Malaysian Idol and shopping malls later, we find ourselves on the road and near the cache. In New Zealand, this would be a simple walk but here, in the heat of the day, it takes persistence and endurance.

The wee shy hide is quickly found; this is one of those unique finds which is not about the numbers but knowing we have achieved something unusual and extraordinary. (Not to mention claimed another country for our collective geocaching map statistics!)

Step 6: Retrace our way back to Malaysia border control. Tracey spends a few ringgits which our father had given her. The money may have been 30 years old but it’s still good. The Malaysian passport check is a surreal experience as it’s the exact duplicate of the entry hall, only a mirror image. It’s at this point I thought we would get arrested. One of our party began to joke about password stickers and being a drug mule, but considering this carries the death penalty in Malaysia and we were on CCTV, I steered us toward a more light-hearted conversation. I can only presume our strange accents made it harder to understand what the topic was. After a rather nervous wait, we gain the third stamp in our passports.


Sitting pretty: A causeway bus ticket.

Step 7: Get across the causeway. This time, we decide to catch the official causeway bus; Tracey has enough ringgits (about NZ50 cents per person) and we zoom back to Singapore.

Step 8: Get back into clean, orderly Singapore. Not a problem. Stamp No 4 in our passports.

Step 9: Get from the border to the MRT or anywhere we can return to mainstream caching. Easy Bus 170 transports us back to NS7 and we are away.

Two hours, one cache, a ton of adventure, four passport stamps and well worth every minute.

*If you’re interested in joining Tours Direct’s second geo-expedition, visit the Auckland-based company’s website. The nine-day trip – being led by Page’s sister, Tracey Welsh (GC handle: Team Welsh) – costs NZ$3980 per person and includes visits to Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom, a boat ride on Tonle Sap Lake, geocaching events in three countries (Auckland, New Zealand, Singapore and Cambodia) as well as the opportunity to cache in Malaysia.

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