Last weekend we went for a really super awesome trip up to Belum Rainforest Resort. For the uninitiated, the resort sits on Pulau Banting, an island formed from the creation of lake Temengor in Gerik, Northern Perak.
The trip was a showcase of modern Diesel technology with the combination of BMW’s Efficient Dynamics and the Dynamic Diesel from Petronas. Here are the 10 things I learn from the unforgettable 2-day trip.
1. Diesel cars are super efficient
Lost in the big woohaa last September when the government made the switch from RON 92 to RON 95 petrol (with price adjustment, of course), was that the country also adopted the Euro 2M standard for Diesel fuel. Euro 2M Diesel has less than 50ppm sulphur, and are much cleaner for the environment.
With the new standard we can now take advantage of modern Diesel cars, such as the BMW 320d and BMW 520d that we used for this trip. None of the diesel powered 3 and 5 series we drove required a refuel for the entire trip, some 800 km in total. This is fuel efficiency I’ve never imagined, almost twice lower than my Toyota MR2.
2. Police escort is the awesomsauce
It was my first time driving with police escort, felt like a real VIP. From KLCC to Mutiara Damansara, we were bullying our way through traffic, breezed through red lights and intersections. The cops were really pro and exhibited some awesome “standing on the bike and yell at drivers” as well as “cornering and pointing at cars” mad skills.
The escort service even managed to split the traffic jam at TTDI, everyone was looking at us with envy, it was priceless 😀
3. Ivan Khong has 3 arms and 4 eyes
Our lead car driver, Mr. Ivan Kong, must have at least 2 more eyes and an extra arm. This certified BMW instructor, who is also a former rally car driver was able to:
- lead a convoy of 6 pairs of noob drivers
- operate 2 walkie talkies
- report all incoming traffic in details (eg: a green Suzuki Vitara coming, he’s wearing a songkok, don’t overtake now)
- communicate with the support & sweeper car
- looked at our every moves (eg: car 4 and 5, stop playing with each other)
- and drive in excess of 120-180km on trunk roads
When I grow up, I want to drive like him. Thank you Mr. Ivan Kong for leading us on this amazing journey
4. Indulgence at Ipoh serves good food (mostly)
We stopped by Ipoh for lunch on the way from KL to Belum and back, on both occasions we went to Indulgence Restaurant, one of the classiest eatery you could find in this city. The place is quite posh, and food was served in big plates with pretty garnish.
I had the cod on the first day, and lamb loin on the next. The cod was good, and the lamb loin was really one of the best lamb I’ve ever tasted. However, Gareth and Suan’s chicken on the first day was a let down, and so was Kim’s salmon on the second day. The scallop was a bit overcooked too, but the tiger prawn and the pohpiah appetizer were brilliant.
Indulgence is at 14, Jln Raja Dihilir, 30350, Ipoh. Tel: 05-255 7051
5. the beemers’ handling is phenomenal
Not that anyone should try this, but we were doing in excess of 130 km/h around the bend on the road to Gerik, both the 3 and 5 series were fitted with Sports package and handled real well. The traction control came on a few times when we “tickle the throttle” a little too much, but it felt safe and it was exhilarating.
The photo of speedometer above, was taken by me when my partner in crime Cheesie was driving. Can I have a beemer please pretty please?
6. Belum Rainforest Resort is nice
Situated on the island of Pulau Banting overlooking Temengor lake, Belum Raiforest Resort is nice, the room were big and nicely decorated. Bed’s a bit hard but I guess that’s just up to your personal preference. It’s a perfect blend of nature and comfort. The staff were helpful and friendly too. I would love to go back there again.
7. Bamboo rafting is a tiring affair
The first thing we did on the next day was bamboo rafting. Now bamboo rafting is not very different from rowing a dragon boat, which was something I did during my high school days (we won 2nd place twice on state level, tqvm), but bamboo rafting with a hangover was quite a bit different.
Luckily lake Temengor’s water wasn’t too cold that particular morning. We had loads of fun and got sober up for the long drive back to KL ahead of us.
8. Aaron is a very good photographer
The photographer commissioned by BMW on this event, Aaron, was really professional and efficient. He worked tirelessly to get us all these awesome shots for two days, and we got all the photos in a tidy little 4 GB thumb drive at the 2nd last leg of the drive.
I managed to take a photo of him while he was taking that particular photo of me in car number 5. 😀
9. People at BMW held the best events I’ve attended
The level of luxury and attention to details throughout the entire event was nothing I’ve ever experienced. From the first day when our bags were tagged till we reluctantly bid goodbye on the second evening, nothing was left out, we had zero complain even if we try.
There was good food, awesome driving experience, good companionship, and even a few surprises thrown in (after dinner there were gifts left in all our rooms – external hdd and solar charger). It was amazing, I want to really thank BMW and Petronas for inviting us, especially Sashi who first contacted me.
10. Jenga is still the best party game there is
We had one of the best times at Belum Rainforest Resort, Gareth, Kim, Huai Bin, Robb, Michael, Sashi, Nadia, and I decided to play Jenga, the best party game. The person who causes the wooden tower to fall finishes a glass of drinks. Robb, as you can clearly see, didn’t do particularly well on that night and threw sick all over the balcony. Kim wasn’t in the picture cos she too, was completely knocked out after 2 glasses of champagne.
Other participant’s posts:
The BMW Eco Drive Experience – Diesel Rocks!
how a bimmer saved my life… twice
Tickling The Throttle (and other lessons learnt at the BMW Drive)
Eco-Bloggers Diesel Drive 2009 – The Diesel Myths
BMW EfficientDynamics – Day 1
Breakfast @ Mandarin Oriental and a police escort
At Belum Rainforest Resort, Celcom/Xpax’s network service was still working very fine despite it being a rather remote location. A certain telco, however, did not provide data service at that area, but those of us who are with Celcom/Xpax still managed to continue updating our tweets. As a reminder, you have until the end of December to enjoy Xpax’s double bonus (up to 16%) when you reload, check it out here.