Johor Kaki Travels for Food

Food, people, places & overSixty lifestyle by johorkaki@gmail.com

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Drive, Eat, Play Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake Fish Sanctuary with Wheels for Fun

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

We had a wonderful time at Tasik Kenyir lake with Wheels for Fun in Malaysia's Trengganu state. Our convoy of 8 cars drove from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir via Kuantan, a distance of about 600km. 

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

Departing Singapore on 21 Sep 2019 (Day 1) led by Road Boss Chris of Wheels for Fun, we rendezvous at Kiang Kee Bak Teh near Kota Tinggi.



Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

Whether you are a fan of Kiang Kee's savoury herbal bak kut teh or not, it is the most convenient first stop for the 320km drive between JB and Kuantan, and further up north on the Peninsula east coast.

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

I like the taste of Kiang Kee's bak kut teh, and appreciate it that the boss is always there at the stall, so we can be sure about the consistency of his food. I also enjoy the unique kampung ambiance and there is always plenty of parking spaces (important when you are travelling in a convoy) at Kiang Kee.

Read more about Kiang Kee 👈 click

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

The drive took us along the scenic east coast of Johor with the South China Sea on our right as we headed north.

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

We made a couple of brief stops to stretch our legs, look out to the vast South China Sea in awe and listen to the waves rushing on to the sandy beach.

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

We reached Kuantan for lunch at Restoran Mexica Garden. It's not Mexican food but old school Cantonese style seafood and zhi char.



Some of Mexica Garden's dishes demonstrated the chef's flamboyance and innovative flare.

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

We enjoyed all the dishes we had at Mexica Garden, thanks to Chef Yee who is well known among Kuantan townsfolk for his culinary skills and much sought after as a judge in cooking competitions.



After lunch, Chris brought us to Kemaman Kopitiam for their famous white coffee. I love it - whenever I am in the area, I will not miss a cup of Kemaman white coffee 👍

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

We checked in at The Zenith Hotel which I like. The room is huge, clean, free of smells and the large bathroom comes with a bath tub. When I come to Kuantan again, The Zenith Hotel will be at the top of my mind for choice of accommodation.



The Zenith Hotel is right beside AEON mall.

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

We had dinner at Restoran Ping Xiang.

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

Ping Xiang is a Cantonese style zhi char restaurant. Nice fresh fish and dishes with dried seafood like sea cucumber, fish maw etc which Kuantan is famous for.

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

I like Restoran Ping Xiang's poached kampung chicken as the meat was tenderly juicy and had nice natural chicky sweetness. The gooey savoury sweet sauce however tended to mask the natural chicken flavours. Next time, I would request them not to slather the sauce over the chicken but serve it separately in a small bowl.

After dinner, we retired for the night at The Zenith Hotel.

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

After breakfast in the hotel (on Day 2), the convoy set off to Tasik Kenyir, arriving around noon.

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

At Taksi Kenyir we parked the cars in a secured car park at the jetty and boarded Impiana House Boat (one of about a dozen plying the lake).

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

Time for lunch on board as our house boat set sail.

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

All our meals on board were prepared by the friendly house boat crew whose main source of culinary inspiration are their mums 😊

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

The lunch was simple but any dish with fresh ingredients done home cooked style will please most people (and me for sure).




I love this ugly looking catfish dish simply cooked with soy sauce and fresh cut chili 😋

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

As our house boat glided on the still water at a leisurely pace, we enjoyed the splendid beauty of the vast lake. Tasik Kenyir is a man made lake created by damming Sungai Kenyir river in 1985. The lake has a water surface area of 260 km² which is ⅓ the size of Singapore (721 km²). The lake has 340 small islands, which were hilltops before the dam flooded the valleys. Tasik Kenyir is teeming with water life including Ikan Kelah (Malayan mahseer or Tor tambroides) which we come to see. (Source: Wikipedia.)

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

After over 3 hours sailing on the placid lake, we arrived and moored at Pulau Petang Resort.

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

Petang Island Resort was temporarily closed when we were there (it opens for conference or seminar bookings).

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for FunRoad Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for FunRoad Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

While moored at Petang Island Resort, we played in the lake.

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

At night, we sang, played games and just drank the night away.

It's quite cold at night on the lake, so do bring along a jacket/ sweater, blanket or long pants for sleeping. We brought along insect repellent but didn't really need it this time. Still, I would bring along as a precaution next time.

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

Sunrise at Petang Island Resort (on Day 3). The lake was shrouded in seasonal haze from plantation fires set in Indonesia.

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

We set off for the Kelah Fish Sanctuary in the morning, eating breakfast as the house boat sailed on the lake. Fortunately, the haze from Indonesia abated a little and the air was slightly fresher.

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

After a quick safety brief at the Kelah Fish Sanctuary office, we boarded small motor boats for the 5 minute transfer to the fish sanctuary itself.

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

Arriving at the sanctuary, it's a short, easy 30 plus minute trek to the fishes.

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

The trek took us through varied terrain, some steps, some inclines with leafy greens all around us - generally an easy trek.

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

Always loved walking among trees. It felt refreshing and uplifting, adding a little spring to our steps.

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

Wooden suspension bridge over a small river.

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

Looking down from the suspension bridge. It's the dry season and low tide. The waters are still in the meandering river.

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

A small stream on the way to the fishes.



Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

Almost there.

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for FunRoad Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

Finally, the fishes. It took quite a bit of effort by car, boat and foot to get here but it was all worth it once we got into the water with the fishes 😄😄😄🐟🐟🐟

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for FunRoad Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for FunRoad Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

Absolutely no one can resist getting into the water and swim bathe with the fishes.

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

Bathing with the fishes was the highlight of our trip and did not disappoint was beyond our expectations. Talk about fish therapy, this has to be the ultimate 😆

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

Ikan Kelah also known by its Hindi name Manseer is a species of the Cyprinidae or carp family. It is an omnivore which feed on algae, frogs, insects, small fish and fruits that fall into the water. Ikan Kelah is a prized food fish. (Source: Wikipedia).


Don't worry, Kelah fish are toothless - their bite felt like smooching with no pain and do not cut our skin. It just felt a little ticklish. You can hear loud smooching, sucking along with the thrashing sound of frenzied fish - is that gross or not? 😂 It's fun lah 😁

But, if you already come with an open sore, I would strongly advise not letting the fish chew on them.

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

After fun with the fishes, we back tracked to the little motor boats to take us back to Kelah Sanctuary office (where our house boat was moored).

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

After the Kelah Fish Sanctuary, our next destination was Sungai Saok waterfall - one of 14 waterfalls along rivers feeding into Tasik Kenyir lake.

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

Not the biggest waterfall in the area but the water was cool and clean.



It's really fun perching on the rocks and let the refreshing falling water splash on us - getting a water massage like in a natural jacuzzi.

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

We were moored at the waterfall for the night. Time for more dipping in the water and games. I learnt a new game call Rummy-O. It's quite fun and easy to pick up.

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

BBQ lamb, fish and chicken for dinner.

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

We arrived back at the jetty soon after breakfast (on Day 4). It's time for the 600km journey home.

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

Arrived back in Kuantan in time for lunch. We went back to Restoran Mexica Garden where we enjoyed our first night here and wanted to try more of their dishes. We had geoduck, soon hock fish, la la clams, etc. All the dishes were tasty and nicely done with fresh ingredients.

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

After lunch before pushing on to Singapore, we stopped briefly at Sin Kee Hung for dried seafood like fish maw, sea cucumber, scallops, salted fish and also bird nest. Kuantan dried seafood is known for its quality and competitive pricing.

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

From Kuantan we took a different route back to Singapore - instead of the coastal road, we took the route via Segamat and Yong Peng to join the North South Highway.

Road Trip from Singapore to Tasik Kenyir Lake with Wheels for Fun

We stopped at Yong Peng for dinner. Everyone agreed to have a small, simple bite at Yuan Yean Fishball Eating House before pushing on to Singapore. We had fish ball noodles and yong tau foo.

We cleared Singapore immigration at about 10pm.

 Johor Kaki Telegram


We had a great time with Wheels for Fun. The trip was well organised.


Though the journey is over 1,200km round trip plus 2 days of boat ride, the pace was leisurely with plenty of time to enjoy the places, food, and friends.


So many fish want to kiss me my feet 💋💋💋 Frolicking with kelah fish is truly a memorable experience.




Dates: 21 - 24 Sep 2019


6 comments:

  1. Interesting trip. What are the addresses and GPS co-ordinates of the various locations and hotels. Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the suggestion. I shall add the information

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  2. Are the fish allowed to be caught and cooked nearby?

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  3. Your post sure bring back fond memories.. many years ago (before the place got commercialised and the fish population dwindled) we went fishing at Lake Kenyir..went on a houseboat just like yours which took us all over the lake...man, the tomans were ferocious and the kelahs elusive. The waterfalls were fabulous for skinny dipping (all guys haha). Thanks for the memories.

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    Replies
    1. You are most welcome :-D Glad it brought back fond memories. Which year was that?

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