Drive a motorhome and you will never have to worry about where to put up for the night on your trips outdoors.
“Wherever you go, you will always have a cosy, familiar place to bed down.
“It’s a sense of self-sufficiency and independence that is rare to get when you are travelling,” said Farman Osman, president of Malaysia Campervans and Motorhomes Association (MCAH).
Registered in 2019, MCAH has about 830 members and 80% of them have motorhomes or campervans.
The association is flexible and also welcomes those who are into car-camping. “But usually, every member eventually acquires a motorhome,” smiled Farman.
A campervan is typically small and has bed space for two.
A motorhome is larger, with bed space for at least four and even has a kitchen, dining area, toilet and shower chamber.
Although a minor hassle, Farman said the cassette toilet is the simplest thing to manage.
“Almost all motorhomes use cassette toilets with chemicals that break down human waste. When you get to a stop with proper toilets, just bring the cassette toilet from your motorhome and empty it,” he said.
At the simplest setting, Farman said it will set you back by about RM50,000, though most decent motorhomes are between RM80,000 and RM200,000.
“For all the bells and whistles, you can spend RM700,000 to RM800,000 for bus-size motorhome that sleeps at least eight. There are only two or three of that in Malaysia,” he added.
Farman opined that psychologically, a trait shared by those who love campervans and motorhomes is a passion for electrical and mechanical ingenuity and clever use of space.
“At day, you might have a dining table for four in your motorhome. At night, all that folds away and you then have bunk beds.
“The vehicle is a standard van, pickup truck or small lorry. That’s easy.
“But inside the motorhome are many ingenious gadgets and contraptions, so usually, motorhome owners tend to be handymen and tinkerers who are good at fixing and adjusting things.
“Our motorhomes are always a work-in-progress. There’s always something to improve in there,” he laughed.
Farman, who works as the administrative officer of Yayasan Negeri Sembilan, said MCAH members hold gatherings every week.
“It is just too easy for us to go on weekend breaks using our motorhomes.
“We can park at almost any beautiful beach or river, or in the highlands, stuff our fridge and cabinets with food and that’s our holiday,” said Farman.
But there are a few creature comforts that campervan and motorhome owners absolutely need, and air-conditioning is one of them.
“The reality in Malaysia is that as a tropical country, we have hot and humid weather.
“Before technological improvements, motorhomes come attached with a one-horsepower air-conditioning unit, which we power with a small generator at night.
“By 2020, China came up with portable air-conditioners that can be powered with 12-volt lithium batteries,” said Farman.
Today, solar panels on the roofs of motorhomes allow them to operate air-conditioning and refrigerators 24/7, he said.
The other necessity is water and there are two types.
Farman’s motorhome, which comfortably houses four and a maximum of eight when he pitches tents and cots outside, holds 10 litres of water for drinking and cooking and 150 litres for washing.
“We refill in petrol stations. In some stations, it’s free. In others, we happily pay RM5 to RM10 to re-fill,” he said.
The most precious thing about adventures by motorhomes, said Farman, is that it is a “family thing”.
“You make memories with your kids. When they grow up, they will want to do their own things but when your children are young, you all can go every where together,” he said.
With small, young kids, Farman said investing in a motorhome would be wondrous since space constraints would not be an issue with small children.
“With most motorhomes converted from pickup trucks, vans and small lorries, our standard D class driving licence for cars is enough.
“Only if you want a large motorhome exceeding 3.5 tonnes will you need an E-class driving licence,” he said.
To learn a little more, email MCAH at email@example.com.