THE key to a good road trip, apart from great company, is a comfortable ride.
After all, you will be spending a lot of time on the road.
Recently, 10 of us headed to Kuala Selangor for a day trip organised by Honda in the Honda CR-V 2.0 and the Honda CR-V 2.4.
At 8am, we gathered at Centrepoint, Bandar Utama to get acquainted with the cars.
We agreed to take turns to drive both vehicles and my pick for the journey to Kuala Selangor was the CR-V 2.0.
The exterior of the CR-V can be quite intimidating but once inside, you forget its larger-than-life impression as it feels almost like a sedan.
Inside, the first thing that caught my eye was the rather large speedometer.
Smack in the middle of the CR-V’s cockpit, in a cave-like location, is the reverse camera.
As the reverse gear is engaged, the camera is activated and a warning message “Never depend solely on camera” is displayed.
This is quite ironic as Honda did eliminate the reverse sensors in the first few batches of production.
After much feedback from CR-V owners, they decided to include the sensors in subsequent productions.
There are two ways to get to Kuala Selangor — the trunk road and via the KL-Kuala Selangor Expressway (Latar).
The trunk road is about 5km longer and not as smooth and wide as the Latar highway.
In other words, perfect for a test drive.
However, eager to get there quickly, I drove straight onto the Latar and we arrived at the foot of Bukit Melawati in an hour.
The ride was smooth thanks to the relatively new expressway and the cozy interior of the CR-V.
On weekends, cars are not allowed to drive up Bukit Melawati.
You can walk up the hill for free or pay RM5 (RM3 for children) and hop onto a tram that goes up every half an hour.
At the top, there are old cannons and historical foundation stones, a Poisoned Well and the Royal Mausoleum which is the final resting place for the first three Sultans of Selangor.
You also have a panoramic view of the town, the delta of the Kuala Selangor river and far ahead, the Malacca Straits.
We enjoyed the view and also fed the silver-leafed monkeys and long-tailed macaques with food purchased from a vendor there.
We then walked down the hill, which only took 10 minutes.
The ticket for the tram includes the entrance fee to the Fresh Water Fish Park which is at the bottom of the hill.
There were about 20 aquariums with various types of freshwater fish such as arowana and alligator gar fish.
There were also other animals in rather small cages such as a pair of peacocks, a rooster and a few pigeons.
It was soon lunch time so we headed to Pasir Penambang, a Chinese fishing village about five minutes drive from Bukit Melawati.
We had lunch at a seafood restaurant here and while the seafood was fresh, I have tasted better in Teluk Gong.
Many people from the city come to Pasir Penambang to buy fresh fish and seafood.
The Honda team were nice enough to bring ice boxes in case any of us wanted to do so.
The CR-Vs have enormous cargo space so there really was no limit to our shopping. In fact, a CR-V can fit up to three mountain bikes if the rear seats are folded.
Even with the rear seats propped up, the available space is enough for about four to five 10kg bags.
After shopping, it was time for eagle-feeding. For RM25 per person, we got into a boat and were taken down the Kuala Selangor river.
Several metres down the river, the boat guy threw some raw pieces of chicken into the water. It didn’t take long for a couple of eagles to swoop on them for lunch.
We also saw some egrets and monitor lizards on the river bank.
By the time we were done, we were sunburnt and perspiring.
We hopped right back in the CR-Vs and it was then I realised what a difference the rear air-cond vents made!
No more fighting with the front-seat passengers over four air-cond vents, especially in this hot weather.
Our last pit-stop was Pantai Redang, a short stretch of beach in Sekinchan.
While it’s not exactly the best place to take a dip because of the numerous rocks and broken seashells, it is a nice place to relax and unwind under the shady trees which have hammocks and swings cleverly constructed using plastic chairs and rope.
One of the huge trees, known as the Wishing Tree, is quite a pretty sight with many red ribbons hanging from the branches.
It is situated beside a small Chinese temple where you can get the ribbon.
You then write your wish on the ribbon and throw it up until it latches onto one of the branches.
We finally bade goodbye to Kuala Selangor and headed back home just as the sun was setting.
For the journey back, I got to ride in the CR-V 2.4 — the more exclusive version.
The “cool” features of this version include leather seats, which are known as 8-way power driver seats as they can be adjusted with just one switch.
It also features a Smart Entry System, better known as keyless system, where the engine is ignited by a push-start button.
Sitting on the passenger’s seat this time made me realise that the foot space was just nice for me, which means anyone taller than 5ft 5in (165cm) will have to move the seat further back, possibly reducing the knee room of the passenger seated behind.
We decided to take the trunk road this time with the help of the built-in navigation system.
The grounded and stable feeling while tackling the winding roads and sharp corners made the drive a breeze.
Incidentally, the CR-V recently had a full 5-star rating under the Asean New Car Assessment Programme’s crash test, reaffirming it as one of the safest cars in its segment.
Although the tourist spots in Kuala Selangor could do with some much-needed upgrade and maintenance, the trip was exciting thanks to the great company and the chance to test both the Honda CR-V 2.0 and 2.4.
As the saying goes, sometimes, it is about the journey, not the destination.