HAVE you ever wondered how it would feel like travelling across Malaysia in a mobile luxury apartment complete with living space, kitchen, bedroom and even toilet?
Although uncommonly found in Malaysia, one visionary businessman has decided to bring the culture of mobile travelling to our shores.
Primma Sierra Holidays Sdn Bhd owner Chua Poh Kok, 45, who has been in the tourism industry for almost three decades, refurbished three of his tour buses into mobile luxury buses, thus giving them a new life and a new purpose.
His luxury recreational vehicles (RV), the first to be offered to the public, are inspired by a similar RV owned by Tunku Mahkota of Johor Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim.
On of the RVs - a Hino RK model from Hino Motors with 8,000cc - is fitted with three engines, comprising a RK engine, a Nippon Denso engine for the air-conditioner and a 25 kilowatt generator for the electrical system.
“The uniqueness of this bus is that it has three engines fitted and all the electrical appliances in this bus are Sirim-approved.
“It has a king-sized bed, bathroom, toilet, kitchen with electrical cooker, and a leisure place for the passengers to relax. We also have a karaoke set included for in-journey entertainment.
“According to our law, tour buses more than 12 years’ old cannot be used for that purpose. So, when I got the opportunity to drive Tunku Ismail’s RV during the 2014 Jelajah Kembara Mahkota, I was very much impressed with it, and was inspired to create a similar service,” Chua told NST Cars, Bikes & Trucks.
He said even though a bus was more than 12 years, its body (outer part) and engine might still be in a good condition for use.
The first to be opened for the public use, this bus is the only type of RV available in the region.
The RV weighs over 12,000kg and is 2.6m wide, 12m long and 3.6m tall. It can accommodate 12 people for a one-day excursion or eight people for overnight stay.
“This RV can be considered as a moving luxury apartment as it has almost every amenities that an apartment has and we have received a good response from the people.
“We have driven this bus to Cameron Highlands, Selangor and also many places in Johor. It has also served as an office for one of the district councils in Johor. They rented our bus to head to a remote area for the villagers to be able to settle some bills and also for land taxes payment,” he said.
The RV was also used by Kollywood superstar Rajnikanth when he was in Malaysia last year for a film shooting.
Chua said he planned to generate more income for the sector since the RV would be able to serve as an apartment for tourists interested in visiting remote areas or villages that may not provide accommodations.
The only downside is the RV does not have a category in the Land Public Transport Commission’s vehicle permit and could only be registered under a private vehicle permit.
“Due to that, the road tax for this RV is quite costly (RM6,750 per year) and this forces us to charge a high rental rate with a starting price of RM2,000 per day, inclusive of personal driver, toll and parking fees and other facilities,” he added.
Chua hopes the government would consider a new category to be included for the permit.
“If the permit is less costly, we will be able to charge the rental in a much affordable rate,” he added.