Posted: 22 Jun 2007 12:00 AM PDT
Living in north Malaysia one can not avoid going to Penang. I have been on and of cycling to Penang dozens of time by now. Sometimes local Malaysian look surprised when they hear I do that. In fact it's all not difficult. But is it a pleasure? Well, depending on from where you come, it's good to do.
Cycling to Penang from Pulau Pangkor
Pulau Pangkor is located about 190 km south of Penang. For most people 190 km is too much to cycle in one day. The good news is that there are a few towns in between Pangkor and Penang where you find hotels.
Leaving Pangkor, Sitiawan, where I live is nearby, there are two roads north to Taiping. One follows the road to Ayer Tawar and then Bruas, the second, much preferred by locals who drive a car, goes along the coast to Pantai Remis, 35 away from Pangkor, Here's a very nice and clean hotel. If you decide to take this road, there's a few slight hills on the way. The turtle breeding station near Segari is worth a stop.
Taiping is a really neat city. The Taiping zoo is a must visit, I think. The setting in the hills and the way the zoo has organized their animals is good done and it will give you a good day. The nearby Maxwell Hills and Lake Gardens are beautiful. After Taiping, you can cycle north, following road number 1. However, you do some nicer roads. Follow the direction to Kamunting and then to Gerik. You will follow the hills on your right hand. It's a pleasant and easy ride. After about 15 km you will follow the direction to Bagan Serai. This road is very quiet and swindles through the hills though is never busy.
At the junction with road 1, you can straight to Kuala Gula and Kuala Kurau. It goes through the flat lands and plantations. Kuala Kurau is 20 km from here.
In Kuala Kurau you have no choice, you have to go to Parit Buntar, there's hotels in town and follow road 1 to Penang. This is not a pleasant road to cycle. It's a busy road with lots of trucks and cars and follows many smaller towns before it comes to the junction to Bukit Mertajam.
Cycling in China, Yangshuo near Guilin
This road is less traveled by tourist but it's worth to do so. As a cyclist myself, I have done this road a few times up and down, so to say. If you have already seen Langkawi and want to go into Thailand a different way, this is an excellent opportunity.
I will skip how to cycle to Betong, you can read it here. Betong is the Thai border town in south Thailand. The town is small and little used by foreigners but many Malaysians from Penang and other areas in north west Malaysia come here regularly for shopping.
The border is 7km away from the city center. A cyclist needs to know the road from Betong goes all the way up, never steep though. The border is easy and quick. After the border you follow simply the direction to Butterworth, the mainland city opposite of Georgetown, Penang. Pengkalan Hulu can be your first stop, there's hotels and banks and only 7km from the border.
After Pengkalan Hulu the next major town will be Baling. Like Pengkalan Hulu there's hotels too and it's a pleasant overnight stay here. The town is surrounded by hills and there's some great walks to make in the surrounding. In fact, it's a much overlooked tourist area but worth a visit.
You will find some more serious climbing on the way to Baling. Although the road is not going very high there's a few short but steep parts. But as it usually goes, what goes, must come down too.
The closer you come to Penang, the busier the road and the less there is to see. Cycling to Penang from Betong is about 100km.
Cycling to Penang from the north
Cycling to Penang from the north is not recommended as it follows mostly big busy roads and there's not much to hold your breath. A nicer option is to take the boat from Penang to Langkawi and then a boat to Satun.
Bukit Mertajam junction to Butterworth ferry
Going into Butterworth is not a pleasant experience. There's one nice road in but it is hard to find, and even locals do not know it as it follows small roads where cars can't come. If you want to use this road, please email me.
Cycling to Penang is not for everyone
Cycling to Penang with Johan, near Pantai Remis
Cycling to Penang is not for everyone. It's a statement I hear every once in a while. I disagree. Why would it be easier for me than for you? A good example cycling to Penang is absolute possible for everyone is my journey with Johan, a 9 years old boy from Penang. Johan and I cycled the distance from Pangkor to Penang in 4 days, without a problem. Johan was cycling on a child bicycle with no gears. If he can cycle this distance, everybody can do it.Full Feed Generated by Get Full RSS, sponsored by Used Car Search.
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