The tips and advice for cycling Malaysia are based on my 2400 kilometer bicycle trip around the malaysian peninsula in june/july/august 2012.
Cycling on the roads of Malaysia.
Cycling on the roads of Malaysia on the malaysian peninsula is generally good and you mostly have nicely paved surfaces with a decent shoulder, so that you are not too close to the cars.
The urban areas do not always have a shoulder, so they can be tricky to cycle, but once you are out on the roads between the main cities in Malaysia, then you are generally on good road surface with good shoulders.
Cycling is a popular sport in Malaysia.
Cycling is a popular sport in Malaysia and it’s a growing sport and I was often stopped both by malaysian cyclists as well as bicycle enthusiasts stopping their car to have a chat with me. This is one aspect that makes Malaysia a pleasant country to cycle in. Always nice when you are surrounded by people who like what you are doing.
Finding accommodation when cycling Malaysia.
I generally found that Malaysia has a really good range of accommodation all over the country. The good thing about Malaysia in this aspect is that Malaysia is a middle class country where most people can afford to go on holiday, so you have many local tourists around the country, so it’s not just in places that are popular with foreigners that you find hotels.
The east coast of Malaysia generally has less accommodation because there is less tourism due to the many oil fields you have along the coastline. The oil industry creates some hotel industry for oil industry people, but be ware that these places can be quite pricey. But all in all you should be fine and I always managed to find a hotel for the night during my bicycle journey around the Malaysian peninsula.
Cycling in Malaysia during ramadan.
I was cycling in Malaysia during ramadan and I was wondering whether this would pose a problem in terms of getting food and drink, as it was ramadan while I was cycling up the malaysian east coast, where more than 90% of the population is muslim. I am not an early riser, so I am quite depending on having some food served between 9am and 11am before I hit the road. I did not have any problems though and there was always a place to eat and drink and there were actually a few malaysian staffed places too, where they served food during daytime hours. The staff at these places did probably not eat themselves, but they were still selling the food to those who were not fasting. But most places serving food were chinese owned and even if the chinese population on the malaysian east coast is not that big, it’s big enough to serve those who do not fast during ramadan.
A great book to read before cycling Malaysia.
Right as I was starting my cycling trip around Malaysia I found a book in a Kuala Lumpur bookstore called “pedaling the peninsula”. It’s written by malaysian long distance cyclist Sandra Loh who has created a really good book about her bike trip around the peninsula that is both an entertaining read and also a book with a lot of very useful advice, so I would strongly recommend that you get a copy of that book before you take off. I found it to be very helpful as well as a good read along the way.
Buying a bicycle in Malaysia.
I have on two occasions bought a bicycle in Malaysia that I used for touring. Both times I bought the bicycle in Penang where you have a street right next to the Komtar tower, where you have several bicycle shops, so it’s usually possible to get a good deal on bicycles in George Town, Penang. I am not the kinda person who buys a fancy bike when I go touring. The bikes I have bought in Penang has cost me around 300 US dollars both times and both bikes have taken me several thousand kilometers without having any major technical problems.