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Cycling Malaysia

On the road. Cycling from Kuala Lumpur to Penang.

Here is a little report on my recent cycling trip from Kuala Lumpur to Penang, with some of my personal impressions from the trip. As well as some general tips for people who wish to do the trip themselves.

Cycling out of Kuala Lumpur.

I flew in to Kuala Lumpur from Denmark. The first couple of nights I stayed at a friends place in the Kuala Lumpur suburbs. A place called Putra Heights, which is sort of between central Kuala Lumpur and Klang. This was where I started my cycling trip from.

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is a nice city.

Cycling out of a big city can sometimes be a real pain. But I have learned over the years, to simply set a day aside for the project of getting out of the city. And then I just take it easy and try to be curious about the various suburbs I pass. Often on roads with way too much traffic for a cyclist. But I have learned over the years, that by not setting my sights too high, when it comes to how far I get that day,. I can enjoy that day of my travels in most major cities around the globe.

cycling Malaysian peninsula from Kuala Lumpur to Penang.

Cycling on one of the bigger roads on the west coast of the Malaysian peninsula, on my trip from Kuala Lumpur to Penang.

I ended up cycling to Kuala Selangor on my first day. This was a little further than I had hoped for, so I was happy. Once I got a few kilometers past the city of Klang, I found some smaller roads with little traffic, that ran almost parallel to the main road which was busy. This turned the last bit of the day in to a very nice cycling experience.

Malaysian food court.

Malaysian food courts are the best.

I continued up along the west coast of the Malaysian peninsula. Spend two days on a combination of roads with a fair bit of traffic and quiet country roads. I am a cyclist who is ok with some traffic on the road. As long as there is a good shoulder, that keeps the cars a little away from me. And most roads in Malaysia have fairly good shoulders. So I enjoyed the ride. I went up to the town of Sitiawan, which I had never been to before or heard anything about. I don’t really know if the place was pretty. But it was very lively and bustling. So I liked the place right away. Stayed in a nice and reasonably priced hotel, that was located only two minutes away from an open food court. Malaysian food courts have to be my favourite place to eat on this planet. So this could not be better located.

I might also add here that during this cycling trip around Malaysia, all my accommodation consisted of budget hotels that I found along the way. When cycling near the equator line, you have quite a bit of rain. Especially in late afternoon and early evening. This means that camping is often a pain in the butt if you ask me. And I love staying in small roadside hotels anyway.

Rain Malaysia.

Sometimes it really rains in the tropics. But the rain showers do not last for more than 30-40 minutes.

Bicycle lane Malaysia

Nice to see an increasing number of bicycle lanes in Malaysia.

Taking a detour to Pangkor Island.

Beach

Narrow but nice beaches .

I decided to take a little detour to Pangkor Island. Pangkor is a nice little island, that sees a fair bit of tourism. But mainly local Malaysian tourism. I did not come across a single westerner, during my 2 days on the island.  Pangkor has some nice small beaches and a few good places to stay and eat. I have more about Pangkor Island on this link.

Cycling to Ipoh.

I decided to pay a visit to Ipoh, even if it made my mileage from Kuala Lumpur to Penang a little longer. Ipoh is a nice old historical town, that has a really good vibe. Had Ipoh been located by the coast, then it would have been a major tourist town. But being inland, it only attracts moderate numbers of tourists. And this makes everything a little more pleasant for those of us who make it up there.

Ipoh.

Ipoh is a very pleasant city.

From Ipoh I cycled down towards Kuala Kangsar. If you are cycling that road yourself, then be ware that you can not cycle on the AH2 highway between Ipoh and Kuala Kangsar. It’s a busy major road, that also has some tunnels that you do not want to be cycling through, with thundering traffic next to you. But if you ope for the old road that goes via Chemut and Sungai Siput, then you will be fine.

One morning i had a flat tire in the town of Bagan Serai. I was just inspecting it as a young local boy called Azri drove by on his bicycle. He told me that there wa sa bicycle mechanic just 5 minutes walk away and offered me to show me the way. So I made a little stop at the local bicycle store at Bagan Serai, while making a few new cycling friends. I like stopping in places like this, as it’s always easy to converse with people, when you have an interest in common with them. As I was driving off from the shop, a group of young local cyclists, led by an adult trainer, drove by the place and picked up Azri for a day with his cycling friends. Nice to see that they have cycling clubs in small Malaysian towns like Bagan Serai.

Bagan Sarai

Young cyclist Azri, who helped me in Bagan Sarai.

Bicycle mechanic Kuala Lumpur to Penang.

The local bicycle mechanic in Bagan Serai helped me on my cycling trip from Kuala Lumpur to Penang..

The last few kilometers to Penang had some heave traffic. Penang is located right next to a fairly big city called Butterworth. Butterworth is very industrial. So there is a lot of heavy traffic in the city. But by taking it easy, it was no problem, cycling to the pier, where the Penang ferry left from. The ferry from Butterworth to Penang is very cheap by the way. I paid just 1,50 Ringgit for me and my bike. This is less than 50 cent. The ferry takes you right to George Town, which is in my opinion, the nicest place on the island. I will write about Penang in another blogpost, where I will also talk about cycling around Penang. But this is it for now. But bottom line is that I really enjoyed my cycling trip from Kuala Lumpur to Penang. Even if it had a bit of heavy traffic along the way.

George Town Penang.

George Town, Penang is always wonderful.

 

Festival Penang.

Yet another religious festival being celebrated in Penang.

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2 Comments

  1. Pankor Island looks beautiful. And how fun to meet the other cyclist even though you had to have a flat tire to meet them.

  2. Good report, I know the area fairly well but have never attempted to do it by bicycle. Thank you, George

  3. Pingback: Tips and advice for cycling Malaysia, based on my cycling trips in Malaysia.

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