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Betong to Penang (Butterworth) via Baling (South Kedah)


The distance from Betong to Penang (Butterworth) is just over 110 km if you follow the main road (partly highway). But there are alternatives.

Does it mean you can not cycle it in one day? Well, I cycle it both ways in one day but you don't have to. Lets start in Betong after a day exploring Betong town, which is worth to do.

Cycling into Baling

From Betong to Penang, after 20km you will cycle into Baling

In the morning it's an easy 8 km up to the border, despite the climb. After the border it's another few 6km or so to Pengkalan Hulu. Just follow the direction to Baling. It goes a little up but you will get 7 comfortable kilometers all the way down.

Three options

There are three options to cycle to Penang.

  1. Follow road which at Kulim turns into a highway (the shortest way to reach Penang)
  2. Follow the road to Kuala Ketil (junction Sungai Petani/Kuala Ketil)
  3. Follow the road Labu Besar (K19) and further to Kulim/Bukit Mertajam

Options 2 and 3 are slightly longer. You may want to make a start for these two options after spending a night in Baling (2 cheap hotels in the town center: Baling Hotel and Riverview Hotel).

Betong to Penang, a nice and mostly reasonable quiet road
The last part from Labun Besar to road 67 and Baling.

Option 1: the main road to Kulim and Penang

The road goes out of Baling following the small #67 which after joining the highway from Gerik, becomes a wide 2 lanes road. For the most it curves slightly and is pleasantly quiet until you reach the Kulim Hightech Park. From here on the road gets 4 lanes and becomes highway.

The only "nasty" hill after Baling

Going down 7km from Pengkalan Hulu to Baling

After Lunas, there is a separate motorbike lane which makes cycling here safe.

From Betong to Penang... following the motorway a kampong near Penang

A village in between Lunas and Butterworth at the highway

Option 2: direction Kuala Ketil and Sungai Petani

A very nice road to cycle and for the most quiet and scenic as it passes local villages and plantations leads out of Baling the same way as described above. Several kilometers after joining the road from Gerik, take the junction to Kuala Ketil and Sungai Petani.

Follow this road to Kuala Ketil. You can continue to Sungai Petani which is 20 km further but I recommend to take the junction to Kulim and cycle to Padang Serai, Tasek Gelugor and keep direction to Sungai Dua.

The road from Tasek Gelugor to Butterworth
A small and hard to find little road leads from Butterworth to Bukit Mertajam

Option 3: direction Labu Besar, Kulim and Bukit Mertajam

As described above, follow the same way out of Baling and stay 25 km on the main road to Burtterworth. Take the junction south to Labu Besar and follow directions through the hills to Kulim. This is a scenic road with virtually no traffic. You will pass Malay kampongs where time seem to have had no effect.

on the road from Kulim to Labu Besar

This road passes several tiny villages until it joins the main road from Kulim to Mahang. This is my preferred road until you reach Kulim. From here you can choose to cycle to Lunas and keep directions to Sungai Dua on the north side of the highway or follow the road to Bukit Mertajam which, depending on time of the day is more or less busy.

The road to Labu Besar
The road to Labu Besar

On the way, you will pass a Chinese temple and St. Anne's church. After BM it's just finishing off the day to Butterworth and the ferry to Penang.

Chinese Temple Bukit Mertajam St. Anne's Chruch in Bukit Mertajam
Chinese Temple and St. Anne's Church

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