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.
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.
There are three options to cycle to Penang.
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).
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.
After Lunas, there is a separate motorbike lane which makes cycling here safe.
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.
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.
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.
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 and St. Anne's Church
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