Cycling adventure tour in Perak Malaysia
For most people a cycling adventure tour in Perak starts in either Kuala Lumpur or Penang. On this page I will start the journey in Penang. We'll make a round trip and see what there is to see.
Let's say, you have arrived in Penang from Thailand (either via Langkawi or via Perlis and Kedah). Now it's time to explore more of Perak, bordering Kedah and Yala Province of Thailand to the north, Penang to the northwest, Kelantan and Pahang to the east, Selangor southward and to the west by the Straits of Malacca.
Where would you start your cycling adventure tour in Perak? Lets have a look at the possible destinations you would not want to miss. (check our map to help you out here)
There is an amazingly nice road from Penang to Taiping which is hardly traveled and which is worth the little effort extra to reach the lovely Taiping city. In fact there are several ways but the road through Kulim to Selama and Kamunting is nicer then the trunk road which is leading through a long stretch of urban jungle and busy roads.
Taiping is a lovely town with a good range of hotels and best of all, the Lake Gardens. The city is more than 100 years old and has its roots in the railway, the oldest in Malaysia.
Places to visit here are the already mentioned Lake Gardens, the Taiping Zoo, Bukit Merut or Maxwell Hill and the many food courts in town. There are also waterfalls around the city but they are mostly only known to locals.
The Taiping Zoo and Lake Garden are a great way to spend an afternoon with a short river trekking in the late afternoon.
Should you have time, go to Kuala Sepetang, 15 km west of Taiping at the sea side. Kuala Sepetang is a very interesting little village where you can explore the local charcoal industry and ask around if someone wants to take you into the mangrove forest.
You can do this also through the forestry department, on the right side just before you enter Kuala Sepetang town but their boat trips are short and show you hardly anything of the mangrove forest itself. These river cruises are absolute mind blowing.
For me Taiping is always a pleasure to be. The city has a very relaxed atmosphere but it does not get its share of tourists which the city deserves. Here's more about Taiping.
Taiping to Kuala Kangsar
Should you come from Betong in Thailand, then the road from Betong to Kuala Kangsar is described on my Betong to Kuala Kangsar page. But it is also possible to go to Kuala Kangsar from Taiping although this road is rather busy.
KK as it is also known was a former royal city. Just outside the town center you can see the Sultans palace and the beautiful mosque. The mosque alone is worth the effort to come here.
Although there's a few hotels in town, it's hardly worth to break your cycling adventure tour for an overnight stop. Ipoh is within reach. Should you want to stay here, I usually stay in the Double Lion, in the city center, cheap and good enough for me.
Take the old road which goes all along the hills to Kampung Setia and Sungai Siput before entering the northern part of Ipoh, the third city in Malaysia. From Sungai Siput it's all urban area, well known in Malaysia for its high quality pottery.
Taiping to Ipoh via Bruas
This is an interesting option with very good and quiet roads. Half way you could camp at Hutan Lipur Ulu Licin, just 5 km north of Bruas, 55 km from Taiping in the lush virgin jungle.
Ipoh, Kellies Castle and Kampar
To many locals, Ipoh is considered to be boring, a city for old and retired people. That view is not entirely correct as there is enough to do to keep you busy for a couple of days.
The old town center has some very good restaurants and Kopi Kedai coffee shops. Ipoh's white coffee is famous all over Malaysia. The Padang in the city center is a popular spot in the late afternoons for locals to play football or hockey.
Just outside the city you will find some beautiful Chinese cave temples as the Sam Po temple and Perak Tong temple. These can be easily visited when you continue cycling Ipoh's most famous attraction: Kellies Castle.
Another option in Ipoh is to continue to the cool Cameron Highlands, which is a long climb up to over 1500 meter altitude. The new road leads through an area with many Orang Asli villages.
Pangkor island is a little unknown gem for many foreigners in Malaysia. Just break your cycling adventure tour for a couple of days off at Pangkor Island, here's more about Pulau Pangkor.
From Ipoh, take the road to Kellies Castle and from there to Batu Gajah, make sure you do not pass the town center, as it is busy, there's a road all along the town which joins the main Ipoh-Lumut road.
A much nicer option is to continue to Kampar and visit the Gua Tempurung caves. Stay a night in Kampar and take the A180 and the A15 5o Kampung Gajah (not to be confused with Batu Gajah).
This leads through an area of abandoned mines which are now in use as fishing pools. There you can either continue to Bota Kiri and take the last 30 km or so to Lumut. Alternatively you can visit Pasir Salak and stay in Teluk Intan.
If you would like to visit Pasir Salak (an important place in modern Malaysian history and nice museum) and coming from Kampar, I would suggest you FIRST visit Pangkor and then take road #5 to Teluk Intan. This way you can easily continue south in the direction of Kuala Lumpur. See my page about cycling from Klang to Sitiawan and Pangkor island
Perak is worth spending some quality time. However, many travelers skip Perak because they don't really know what there is to see.
Pasir Salak and Teluk Intan
Pasir Salak is not only an interesting place to visit, it's also an important historical place. Located not far from Teluk Intan, you could make a day trip from Teluk Intan on your way further into Malaysia. And I would encourage you to do so. Here's more about Pasir Salak, where modern Malaysia took shape.
Teluk Intan is your base. This quite interesting city has more to offer in terms of the Leaning Tower, many old shop houses, the Raja Muda palace and the over 100 years old Hock Soon Temple. Get your bike and explore especially the areas along the river where you find many old houses showing the grand past of the city.
Accommodation and food
Accommodation in the main towns and cities in Perak is easy. In some smaller towns as Pantai Remis, Parit Buntar, Sitiawan etc. you can find good and sometimes dirt cheap hotels. Golden rule in Perak: at least every 50 km or so you will find a hotel.
Food is always available. During the Ramadan it can be difficult to get a meal in the kampongs as these are more Malay then the bigger towns. Ipoh is famous for it's Chinese food. Many people in Ipoh claim that their food is even better then in Penang, something which is heavily disputed in Penang, of course.
Nevertheless you can try some excellent dim sum, Ipoh noodles etc in the old town of Ipoh in one of the Kopi Kedai shops. Taiping has many very good food courts with a wide range of food. As all Malaysians are food crazy, a good meal is never far away, to me one of the pleasures of Malaysia!
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Map of Perak
Johan's 4 day cycling adventure tour of 250 km from Pangkor to Penang
Johan was 8 years old when he started his own cycling adventure tour from Sitiawan to Penang, his home.
South Perak does not include many places worth a visit but Teluk Intan should have your attention. Not only for the famous Leaning Tower but also for it's long and very visible history: