Cycling in Kedah, the eastern region
Cycling in Kedah is not the most obvious activity in Malaysia, I do admit. That is as long as you don't count Langkawi, one of the prime tourist destinations in Malaysia. But Kedah is more than Langkawi, much more. This page shows you some amazing roads in the more eastern regions of the province. For other cycling options in Kedah, check cycling at Langkawi and the road from Alor Setar to Sungai Petani and Butterworth/Penang here.
Baling to Sik/Sungai Petani
A very interesting alternative in Kedah is the road from Baling at north to Weng and Sik. Baling is located at the south east in Kedah, with Betong as the nearest Malaysian/Thai border crossing at 20 km and Betong town at another 7 km.
If you come from Betong, you have several option.
Penang and Sungai Petani are easy to reach in a day cycling. Should you want to cycle Betong-Alor Setar, you will have a very long day although it is possible.
You can stay a night in Betong. There are several hotels in the town center of which the Riverview Hotel and the Baling Hotel are the most moderate priced.
The road to Butterworth, as said earlier can be found here but we're going north, to Weng. This is a very quiet road that starts with limestone mountains on your left.
Cycle north out of Baling in the direction of Weng, 19 km north. The real name for Weng is Weng Dalam. Directly after taking the junction to Sik, the road goes shortly up but it's only a few km's.
Soon you reach Hutan Lipur Lata Meng Kuang, a small recreation park at the edge of the rainforest.
This is an excellent stop for not only the inside refreshment but also a nice cool bath in the cold water of the river. This is a good place to camp. There's a restaurant and drink stall for supplies.
Sik is not too far and you will cycle from the rainforest and rubber plantations quickly back into civilization.
There is a resort several km's out of Sik (east) and there is a homestay in town too.
From here you have 2 options: going north in the direction of Lake Pedu which is still another 55 km. (see the next section)
Going south and west leads to Jeniang and, if you want Gurun. From here you can either go north to Alor Setar or south to Sungai Petani.
If Sungai Petani is your destination, I would suggest a slightly different route. Follow the road to Jeniang and take the first road to your right (there is an ESSO filling station). This is an unmarked road that leads south and within a few km it ends at the K17 which leads to Kuala Ketil, about 20 km. Once in Kuala Ketil, take the junction (rd 67) and cycle another 20 km to Sungai Petani.
For those who prefer to go straight to Penang, as I did in September 2012, continue cycling south in the direction Kulim and follow now the road to Padang Serai, Tasek Gelugar and Sungai Dua which leads you the shortest way directly into Butterworth.
In September 2012, I started in Betong and cycled exactly this route, 165km long. It's a very doable and for the most beautiful route.
Alor Setar to Lake Pedu
Lake Pedu in northern Kedah is what some call "a brand new hot tourist destination". Fact is, there are few tourists, even Malaysians going this way and that is a shame. For that reason, I went to explore and see if it is worth the effort to cycle all the way.
The problem is not the roads, they're in perfect condition. The main problem is accommodation. Around Lake Pedu is a resort but it seemed to be closed.
The lake side is quite nice, there's a resort on the east banks of the lake but I am not sure if it is open or not. The nearest town, Kuala Nerang is still more then 35 km away and have some homestays.
One option is to go north to Durian Burung, which is an official international border although I doubt it has seen many foreign travelers. Nearest Thai city is Na Thawi (30km) but I have never seen a hotel in this little town. Hat Yai, Yala and Songkhla are your best options.
Other options for cycling in Kedah
Capital of the state is Alor Setar. The city looks bigger than it actually is. The city center is remarkably small. The center is formed by the Mosque, clock tower and surrounding buildings.
Alor Setar Mosque
Alor Setar got its name from an "alur", a water way that flows in the area and from the giant "Setar" tree found growing near the water way.
I do not have much with the city although I find the Mosque Square area nice enough. For travelers it is usually a stopover from the train (from Thailand) to Kuala Kedah for the ferry to Langkawi.
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