From Penang to Pangkor
via Kulim, Mahang, Selama and Taiping
There are only a few roads to travel from Penang to Pangkor. I've done the roads described here several times and I prefer them over the main road via Parit Buntar, Bagan Serai and Taiping. It's hardly more kilometers to Taiping and a lot more scenic.
The road described on this page goes, roughly from Penang to Kulim, (Mahang), Selama, Taiping. Most travelers never see this part of Penang, Kedah and Perak.
Penang to Kulim
As a cyclist you can only leave Penang by ferry. The ferry goes regular all through the day. For cycling south, many cyclist choose to follow directions to Ipoh, following the highway to Bukit Mertajam.
Personally I don't find Bukit Mertajam so interesting and the road through BM is very busy and small, NO FUN. There are some sights worth to explore: the historical St. Anne's Church. The church is worth a visit, not in the last place because of Cheruk Tokun Relic, the oldest relic in the Penang vicinity. Should you want to cycle this way, check this page for details to make that road as good as it can be.
A better and more scenic way from Penang to Pangkor is ignoring this road (which leads to Parit Buntar, Bagan Serai and Taiping) and follow directions to Baling! Off the ferry, go directly left on the ... highway... follow this for a few km until you see the sign for Baling and Kulim.
This is the safer road out of Butterworth, even though you will cycle 20 km next to the highway (a few km out of Butterworth you will have your own bicycle lane).
It's 18 km to Lunas. Follow the road to Kulim, Serdang and Selama.
Kulim to Selama
There are 3 options from this point on but all lead to Selama:
Kulim - Selama via Mahang
This is my favorite road. You will pass many kampongs and palm oil plantations using the K115. It starts by passing the Kulim High Tech Park but soon you will leave the urban areas.
The road via Mahang to Selama is about 15 km longer than the other directions described later on this page. Around Mahang is an waterfall, a good spot for camping.
After Mahang it's another 18km to Selama on nice empty rolling roads.
Kulim - Selama via Serdang
Instead of using the Mahang junction, you can follow the K136 to Serdang until the junction Selama-Mahang: K907. From this junction it's still 12 km or so to Serdang.
The junction Selama-Mahang is 8km shorter than following the road to Serdang and from there to Selama (check also this page for more details).
The K907 is a very quiet road in excellent condition. It's a bit rolling but never difficult. You will pass many small kampongs. Keep on this road until you reach the end of it, left to Mahang, right to Selama. Around half way there is a junction to Serdang and Selama, skip this one.
Penang to Pangkor: from Selama to Taiping, crossing the railroad
with view towards the Taiping hills
Selama to Taiping
Selama is a two sided town. One part is Selama Kedah, another part is Selama Perak. They are separated by a little river. It's a sleepy little town with little to offer but there are a few nice places to eat and two homestays and a waterfall park!
There are two options to reach Taiping. The first leads directly to Taiping, 47km using the A7). The second one leads to Bukit Merah and is about 10km longer (details here).
Both roads are great cycling. The most direct road has 30 km following plantations and small kampongs. There are some points with rubbish dumps which are an attraction to monkeys. If they see you coming, they might chase you as they expect humans to carry food.
After 30 km you will arrive at the junction with the A5, go right and have another 18 km to Taiping via Kamunting left
Just before Kamunting there's an interesting pavilion to see: Balai Datuk Maharajalela, 6 km north of Taiping. It is one of the oldest buildings in Perak but I have never seen it open. Sadly it's all quite rundown.
The building is a typical traditional Malay styled kind of pavilion with 2 canons and a huge kris standing in the ground.
This building could easily be transformed into a serious tourist attraction of Taiping. But only the privileged few traveling from either Gerik or Kulim/Selama to Taiping will ever see a glimpse of the lost glory of this place.
After the Balai Datuk Maharajalela it's a a few kilometers to Kamunting. There are two ways to get into Taiping town:
The more scenic option is to go left. You will pass the army camp, already in use by the British before the independence, see Mr. Brain Paton's memories of his days as a British soldier in Taiping.
Going straight leads through Kamunting town center directly to Taiping railway station and into the city.
Should you take the road from Penang to Pangkor, via Mahang and Taiping, the distance from Butterworth to Taiping is 120km. If you cycle via Kulim and the K907 it's 105km.
If you take the trunk road via Parit Buntar and Bagan Serai it is 100km. But if you ask me, the longer road is worth the effort. And from Taiping to Pangkor, it's another 100km but that chunk of the road from Penang to Pangkor is described here.
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Special Hiking Tours in Penang
Join us on our special hiking tours in Penang. We will bring you around in the jungle of the Botanical Gardens. Our tours include:
8 Years old: Johan's 4 day journey , 250 km by bicycle
Johan was 8 years old when he cycled from Sitiawan to Penang, his home.
Map of Perak
15 km west of Taiping is a Mangrove forest reserve and a charcoal factory. Mr. Chuah lead us around in his family factory in Kuala Sepetang. It was worth both of my visits there
Taiping to Ipoh
Two roads are possible to cycle from Taiping to Ipoh, one is the #1 going to Kuala Kangsar and north out to Ipoh, the other leads through Bruas.
A third one goes from Kuala Kangsar south to join the Bruas - Parit road.