Explore cities or countryside at a leisurely or challenging pace as you cycle around and visit attractions in an exercise-fueled, eco-friendly manner. A fair warning though – Malaysia, although undeniably beautiful, can get pretty hot and humid, even for those used to tropical weather so stay hydrated through the many delicious local beverages specially designed to keep you cool on a sunny afternoon. We introduce some of the best places to cycle in Malaysia, ranging from day trips for the easy goers to cross-states for hardcore cyclists.
Penang itself is a beautiful island full of nooks and crannies rich with all kinds of history and scenery, but this particular route is not often traveled. Kicking off from one of the most spectacular Buddhist temples in Southeast Asia, the Kek Lok Si temple, this trek takes you into the little road through the jungle that leads up to the Ayer Itam Dam, where you can disembark to go on a hike, or continue on spiraling asphalt roads and backyard cement roads all the way to Balik Pulau across the island. Stop by the modest Ngoh Han Hill temple, where the best view of the island is to be found. The entire adventure is over 12 km, so pace yourself accordingly, and watch out for motorbikes and slow walkers.
Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM), Selangor
One for nature lovers and the little more adventurous, biking trails in this patch of rainforest reserve are a peaceful journey into the thick of nature. Explore the many terrains a tropical forest can form, and revel in the ambiance of life away from the hustle and smog of the city while learning about native plants and insect life. FRIM is more suitable for mountain biking than casual cycling, so be careful in making your way about the pathways and make sure when renting bikes on site that the bicycles are in acceptably good working condition. Look out for the little waterfalls along certain trails, and bring lots of insect repellent to avoid being a snack for the mosquitoes and leeches.
Taman Botani Negara Shah Alam (Bukit Cahaya), Selangor
A popular spot with the locals in Klang Valley, Taman Botani Negara Shah Alam, also known as Bukit Cahaya is a specially curated spot for simple outdoor activities and exhibiting patches of original rainforest as well as greenhouses housing special plant life for different soils and climates. Combining a park, a dam, many gardens, a mini zoo, and an adventure park, the botanical park is not short on entertainment for the whole family. Visitors can opt for either cycling round or taking the free tram to save up energy for the more action-orientated areas.
Instead of carefully plotting your way around this historical city on foot trails, try renting a bike from one of the pop-up stores cashing in on this fast-travel method and zip your way around in double time, visiting twice as many places all over Melaka’s center. With the many alleyways and hidden gem shops to stumble upon, cycling may be the best way to get around as you can go as slow or fast as you like. Keep in mind that some areas will have quite heavy traffic and not many places offer space to park bicycles as cycle touring is still a fairly new concept here. The best idea is to keep the rented bike within sight upon disembarking and ask politely to park your ride out of the way.
The largest and most densely packed with the oldest rainforest life in the world, Sarawak is full of places yet to be accessible by car roads, making it the most amazing place to traverse by bicycle. With many indigenous villages, natural reserves and animal rehabilitation centers to visit, cycling around the state may take some experience and tenacity, as getting around purely by bicycle is no easy feat. From the capital city of Kuching to the Semenggoh Orangutan Reserve and the Sarawak River, an all out cycling journey to these beautiful sites can be well over 250 km, so prepare yourself for a lifetime experience like no other.
While very much like its lush neighbor Sarawak, Sabah is also full of mountainous regions, and the scenery is absolutely breathtaking. Imagine cycling up or down a countryside road and getting the best views of the amazing Mount Kinabalu and the South China and Sulu seas. With lots of local life to meet and even more terrain to explore, enjoy the laidback atmosphere and the type of serenity that is hard to come by on Peninsular Malaysia. Cycling at leisurely pace will give you more time to appreciate your surroundings and the beautiful nature of Boreno island.