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24 September 2008

Road Trip-Bike Style!

By Amir Faezal

I observed that quite a few of AirAsia guests have flown with their bicycles. It is not uncommon for travelers to combine their holiday with cycling and in fact cycling does offer a fantastic way to see the places you visit.

For the benefit of those thinking of combining cycling with their holidays in Malaysia, you may want to consider the route which I recently took with my cycling buddies on our three day 450km road tour through some of the most scenic parts of rural Malaysia. It was a ride which took us from Kajang-Bahau-Kuala Rompin and finally Kuantan.

The Kajang-Bahau leg of the journey is a relatively short 130km ride which traverses the southern part of Malaysia’s Titiwangsa range. The route meant we had to climb Genting Peres, a mountain pass which has a short and sharp rise of 1000 feet in under 10km. The hills were misty as we soaked in the beauty of this desolate back country.

The interiors of the Negeri Sembilan state offers many rustic traditional Malay architecture. A fine sample is the Rumah Za’ba in Kampung Perdas which has been turned into a museum archiving his literature and artefacts. Za’ba (1895-1973) was a great man of letters who made great contributions to the country’s politics, education and sociocultural development. Traditional Negeri Sembilan homes have a short front door frame so that visitors will have to bow as they enter as a mark of respect for the home. This was how I got a massive bump on my head.

The second day was a long 180 km ride to Kuala Rompin. It was a scorcher of a day with ground temperature nearing 45 degree Celsius. I made many small stops and without fail the trike I was riding would draw a curious crowd.

It was 8pm before I rolled into Kuala Rompin and I was riding practically alone. The picture of the Muazzam Shah-Rompin stretch at dusk is simply breathtaking.

The final leg of the journey took us through the royal town of Pekan, the seat of the state of Pahang. The museum below used to be a palace and the architecture shows the influence of the British. The grandfather to the current sultan was one of the very few Malay royals who were bestowed a knighthood by Queen Victoria.

The fishing villages along the coastal route of Kuala Rompin to Kuantan are very charming, the people are modest but friendly. The kids as always will mug it for the camera.

For those intending to do a similar tour, there are many decent hotels along the way, failing which there are rest houses which often offer clean shower facilities and lodging. You can choose the trunk roads or with a bit of research and a good map, you can ride on B roads which is ideal. Plan to arrive at your destination at about dusk. The best times to ride are from 6am to 10am and 5pm to 8pm. The hottest part of the day is between 2pm to 4pm.

Other than in deep parts of palm oil plantations, there are many places to stop for food and to top up your water bottles. I highly recommend stopping to sample the local food. The locals would be very willing to give recommendations.

  • Earnpin

    Hi Amir, nice bike you have. Looks that it is going to hurt your back for long ride :)

  • Riki

    This bike remind me that you are doing sunbath and cycling same time. It’s very comfort but have to get use of the low angle view point.