By Vishnu Krishnan
Throttle heads, gun your engines because we’re taking you across the best and most scenic bike routes in Malaysia.
Malaysia, despite being a small country, has thousands of kilometers of paved roads that meander and criss-cross through small towns, cities, rural areas, coastal roads and majestic mountainous and forested regions.
A useful map for plotting the first leg!
Starting in Kuala Lumpur, head north on the Gombak MRR2 highway and cut off at the Genting Highlands exit. You will know you are on the right path if you bypass the large golden statue of Murugan on your left at Batu Caves. If you’d like to make a pit stop here and check out the marvellous Batu Caves Hindu temple, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
As you ride up the Kuala Lumpur – Karak Expressway towards the foothills of the highlands, this is where the fun really begins. Once you pass the Genting Sempah checkpoint (they have lovely local food to sample and is the last major gas station for the stretch) the gradient will get serious and the temperature drops.
Near the summit of Genting, make sure you check out the Chin Swee Caves Temple filled with pagodas and Taoist motifs that is best seen at night when the red lanterns are lit.
At the peak you will reach the Hotel-Casino complexes. From here you, cruise back down to the Bentong exit. Beware of the winding roads, slippery gravel and mist. The Bentong trail is a beautiful mountain road surrounded by lush forests and wildlife. One major attraction here is the Sungai Chilling waterfall.
Follow the gorgeous mountain road all the way up to Fraser’s Hill which is known for its scenic, rolling green hills and chilly weather. If you aren’t done with the climbing yet, jump on the Ringlet — Sungai Koyan Highway or Route 102 for another 186km to the even more beautiful
Cameron Highlands. Strawberries and tea anyone?
Next, move further north to one of the most scenic routes in the country, the Gerik or East-West Highway. Starting at exit A171 or the town of Gerik, this 128km pilgrimage is a must for all avid bikers. Along the way to the small town of Jeli, you will go through a mountain trail with soft gradients and smooth curves. If you are lucky, you may spot wild elephants.
Our pachyderm friends can sometimes be seen on the Gerik Highway!
From Jeli, travel on Route 4 via the East West Highway to Kota Bharu to commence the longest stretch of the journey, the Kota Bharu to Rompin coastal road.
While you are in Kota Bharu be sure to sample some of the scrumptious local delights such as Nasi Kerabu.
From Kota Bharu, ride 490km south along the E8 via the East Coast Expressway to Rompin. Along this path, you’ll see dozens of fishing villages, small coastal Kampongs, paddy fields and of course the South China Sea. Be mindful of rainy season as the East coast can be treacherous between October and March.
The ride itself is generally tame and relaxing, but there’s much to see and check out along the way, especially through the Terengganu coast which is full of seafood stops.
The scenery along the coast is amazing on E8!
Once you reach the forested region of Rompin and stay the night on the beach, we’ll end the journey with a 292km cruise back to KL via Route 11. These roads are well maintained and provide a smooth journey returning home.
Do you know of other scenic roads and beautiful stretches of highway? Let us know on Facebook @malaysia.travel.my