In the blink of an eye, 2020 is already upon us. While some of us are ready to set our goals for the new year into motion, some others might still struggle in finalising those resolutions. As we usher in Visit Malaysia Year 2020 which promotes eco and experiential tourism, here’s an idea: take up cycling! Not only is it eco-friendly, it also allows you to discover new places while keeping fit.
I’m sure many of us are aware that Malaysia boasts about its beautiful beaches and its tropical rainforests which are believed to be amongst the oldest in the world, but do you know that we also have pretty awesome cycling trails for enthusiasts and hobbyists to explore? Here we highlight some spots you can try this year.
Putrajaya needs no introduction when it comes to the biking scene. The well-planned and spacious areas around the federal administrative capital of Malaysia is quite well known to be a biking haven for cyclists. With picturesque views of the Putrajaya Lake, Putra Mosque and the futuristic Putra Bridge in the background, cyclists can also be assured of safety as there are dedicated bike trails which makes Putrajaya a great training spot for children.
BOTANICAL PARK, SHAH ALAM
Home to the largest botanical park in Malaysia with 1,295 hectare of tropical rain forest and agriculture park, Shah Alam allows cyclists to ride freely without the fear of bumping into cars not only in the Shah Alam Botanical Park, but also in areas in Section 4, 5 and 14 where dedicated bike lanes are installed. You won’t be bored as the area is covered in greenery and iconic landmarks such as the famed Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Mosque to keep you entertained along the route.
DESA PARK CITY CENTRAL PARK
It is almost impossible to go through lists of cycling spots in Malaysia without coming across Desa Park City Central Park. This pet-friendly park provides a 9-foot-wide pathway for cyclists to roam around the park, which is also home to a man-made lake and a playground which makes it an ideal hangout spot for families. The laid back atmosphere and flat ground is perfect for casual cyclists or those who are just starting to get into the habit. Located less than 20km from the Kuala Lumpur city centre, the park proves to be a hit amongst the locals in the neighbourhood with the number of turn ups, especially during weekends.
FOREST RESEARCH INSTITUTE OF MALAYSIA (FRIM)
If you’re ready to start pedalling on more than just flat pavements, FRIM is your best bet. Located away from the city centre, FRIM allows you to escape the urban and enter the natural world where you’ll be surrounded by lush greenery and hilly areas to up your manoeuvring skills. Bicycle rentals are also provided here including mountain bikes which may help you navigate through the uneven terrains. To add to the appeal, you can also go on hiking, bird watching and camping here.
GENTING SEMPAH, PAHANG
Beginners, you may want to keep this for later as this route, which spans a distance of 30km is not for the faint of heart. As it sits on the mountain pass and is a far cry from the dedicated bike trails in the park, this treacherous trail takes you from the point near the Gombak Orang Asli Hospital all the way to the flyover leading into Genting Sempah, a transit town on the border of Selangor and Pahang.
TELUK BAHANG AND BATU FERRINGHI, PENANG
Malaysian author, the late Rehman Rashid, who was also an avid cyclist, shared his top pick in Penang: the Round-Island Route, which is an 82 km ride that traverses George Town’s Pengkalan Weld to Bayan Lepas and onwards to Balik Pulau, before climbing over the hills to Teluk Bahang and Batu Ferringhi, heading back to George Town through Tanjung Bungah and Tanjung Tokong. The route is estimated to take around 5-6 hours to complete for the more moderately fit cyclists.
DANUM VALLEY, SABAH
As one of the prominent centres for rainforest research establishments in South East Asia with a vast biodiversity, Danum Valley offers a myriad of activities like trekking through the rainforest and diving into the natural pool of Serpent Waterfall. For the more adventurous, cycle your way into the valley and discover Bornean jungle while navigating your two-wheels on the challenging hilly areas.
BORNEO HIGHLANDS PADAWAN, SARAWAK
If you’re a naturalist looking for nature friendly places, Sarawak will not disappoint. One of the hotspots that will take you closer to the sky is the route up Borneo Highlands in the district of Padawan. Cycle your way up the mountain along the Penrissen summit and the Plateau route, and emerge on top of the highlands for a breath-taking view of the lush hills and greenery as your reward.
It might take a while for us to compile (not to mention covering hundreds of pages!) a comprehensive list of all the cycling spots in Malaysia. The best way to know which routes work for you is for you to go out there and explore! Share with us your favourite spots in the comments below.