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  #1  
Old 27 Nov 2011
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Any tips on motorbiking in Penang, Malaysia?

Hi everybody,

in two weeks from now i'll be in Malaysia for work and will have a free weekend in Penang area.
Really want to get on a motorbike that weekend so did a bit of research and found out that scooters (110cc) can be rented in Chulia street, bigger bikes seem hard to find.

Is there anyone who has been riding in the Penang area? Any worthwhile tours or scenic roads that you can recommend? Anything i shouldn't miss in terms of sights, food, drinks ?
Wanne get the most out of that weekend, getting a bit tired of the cold here in Europe.

Greetings and travel safe,

Koen
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Old 27 Nov 2011
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Just doing a circumnavigation of the island is a lot of fun.

Batu Ferringhi is where the beaches are, you can also visit the snake temple, waterfall, pineapple plantation, botanical gardens, etc., etc. - you will find all the info you need, including a map, in the free tourist info at the airport or your hotel.

I've rented bikes many times in Malaysia - biggest you will find is a local 200c Kawasaki engined cruiser (it's called a Jaguah or similar) but I find the 100cc Karisma scooters are the most fun and have more than enough power to carry 2 people up to an indicated 100kmh.

If you are feeling adventurous you could cross the bridge (or take the ferry) to Butterworth - it's then only a 4 hour ride to KL.
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Old 28 Nov 2011
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Penang is quite small, you can easily go round it in one day.. (but maybe it´ll do for a weekend, if you don´t plan to ride all the time). The beaches didn´t seem so spectacular – we weren´t really searching for them, though.

Cameron Highlands isn´t too far away, that was a nice break from the oppressive heat, with the tea plantations reminded me of some hill stations in India actually, and some very curvy roads, with a nice surface. The main road between these two is also very good, and free for 2-wheelers (or at least it was), provided you ride around the toll stations... But I don´t know if I´d care to do that trip in just one weekend from Penang. A few extra days surely wouldn´t hurt.

Our experiences from almost 4 years ago here:
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Old 28 Nov 2011
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As others have said, you won't find big bikes for rent in the tourist areas of Malaysia, but the little scooters are a hoot. It has been years since I was in the area so can't give useful current info, but I remember Georgetown- good Chinese food, it's now a world heritage site, so worth putt-putting around to check out. It was mostly Chinese, and a bit touristy but interesting colonial architecture if that is of interest. Batu Ferringhi is where the beach crowd goes, I would rather ride. I remember a tram ride to the top of the mountain that looked fun, a national park and butterfly garden that is sort of a big netted area that was actually fun to walk around in. The island isn't that big, but if all you have is the weekend then you can take your time and tootle around. Personally I would get on one of those little scooters and ride the wheels off of it head across the bridge through Butterworth and up to the cool Cameron highlands . Reminded me of Shimla and the hill stations and tea plantations in India. Lots of great roads up there.

Have fun!

Cheers,
John Downs
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Old 29 Nov 2011
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Thanks!

Hi all,

thanks for the replies, even more excited now to get on a bike over there. Since my time will be limited, I don't plan to start a difficult search for a bigger bike but will go for one of those 100cc scooters.

I've read somewhere that these rental scooters are only insured for the island so I'll probably not cross the bridge. Besides, I like to take life a bit slow so for a weekend Penang will be big enough . Haha, I already booked my hotel for the weekend very close to Chulia street, guess my contact person for work doesn't understand why the location is more important than the size of the room for me...

Now all that is left to do is to fit my helmet in my luggage (difficult to find a helmet with that big head of mine). Allright, ready to go .

Thanks again everyone! Safe travels,

Koen
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