After our 3 days at MotoGP in Sepang we went onto the beautiful island of Penang in Malaysia and luckily we have family over there who could show us the sights and help us gain as many experiences as we could in the few days we were there. One of the things we simply had to do was spend some time motorcycling around the island, it felt as though every twist and turn in the road was taken by someone on 2 wheels and we were keen to get out there and join them.
Having said that it is a completely different way of riding from what we are used to in the UK and Europe……. not sure you would see too many refuge collections being undertaken quite like this photo shows!! And as for collecting fish in the small port of Teluk Behang, this was maybe not how you’d see it being done in Brixham or Fleetwood!
It is obvious from riding around Penang that motorcycling is learnt from a very early age, we saw families riding 3 and 4 up on a scooter, all with huge smiles – talk about “lunch on the go”, this little girl was well tucked up between dad and mum enjoying hers!
One side of the island near GeorgeTown is very busy with motorbikes and scooters under and over taking to get through the traffic, but as you ride through Balik Pulau there is a much more open feel to the roads which climb out of Teluk Behang passing the reservoir and into a landscape of palm trees and lush vegetation. Part of our route took us along an idyllic coastal road with clear blue sea and white sandy beaches around every corner.
The joy of riding a motorcycle is that you feel as though you are in the picture and our senses were taken on quite a journey with the wonderful smells from the salt water of the ocean, to the aromas coming from the street food – one tip given to us though was to only buy food which is cooked in front of you, the flies certainly like to hang around food which has been left standing! As we climbed into the hillsides we were treated to the sounds of cicadas and even monkeys calling out from the treetops.
As we entered the towns and villages the hustle and bustle was evident and yet the Malay people seem to take everything in their stride, they always had time to wave hello as we rode passed them and when a rain storm did come in, they would find the first place to pull over and shelter whilst it passes, not for them the European way of riding through the rain……. mind you for them they do at least have the advantage of knowing that within 15 minutes the rain will have stopped and a further few minutes later the heat will have dried the roads out 🙂
We had the opportunity to spend 2 days riding around the island and would have loved to have had more time to maybe try out the new bridge connecting Penang to the mainland which spans 17 miles over the sea and even has it’s own dedicated lane for motorcyclists, but that is something we will have to plan in for our next visit. We are also looking forward to riding more of the roads on the mainland of Malaysia and we hope to return there soon. If you do have the opportunity to ride over there we’ll happily share with you some ideas of where to visit and who knows….. maybe it will make a great destination for one our future tours???? 🙂