Discover the countryside of Penang Island in a fun way
There is much more to see in Penang Island than its Georgetown world heritage site, especially the countryside. My family and I had a memorable experience discovering Balik Pulau on bicycle through Explore Balik Pulau Guided Cycling Tour.
Balik Pulau is an agricultural village located in the outskirts of Penang. It is popular for its tropical fruit farms producing some of the best durian (either you love it or hate it) and nutmeg. Tourists take respite on the pleasant sight of nature and tranquillity from the usual bustling life in the city.
We arrived our destination at 4.15pm and met our tour guide, Eddie. He is friendly, knowledgeable and fluent in English. Eddie handed us our rental bicycle and ensured our bicycle saddles were adjusted to our comfort. We began our exploration shortly after our arrival.
Instead of cycling on the main roads, we weaved through pathways and alleys of small villages where cars were hardly noticeable. It gave us an opportunity to get closer to nature and a taste of life in countryside. We were allowed to make random stops and ask questions about our observation at any time during the tour.
Eddie pointed out to us several types of tropical herbs used in Asian cuisine planted by the locals. Some of the popular herbs include lemongrass, screwpine leaves, and torch ginger bud.
We stopped briefly at a vegetable plantation admiring different shades of green and coconut trees, a rare sight for urban dwellers.
On our way to a nearby paddy field, we passed by a small poultry farm and took a peek by the fence.
Horses by the water canal
We were also surprised to see two horses by the water canal.
I was amazed by the beautiful lush green paddy fields with rice grains ripening on stalks and ready to be harvested in weeks.
Stream meets the sea
Then we continued our journey to a fishing village and took a short break from cycling.
On our way back, we stopped by a mangrove forest.The mangrove swamp apparently played a vital role in reducing the impact of ocean waves from hitting the nearby village.
We made a final stop at Countryside stable for a brief visit. It is home to many beautiful and charming horses including a stallion.
Visitors can experience a joyride on horses while kids can ride on little ponies. Horse riding classes can also be arranged for those who are interested.
It was a wonderful experience exploring Penang countryside on bicycle. The total duration of the tour was approximately 2.5 hours to 3 hours depending on the group. Eddie was flexible with the time and ensured that everyone enjoyed the tour.