Group pic on first day of ride in Balik Pulau
Beaten track with padi fields in between and mountains from a distance in Balik Pulau
We were supposed to have 32 of us including me as the tour leader but one had suddenly taken ill, thus 31 of us at last count. There were few familiar faces in this trip. Michelle and Aaron who did twice with us, Philip and his wife who did thrice and this time, they brought their younger daughter, Amanda along, Ronald, his wife and daughter, Josslin joining second time too. Regular outdoor kakis of mine, power couple Tan & Jane and dainty Fenny were on this trip to keep me company throughout. Among the group, we had a group of 7 fun seeking men who are cycling buddies, 2 lovely sisters in Deirde & Deryne, a father & son team and 3 gregarious nurses. There were also 5 bloggers who were arranged by Star Cruises to shout out through their social media platforms as much as possible. Alas, Xuejing who had been doing the planning since our inception trip did not follow this time and the responsibility fell squarely on me 😓 😓😓.
For the first time, Penang cycling tour specialist from Mata Hari led by SJ mapped out the cycling routes and also provided ground support throughout the expedition. Save for Michelle and Aaron who brought their own bikes, the rest of us just rented mountain bikes from Mata Hari.
Our flight to Penang touched down at about 1130 hrs and by the time, we cleared immigration and customs, it was near 1300 hrs. SJ and his team were already there to meet us. Soon, we were transported to Balik Pulau for our first ride in Penang. Our previous rides in Penang were in the heart of busy George Town but this time, it was a completely different cycling experience. Balik Pulau is located in the rustic southwestern region of Penang island. It was an easy ride where we cycled past padi fields, streams, Malay kampungs and Chinese fishing village with the mountains in full sight. Easy ride aside, this ride also enabled the support team to identify those who will need help in our subsequent rides which can be challenging. We ended our half day ride in a goat farm before being transported to Equatorial Hotel for a good night rest 😄😄😄.
Goat farm in Balik Pulau
Group picture before taking the climb at Mount Jerai
At the summit of Mt Jerai
Huffed and puffed up the slope in Phuket
Group pic in Patong Beach before rolling off
View of Karon Beach from the top
When the ship came alongside the port at about noon time, we were transferred to Queensbay Mall to spend the afternoon lazing around before heading to the airport for flight home in the evening. On touching down at Changi Airport, someone I hoped to see at the airport was there to meet me. Home sweet home!
The four of us at the summit of Mount Jerai