Cycling to Elephant Rock (Bukit Batu Gajah)

Cycling to Elephant Rock in Senai Johor. This was what 14 of us did early September 2022.

We have seen the various trips undertaken by other cycling kakis, and the mesmorising green palm oil plantations from the top!

Elephant Rock, also known as Elephant Hill Rock is located at Senai, Johor. The official name is (Bukit Batu Gajah 柔佛州泗隆象石山).

Actually, this rock is more popular with hikers than cyclists.

Elephant Rock is about 40km from customs, and take note of the almost 1000m elevation (aka slopes) from my Strava screenshot. This tour is challenging for new riders, build up your fitness with slope trainings first.

Refer Google Map screenshot below, follow my GPX for links and tips to reach trailhead (gpx link). (Viewing experience is better on Desktop rather than mobile phones).

Tip 01 Refer to our Cycling to Elephant Rock YouTube clip below.

In summary we headed towards Elephant Rock, then Eco Spring for lunch before heading back (passing Mount Austin).

0600 set off from Esso Woodlands Road.
Took our customary photos at Causeway.

0730 Breakfast at Kedai Xuu Yau . Shop is very low profile, my favourite wanton noodle.

Kedai Xuu Wanton Noodle JB

Tip 02 Route J3 slopes!

Good workout for us, up down roller coaster slopes for up to 8km. The toughest parts are after Larkin Bus Terminal, sapping our energy.

For chaps who wish to explore beyond Johor, Larkin Bus terminal is where you hitch a ride to Malacca, Selangor, Mersing, Terengganu etc!

In comparison, J3 slopes are easily x2 x3 times tougher than Mandai slopes.

Actually the slopes begin once you touch J3 along Taman Merdeka (park). Checkout 30s from my YouTube clip . Good training 🙂

Endless slopes J3 route Johor

The slopes get easier when you are nearer to Starhill Golf and Country Club (or maybe we are numb already).

Do look out for two HUGE Boeings at the parking lot! (GPS estimate 1.558578, 103.713771). This is in Kempas neighbourhood.

Johor Kempas Boeing aeroplanes

Retired Boeings! Just curious who parked the planes there, and for what purpose?

Tip 03 Pitstop before Elephant Rock.

From the aeroplanes corner, we would recommend having a pit stop at Kampong Maju Jaya (GPS around 1.581363 103.718755). There are 3 to 4 coffeeshops here and a few convenience stores.

Take note road condition along Kampong is more bumpy and has more pot holes.

Refill your water, clear your bladder. You are less than 10 km from Elephant Rock. We noticed there are some roadside stalls selling drinks and snacks but we gave it a miss (would be cool to grab some coconuts).

Oh, we found out Kampong “squatting” toilets are clean 🙂

Tip 04 Trailheads and access

There are actually two trailheads to submit Bukit Batu Gajah.

(Refer photo below) Point 2 (GPS 1.639369, 103.734652) is nearer, you can park your car and walk less than 2km to submit. Point 3 is further (Petrol Felda Ulu Tebrau), follow directional signs and hike 6 to 7km one way .

Trailhead Elephant Rock

For point (2), those who are driving should park around the neighbourhood here (GPS 1.639206, 103.729393). We cycled to Point (2).

Bukit Batu Gajah car park area

From photo above, go up the left trail and you will encounter a “FUN” slope. It is important to enjoy the journey and pitstops, as this will make the trip more memorable.

Foldies cycling to Elephant Rock Johor

*After the slope, do look out for a side gate (GPS 1.639422, 103.732887), and trek offroad 400,500m to the rock.

If you overshot the gate, you will see “old hut” up the slope.

Once you pass the gate, start pushing and walking on trail. I suspect the trail will be muddy if it rains. If you have wider tyres or MTB, cycle in all the way!

Tip 05 Cleats are not welcomed here

You can try to climb the rock face with your Clipless  😅

We can see the ROCK infront of us, turn left at the T junction infront.

Bukit Batu Gajah off road trail

I still cannot tell which part of Rock resembles Elephant. After this portion, the last 100m offers a good workout with your bike! PUSH!

Park your bikes, go and explore the batu (rocks!).

Bukit Batu Gajah photo


Take more photos! We spent almost 1 hour at Elephant Rock.

We can see beautiful green scenery 360 degrees. No wonder so many happy faces 🙂

Bukit Batu Gajah photos

From Elephant Rock, we only 13km from Senai airport, or 20km from Mount Austin. Pack up to next stop.

We detoured to Specialized bike shop. Window shop only, not enough budget 🙂

From here, we are only 7km from our lunch venue.

Tip 06 Lunch and photos  at Eco Spring.

This new corner has many Instagrammable spots and popular cafes.

Please order some juicy burgers at Woodfire.

Woodfire burgers Eco Sprint

We stayed 1 hour at Eco Spring(woodfire lunch and photos). This spot is popular with both couples and families, plenty of activities and cafes for everyone.

Best burgers Johor

Eco Spring Lab photos

The original plan was to pop by Mount Austin for coffee. But we decided we had enough fun for the day and decided to ride home.

Tip 07 Route Mount Austin to JB

Route 3 would be the fastest path. Take note minimum shoulders and faster cars. We would recommend Route 35 (through Permas Jaya) and Stulang for new riders.

Cycling to Elephant Rock Google Map

Do expect more SLOPES up and down along Route 3 towards Taman Sentosa direction. Do take note road condition is more rough and more pot holes too. (This is the same route 3 which can bring you North to Mersing)

Checkout YouTube of Route 3 below. There are always plenty of slopes for the return trip (towards SG custom).

If time permits, you can detour to Plentong Go Kart (off Permas Jaya). Read previous blog post here.

Gokart Johor

Credits and references:

a)Thanks to other pioneers for sharing their Strava or Google Map GPX. You can reference our own GPX link here. Just open in your mobile phone and follow turn by turn. Our Elephant Rock YouTube link is here

b) Cycling to Elephant Rock would not be possible without the rich resources from Facebook group Cycling SG to Malaysia Facebook group. This should be your one stop shop for your Johor/Malaysia cycling research. More photos and videos about Elephant Rock here

Meanwhile, you may read about other cycling trips below:

– Cycle to Pekan Nanas and Legoland
– JB food hunt (3 hours 30km)
– Cycle to Forest City
Cycle to Pontian (笨珍)
Cycle to Elephant Rock (Bukit Batu Gajah)
Cycling to Malacca
2018 Cycling Hualien to Taitung (with two kiddos)

YouTube: Chill at Pontian 笨珍

YouTube: 3 Hours in JB. Eat, see and Experience

YouTube: Cycling to Forest City and boat ride (my best Johor trip yet)

*Do follow our cycling adventures here ->

Cycling to Pontian Johor

Cycling to Pontian (笨珍) was my 6th Johor trip. This is also our group’s furthest adventure yet. To and fro distance in Johor was about 120km.

(YouTube (link) video is at the end of this blog post.)

Normally, travellers might bypass small towns like Pontian.
Singaporeans might be more familiar with Pontian wanton noodle.

As we grow older, I wish to explore older towns like Pontian, Muar, Batu Pahat. I do prefer older towns compared to new towns (more touristy) like Mount Austin, Bukit Indah or even Kukup.

The old school feel, the laid back community, and of course glorious food. At this point, you should be aware that the “original” Pontian Wanton noodle is different from Singapore’s.

You can refer to our Strava Map (GPX) for Pontian Route (More details if view on desktop, rather than mobile phone)

Back to our Pontian cycling itinerary.

0530 Setoff from Esso Woodlands Road

As an overview, it is about 15km from customs to Jia Qin breakfast place (near to Bukit Indah). Another 25km to Pekan Nanas, and lastly another 20km to Pontian.

We took 5 hours to reach Pontian, rolling speed 23 to 25kmh (8 hours if include SG cycling time). Total distance of 170km if including Singapore cycling (Pontian to JB distance is 120km to and fro).

Tip 01)Pontian is our further trip in Johor. Although Google Map will indicate minimum gradient (fake news !), you will definitely feel and respect the slopes. We clocked elevation of 760m for Pontian trip.

Total cycling duration was 12 to 13 hours 170km, including our cycling distance in SG. That is a healthy dose of Vitamin D!

Tip 02)The Sun is always underestimated. One major issue with cycling in Malaysia is the lack of shades. You can be cycling for 20km stretches under direct sun exposure. Hydrate!

0620 Jia Qing always available for early breakfast.

Newbies might wish to take photo at “Iskandar Puteri” landmark (GPS 1.452635 103.652597)

Tip 03)Before hitting Pekan Nanas, there is a small stretch where both sides are only one lane. This is from J7 turning left into J46 (GPS 1.481546, 103.581711). Exercise caution here as this stretch is very tight.

We had to split our group into two. This would allow a gap whereby cars can overtake us safely.

On the return trip, Google Map recommended a South loop Kampong route, instead of going through J46. Take note there will be two steep slopes along the kampong route.

Although the slopes are scary, seasoned cyclists recommended this kampong route as it is much safer. Safety first!




Tip 04)On the return trip from Pontian, many cyclists and even motorcycles were going against traffic! This added some nerve-wrecking inconvenience to us, in addition to the bumpy and sandy road. Be alert!

We last visited pineapple landmark (Public Bank) in May ( Read our previous blog post)!

Pekan Nanas landmark Public Bank

Did you know Nanas means Pineapple (in Bahasa Melayu)? (And Kedai is shop or dining)

Pekan Nanas Good Food

永乐苦瓜米粉汤 干捞猪肝 at Pekan Nanas. The Pork liver (Rm16) is nice! Portion is meant for sharing.

There are actually a substantial number of popular F&B in Pekan Nanas town. However, folks will normally make a quick pitstop before rolling.

Eat drink and chill. Took a quick break before we headed West.

From here, just follow Route 5 towards Pontian direction. (J49 and J112 are smaller roads and might have more slopes or lesser road shoulders).

Those heading towards Kukup will turned left and follow route “J110, J95”.

After 15km, you will reach McDonald T-Junction at Pontian Kecil. Turn left towards Kukup and right towards Malacca.

Tip 05)Most of the attractions and good food would be in Pontian Kecil. Pontian Besar (further North) holds the administrative offices.

Pontian 3D mural wall

We headed to 3D mural for photo stop first. Waterfall painting definitely looks refreshing for a hot day.

I love Pontian landmark
Cycling to Pontian

Checkout other famous landmarks in Pontian.
The crown and “I Love Pontian” logo are side by side (GPS location 1.488070, 103.386529)

It is a crime to cycle so far and not photoshoot at ” I Love Pontian”

A milestone for us. We had fun posing at Pontian already 🙂

We split into two groups for lunch.

Kedai Makan Ah Poh (Bak Ku Teh) and 笨珍古楼小食 Kedai Makan Kurau are just 200m apart. Both are famous in Pontian (No1 is still Pontian noodle).

Famous Bak Ku Teh Pontian

You know the herbal brew is delicious from friends’ smiles.

古楼小食 (and Pontian) is famous for local eats especially fresh seafood. From social media, we noticed some folks actually buy their own fish, prawns and squids at the fish markets before a restaurant cooked for them!

However, I am not sure which Pontian fish market is more popular.

Seafood Pontian

Seafood only Rm 90 for 5 pax. We ordered 5 dishes.

Fried rice is spicy but delicious. Lala dish was the bomb.

We noticed many tables ordered “lor mee”, as this is their signature dish. I would consider it bland compared to Singapore’s lor mee.

Rode along Pontian Seaside until the end of the “pier”.

Our slow and easy Cycling to Pontian itinerary in itinerary stretches to 2.5 hours. We needed more time and stomach to savour all the good food!

Kopi and toast Rm50 for 12pax at Kheng Guan Hiong. There are many famous old school coffee and toast in Pontian, just follow the crowds.

Indulging in Kaya toast and white coffee with the best cycling kakis.

Coffee and toast Pontian Kedai

With Pontian trip completed, we have reached a milestone. Refer map below, we are only left with Kukup and Sounthern Most Point (Piai). We are ready to venture for our first multi-day trip!

Cycling itinerary Johor

Refer to map of Malaysia states in URL below. Maybe one day, we might just load our bikes onto train and bus and roll from other states like Kelantan, Pahang, Langkawi etc.

We have only explored less than 10% of the town, and Pontian has left a good impression for us. We will be back for tomato “Heng Heng Wanton Mee“.

It is an old and relatively quiet town. Folks are happy to just chill at old school kopitiam.

We hang around Pontian until 1pm+ before rolling home.

Tip 06) Our foldies rolling speed was around 23 to 25kmh.  Road bikes would easily roll 30+ kmh making the trip more bearable. As Malaysia is much bigger (Johor is almost x40 times bigger than SG), it is very common to cycle non-stop for 10 to 15km, as you will encounter lesser traffic lights outside town areas.

Tip 07)Do expect more slopes between Pontian towards Pekan Nanas. It could be the heat (no shade) or it could be the dreaded return trip fatigue. We also got a lot of headwind resistance too.

Petrol stations are our best friend every 15 to 20km. Hydrate and cool down.

Strava map Johor cycling

Tip 08)Refer my screenshot above, you can expect elevation between 500 to 1000m for any Johor trips above 60km. Pontian was 763m. For comparison sake, Mandai road (20 km both way) will only hit elevation 200m.

If you are already struggling along Mandai road, you will find the slopes and bridges in Johor tougher! Just go slower can catch your breath.

If it is any consolation, the hilly slopes in Kulai, Kota Tinggi and Kluang will stretch your elevations to 1000m +

One of the bridges/flyover which you will need to submit on the return trip.

Pontian trip makes me realised my foldie and fitness mileage. 150 to 200km would be my comfort zone.

If we wish to cycle to Malacca (250km from customs), it would be recommended to stay one night maybe along Batu Pahat.

Some folks can rushed 250km within one day, but you might be tired out. This might also defeat the purpose of cycling enjoyment (we are touring, not Training).


On a side note, I experienced mild heat exhaustion after crossing the customs. This is even after I ensure I had plenty of fluid replenishment.

I suspect it must be the overbearing heat. I had to chill 30 minutes at Yishun Dam, enjoy the sunset before continuing home.

Still not serious enough to be declared cycling bonk :p

Our Tampines kaki Joe clocked 200km!

Refer to Google Map GPX to Pontian.

Pontian Map, Kecil and Besar

Tip 09)We always missed a Durian stopover. We realised that we had always planned for durians on the return trip. Bad choice, as everyone would be tired and just wants to go home. We must put Durians at the front of our itinerary next round.

We are still hunting for popular and recommended durian stalls in Johor.

Tip 10)You will noticed many drivers “Turning Right” on straight-only lanes (be alert!)

Meanwhile, you may read about other cycling trips below:
– Cycle to Pekan Nanas and Legoland
– JB food hunt (3 hours 30km)
– Cycle to Forest City
Cycle to Pontian (笨珍)
Cycle to Elephant Rock (Bukit Batu Gajah)
Cycling to Malacca
2018 Cycling Hualien to Taitung (with two kiddos)

YouTube: Chill at Pontian 笨珍

YouTube: Cycling to Elephant Rock (Bukit Batu Gajeh)

YouTube: 3 Hours in JB. Eat, see and Experience

YouTube: Cycling to Forest City and boat ride (my best Johor trip yet)

*Do follow our cycling adventures here ->