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.

https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Peninsular-Malaysia-map-showing-states-divided-into-administrative-levels-of-district_fig1_347615114

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 -> https://sengkangbabies.com/tag/cycling

Cycling trip to Forest City

One consistent feature appeared throughout our recent cycling trip to Forest City.

Big SMILES!

From roads to bashing (new pathways) to boat rides, we really enjoy each cycling experience. Our team has gel together and we are super comfortable with each other.

Checkout our Fun 100km cycling to Forest City YouTube below.  Scroll to the end for our Google Map GPX map (turn by turn guidance).

Regardless of whether you ride a foldie or road bike, we are one team. And it is this dynamic friendship which motivates us to keep cycling to Malaysia.

Cycling trip to Forest City will be 100 to 120km within Johor itself.

Cycling to Malaysia

The usual poses.

Expect nice sunrise photos between 0700 to 0720 at the bridge. For those heading West, this bridge is the second climb. Do grab the opportunity to catch a breath, and breakfast is only 5km away.

Breakfast at Jia Qing. Good food, early opening hours and convenient spots, we need not detour into Bukit Indah or Sutera Mall neighbourhood for breakfast.

As you cycle into Malaysia more frequently and earlier, it is important to identify F&B stops which open earlier (maybe before 7am).

Restoran Jia Qin breakfast

Kway Teow Mee is good. Wanton Noodle is delicious but be prepared to wait.

After our comfort breakfast, we headed toward route J4. Refer to Google Map screenshot below, this is a single lane road.

J4 would be the most technical and challenging stretch for some of us. This stretch contains a few slopes and road works (imagine x 1.5 times of Mandai Road slopes). Refer full Gpx map link at end of page.

Ride safely.

Additional Tips

1) Cyclists are not supposed to ride on expressways and some highways.  Using Google Map, ensure you avoid “Motorways and Tolls“.

2) Secondly, when Google Map indicates “Mostly Flat” terrain, do take it with a HUGE pinch of salt. Example, Mandai Rd is also considered FLAT!

In general, Malaysian motorists (cars, motorbikes and even trucks) will give you a wide berth when overtaking. Thank you!

3. Petrol Stations (NO Tandas!)

Do take note there are no petrol stations or convenience stores along J4 stretch until Forest City. Do clear your bladder at Nusajaya “Educity” area!

Cyclists need to look out for each other, the no1 priority is always to enjoy our trip and return to Singapore safely.

Looking at the map below, Point A Google Map actually asked us follow J4 do a loop before heading South towards Forest City. This is a 8km loop.

How to cycle to Forest City

We decided to take a shortcut and bash through some glass fields. Part of the Fun! (estimated GPS location 1.383153, 103.569452)

Rolling our bikes onto the carriageway above, and we are only 8km from Forest City.

There are two or three Forest City “huts” along the route.

Road bikes can dash ahead and meet up slower foldies infront.

Many opportunities to take scenic photos of “HDB new town” :p

Cycling to Forest City

Love below photo!

Cycling trip to Forest City

New friendships and kakis along the routes. To quota Alan “This trip feels like family going on a holiday!”

We were laughing at the similarities between Forest City and Singapore. Punggol waterway here, Waterway Point there. Vivo City, TPE and Golden Mile!

Inside Forest City, just navigate towards “Fisherman Wharf”.

This “staircase” is one of the highlights at Forest City, and it should provide some hilarious photo ops (spot the beetle car).

Forest City staircase

Behind every nice photo is a huge team of supporters! Enjoy the green Oasis. You will also noticed that Forest City is super quiet

Aileen’s cap says it all. Cycling to explore and eat! Savour the experience 🙂

Photo of Forest City from Singapore’s Johor Straits Lighthouse . I had walked there during my 150km Round-Island hiking map. It is so near to Tuas.

View of Forest City from Singapore

Bye Bye Forest city, on to the next highlights.

We had to make another small detour in order to land on Route J4 again. Yes, the same J4. (Estimated GPS location 1.355282 103.585961)

Detour Forest City to Pendas boat ride

Walk down from highway to dirt track, which leads to J4 and Pendas fishing village (boats and seafood maybe).

In a big country, always expect Google Map to have some missing data, eg old junctions or missing new routes. This is very common.

Amazingly, team never complained and we all took detours as part of the Fun! Kudos!

Once we were on J4 (about 200m off road and pebbles). We are only 7km from Pendas fishing village (refer map , GPS 1.355282 103.585961).

As you get nearer to the village, you will see a tall yellow building in the distance (Sunway Grid Residence)

Our objective was to take the boat across Sungai Pendas! Perhaps seafood next round.

Eddie recce around the jetty and announced boat ride is RM10 per pax. Yes!

Cycling and Boat ride Sungai Pendas

Look at the glorious smiles! Feels like 11 kiddos going for an excursion 🙂

Planning for overseas cycling requires more flexibility. We do have Plan B and C in our itinerary. Depending on time and our conditions, we can always improvise or skip a few attractions.

Cycling Forest City itinerary

Looking at the comparison below, shall we take a boat, or detour 10km back to Legoland corner?

The choice was super obvious for us!

Boat ride was definitely one of the highlights, No regrets!

You will cross the river in under 3 minutes, but still a novelty for most of us. (Strongly recommend cyclists to have travel insurance ok).

Once across the sungai, you will follow the coast (one way) towards a gravel path.

You will cycle near to Bigbox on the way “home”.  We deserved a good lunch, Dim Sum at Tasixi (大四喜).

One of the bonus for us was durians. Alas we were too tired to hunt for durians around Skudai (Sutera Mall), refer map below. Ah Shuai seems to be a popular choice.

 

Tips

4) Going home, just head towards “Pusat Bandaraya” (until you reach Danga Bay area)

5) Do take note “Lebuhraya” means Highway in Malay. Some say cyclists are not supposed to go on Highways. But Google Map does indicate feasibility. There are wide shoulder lanes which is safer for cyclists.

6) Major or trunk roads are easier to roll and perhaps less slopes compared to “kampong roads”. But expect faster cars.

7) Nearer to Danga Bay, always follow overhead signboard and navigate towards Hospital Aminah direction (Loop).

This step is important, otherwise you will land on Route 1. Route 1 is narrow, sandy and packed with fast moving cars

One final group photo before ending our Malaysia cycling trip.
Forest City Mission Success!

I only have one small regret.

As I am leading from the front, miss out a lot of gossiping from the team. Chirpy bunch of cyclists. You should hear the bantering and giggling within the tribe!

8) This is the Google Map GPX for our Cycling trip to Forest City. You can open the link and follow turn by turn to reach your destination.

Our Strava Map pursuits. Forest City and also Pontian (our furthest ride!)

 

Forest City ride was still the most fun because of the DETOURS and boat ride. So memorable!

Pontian would be famous for the slopes and vast array of food options.

Our Forest City cycling trip would not be as fun without our reliable sweepers. Thank you Alan and Kiera!

Special shout out to Andrew for sharing his group’s boat ride! His trip gave us so much inspiration (Andrew “Cycling Sg to Malaysia” group)

More photos on Alan’s post in “Cycling SG to Malaysia”. You should join this Facebook group for your future cross-country cycling adventures!

 

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)

*Do follow our cycling adventures here -> https://sengkangbabies.com/tag/cycling

YouTube: Chill at Pontian 笨珍

YouTube: Cycling to Elephant Rock (Bukit Batu Gajeh)

ps.. images without SengkangBabies watermark credit my fellow cycling friends