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Gunung Keriang Classic Ride
From a bustling to a quiet city, we found an adventure waiting to happen. The 11km ride started at the paddy museum. The classic bicycles were all lined up, rusty with a “tick” sound every pedal, giving off that strong nostalgia and welcoming us to the old era.
Road Lined with Fruit Trees
The 1. road was filled with all kinds of fruit trees that refresh your sight from those mundane weekly pasar malam fruit spreads you would pass by. Rambutans, papayas, sugar cane all mushroomed at the side. Looking at the dragon fruit tree tells you easily why it’s called a dragon fruit. Due to the tight-knit community, it was easy to end up in someone’s backyard and admire their plantation. There were pokok inai, durian belanda, pokok mengkudu that has medicinal value and limau perut that is used to give tom yam that delicious fruity taste.
We cycled through narrow lanes that widened and shrunk again without any warning. We were slowly getting accustomed to the pure village sense of cycling—waving at every passer-by, as it is just how it is done in Kampung Gunung Hulu. We cycled with the sun blinding our eyes and more fruit trees filling the scenery such as pomelo, mangosteen, asam jawa.
Our first stop was at a 2. paddy field. We stopped at a house and as they took us through the back, we were taken up close to the field. It was one of the most surreal sceneries we have seen. Light green shoots were strategically planted and went as far as our eyes could go. We met with the oldest matriarch of the family and, in this part of the trip, she taught us how to sow young paddy shoots in the field.
To make everything even more traditional, we were given the baju kurung Kedah, which came with a sarong. Slip on the cone hat and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference! As we stepped into the field, you could feel the clay mud locking in, digging you in an inch deeper. Though old, she had the gumption of a young hardworking woman. She bent so effortlessly, grabbing four shoots and sowed it in the mud with one finger in for measurement. Replicating her moves was quite difficult, as you have to maneuver in the clay mud without falling down. Sowing it in the mud felt so exacting yet fulfilling—once you’ve started and gotten the hang of it, you can’t stop. You would have a glimpse of how hardworking these people are, providing rice to an entire nation. Come to think of it, we don’t think about the ground these seeds are growing from when we have a mass of packaged rice in stores.
Local Home-cooked Treats
With feet full of mud and hands full of new experience, we continued cycling another 2km to another house. We walked to the backyard where spreads of 3. local home-cooked treats were waiting for us. There were kuih dangai tepung pulut, sagu that was sprinkled in coconut flakes, tepung bungkus or putri dua sebilik, and an array of fish dishes with ikan kembung rebus and ikan puyu pekasam.
Mulberry trees stood tall while the ripened deep purple seeds that have reached their end of cycle slept on the ground. Though it was the end of the season, we were still able to spot the 4. Nira fruit. There’s a way of taking care of this fruit if you want to extract the water. Tender massages twice a day for two weeks, then kicking the fruit would activate the process. The leaves are used to make roofs of the village houses.
With our traditional clothes still intact, we continued cycling to make sure we get the authentic village experience. With no gears on our creaky bicycles, it definitely had us put on that extra effort when pedaling. We cycled further 1km and reached 5. Keropok Akar Nyior, a home-based snack factory. In this comfortable home live a husband and wife, who, with the help of their two granddaughters, make delicious sweet snacks. We got to see the process of making the snacks: knead the dough, cut it to shape, and go through two-way frying—one deep-fried in oil and another in sugar. It may sound simple but the hard work poured into it is immense. We were treated to another break, and this time serving their sweet, delicious snacks and orange juice to quench our thirst after a hot day’s cycling!
Our next destination was the 6. Gunung Keriang. That pumped us up with excitement because there was a great folklore behind it, and who doesn’t like a good old story? As we cycled towards the foothill, we saw what looked like a mountain on the flattest land. We only knew what it was when we met the lady selling the crystal (you will find a number of crystal sellers who are very well aware of the story).
The legend has it that this crystal cave was originally a ship. That’s right, the entire vicinity was a sea. A marriage ceremony was going on in the ship and Sang Kelembai, full of hatred, put a spell on the entire ship to turn it into a rock. Tragedy stroke but the cave has since evolved with treasured crystals, becoming a source of income for today’s generation.
We rendezvoused back to our final destination. 7. The Paddy Museum was one of its kind. Being the biggest paddy museum in the world (with Japan and Philippines following behind), you would definitely be up for an extensive educational tour. You will find yourself in the tools section, ending up all the way to the section that displays different types of rice grain found around the world. The top floor caught us in awe. Walk up the stairs and you will find yourself at the highest point with a 360-degree 3D painting of the entire village. We stood on a circling disc that turns extremely slowly, so you could take in the entire view in detail. It took 60 talented Korean painters two years to research the entire village and one year to put their skills to work. We walked out of the museum with our head packed with newfound knowledge. We were then treated to lunch—what a way to end the trip!
The entire trip left us with hundreds of pictures and they were all worth the ride. It is definitely a family fun trip with short points of cycling and plenty of breaks packed with good food for your ultimate taste exploration.
Cycling Route - Gunung Keriang Classic Ride
This cycling tour package is provided by: Bumi Planet Travel & Tours Sdn Bhd
67 1st Floor, Bandar Darulaman Jaya, Jitra, Kedah. Tel: +6019-429 0564