What You Need to Know About Riding in Penang, Malaysia


From the sidewalk (there wasn’t actually sidewalk anywhere in sight), riding a motorcycle in Penang looks pretty daunting. The streets of Georgetown are a network of one-way alleys and main roads, where you’ll need to dodge pedestrians, hawkers, trishaws, cars and open sewers. Did I mention other crazy motorcyclist’s and other vehicles going against the flow of traffic and doing u-turns without indicating?

Riding a motorcycle in Penang is a hell of a lot of fun, although for the less experienced rider, I imagine it could be a little stressful. Having owned and ridden a Ninja 600 in NZ on a daily basis, a bike with enough poke to hit 60mph from a standing start in about 3 seconds, I thought the 100cc 4 speed Honda would be boring. In all honesty, I think I had more fun on the little Honda than I ever did on my Kawasaki. This is mostly due to the way you need to ride in Penang to stay on 2 wheels, which back homes; would result in the loss of your license and quite possibly a short stint in jail.

Let’s face it, there’s only one way to ride a rented motorcycle… like it’s stolen.

Wanna ride a scooter in Penang
– Scooter hire starts at RM25 for 24 hours.
– You MUST have an International Drivers License. If you want better insurance coverage it helps to have a motorcycle license as well.
– You’ll need to provide a RM 200 deposit for the bike and the helmet.
– Wearing a helmet is compulsory and you will be fined if the local police spot you without one.
– At the time of writing this blog post, petrol in Penang cost RM1.90L

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