By Sam Cheong (From The Star)
TANGKAK is a little town in Johor with an excellent view of Mount Ophir or Gunung Ledang in its backdrop.
I was told that back in the good old days – it was a norm for the Boy Scouts from Muar to cycle there and summit its 1,276-metre peak as part of their King Scout assessment programme.
To get a bigger picture, I took a trip to Muar recently with Michelle, my wife and cycled from the town to Tangkak.
We rode our Dahon folding bicycles for a distance of 36.5km along a scenic route that took us to Sungai Mati, Parit Ponorogo and Batu 10 before arriving at the town centre.
Before we set off from Muar, we had breakfast at a coffeeshop and cycled across the bridge that links this town to the outside world.
Moving on an average speed of 18km/h, there’s plenty to see and if you love kupang (mussels) and lokan (giant freshwater clams), there are stalls that are dotted along both sides of the road.
A bag of kupang costs RM5 (roughly about 1kg) and these are as fresh as they can get.
And if you are a durian enthusiasts, there are plenty to go around. We found at least 10 stalls all along the way from Muar to Tangkak.
As for the level of difficulty in cycling along this route, you have to be physically fit to tackle 15km of undulating terrain from Sg Mati to Tangkak.
To the untrained rider, this is the worst part of the journey.
Upon arrival in the outskirts of Tangkak, the ride is smooth.
The best time to get on your bicycle is at 7am and the journey to Tangkak from Muar takes about 1 hour 20 minutes.
What to do in Tangkak? Well, if you love satay, there’s a makan stall located near Public Bank that opens in the evening. This place is pretty decent with Soto Ayam and other Johor-styled Malay dishes.
One of the highlights of my visit, was a trip to Kuang Fei beef noodles shop.
This is a ‘must-go’ makan place which is highly-rated for their excellent and affordable food.
From Tangkak, the Ledang Park is located about 13.5km away.
This is the staging point for adventurers as well as nature lovers who wants a dib at scaling Gunung Ledang.
You can hangout for the entire day in Tangkak and the return ride to Muar is 73.2km.
Since its a long-haul on two wheels, its advisable to pack some spare tire tubes, puncture repair kit and carry plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Muar is accessible via the PLUS highway from the Klang Valley and the travel time is about 2 hours 30 minutes.
If you plan to ride this route, be prepared for an overnight stay so that you can get ample rest.