HomestoryBEYOND EXPECTATIONS – That’s What They All Say!

BEYOND EXPECTATIONS – That’s What They All Say!

About a quarter into the cycle ride – a scheduled stop at a rustic fisherman’s village. I turned around to look at the couple on our Balik Pulau cycling tour, I noticed a sense of bewilderment on their faces as they whispered to each other.

Determined to ensure they did not miss out on the experience, I approached them and gently ushered them towards the center. Looking around for the rest, I quickly snapped a photo and uploaded it on Instagram with the caption “Real Life Experience in Penang”.

Without that context, I doubt most of you would have guessed this was in Penang. The pastoral landmarks were far from indicative of how the island is typically represented, as it lacked the iconic imagery of temples, the notable monuments of the UNESCO Heritage sites and Penang Hill.

At the heart of the village, our lead guide Princilia Lee had just finished placing her water bottle back in its cage on her bike and was getting ready to begin her second commentary segment. The anticipation in the air was palpable as the guests gathered around her, eager to learn about the rich history and culture of this charming coastal community. It was great to extend them the opportunity to discover a different side of Penang, one that goes beyond the typical tourist attractions and offers a more authentic and enriching experience.

With their bikes neatly arranged nearby and the couple now fully engaged, we knew that this stop on our “Balik Pulau Countryside Experience – The Classic” was about to become one of many unforgettable experiences, filled with fascinating stories and local insights that would leave a lasting impression on everyone involved.

This was not the Penang Island you’d seen on social media and travel portals. We went well beyond the caricature we could imagine in our minds and offered a much richer, unexpected experience. We called it the “Wow” moments, and there are plenty of them on this cycle tour.

As Princilia almost wrapped up her informative insights ranging from culture and human migration to history and folks’ tasks, cuisines to cosmetics and their relation to the modern world, I could not stop noticing how her audience was transfixed. Between laughter and surprises, the air around was overwhelming.

The Sunshining Troupers as we called ourselves or “The Bloody Legends” (given by our repeat guests, a squadron from The Royal New Zealand Air Force), informative insights and the “Wow” moments have indeed added a lot of value to our tour. It was always refreshing to learn about a place from a knowledgeable host who was able to keep the group engaged and entertained.

The unique culture of our land lives and still ticking on this side of the island.  Leading the group to the sights and sounds around as we headed for a cup of local coffee and a variety of other delicacies, the couple disclosed to me that the cycling tour was beyond their anticipation.     

There were many ways our tours were discovered and the various reasons why clients were attracted to our cycling tour.  This couple who lives in Curacao booked our tour as a ticket to get out of the well-trodden tourist paths of Georgetown. Their understanding earlier was that this tour was mere sightseeing cycling with little or no insights. Never that they anticipate their day to be filled with discovering a wholesome embodied Malaysian experience.

The fact is that the tour has garnered positive reviews and recommendations from past clients is a testament to the quality of the experience Matahari Cycle provides. Among all these accolades, were some captions in the reviews which we called “Sparkling” perfectly describing our obsession and intention for the Balik Pulau Classic Cycle Tour. Quoting a few,

 – “The Best Cycle Tour we had anywhere in the world”.

– “One of the best tours we have done anywhere before”.

– “The Only Tour you need to do in Penang”.

– “One Tour to Rule them All”.

– “This is not just a Cycling Tour”.


It was heartening to see that providing exceptional service and memorable experiences led to a strong bond and lasting customer impression. Offering multiple experiences in a single tour was our idea as it allowed visitors to get a well-rounded sense of the destination in just one outing.

Balik Pulau Countryside Cycling Experience offers exactly that, a must-do for anyone visiting Penang. Accurately, the descriptive tagline of this tour is – “One Tour Many Experiences”.

SJ Ghouse 12.10.23