Trail: Alternative route to Air Itam Dam

There are just too many trails in Penang and they are interconnecting from one to another. The reason is because all these trails are fruit orchards and that’s how they transfer their produces to the town.

As far as I know, there are already 4 ways to get to Air Itam Dam. 2 ways are from Air Itam township, another from Balik Pulau thru Oh Kio and last one is from Penang Hill thru IronX. I have blogged 2 of the ways earlier (IronX and Air Itam Dam tar road). Now, I am going to blog another way thru the cemented path and the locals named it Sar Liap (3 climbs). I am sure that it is meant for 3 hard climbs.

This road to the Dam is not extremely difficult but I would put it moderate due to the degree of gradient. From the Strava aps, it is showing 35-44% grade which is translating to 20-25 degree gradient. So, this could be quite tough for some people but need not to worry as the path is wide enough for you to do a zigzag ride.

The way getting there is quite straight forward. Just follow the big cemented path until almost to the end where you will need to detour to a short off road path. You can view the pics below for more details.

Coming from the main road to Air Itam Dam, you will need to turn to the right when you see the sign below.

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Then just follow the bigger cemented pathway which you will pass by a hut like below. Note that there are quite a number of hikers here too like the lady in the pic.

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When you see this mirror you are about to arrive. Take note that you will need to turn left onto an off road to get to Air Itam Dam. If you missed the turn you will end up at a meditation center.

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Once you have made the turn, it will be completely off road until the Air Itam Dam Playground.

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Review: Specialized Hotrock 24 XC – Update

Ok… I am slowly getting my daughter riding in different terrain. 1st, it was flat tar road just to make sure she knows how to shift the gears and which gear to use. 2nd, I took her to a hill with 4 to 7 degree climb. And now, I am exposing her to cement trail in Penang with about 5 degree gradient but rolling and uneven road. This is MPPP trail which i have blogged about earlier.

MPPP Trail

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She seems to handling well with the bike and the 50mm fork travel did help her a bit. Her max speed going downhill was 26.6km/h and if it is not because me stopping her, she would probably did faster than that. Her average speed going downhill wasn’t that fast as it was her 1st time tried out the trail but she did about 13km/h.

Coming down with speed control by the dad

Coming down the trail with speed control by the dad

Overall, I think the Specialized Hotrock with wide handlebar helps her in maneuvering the trail quite well and with the front suspension absorbing all the uneven roads did help her in handling the bike. I will let her ride this trail a few more times before moving up another step for her in riding a single track cemented road. That’s my objective before I am moving her to pure off road which I can hardly find in Penang.

Other post about Hotrock:-

Review: Specialized Hotrock 24 XC

Review: Specialized Hotrock 24 XC – Update


Trail: Cheng Kon Sze Temple

Cheng Kon Sze Temple or better known as Cheng Ji Chan to a local. Cheng Ji Chan means 1200 steps (1200 staircase steps that hikers use to get up to the temple). The starting point of the trail is also the same entrance as Kek Lok Si Temple which is also located at Air Itam Trail.


Again, this is fairly easy trail and very short. The total distance 3.2km and max elevation is 464m or an average of 8 degree gradient climb. I said this is fairly easy trail is because the trail is very wide and can be used by a pickup truck. Also, the trail is nicely paved with cement. Just don’t go here during the Nine Emperor God festival as this place will be packed with people, hikers, pickup trucks, cars or what so ever.

You won’t be able to lose your way here as there is 1 way up only. Alternatively, you can just follow the Yellow sign board stating Cheng Kon Sze as in the picture below. Apologize for the small wording.

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You can get a magnificent view here.

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If you are up for a long ride, you can descent from here and then ascent back to Air Itam Dam using the trail I have blogged before. Once you are at Air Itam Dam, there will be a lot more trails you can explore.

Happy riding…

Trail: Air Itam Dam


Air Itam Dam is 1 of the water reservoir in Penang. This place used to frequent by joggers and hikers only but the bike industries have been booming in the past years which have open up this place for bikers too. Inside the dam is still closed to motorist and cyclists. Only joggers or walkers are allowed.


On every Thursday evening there will be groups of cyclists gather at the foothill open space car park. They will then cycle up to Air Itam Dam. Not all parts of the road are well-lit so bicycle lights are important for the motorists to see you.

I would say this trail is moderate-easy. There are 1-2 areas with steeper climb which you probably need to off the saddle if you are on a road bike. The max gradient I would say around 10-12 degree only. It should be piece of cake if you are on a MTB. Below are the pics where the steepest part of trail and a pic showing before the steepest part.

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Most part of the trail will be like this.

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The reward is the view you get when you reach the top of the hill. The elevation here is 281m above sea level.

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From here, there are many other cemented single tracks you can go further and all of them thru this car park here. Namely :- Hilton, Ngor Hean, IronX, Oh Kio and probably many more which I have not explore. The good things about the trails in Penang are interlink to one another. So, you can cycle whole day nonstop and nonstop of fun!!!