Alor Setar to Butterworth

 

It was goodbye to our R & R plus R & R stop in Alor Star (Rest & Recreation and Ralph & Ruby). Another great night at dinner and again tried some great Malaysian food that I'd never eaten before.
 
Early hour in getting away this morning meandering through the suburbs of Alor Setar in the dark hours and to the sound of many mosques sounding for morning prayers as we rode along and seeing locals on their way for their early morning ritual. Prayer times is time that the Muslims to do the prayer such as fard (Fajr) and sunnah. The times of prayer times were taught by Allah through Gabriel to Muhammad.
 
Prayer times are standard for Muslims in the world, especially the fard prayer times. It used by the condition of Sun and geography. The Fajr prayer starts with the rise of "white light" (fajar sadiq) in the east, and lasts until sunrise.
 
After two hours of pedalling we had our normal breakfast stop on the move. A traditional Malaysian breakfast, Roti Canai (onion filling) being the treat and extra carbs to boot. I was fascinated when observing the chef twisted and throwing the dough airborne to then cook it with ease for our table. Absolutely delicious, and essential for that extra energy as mentioned.
 
Highway running, but with with no safety verge for most of the way. Therefore, it was more important to have our support vehicle in touch close behind to divert traffic around the line of riders as there was no escape route on the rider's left accept into the grass or into some obstacle.
 
Now in Butterworth and after a hot 100km ride Matt and I hit the Ais Kacang, being a shaved ice desert dish full of corn, red beans, jelly, peanuts, a bit of flavouring, chopped jelly and ice cream on top. Calories indeed, but with another big ride ahead (5 more days) will guarantee to burn it off, even if I double up on another one tomorrow.
 
Noticeable in the region here that there is a high population of Chinese Malaysians and I'm sure Matt and I will be trying some of their cultural dishes along the way such as the many varieties of noodles (good carbs as well). I shall report it all on the TLRH website to come, including the multiculturalism of Malaysia; Indian and Chinese minorities as well.
 
Continuing on to Taiping tomorrow with a later start (short 75 km) then working our way down the country riding for another 5 days (6 straight) before the next rest day in the capital city Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.
 
Butterworth is a town in North Seberang Perai, Penang, Malaysia. Named after William John Butterworth, Governor of the Straits Settlements (1843–1855), Butterworth was established in the mid-19th century as a landing place across the channel from the capital of Penang, George Town. The town has a population of 107,591 and it is also known unofficially in Malay as Bagan, meaning "jetty". Butterworth is the site of the Malayan Railwaystation for Penang, and is linked to the island by the Penang Ferry Service and by the 13.5 km Penang Bridge.
 
Butterworth sits in the southernmost tip of the North Seberang Perai district, sandwiched between Prai River in the south and east of the town and the North Channel in the west which separates Penang Island and Seberang Perai. The town with a low-lying area close to sea level is bordered by Perai in the south, Seberang Jaya in the east, both are separated by the Prai River, and Telok Air Tawar in the north. The west coast facing Penang Island, especially near Bagan Ajam is lined with sandy beaches, while the shores lining Prai River is covered with mangrove swamps.
 
When the British East India Company acquired Province Wellesley (Seberang Perai) in 1798, Butterworth did not exist as a settlement. It was later developed by the British. A railway station was constructed in Butterworth to transport tin ore from Taiping (then known as Larut), which was then loaded onto steam ships docked at Butterworth's wharves.
 
Railway passengers from George Town were transferred to the railway ferry which took them to the train.
 
After Malaya's independence in 1957, as part of an effort to advocate import substitution industries in the 1960s, the Penang state government under the Alliance led by Tan Sri Wong Pow Nee developed Mak Mandin as the first industrial estate in Penang.
 
In 1953, the Butterworth Town Board was upgraded to a town council with elected councillors. Nine years later, the Butterworth Town Council merged with the Rural District Council to form the District Council North. This also had appointed councillors since local government elections had by then been suspended.
 
In 1974, the Penang state government under the leadership of Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu merged all the three district councils in Seberang Peraiinto a management board, officially known as Lembaga Pengurusan Kerajaan Tempatan Seberang Perai. It was transformed into a municipal council in 1976 and renamed Majlis Perbandaran Seberang Perai (MPSP) following the provisions of the newly minted Local Government Act, 1976.
 
Besides being the seat of the local council, Butterworth also played host to many government offices and facilities, including the district police headquarters, district hospital and district office. As a result, the town boundaries were enlarged and the population grew from 3,900 in 1911 to about 43,000 in 1957. By 1980, there were 77,000 people living in Butterworth. However, since then many of these government offices have been moved to Kepala Batas, the district hospital in Seberang Jaya, and the Seberang Perai Municipal Councilheadquarters in Bandar Perda.
 
On 31 July 1988, the passenger platform of the Sultan Abdul Hamid Ferry Terminal collapsed which injured more than 1,600 persons and 32 lives were lost. This tragedy is due to excessive crowding of pilgrims heading to two separate religious festivities, which is the Kwan Yin Goddess festival in George Town and St. Anne's Feast in Bukit Mertajam. In 2001, a fire destroyed a three-storey bus station cum shopping centre near the ferry terminal.
 
Today, Butterworth is a town suffering from decentralisation with administrative and commercial centres shifted to nearby suburbs such as Seberang Jaya, Prai and Kepala Batas. Recently, the RM2bil Penang Sentral project is set to be proposed at the current site of the ferry terminal, bus terminal and railway stationwhich is set to be the modern transport hub for the Northern Corridor Economic Region.
 
Salamat Jalan
 
Truck and Matt
On the long ride home, in Malaysia.