Penang Trishaw
Trishaw - Penang Fading Masterpiece

Holiday in Penang will never be complete, if you do not take an old fashion ride in Penang trishaw. It is the best way to see and explore the city of Georgetown in a much slower pace. You will be able to cover every nook and cranny of Georgetown heritage trails using the eco-friendly mode of transportation that are fast gaining popularity among tourist.

There are about 200 trishaw in Penang which are mostly scattered around Georgetown area. Penang trishaw comes in many names, Rickshaw, trishaw, taxicab or locally referred to as beca.

The modern beca in Penang is a pedal-powered trishaw rather than one that’s pulled by runners. It ferries tourists through narrow lanes, offering them a closer view of the neighbourhood in an unhurried manner. The nostalgic feeling sitting on top of the three wheeled beca does indeed an unforgettable experience. Besides the novelty of traveling in this open-fronted three wheeled vehicle, trishaw allows visitor the opportunity of visit the sights at a more leisurely pace and stopping at any point to snap picture or to buy souvenir.

Photo by Flickr

Beca riders are equipped with information about the interesting sights along the tourism route that they took, thanks to the state government initiative in providing training and the re-branding effort which includes beatification on the current old beca. This will makes a visitor's ride more interesting and at the same time raise the image of Penang trishaw riders which are one of the frontlines in making foreign tourist stay in Penang enjoyable.

The price of using a beca in Penang varies from about RM 15 to about RM 30 per hour. Try to negotiate for the best price before using this service. Some tour agent or hotels provide a package tour which includes sightseeing on trishaw with lunch or dinner included. The package tour cost about USD 35 to USD 45 and last about 2 to 3 hour.

The Future of Penang Trishaw riders
Today, as our quality of life improves, the intimate portrait of the beca, sadly, has become a legacy fighting for survival. Trishaw, which amount to about 1000 in the 80s are slowly declining in numbers. While it can still be seen making the rounds in Penang, Malacca and Kota Baru, the beca is slowly turning into a museum masterpiece.

And with rising living standards, the shoestring earnings of beca are on a one-way road to a natural demise. Most trishaw-men are well past their prime though in all fairness, with that entire workout from daily pedaling, they have a strength that belies their age. Some beca riders, with the help of travel agent had to do away with pay cut to get enough customers just to stay in business.

Unsure how long he can continue pedaling, one beca riders Mr. Mohd Syed prefers his children to work in factories instead and loathes the idea of them following in his footsteps. Given a choice, he too would prefer to do something else. So, while some becas are still around, seek them out and take a ride down memory lane before it reaches the end of the road.