Penang transport like the public buses can get you across the island reliably. And there’s even a free shuttle that goes around George Town!
However, both the heritage zone, George Town and the industrial zone, Bayan Lepas are prone to rush hour traffic jams! The narrow roads don’t help in that regard!
There are future plans for a monorail system to connect between the north and south of the island. But till then, these are the current modes of transportation in Penang!
Table Of Contents:
1. Getting Around Penang With Public Transport
The main public bus system in Penang is known as Rapid Penang.
Fares are affordable (Typically RM1 – RM4) and they have routes to cover most parts of the city!
1.1. Getting From Airport To City Centre
After your touchdown at Penang International Airport, look for the Rapid Penang counter (Ground floor) at the arrival hall.
Where you can purchase a week long unlimited bus pass (Rapid Passport) for RM30!
Other locations to get this pass include:
- Rapid Penang HQ, Lorong Kulit
- Bukit Jambul Terminal
- Penang Sentral
- Balik Pulau
- KOMTAR Terminal
- Weld Quay Terminal
1.1.1. Penang Airport To Georgetown
Most first-time visitors to Penang will want to head to George Town first!
The fare should cost RM2.70.
There’s usually a bus leaving every 30 minutes from the airport!
These are the bus routes to look out for:
|Rapid Penang Bus||401||401E||102|
|Operating Hours||5:30am to 10:30pm||5:30am to 11:00pm||5:30am to 11:00pm|
|Interval||45 to 50 minutes||25 to 35 minutes||60 to 80 minutes|
The final destination of Bus 102 is Teluk Bahang:
Which is perfect if you want to go directly from Penang airport to Gurney Drive, Batu Ferringhi or Penang National Park! Expect the fare to be around RM4.
On the other hand, the 401 buses are more frequent! These stop at KOMTAR where you can transfer to the 101 bus (every 10 minutes) to go to Batu Ferringhi beach!
1.1.2. Airport To Queensbay Mall
Take Bus 306 to Queensbay Mall from the airport. The daily Bus 306 terminates at Hospital P.Pinang I with 47 stops in between.
The journey should take around 20 minutes and cost RM1-4.
|Rapid Penang Bus||306|
|Operating Hours||5:30am to 10:30pm|
1.2. Getting Around Central George Town/ East
There are basically 3 methods for getting around George Town.
1.2.1. Getting Around George Town By CAT Shuttle
The Central Area Transit Loop Line is a free shuttle bus system with many stops around George Town, close to Penang attractions!
CAT Shuttle Route (Notable stops):
- Weld Quay’s ferry bus terminal (or Pengkalan Weld)
- Feri – British colonial buildings, Wisma Yeap Chor Ee and Wisma Kastam are here
- Little India (Chulia Street) – And Pinang Peranakan Mansion. The bus won’t stop here on Sunday from 7am to 1pm.
- Victoria Street – You can transfer to buses that head out to further places in Penang
- Beach Street – Occupy Beach Street (Sundays only), China House, Art Lane Penang, etc
- Light Street – Town Hall, City Hall and Fort Cornwallis.
- KOMTAR – With another major bus terminal for buses that go on to Balik Pulau or Batu Ferringhi; There are 2 Penang shopping malls here (Prangin Mall and 1st Avenue Mall)
- Kampung Kolam – Mosques and clan houses like Khoo Kongsi
- Mahkamah – Religious sites like St. George’s Church, Goddess of Mercy Temple and Sri Maha Mariamman Temple
- Dewan Sri Pinang – British colonial landmarks (City Hall, Town Hall, War Memorial, etc)
- Kota Cornwallis – Fort Cornwallis and Queen Victoria’s Memorial Clock Tower
- Weld Quay Bus Terminal (via Magazine Road and Downing Street)
1.2.2. Getting Around George Town By Bicycle
Just watch out for traffic! And check the weather forecast for fierce sunshine or heavy rain!
Where To Get A Bicycle:
- Some hotels offer bicycles for rent (or free) for their guests!
- You can also find bicycle rental shops along Armenian Street or Chulia Street. A standard one-gear bike might cost between RM10 and 20 per day.
- Link Bicycles have convenient docking stations around the city that make the returning process so much easier.
Read more: Love Lane Penang: What To Love About This Popular Street In George Town
1.2.3. Getting Around George Town By Rickshaw
Although not as common as they used to be, the 3-wheeled trishaw is another advantageous way to get around George Town.
You can find rickshaws at:
- junction of Armenian Street (Lebuh Armenian) and Cannon Street (Lebuh Cannon)
- Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion
- Citidel Hotel at Penang Road (Jalan Penang)
- close to Fort Cornwallis
It’s a competitive business so peddlers will usually be willing to negotiate.
1.2.4. Walking Around George Town
For photography buffs especially, walking is the best way to take stellar shots of architecture, street art, penang food and people!
1.3. Getting To Central Penang
Somewhere in the middle of the island (Air Itam) are 2 must-see Penang attractions! The majestic Kek Lok Si and Penang Hill!
1.3.1. Getting To Penang Hill
From George Town, look for Bus 204 from Pengkalan Weld.
George Town stops:
- Chulia Street (Lebuh Chulia)
- Penang Road (Jalan Penang)
- Light Street (Lebuh Light)
- KOMTAR bus terminal
Bus 204 will take you to the lower station where you can buy tickets for the funicular train up to Penang Hill.
1.3.2. Getting To Kek Lok Si
Likewise, you can take a bus from George Town to Kek Lok Si Temple.
Bus numbers include 201, 203, 204 & 502.
1.4. Getting To North West Penang
The north-west coast of Penang has a lot in store for people who want to spend time outdoors!
1.4.1. Getting To Batu Ferringhi
- Batu Ferringhi Night Market (Daily from 7pm)
- Batu Ferringhi beach
1.4.2. Getting To Teluk Bahang
- Penang National Park
- Entopia By Penang Butterfly Farm
- Penang Batik Factory
- Tropical Fruit Farm
- Teluk Bahang Dam (Annual dragon boat festival, jogging venue, great views, etc)
- ESCAPE Theme Park
- Waterfall (Air Terjun Taman Rimba is family-friendly)
1.4.3. Getting To Balik Pulau
- Street art
- Saanen Dairy Goat Farm
- Ghee Hup Nutmeg Factory
- Pulau Betong fishing village
- Bao Sheng Durian farm
- Countryside Stables Penang
- Cycling tours in the countryside
1.5. Getting To Mainland Penang
Penang island may capture most of the attention from visitors but the mainland does have its own attractions too:
- Auto city – entertainment and food hub suitable for families
- Design Village Penang (premium outlet) and IKEA at Batu Kawan
- Nine Emperor Gods temple
- Froghill of Tasik Gelugor
- Penang Bird Park
Just to name a few!
1.5.1. Take A Taxi Or Ferry From Penang Island To Butterworth
By taxi, you’d get immediate transfer from your hotel in George Town to where you want to get to in Butterworth. At least 40 minutes for RM30-40.
Or you can take the 20-minute Rapid Ferry from Pangkalan Raja Tun Uda Ferry Terminal to Pangkalan Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal in Butterworth!
It costs RM1 and Pangkalan Raja Tun Uda Ferry Terminal is walking distance (10-20 minutes’) from George Town!
Read more: The Top KOMTAR Penang (Detailed Guide): Things To Do, Tickets, Food
Pros & Cons Taking Public Bus Around Penang
- Very affordable
- Covers most places of interest
- Environmentally friendly (shared transport = less emissions!)
- No need to find parking
- Subject to Penang traffic
- Need to have exact fare (no change given)
- Takes considerably longer than driving or taking a taxi
- No immediate transfer/ pick-up from your hotel
- Not convenient if you have a lot of luggage
2. Getting Around Penang With Grab Or Taxi
Like in most major cities in Malaysia, Grab in Penang is not too expensive and very convenient!
Especially for one-way journeys from the airport or Penang shopping malls to your hotel!
Pros & Cons Taking Grab Around Penang
- Prices are more or less fixed (unlike taxis – the ones that don’t use a meter!)
- No worry about finding parking
- Widely available in the city
- Will be affected by Penang traffic
- Can be hard to find a return Grab from more remote locations (e.g. Penang National Park)
- Prices may be higher on public holidays and off-peak times
3. Getting Around Penang With A Car Rental Service
Numerous car rental companies in Penang will rent out a small car (5 pax) for around RM120/day.
Higher quality cars will cost RM150/day.
It’s possible to rent them from the airport too!
Pros & Cons Driving Yourself Around Penang
- Flexible travel at your own pace
- Less worry about missing departure as is the case for buses!
- Difficult to find parking in George Town
- Have to pay parking fees (except on Sunday)
- Need to avoid rush hour
- Not advisable for those with no prior experience driving in Malaysia
4. Getting Around Penang With A Local Tour Guide
And lastly, there’s hiring a private tour service like RayTheTour!
- Choose your own itinerary or let our guides take you around their hometown!
- English or Chinese-speaking guides
- Direct pick-up from your hotel, airport or anywhere else in Penang
- Drop off to your hotel after the tour
- Tour hours around 9am to 6-7pm
- Comfortable transport (either MPV or van)
- Parking fees and petrol costs are included
- We do tours for Cameron Highlands, Ipoh and Taiping too!
- Travel time is dependent on Penang traffic
- Costly for solo and couple travelers
PS: We don’t do car rentals!
- How To Get To Penang Island From Kuala Lumpur (KL)
- Best Way To Travel From Langkawi To Penang (All Methods + Cheap Option)
Getting around Penang is more straightforward if you know which areas of Penang you want to explore!
Besides George Town, there is central Penang and north-west Penang!
Review the advantages and disadvantages of the available transportation in Penang in this guide! From bus, taxi, ferry, rental car services and private tours!