Kuala Lumpur To Penang

Kuala Lumpur to Penang – what is the most convenient way to do it? Especially since everyone’s travel plan and budget is different.

So taking that into consideration, we will breakdown the possibilities on how to go to Penang from Kuala Lumpur.

Some of these methods involve transiting or taking multiple types of transport to cover the distance between these 2 contrasting Malaysian cities!

Table Of Contents:

  1. Bus
  2. Train (ETS)
  3. Self-drive
  4. Taxi
  5. Direct Flight
  6. Private Tour

Kuala Lumpur To Penang Distance

The approximate driving distance from KL to George Town, Penang is ~358km.

Subsequently, driving would take roughly 4 hours, 10 minutes. With no major traffic incidents along the way!

Locals often break the journey by going to Ipoh to have Ipoh food for lunch.

1. Kuala Lumpur To Penang By Bus

With the appeal of George Town (A UNESCO World Heritage Site) and delicious Penang food:

It’s not surprising that it is easy to get a bus from Kl to Penang!

Note: This is the way that most locals prefer to travel if they don’t have a car!

1.1. KL To Penang Bus Travel Time

Buses take much longer than driving to Penang however. By bus, it is typically a 5-hour journey from Kuala Lumpur to Penang. And longer if there’s a long weekend, especially on the eve of a long weekend (i.e. public holiday).

Supernice Grassland Express

Longer if it’s on the eve of a long weekend (i.e. public holiday)!

Make sure to bring drinking water, snacks and a light jacket! It’s not uncommon for the air-conditioning to be turned up high in the buses.

  • Average Travelling Time: 5 hours
  • Distance: ~351km

1.2. Bus Operators From Kl To Penang

Hop on a bus ticket platform like easybook or busonlineticket to search for the cheapest tickets at the date and times that you want!

Transnasional Bus Service - One Of The Many Bus Operator Companies In Malaysia
Transnasional Bus Service – One Of The Many Bus Operator Companies In Malaysia – photo credits to mohamadzulhanafi (Instagram)

You’ll see that there is an abundance of local bus companies that offer this particular route!

In fact, there are around 25 bus operators!

Reputable Bus Operators:

Bus Operator Departure Point Arrival Point First Bus Last Bus Fare (From)
Plusliner TBS (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan) Sungai Nibong (Penang Island) 8:45 AM 8:30 PM MYR 45.00
Kuala Lumpur Sentral
Hentian Duta Bus Terminal
Supernice Grassland TBS (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan) Sungai Nibong (Penang Island) 9:45 AM 9:00 PM MYR 38.00
Hentian Duta Bus Terminal
KKKL TBS (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan) Sungai Nibong (Penang Island) 12:30 AM 11:30 PM MYR 39.00

Tip: Choose a direct journey to Penang Island to save on travel time!

Price Range: RM 30 – RM 60 one-way per person

Note: Prices and timing in the above tables are subject to changes by the respective bus companies (do check the latest times and fares on easybook or busonlineticket or similar before making your plans.

2. Kuala Lumpur To Penang By Train (ETS)

The ETS (electric train service) by KTMB (Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad) goes all the way up north to the border of Thailand (Station Padang Besar).

KTM ETS To Ipoh

Before Padang Besar though, you can get off at the Butterworth Railway Station which is at the mainland and not Penang island where George Town is!

So you’ll still need to sort out transport for the second leg of your journey, Butterworth to George Town.

Commuters At The Butterworth Railway Station, Penang
Commuters At The Butterworth Railway Station, Penang – photo credits to mazahikokung (Instagram)

There are 2 classes or categories for the ETS train tickets:

  1. ETS Platinum – (EP)
  2. ETS Gold – (EG)

Platinum is more expensive as there are less stops! The ETS Gold train takes about 10 minutes longer than the former but is RM20 cheaper.

However, interestingly, there are more Platinum trains running than Gold trains.

Type of TicketDeparture PointArrival PointScheduleDurationPrice
ETS Platinum -(EP)
  • Station KL Sentral
  • Station Kuala Lumpur
Butterworth Railway Station8:03 AM
11:08 AM
1:37 PM
3:55 PM
8:10 PM
~4h 15mRM 80
ETS Gold – (EG)
  • Station KL Sentral
  • Station Kuala Lumpur
Butterworth Railway Station6:00 PM~4h 25mRM 60

You can get tickets online or via easybook or at the respective counter at KL Sentral.

Note: The official website is often slow and payment issues happen occasionally.

2.1. How To Get From Butterworth Railway Station To George Town

Butterworth Railway Station, Penang
Butterworth Railway Station, Penang – photo credits to mazahikokung (Instagram)

When you get to Butterworth Railway Station, you can go sightseeing if you have time as there are some attractions in Butterworth that may interest you:

  • Penang Bird Park
  • Container street art (Penang Container Art Festival or PICAF 2020 from January to end of May 2020)
  • Nine Emperor Gods temple
  • Froghill, Tasik Gelugor
  • Auto city – entertainment/ food center
  • Design Village Penang (premium outlet), Batu Kawan
Connection By Caryn Koh At Aspen Central Island Park, Batu Kawan, Penang
Connection By Caryn Koh At Aspen Central Island Park, Batu Kawan, Penang – photo credits to cindytye1819 (Instagram)

Or you can go straight to Penang Island via any of these 3 ways:

  1. Ferry (every 20 – 30 minutes) – From Pangkalan Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal to Pangkalan Raja Tun Uda Ferry Terminal (15 minutes’ walk from Georgetown)
Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal (Butterworth)
Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal (Butterworth) – photo credits to arifuddinrahmad (Instagram)
  1. Taxi/ E-hailing service
  2. Private transportation service

Pros & Cons Of Each Transport Method

CategoryFerryTaxi/GrabPrivate Transportation Service
ComfortOld but it’s a short rideDepends on the individual carMPV/ Van
Duration20 minutes40 minutes40 minutes
Price (oneway)<RM 2~RM 50From RM800
Direct transferNo – ferry terminal is 10 min drive from train station
Tip: Look for the free shuttle at the entrance of the train station
YesFrom your hotel in KL
Earliest departure from Butterworth to George Town6:30am (7am on weekends)Subject to availability12am*
Latest departure from Butterworth to George Town8:30pmSubject to availability11:59pm*
Ease of CommunicationPredominantly MalayDepends on the individual driverEnglish-speaking guides
Travelling with kids/ more luggageInconvenientConvenientConvenient

3. Kuala Lumpur To Penang By Car

If you have your own car and are familiar with driving on Malaysian highways, you can turn this into a weekend road trip as many locals like to do!

It takes a total of roughly 4 hours to drive the 358km between Kuala Lumpur and George Town, Penang.

Enroute to Ipoh
Enroute to Ipoh

And that is on during off-peak days with no traffic.

The quickest route is via Lebuhraya Utara – Selatan/E1 which passes through Ipoh!

3.1. Kuala Lumpur To Penang By Car Cost

Of course, if you’re driving, you will have to bear the additional transport costs!

There is a toll fee for crossing either of the Penang bridges.

  • Total Highway Toll Fees: ~RM50 (including Penang bridge fees)
  • Fuel cost: ~RM60 (Assuming a small car) one-way

4. Kuala Lumpur To Penang By Taxi

Fares depend on the day and company that you choose. But it’ll likely be more than RM200 one-way.

With a possibility of them charging you for the return journey too.

The next option in this post is shorter and much less (including the return journey)!

Duration: ~4 hours

5. Kuala Lumpur To Penang Flight

Like taking the ferry, the flight is not the most environmentally friendly route you can take to travel to Penang Island from Kuala Lumpur.

There are a few airline operators that offer this direct route. Obviously flying on the eve of a long weekend will be significantly more expensive than flying in the middle of the week.

Airasia Flight
  • Airlines: AirAsia, Malindo, Firefly & Malaysia Airlines
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Price Range: RM 35 – 200 (return trip)
AirlinesDeparture PointArrival Point
AirAsiaKLIA2Penang International Airport
Malindo
  • KLIA
  • Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport (Subang Airport)
Penang International Airport
FireflySultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport (Subang Airport)Penang International Airport
Malaysia AirlinesKLIAPenang International Airport

5.1. Penang Airport To Georgetown

Transport Options From Penang Airport To Georgetown:

  1. Rental car
  2. Bus (lines 102, 401, 401E)
  3. Taxi/ E-hailing service
  4. Private transportation service
Travelers At Penang International Airport
Travelers At Penang International Airport – photo credits to kaina__photo (Instagram)

Penang International Airport is quite some distance from the more scenic areas of the city.

Driving distance from Penang International Airport:

  • George Town – 40 minutes
  • Balik Pulau – 24 minutes
  • Batu Ferringhi – 1 hour
  • Teluk Bahang (Penang National Park) – 1 hour

So it’s worth sitting down and planning your Penang itinerary!

And if you have enough days, you can make a full circle of the island as each area has something unique about it. Do your research on how to get around Penang too!

6. Kuala Lumpur To Penang (Private Transportation Service)

It’s costly but if you can afford it, this option provides the most comfort and convenience out of all the other methods discussed on this list.

You can book private transport via klook.


Read more: Best Way To Travel From Langkawi To Penang (All Methods + Cheap Option)


Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: How Much Is The Train Ticket From KL To Penang?

A1: Between RM60 – 80.

Q2: How Long Is The Journey From Kuala Lumpur To Penang?

A2: 4 hours (by car), 5 hours (by train/ bus) or 1 hour (by flight).

Q3: What Is Penang Famous For?

A3: UNESCO World Heritage site, George Town, Penang Hill, Penang food, Kek Lok Si Temple, etc.

Q4: How Long Should You Stay In Penang?

A4: At least 2 days.

Q5: When Is The Best Time To Visit Penang?

A5: Peak season (December to February), shoulder season (March to August), rainy season (September to November).

Conclusion

Traveling from Kuala Lumpur To Penang can be done in several ways – a flight, driving your own or a rented car, taking the train, hiring private transportation services, taxis or e-hailing services, or by taking the bus!

Of these, the bus is the cheapest mode of transportation while driving on your own offers the most flexibility! The train is a good alternative during public holidays when there is heavy road traffic.

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