Travel from Penang airport to George Town will be top priority for first-timers flying in to Penang!
Don’t waste precious time scrambling around looking for transport upon arrival. A little research beforehand goes a long way!
Table Of Contents:
1. Taking A Bus From Penang Airport To Georgetown
There are 3 Rapid bus numbers that you can take if you want to transfer from the airport to George Town.
Either one will take about an hour to get to George Town from Penang International Airport.
Where Is The Bus Stop At The Airport?
Step outside the airport and you should see a bus stop.
As you walk to it, some taxi operators may approach you but you can politely decline if you don’t intend to take a taxi.
1.1. Rapid Penang Bus 401
Ending at Pengkalan Weld (Penang jetty), Bus 401 begins at Teluk Kumbar. The bus far ranges between RM1.40 to RM3.40 for this route.
401 Bus Route:
Balik Pulau – Teluk Kumbar – Penang International Airport – Snake Temple – Sungai Nibong Bus Terminal – KOMTAR – Little India – Jetty (Pengkalan Weld)
Note: Full route is not listed here
1.2. Rapid Penang Bus 401E
The E stands for express although this bus route is no longer the shorter version of the previous 401 route. As there are 10 additional stops.
This route travels along the east coast after Bayan Baru. If you’re interested in Queensbay Mall, this bus goes here too.
401E starts from Balik Pulau until Jeti (Pengkalan Weld). Taking this bus will amount from anywhere between RM1.40 to RM4.
401E Bus Route:
Balik Pulau – Penang International Airport – Snake Temple – Queensbay Mall – KOMTAR – Jetty (Pengkalan Weld)
Note: Only some highlight stops are listed here
1.3. Rapid Penang Bus 102
This bus also makes a stop at the Sungai Nibong Express Bus Terminal (for inter-state buses) and the KOMTAR Bus Interchange.
102 Bus Route:
Penang International Airport – Snake Temple – Sungai Nibong Bus Terminal – Penang Times Square – KOMTAR Terminal – Gurney Paragon & Plaza – Batu Ferringhi – Teluk Bahang – Escape – Penang National Park (Taman Negara)
Note: Full route not listed here.
Tips For Using Public Transport (Rapid Penang)
- You will need a pocket of ample small change when using the buses as the driver will expect you to pay the exact fare!
- There are currency exchange services inside the airport – make use of them if you need to! But only get enough for your first day (or 2) as the exchange rates are better in George Town!
- The bus route number is shown on a digital display at the front of the bus.
- Even though you may enter a bus with the number you want, the driver may change route (i.e. change number) after you get on. So you should always let them know where you plan to go!
- Study a map of Penang and the places you want to go before coming to Penang! This will help you know which bus route is most suitable for your plan!
- Ask your hotel/ hostel which bus route is the most convenient if you’re coming from the Penang Airport
- It’ll take longer than usual to get to where you want to go during rush hour (a.k.a. weekdays in the evening). Sometimes you’ll have to wait more than 30 minutes to get a seat!
- Note that bus 401E has the shortest intervals among all other bus routes listed in this post
Pros & Cons Taking The Bus Around Penang
- Costs really little!
- Bus routes have stops at the touristy areas in Penang
- Most drivers know some English
- You need to be alert for the bus/route and stop that you want
- Traffic can heavily impact the speed of the journey
- Many stops, even for the express service!
- Need to carry small change everywhere to pay the precise bus fare
- Buses are not as frequent as they used to be
2. Take Grab Or Taxi From Penang Airport To Georgetown
You can find many willing taxi drivers just outside the entrance of Penang International Airport. Make sure they use a meter before you get inside the car.
2.1. Taxi Cost From Penang Airport To Georgetown
Expect taxi fares to cost between RM37-47 to get to George Town.
However, you can expect the price to be higher by 50% if you need a taxi at redeye hours (12am to 6am)! Prices may be different during public holidays too.
2.2. Grab In Penang
Or you can download the Grab app and use Grab to get around the city.
- Create a profile.
- Select your starting point and destination
- It should take the app less than a minute to find you an available driver
- The price will be quoted
- Click accept if you agree
- You can see the driver’s progress as he makes his way to you.
- Don’t let him wait as there will be additional fees charged!
Pros & Cons Of Taxi/Grab Around Penang
- Little to no waiting!
- Affordable for 4 pax
- No additional stops
- Offers another option for late-night/ early morning flight transport
- Good car condition and quality is not guaranteed
- Possibility to get cheated (e.g. taxis with no meters)
- Must avoid rush hour
- Need to make arrangement with the driver for a return journey for places that are more rural
- Requires you to download and install an app (Applicable for Grab users)
Read more: 21 Things To Do In Penang With Kids
3. Rent A Car & Drive From Penang Airport To Georgetown
If you want to have full control (with the exception of traffic!) of your transport in Penang, then you can rent a car and drive yourself around Penang!
Beware that parking in Penang is not easy though and often a very frustrating experience.
From the airport, it should take 20-40 minutes to drive the 16km to George Town.
There are quite a number of car rental companies at the airport.
Car Rental Companies:
- Asia Galaxy Car Rental
- Green Matrix
The cost of renting a car can set you back RM160-500/day depending on the car that you choose.
Pros & Cons Driving Yourself Around Penang
- Convenient for those who don’t want a fixed itinerary
- Don’t have to worry about finding transport for the journey back!
- Friends and family can travel together
- Not as convenient for those who are not familiar with Malaysian roads/ driving mentality
- Difficult to find parking at touristy areas like George Town
- Limits your accommodation options (many do not have their own parking for guests)
Read more: Penang Itinerary 3 Days: How To Get The Most Out Of Your Penang Trip
4. Take A Tour Service From Penang Airport To Georgetown
Why waste time (and energy) with arranging other modes of transport when you can get picked up and start exploring Penang immediately?
A private tour service like RayTheTour has all the following benefits:
Pros & Cons Of A Private Tour Service Around Penang
- Comfort (MPVs and vans)
- Safe and reliable
- Local experienced guides to show you their hometown – In English or Chinese!
- You can choose where to go (no limits to the number of places) from 9am to 6pm (the hours are not strict)
- They can arrange inter-city transport between Ipoh, Taiping and Cameron Highlands too!
- Expensive for solo travelers
- Also subject to traffic conditions
Reach out to RayTheTour via WhatsApp!
Buses are the cheapest way to get from Penang airport to George Town. Faster (twice as fast) albeit pricier methods include taking a taxi or e-hailing service straight from the airport.
Trains are not available in Penang. And for those who like to keep their plan flexible, driving on your own or taking a private tour service is another alternative!
It’s also worth noting that once you are in George Town, you can take advantage of the free shuttle bus (CAT) that goes around George Town.
See our guide on transportation for getting around Penang for more details.